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Grand Canyon Recommendations
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Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Taking it easy on 04/05/2007 09:23:22 MDT Print View

While my girlfreind and I are used to high mileage days in the White Mountains, we are not used to the September heat of AZ. I figure not being accustomed to the area, it is best not to do this in one day. We will be traveling with well under 20 lbs total weight on each of our backs so we will be able to move freely, but my concern is the heat.

Is the Hermit Trail easy to follow? All of the guidebooks say it is not as easy, but most of the time they do not write books like this for more seasoned hikers traveling light and fast.

Michael Schurr
(mrschurr) - F

Locale: SW US
Re: Hermit Tr to Bright Angel Campsite on 04/05/2007 11:46:38 MDT Print View

You may want to head over to Monument for the first night. The Hermit has one spring toward the top. I recently went down the Bright Angel and over to Monument in a day. That portion of the Tonto has very little shade and will be hot in September.

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Hermit trail on 04/05/2007 12:50:22 MDT Print View

The Hermit trail is fairly easy to follow. We did get off trail once and had to do a bit of scrambling to recover, but I blame that mostly on my stupidity. It is a very rugged trail in places. Some parts of the trail are taken out by a rockslide and you need to be able to rock hop a bit to get through. If you are going ultralight, not as much of an issue but be aware if either of you have any balance issues. Hermit is overall a fairly steep descent and will give your knees a workout.

I would not recommend a day hike either if you are not accustomed to the heat or the area. We had backpacked this loop before and had a good familiarity with the hike. Your longest stretch will be between Monument and Indian Garden, around 11 miles. You won't be able to rely on finding any water along there.

Someone on another forum asked me to keep a log of my hike times along the route, copied here FYI.

Hike start at Hermit trailhead 7:36AM
Waldron trail junction 8:05AM
Dripping Spring junction 8:12AM
Santa Maria Spring 8:24AM
Hermit Creek junction 10:23AM
Granite Rapids junction 11:09AM
(stop for water refill at Monument Creek, depart 11:34AM)
Cedar Spring 12:15PM
Salt Creek 12:56PM
Horn Creek 2:55PM
Tonto West junction 3:47PM, Indian Gardens 10-20 minutes later
(stop for water refill at Indian Gardens, ~15min)
Bright Angel trailhead 5:51PM
Sitting down for a fine dinner at El Tovar 8:15PM

Jonathan Ryan
(Jkrew81) - F - M

Locale: White Mtns
Bus's on 04/05/2007 13:05:07 MDT Print View

This is some great info guys, I really appreciate it. I guess my last question is where do you park, and how do you get between the 2 trailheads. I went there many years ago and I remember a bus that went between the two. Is that still in operation? If so when does it start in the morning?

Andrew King
(drewboy) - F

Locale: Arizona
Bus to Hermit trailhead on 04/05/2007 14:08:41 MDT Print View

There is a bus that runs out to Hermit about every 30 minutes or so, starting at 5:30AM, I believe. We just parked at BA trailhead and hopped on the bus, the bus stop is very close to BA trailhead. Keep in mind that the driver will stop at about 5-6 places along the way, so plan on a 30-40 minute drive to get there.

Michael Schurr
(mrschurr) - F

Locale: SW US
Re: Bus to Hermit trailhead on 04/05/2007 15:06:40 MDT Print View

They will also give you the gate code at the Back Country office if you would rather park at the top of the Hermit.

Bunny Kramer
(leaps) - F
Re: Grand Canyon Recommendations on 04/08/2007 22:24:48 MDT Print View

Hi Chris, I'm not sure if it was made real clear before but all overnight stays below the rim (other than at Phantom Ranch) require a permit for the exact number of nights and where you'll be camping. It simply isn't possible to get to the bottom of the canyon and walk into Bright Angel Campground there asking if they have a campsite available.

I would urge you to stick to the corridor trails for your first CG hike. Trust me... there's excitement and rugged scenery enough on the corridor trails! The 3 corridor trails - Bright Angel & South Kaibab on the south rim and North Kaibab on the north rim - are all regularly maintained and patrolled daily. You'll also find water at 2 places each on the North Kaibab and Bright Angel but ALWAYS double check that before starting out!

