Top three reasons to go hiking the Hermit Trail
Multiple overnights inside the national park
Expansive views of the inner gorge
The backpacking loop takes you through the Bright Angel and Tonto Trails
Hiking and backpacking on the Hermit Trail offers a unique sense of remoteness in the Grand Canyon—surprising for a park that attracts 6 million people each year. This 29-mile stretch of South Rim wilderness will take you through narrow side canyons, refreshing rapids of the Colorado River, and onto plateaus that offer 360-degree views of magnificent surrounding landscapes. When you finish with your daily hikes, you will spend your nights among grand Canyon’s unspoiled landscapes and wake up to impressive vistas of its unique geological formations. In other words, Hermit Trail offers you a comprehensive and fuss-free experience of the Grand Canyon. Find out more about the best hikes in the Grand Canyon from Liz Thomas, professional hiker and guidebook author.
September through May
Phoenix AZ, is 3 hours from Flagstaff, where the adventure starts
4 or 5 days
Choose how you spend your days
4-Day Hiking and Backpacking Tour of the Hermit Trail
Explore the narrows, ruins, and spectacular mesas of the Grand Canyon on a four-day tour of the popular Hermit Trail. Traverse the Tonto plateau, explore whitewater sections of the Colorado River, discover ancient fossils, and spend nights in calm creek-side campsites with a knowledgeable guide.
5-Day Hiking and Backpacking Tour of the Hermit Trail
Four days in the South Rim aren’t enough for you? Explore the rims and valleys of the iconic Hermit Trail with an additional day hiking the Monument Creek trail to the Colorado River. Traverse schist narrows, spot bighorns, and fall asleep to the soothing sound of the rapids.
Day 1: Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden
Start your adventure with a 4.9-mile downhill hike to Indian Garden, a Havasupai spring site. Relax in the shade of the Cottonwood trees, dip your feet in Garden Creek’s ice-cold water, and enjoy a picnic lunch. Afterwards, reach a beautiful creekside camp where you’ll experience the total solitude of the Grand Canyon, as only one group is allowed there per night.
Hiking distance: 6.9 miles (11 km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Elevation gain/loss: -3,060 ft (932 m)
Day 2: Monument Creek
Get an early start and trek westward along the Tonto Plateau to Monument Creek. It’s a long trail, but relatively well-groomed and flat. You’ll encounter two massive drainages, Salt and Horn Creek, with awesome views of the Canyon, the inner gorge, and the Colorado River. Spend the night at Monument Creek, huddled in a cozy campsite beneath Redwall limestone cliffs.
Hiking distance: 8.9 miles (14.3 km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Elevation gain/loss: +800 ft (243 m)
Additional day (for the 5-day trip): Colorado River and the Granite Rapids
After a relaxing morning, break camp and hike down Monument Creek to the Colorado River and Granite Rapids. Traverse schist narrows and (possibly) meet the local bighorn sheep before accessing the Granite Rapids. Marvel at the thundering power of the Colorado River before setting up camp on the beach and enjoying a sunset dinner with views of the rapids.
Hiking distance: 1.5 miles (2.4 km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Elevation gain/loss: -1000 ft (304 m)
Day 3/4: Hermit Creek
Get up early, eat, pack up, and set out for the charming desert oasis of Hermit Creek. If you’ve got the time and energy, set up camp and embark on a day hike to Hermit Rapid, an awesome whitewater section of the Colorado River. After the hike, return to camp to enjoy a final backcountry dinner and celebrate your last sunset in the Canyon.
Hiking distance: 4-8 miles (6.4 – 12.8 km)
Meals: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner
Elevation gain/loss: 1,200-2,200 ft (365-670 m)
Day 4/5: End of the adventure
Trek to the junction of the Tonto and Hermit trails, before ascending out the Canyon along the Hermit Trail. Switchback through the immense Redwall and contour some shelves above Hermit Creek. Enjoy the increasingly impressive views before reaching some beautifully constructed and hand-fitted rock slabs. A shuttle out the South Rim marks the end of your adventure.
