Hermit Creek in the Grand Canyon

9:34 p.m. on July 22, 2015 (EDT)
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I just recently applied for a backcountry permit for the corridor trails of the Grand Canyon and was unfortunately denied due to the popularity of this trek at this time of year (I'm from North Carolina).

After speaking with a ranger I found out that Hermit Creek campground was available for the two nights that I will be in the area. Thankfully, today I received confirmation that I have a reservation for two nights at Hermit Creek campground during the last week of October.

I have never been to the Grand Canyon and have no experience hiking in the canyon. My plan is to hike from Hermit's Rest to Hermit Creek the first day, hang my pack and secure my food and make the trek to the rapids for a few shots at the Colorado River before heading back to camp and posting up for the night.

My goal is to make it to the Colorado the first day after I drop my pack so that I may be able to day hike to the monument at Monument Creek the second day, returning again to Hermit Creek.

Any of you experienced canyon hikers have any suggestions or reservations to this itinerary? Although my original plan was to hike the corridor, the more I read and learn about the Hermit's Creek area, the more rewarding I feel that it will be. And, yes, I will be solo hiking and have read some of your posts to others about solo hiking in the corridor. Thanks for any advice and/or tips in advance.

10:28 p.m. on July 22, 2015 (EDT)
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116 forum posts

What an amazing trail.  It's off of the south rim.  I needed lock codes from the Rangers to get my car to the trailhead when I went. It's quite remote until you arrive at hermit creek then people start appearing.  It is spectacular to say the least.  I remember one spring on the way down but that was awhile ago.  The water in hermit creek was good. My mistake was hanging my food and leaving it.  The ravens in that region are large, smart and hungry.  My sack was ripped open, heavy cordura, and raided leaving me with half the food I had packed.  Hermit rapids had a silky sand beach and other than the occasional rafting party was nearly private. Blissful. I stretched out my rations and managed to stay the entire week I reserved.  The hike out was relentless and that spring couldn't come fast enough.  I saw a couple small rattle snakes in the grassy areas along the trail. 

ps. The county on the south rim exit is dry.  If you want a cold beer when you get back to the top get it ahead of time. 

10:58 p.m. on July 29, 2015 (EDT)
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157 forum posts

Nate,

Late October is a great time to hike Grand Canyon and The Hermit Trail is a beautiful route.  While not maintained like to corridor trails it is clearly visible, though you will have to navigate a few rockslides.  Assuming you have some backpacking experience you should have no trouble following this route for your first Grand Canyon experience. 

Camping wise, Hermit Creek is one of the developed backcountry sites.  It gets a lot of use (my opinion...too much) and is shock worn, with a stinky pit toilet, and flies.  A better option if available is the campsite at Monument Creek.  Maybe an additional mile of hiking, but well worth it. 

As to you dayhike itinerary, from Hermit Creek the Hermits rapids are maybe 4 miles round trip, and the Monument while further away is a fast walk along the Tonto Trail. 

If you end up camping at Monument, dayhike instead to Granite Rapids, and for your 2nd day take in a nice long stretch of the Tonto Trail (outbound heading east).  The views change canyon by canyon and hour by hour through the day. 

At both locations you need to protect your food and anything that smells from mice (and ravens).  I like the lightweight (yellow) version of the Ursack, others use the wire ratsacks, and I've have also carried my food in a bear canister.  And whatever you do you need chew proof food storage and do not leave it in your pack while unattended.  The mice will chew holes in the softer pack fabric even though they can't chew through the Kevlar ursack.  I made that mistake...once. 

Hiking Grand Canyon is a different experience than just about anywhere.  You will be hiking 7+ miles consistently on a 10 degree or better downhill grade.  I find trekking holes very helpful to offload the impact on my knees and quads.

Can't think of anything else to add, but post questions as they come up.

Steve 

January 18, 2020
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