You touched on what might be a really excellent trip for you... a rim to rim... though I would really urge you to start on the north rim and hike to the south rim just because the north rim is a few thousand feet higher in elevation than the south rim. :) Speaking of elevation change, this probably goes without saying but since I am a mom, I just have to say it anyways... USE HIKING POLES! There's a shuttle between north & south rim that takes 5 hours to make the trip and costs (last I knew) $60. *IF* you can manage to snag a last minute overnight at Phantom Ranch, you'd only need to carry a day pack... no tent, sleeping gear, cooking stuff needed! Oh... if you do get a room at Phantom Ranch, don't assume meals are included! You need SEPERATE reservations for each meal and those are HARD to come by! I can assure you that a rim to rim will make you mighty proud of yourself. ;)

If you decide to stick with the south rim trails, you might want to see if you can snag 2 nights at PR or BA camp and use your layover day to check out Ribbon Falls and rest your knees. :)

I heartily recommend the friendly folks at as a terrific resource.

As far as temps go... we scraped frost off the windshield so we could drive to the North Kaibab trailhead... then the next day soaked in the creek to avoid the 98 degree temps at the bottom of the canyon !

Peace and dry socks,

John Kays
(johnk) - M

Locale: SoCal
Re: North Rim on 04/09/2007 11:38:22 MDT Print View

I didn't see a response to this query. Hiking up the No. Kaibab is a vastly different experience from hiking the down to the river from the South Rim. I wouldn't miss the opportunity to do this if you can arrange for a pick up or other transportation.

Chad Mason

Locale: Arizona
North Rim Transportation on 04/09/2007 11:59:12 MDT Print View

Trans-Canyon Shuttle runs a daily shuttle to & from the North Rim. They'll shuttle people or just baggage. They can be reached @ 928-638-2820

We do a rim-to-rim-to-rim hike every October. There are a whole pile of pictures on my site ( that show the scenery along the corridor trails.

Christopher Brashear
(topper1969) - F
Thanks on 04/11/2007 20:01:06 MDT Print View

Thanks everybody for all the input. I'm going to read up on it all a little more and make a decision.

If I can't get a night at Bright Angel, I guess I'll just do a day hike-hike down and back up. I'm sure it would still be great.


Kim Grant
(Kimberlymae) - F
Re: Re: Grand Canyon Recommendations on 05/28/2007 23:11:35 MDT Print View

I'd like to second the notion of wearing cotton May - October in the south west deserts. Synthetics wick precious moisture away at the gaseaous level keeping you dryer, and then they evaporate that moisture away quickly so that sweaty clothes dry in minutes instead of hours. In the desert, you need every precious drop of moisture your body can hang on to, and that includes using your sweat as a cooling system. When a cotton shirt absorbs moisture, the wet layer on your skin helps keep your body cool.

Not matter how hot it gets, in the summer I wear a long sleeve (sun protection) tissue-weight woven (no knits!) cotton tunic -- a short version of what you see people wearing in hot, dry African climates. I avoid knits because they get too heavy and clingy when wet -- woven cloth billows like a sail in the smallest of breezes, sort of like instant air conditioning.

Synthetic socks, with liners, on the other hand, are a must. Wet socks = blisters.

-Kim ("avatar" pic taken late November in Canyonlands, and am wearing a synthetic T.)

Edited by Kimberlymae on 05/28/2007 23:14:42 MDT.

Mary Simpson
(maryphyl) - F
Recomendations on 06/11/2007 20:33:32 MDT Print View

I have spent most of my adult life in the canyon. If it were me I would be wearing a white long sleeved shirt and long zip off leg pants. I would have a windbreaker and a 40 degree bag. Check weather reports right before you leave--if no rain is forcast then just take a half of a painter's dropcloth for a ground cover which can be used burrito style if the forcasters are wrong. Cut your toenails very very short or you will lose them. You will want dark glasses and sunscreen. Do not drink without eating something--you just need a couple of mouthfulls. Eat a salty breakfast before you leave and drink a quart of something before you step off the rim. Be sure to hang your food even if you are just leaving your camp for a stroll. I'm sure there is more--just can't think of anything right now. Mary

Christopher Brashear
(topper1969) - F
How bout April? on 03/01/2008 13:40:16 MST Print View


I didn't end up going in September due to work.

Now I'm headed there in April. I got my permit for camping at Bright Angel April 10th.

Any input on that time of year?