Hermit to South Kaibab Loopprint
The Grand Canyon Hermit to South Kaibab 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 at first but then you get a sense of where 75% of the rest of Grand Canyon hikers hike. (Kaibab is pronounced KY-bab where KY rhymes with Eye and bab rhymes with cab - for those of you who like to amaze your friends at parties). 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.
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 to spend the night on the beach of the Colorado Rapids 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. Or, you may even see some crazy dude or chick running the rapids in an inner tube!
The night at Horn Creek is unforgettable - there is only one campsite in the entire area, so just your group camping. No need to share the vast night sky with anyone else! A great reward before moving on to the more trodden area of the park.
*Route Variation - Specific hiking route and campsites on each departure are dependent upon permit availability. Also doable as a 5 day trip as well.
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 the below links for the official Hermit to Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trail descriptions from Grand Canyon National Park. These descriptions do not fully depict the actual itinerary, but are provided to give you an idea of the overall route. For example, the above itinerary does not ascend Bright Angel Trail on this hike as depicted on the Hermit to Bright Angel Trail description. If you want that route, click here instead.
Hermit to Bright Angel
South Kaibab Trail
You will head to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Once you reach the canyon, you’ll take 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 will move camp up river to camp along the Colorado River on the beach at Granite Rapids. The route takes the group to Monument Canyon and past the 168-foot sandstone monolith called the Monument, which gives this canyon its name. While camping at the beach, the group usually catches 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 will cover the most miles but the terrain is over rolling hills. You will cover 9.8 miles (15.8 km) of magnificent views of the inner canyon as you hike the Tonto Trail from Granite Rapids to Horn Creek. This is your last day of quiet before heading back to the busier trails. If time permits, the group will head to Plateau Point to experience some of the best views of the inner canyon.
This part of your trip has you joining the numerous hikers along the main trails - busier, but still beautiful! Today we head to Bright Angel Campground or Clear Creek Camp, hiking 7.5 miles (12 km) down the Bright Angel trail. Once the group is settled, take a dip in Bright Angel Creek or the Colorado River, grab a drink at the Phantom Ranch canteen or just chill. (Add an additional 2 miles if camping at Clear Creek for some seclusion).
Today, the hike starts out of the canyon along the South Kaibab Trail. It is popular but take a diversion off the main trails to Cremation Canyon to camp for the night. Today's hike is about 4.7 miles (7.6 km) with 2 miles of trail away from the crowds - just what you are used to. There are many side hiking opportunities along the Tonto Plateau with amazing views into the inner canyon below.
Out you go! Today is the steep hike out - climbing about 4500 ft (1372 m) to the top over 6.5 miles (10.5 km). The views from South Kaibab Trail are vast so make sure you get a chance to stop and look often. This trail is popular but for good reason - expansive views of the canyon from either side of the trail.
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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