HistoryThe Hermit Trail, like many other Grand Canyon trails, began as an indian route. The trail was improved by prospectors and was originally know as Horsethief Trail. A prospector by the name of Dan Hogan began construction of the modern Hermit Trail in 1896. The trail was further improved by the Santa Fe Railroad about a decade and a half later. They used this trail as an entry into the Canyon in an effort to bypass the toll that was currently being charged for use of the Bright Angel Trail. They constructed a small camp, Hermit Camp, at the end of the trail, near where Hermit Creek cuts through the Tonto Platform and descends to meet the Colorado River. Hermit Camp provided a stop-over point for parties headed for the river and was active until the 1930's. At that point the National Park Service had acquired the Bright Angel Trail and had also constructed an additional cross-canyon route by way of the North and South Kaibab trails. With the trailheads for these trails being closer to the railhead the Santa Fe decided to move their tourist operations into that area. Hermit Camp is now abandoned and the structures have been removed. Some of the foundations still remain and can be seen from many points along the Hermit and Boucher Trails as well as from the Pima Point overlook out on the Hermit Road.
Mileages are as follows (one-way):
Dripping Springs Trail junction- 1.6 miles
Hermit Camp - 7 miles
Colorado River - 8.5 miles
Rim - 6640'
Dripping Springs Trail junction - 5240', 1400' below rim
Hermit Camp - 2800', 3840' below rim
Colorado River - 2400', 4240' below rim
(Steep) The Hermit trail offers hikes to Santa Maria Spring, 5 miles (round trip), and Dripping Springs, 7 miles (round trip). Trail conditions are tougher than the Bright Angel and South Kaibab trails. Unmaintained steep trail requires caution. Begins 500 feet west of Hermits Rest. Water from springs must be treated before drinking. For experienced desert hikers.
Essential GearWater, water, and more water. A gallon per person per day in the summer. Also lots of snacks (preferably salty) Hiking boots and a good hat to keep the sun off your face. Trekking poles will save your knees on the way down. Crampons and layered clothing (winter)
Red TapeIf you wish to camp anywhere in the park, other than in developed campgrounds on the North Rim, South Rim, or Tuweep, you must obtain a permit from the Backcountry Information Center.
A backcountry permit is not required for:
day horseback riding
overnight camping at Mather Campground, Desert View Campground, North Rim Campground (summer season only), and Tuweep Campground
overnight stays at the dormitories or cabins at Phantom Ranch (advanced reservations with Xanterra Parks & Resorts required)
There is a non-refundable fee of $10 per permit plus $5 per person per night camped below the rim and $5 per group per night camped above the rim.