Hermit to Bright Angel Loopprint
The Grand Canyon Hermit to Bright Angel Trail backpacking trip is a great alternative to the South Kaibab/Bright Angel Loop for thrill seekers and beginner backpackers alike who seek a more secluded, challenging and less trodden path, yet with a brief taste of crazy touristy hikers on the last day.
Constructed by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1911, the Grand Canyon's Hermit Trail was originally carved out for tourist access to the Colorado River. Opportunities for exploration here are vast, as there are access to multiple camping areas including Monument Creek, Granite Rapids, Hermit Rapids and Hermit Creek.
From Monument Creek, you can set your eyes on one of the sheerest drop-offs in the entire park or explore a number of slot canyons. From Hermit Creek, you can swim in tranquil pools formed by 10-foot waterfalls or explore the many miles of trails along the Tonto Platform. A night's camping at Granite Rapids or Hermit Rapids will allow you to spend the night on the beach of the Colorado River along two of the biggest rapids in the canyon. You may even see a few rafting trips run through as you’re soaking in the views from the beach. You may even see some crazy dude running the rapids in an inner tube! That guy in the inner tube is a member of the Mile Deep Club, and so will be you!
But the last night at Horn Creek is unforgettable - there is only one campsite in the entire area, so just your group camping, so no need to share the vast night sky with anyone else!
*Route Variation - your specific hiking route and campsites on each departure are dependent upon permit availability.
Need some help planning your trip? With our outfitting services for your Grand Canyon backpacking trip, your experience will be more enjoyable as we will do the footwork for you. Click here for more information about JRI's outfitting services.
Need more information about the trails? Click here for the official Hermit to Bright Angel Trail description from Grand Canyon National Park.
You will need to get to the South Rim or Grand Canyon (Grand Canyon Village). Once you reach the canyon, you will hike Hermit Trail approximately 8.2 miles (13.2 km) to the campground at Hermit Creek, which is 3,740 feet (1,140 m) below the rim. The average hike time is 6 hours.
Today you move camp up river to camp along the Colorado River on the beach at Granite Rapids. The route takes us to Monument Canyon and past the 168-foot sandstone monolith called the Monument, which gives this canyon its name. While camping at the beach you usually see a river trip or two floating down the river, which is really fun to watch. The hike this day is 5.1 miles (8.2 km) with only about 600 feet (183 m) of elevation change.
This is the day you would cover the most miles but the terrain is over rolling hills. Today's hike covers 10.1 miles (16.25 km) of magnificent views of the inner canyon as you hike the Tonto Trail from Granite Rapids to Horn Creek. This is the last day of quiet before heading back to the busier trails. There is only one campsite at Horn Creek and the next nearest group is 2.5 miles away.
Hike back out to the rim by first hiking the Tonto Trail from Horn Creek to the junction of the Bright Angel Trail at Indian Garden. From here, we have a 3,000-foot (914 m) gain in elevation over the 7.0 miles (11.3 km) before reaching the South Rim.
Share your experience! Review this trip
What a trip. So enjoyed getting to know Patrick as we hiked although we initially thought we had another guide, happy Patrick took over because he had the cribbage board! First day my pack wasn't fitting right and Patrick stopped whenever I needed in order to come up with a solution that helped - thank goodness for that extra pair of socks I brought. In a heartbeat would return for a different trip. Hope everyone has as great an experience as we did.
First off, just wanted to mention, our guide Dallan Caldwell, paid me for this review. Just kidding!! (inside joke) If you have read the other reviews then you probably know what I'm going to repeat...you can't train enough for this trail but do it anyway. We were not prepared for the very first day of our hike to Hermit Creek. How do 3 South Georgia women even find terrain such as this to train on??? But in saying all that, we did it, with no loss of life or limb (just a toenail) and we are proud of our accomplishment (using a few choice words along the way!)
4:30 mornings with the sun coming up over the canyon was spectacular, and I'm no morning person. The views, ice cold waters of the Colorado river, even the cool breezes that seemed to catch us at just the right time made up for the sore muscles, lack of sleep (haven't slept on the ground in years!) and just all around CRAP! I don't know if I can go any further!! A mile down the canyon ain't a mile in Georgia!
I personally could not have made it without the encouragement from our guide, Dallan.
Thanks for the stories about your family to get my mind off of how tired I was. Sheer determination is what it finally took and he helped me find that in myself. He gave up his trekking pole, sorry again, sleeping bag, flip flops (don't ask) and some of his personal stash of popcorn and I believe would have gave up his shirt, shoes and shorts if he thought that would have made it easier on us. Kodak moment, for sure, but we tried to keep this hike PG rated. Yeah, right!!! From lugging extra water, cooking by candlelight (haha) the first night and finding every bit of shade we needed to get us through the day. Don't know how you do this for a living but you must love it. Much admiration and respect.
What an experience! One I will definitely not regret or forget. Shout out to our new friends and trail buddies from San Diego, Dean and Roselynn Brown. You guys rock!!
Strike this off my bucket list (may add another one in the future....one with waterfalls in it!!!) and thanks to Dallan and JRI for making this happen.
I can't even begin to put into words how awesome this trip was! If you are looking for a challenge, this is it! We quickly learned that one Grand Canyon mile is very different from a "normal" mile. Our first day was 9 miles down (and up and down and over rocks, etc). It was tough and I consider myself a pretty fit person, but it tested my endurance. If you are considering this trip, I would recommend running up and down bleachers with a weighted pack. After the first day, I think we knew a little bit better what to expect. Our guide, Chad Teerink, was a great fit for our group of 4. We loved his sense of humor and overall personality, but more importantly, his passion for what he does was so apparent. He was very knowledgeable and did a great job of setting the pace and encouraging when needed. This is a pretty remote trip, so we had lots of time to bond and be one with nature, quite literally. The last day was a real highlight - we were hiking by 4:00 am so we could get to the Tonto Trail and see the sun rise. It was amazing! The views over the four days were spectacular - our pictures just don't do it justice. I'm proud that we accomplished what we did - it was no small feat and the experience will be forever cherished as something very special! Thank you to Chad Teerink, Just Roughin' It for providing all the right equipment and to the Finnila's for sharing this trip with us.
JD & Brook Nichols
Just returned from our 4 day Grand Canyon hiking trip, Hermit to Bright Angel. Our expectations were far surpassed we definitely got the full adventure experience. Hiking in 9+ miles the first day was not what we expected at all. We learned quickly, based on permit availability that our trip would not be the same as listed in the brochure. However, we can’t say enough about the amazing guide we had, Chad Teerink. The passion and dedication he has for his work as a guide are inspiring. His knowledge of the Grand Canyon and his respect for nature are outstanding. His character and good natured spirit made the adventure fun. He took a few jabs from our group, especially when the trail got tough but he endured and we couldn’t be more happy with the experience he shared with us. JRI is a great company to work with, they provided us with all the right gear. If I had one piece of advice for anyone looking to hike this trip, be flexible to changes, train, train, train. If you are not already an active avid hiker, I highly recommend you train with a weighted pack on your back. Be sure to include stairs in that regimen and be prepared for the heat. I met a team that had just come back from the canyon prior to our orientation and they recommended one of the light weight chairs that JRI sells. Rocks get rather tough on your bottom. I’m so happy to say, we bought the chairs. They weighed two pounds each but SOOOO worth it!
Thanks again to our AMAZING guide, Chad Teerink, and to JRI for a great experience.
A Michigan Tender Foot
This was an awesome experience. After surviving the first day's hike (8 miles down over often rocky terrain was a bit rough on this 60-year-old plus body) everything was pretty much gravy. The scenery cannot be described in words - spectacular, awe-inspiring - but you must see it with your own eyes. Two of the three nights we slept under the stars and with no city lights for miles the sky was breathtaking. A half moon rose about 3 am and lit up the canyon! Second day we hiked to our campsite, dropped our packs and hiked to the Colorado. Feet in the cold water, but one in the group took a dip to her shoulders! Our guide Dallan was excellent, from cooking to helpful hiking advice to knowledgeable facts about the Canyon to relating his earlier backpacking experiences. Pictures galore - we even got a close up of a bighorn sheep surveying the Bright Angel trail from close range on the last day. Last but not least we had a great, fun group to enjoy the trip!
My son and I just returned from our hiking trip 10/22/16. It was the best experience ever, camping and hiking in the canyon. Just roughin it provided all we needed to make it a easy and wonderful trip. I would like to especially thank Pat for her great driving abilities and Kyle for his knowledgeable guiding and good cooking. We made some new friends . I hope to see you all again soon!
PS to my review posted on 10/1/16. Forgot to add that we ranged in age(s) from myself (62), and my wife and our two friends late (50's). Our guide Kyle Sherman still got us through the trip!!!
All I can say is WOW. Just Roughin' It, came through. We could have never made it the 4 days without our guide KYLE SHERMAN. He gave us encouragement when needed, help when needed and fed us too. He showed more patients than I had for myself.
I would say if Kyle would describe our group it would be SLOW and more words I best not say, but he never once showed discouragement in our group.
JRI and KYLE know what they are doing and it is orchestrated perfectly, equipment worked, food was good, guide was great. That is all we can ask for. (Kyle even went above and beyond what was excepted of him)
To sum up my review of this trip would be hard to. It was a trip that took me to a place I never thought I would go. I am not the kind to give up but I thought about it more than once. It wasn't anything to do with Kyle or JRI. It was the lack of training. I thought, I was coming into it with a hiking foundation and the first day realized I WAS WRONG. If you are reading this then PLEASE, if you think you have trained well, train some more it will make your trip fantastic.
Kyle got us through times where it just didn't seem possible, hiking in the dark, having it rain for 2 days, trails that had rock slides, cactus needles in our behinds and flash floods. He was our ROCK.
I could go on about the 4 days we spent in the Grand Canyon but I think you get my point. The trip is hard, but worth it, JRI is fantastic and Kyle should be nominated for sainthood.
Thank you JRI and Kyle we couldn't have done it without you.
Oh yeah, the Fairfield is a nice place to stay if you were worried about that, plus the day after I got out of the canyon, I got myself a wonderful massage and an Epson salt float at The Healing Path Day Spa. Why would I need it you say? Well because I DID NOT TRAIN enough. So train, train, train, and hire Just Roughin' It as your outfitter.
The trip was good, but our guide Kyle Sherman was over the top!! I cannot in anyway imagine to have had anyone better. Kyle was extraordinary! He was at ALL times concerned about our safety and we'll being. He worked to make our (tough) trip as comfortable as possible. By that I mean that he WORKED to physical extremes to help. He is one physically tough AND caring person. My wife and myself, along with two friends, committed to the route (not having prior backpacking or canyon experience). Although we thought we had trained to a good physical condition prior, we were quick to find this route was much, much, tougher then we had imagined. We were very, very slow trekking, as the route was more physically challenging than we had anticipated. Also, anyone thinking of this route should heed all the comments and reviews that is not for the first time backpacker UNLESS you have absolutely prepared. All said and done we made it. Kyle made it ALL POSSIBLE! Just Roughin' It should be more then proud to have a employee such as Kyle!! He would definitely be a employee I would not want to see leave the company. As for Just Roughin' It. It was a pleasure. Your company is most helpful and very informative as to your trips offered. Again, hats off to Kyle. We love that guy!!!!
Just a short email to let you know that Christie and I had an absolute blast on our hike this week. I never would have thought I would become a hiking convert but I think this trip may have done it!!
Dallan was a fantastic guide, a great cook and an all round great guy (and a mean card shark to boot) having to put up with 3 women for 4 days ;)
I was slightly nervous to begin with as you never know what to expect (especially fitness wise) but there really was nothing to worry about (I am thankful that I do squats with my personal trainer!!).
Yes it was hard at times and hot but the swim in the Colorado River was worth it all, and it was nice having a small group (ending up with 3) too.
I am already thinking about another hike next year and I will totally recommend JRI to anyone considering doing a hike in the States.
Thank you again....Kim
0 Stars! Never again will I sign up for a guided hike without researching the company first. It was dangerous! Completely unacceptable in so many ways. The list is long. I would strongly discourage. I will follow through with a more in depth a trip advisor review.
October 2015. This was the adventure of a lifetime. Thank you for making it possible. Our trek was tough, and I honestly was under-prepared physically, but the trip was perfectly planned - going from hardest to easiest, with well placed breaks, excellent equipment, and unexpectedly-good meals and snacks. Kyle was outstanding, perfect really. He was supportive, encouraging, entertaining and informative - a quiet confidence-giving force hiding within surprisingly strong young man. My two 13 year old boys were in heaven. Kyle was a strong leader without be heavy handed. I can't recommend enough nor thank you enough.
Our trip was hiking down on Hermit trail, reach Colorado river and return through Tonto trail to Indian Garden and thereby come back up on Bright Angle Trail.
The first day was the worst day as Hermit trail was very difficult trail and the rest of the trip was very enjoyable. I ran out of water on the first day and our tour guide Gavin was the first one to offer his water supply and it saved me from dehydration. In addition to gorgeous views throughout, we saw several beautiful flowers including yellow and red cactus flowers, and gigantic and majestic Agave flowers. We saw a couple of rattle snakes and yellow snakes.
Gavin, one of our tour guides is a remarkable person. He has great passion for the Grand Canyon and is very spiritual about all the beautiful views. He is very knowledgeable about the flora and fauna, and he is also a very compassionate person. When one of our team members was having problem with nausea he offered to take his bag and helped that person to get through the trip. He is and will be a great asset to Just Roughin It for future trips. I give him a full 10 out of 10.
I just finished the Hermit Trail/Bright Angel loop trip through the Grand Canyon. What a great time.
The weather in mid-February definitely added some spice to the journey. Things were brisk as we started out on the rim and climbed down the Hermit Trail, but we were shedding layers and enjoying t-shirt temps by the time we stopped for lunch at Santa Maria Spring.
JRI delivered the goods on all meals. I think we only had one meal the entire trip that was freeze-dried, and even that was only in part. Some of the hikes will have you burning through the calories, so having enough fuel to keep your body going is important. Tasty meals prepared by the guide (who also lugs all the food and cooking gear around) keeps you moving, as does the 'halloween bag' of various snacks/treats everyone carries in their pack.
Our guide on the trip was Jayci Ferramani. This guy was a wealth of knowledge about the canyon as well as all things hiking/backpacking/climbing related. Years of personal experience with all of it, and happy to share his knowledge while graciously helping out the first-time backpacker (me). Jayci helped get my bag packed with the essentials (bring more than you'll need and leave some in the truck) and handled getting my tent set up and torn down until I could get the hang of it myself.
In addition to the tent (perfect condition, super light), JRI provided all the other necessities: two sleeping bags and a blanket, meal kit (dishes/cup), air mattress, backpack and camelbak inside it for water. All of the equipment was in perfect shape.
A few random tips for anyone thinking of booking this particular trip:
- I'm about 6 weeks shy of 40 and in good shape (6ft, 185lb). My training for the trip was just my usual fitness routine which is running 12-18mi per week and strength training 2-3x per week. Squats and calf raises are your friends - you are hiking with your house on your back for the duration of the trip, and the ascent up Bright Angel is no joke especially in the ice/snow (lucky us). Prepare yourself so that you can enjoy the adventure rather than have it beat you up for 4 days.
- I'm an avid photographer. I brought a tripod, a 5D, a 24-70 F2.8L and a 70-200 2.8L. I took around 350 shots, and all but about 20 were taken with the 24-70. The 70-200 was just another couple pounds of ache in my upper back. Stick to a midrange wide-angle and you're good for this environment. Tripod is a must. Make sure you can handle the extra weight. The photography gear piled another 15-20 pounds onto the backpack which was probably already weighing in at around 35. The camp sites tend to be located down/inside areas that obscure a lot of the vistas. You're going to be tired but dump your gear, set up your tent, and then hike back up to a clear spot so you can take advantage of the sunset.
Hopefully this is a helpful review. I really enjoyed this trip and felt like it was worth more than I paid for it. Nothing was over-promised, everything was as described. Read the faqs on this website and hit up the Park Service and National Weather Service sites repeatedly the week before you go so you can get some feel for the weather if it's a dodgy time of year like now.
Absolutely intend to book more vacations with Just Roughin' It.
What a great experience to be witness to the magnificent scenery of the Grand Canyon and to be part of the good company (4 of us in total) that I had on the 4 day Hermit/Tonto/Bright Angel Trail trip. Cool nights and sunny days made for ideal backpacking weather for this end of November time of year. It couldn't have been better. We met friendly people on the trail, few in number, until we hit the Bright Angel Trail on our last day. They were still very friendly.
The food was good; not having to cook was a real treat. The gear provided was excellent. I wondered what it would be like, not having my own stuff with me This was a first experience for me in this regard, but everything measured up real fine.
Being able to see a party of 4 rafts and a kayak shoot the rapids on the Colorado River on day two was one of the highlights. Glad it was them on the river and me on terra firma.
With much appreciation, I thank you for this wonderful experience, perhaps once in a lifetime, as I'll be 70 next year.
Hiked this in Feb 2013. Excellent trip. Full review at tripadvisor:
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- 65-75 liter multi-day backpack
- 2 person ultralight backpacking tent (1 tent per 2 people)
- Sleeping bag appropriate for the season you are hiking (20 F to 45 F synthetic bag)
- Therm-A-Rest Z-lite backpacking mat
- 1 pair trekking poles
- 1 backpacking stove and fuel (1 stove per 2 people)
- Backpacking meals (dinner and breakfast)
- Trip planning and logistics assistance
*Please note - Just Roughin' It is not a guide service for Grand Canyon National Park. Just Roughin' It is providing trip planning and outfitting service and will not be physically present during your hike. Hikers are required to know their fitness abilities and limitations on any backpacking route they choose to apply for directly from Grand Canyon National Park. Hikers will be required to sign a waiver when picking up the outfitter package.
Now’s the time to consider purchasing a travel protection plan to help protect your trip investment. For more information on the available plans or to enroll, contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 03-0152.
Travel Insurance is underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company, NAIC #22276. 11.17 W20