Hiking distance: 8 miles (12.8 km)
Meals: Breakfast and lunch
Elevation gain/loss: +3,400 ft (1,040 m)
Meet your guide
We just got home after completing the 4-day backpacking trip along the Grand Canyon’s Hermit Loop with Wildland Trekking. It was a once-in-a-lifetime, unforgettable experience. Thanks to detailed packing instructions on the Wildland website, and suggestions for training, we were well-prepared for our journey into the Grand Canyon. Our guide, Tolman, was very knowledgeable about the Canyon. He prepared amazing meals every night that went far beyond freeze-dried camping packets. He made sure we always had plenty of filtered water. He made sure everyone in the group felt included. We always felt very safe with Tolman, which allowed us to relax and enjoy this memorable journey. We highly recommend Wildland Trekking (and ask for Tolman if you can), and we will certainly be using them for future adventures!!
Trip of a lifetime! Grand Canyon is amazing and I will definitely be back. Tamara (our guide) was very organized and took good care of guest trekkers. It was my first time trekking and would recommend it to other folks who are ready to learn about trekking.
Had a great trip with our guide Magda. The small group made it possible for her to tailor the hikes to our level. The whole trip was challenging enough to feel great (though very tired) at the end without ever being overwhelmed.
I was looking for a Grand Canyon hike to do with my son. We chose to take the Hermit Loop. Our guide (Drew) was everything that we needed him to be. He was clear on what we needed for water each day and made sure we had it. He was informative about the terrain, geology, and history of the canyon along the hike. We learned so much on top of enjoying the beauty of the canyon. He was encouraging and checked in with each of us in the group regularly to make sure we were doing alright. Having the guide is super important if you don’t have experience. They really do keep you alive down there. I couldn’t be happier with Wildland Trekking and our experience. We would highly recommend them for anyone seeking a guided tour in the future. Thanks for a great week!
Absolutely top notch experience. Our guide (Tolman) was fantastic, knowledgeable and experienced while also easygoing (and a great camp cook). Planning / training / packing / gear information provided ahead of the trip was excellent and invaluable. I’d 100% travel with Wildland again.
Get complete checklist for hiking and camping equipment.
Things to know
Covid measures in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
57hours is committed to providing safe outdoor adventure experiences. We require all guides using our platform to have a COVID-19 safety plan and make the details of that plan accessible to travelers. In most cases, group sizes will be reduced, guides will avoid overcrowded locations, and other safety measures will be met depending on the location and activity.
We also expect clients to respect local regulations and take measures to protect themselves, their guides, and the communities they’re traveling to. For more information on COVID-19 measures in the Grand Canyon, refer to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s requirements for air travel to the US and Grand Canyon National Park public health update.
Please contact us if you have any questions or require further information. We are happy to provide you with the most up-to-date information!
What you get on this adventure:
- An experienced, certified hiking guide with extensive knowledge of the area
- Two, four or five days of hiking depending on your chosen itinerary
- Transportation from your accommodation to the trailhead and back
- Campsite accommodations
- All meals, from breakfast on day one to lunch on the last day
- Tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and multi-day backpack
- Use of trekking poles and crampons if needed
- All emergency equipment
- All national park fees and permits
What’s not included:
- Transportation to your pre-trip accommodation
- Accommodation before the trip
- Personal hiking clothes and gear
How fit do I need to be?
To participate in these adventures, strong fitness levels and some hiking experience are required. You will be hiking for 8-10 miles (13-16 km) a day for 4-5 days, with up to 3,400 ft (1,040 m) in daily elevation change. You will be hiking through moderately rugged terrain with moderate height exposure while carrying a 35-45 lb (15-20 kg) pack. You should also take into consideration that these tours may not be suitable for those with a fear of heights.
If you’re new to hiking, check out our beginner-friendly Grand Canyon tours.
What do I need to bring?
Here’s a list of the equipment you need to bring:
- Day pack large enough to carry all the items listed (around a 25-40L bag)
- Three water bottles (at least 1L capacity each)
- Sturdy hiking boots or shoes
- Wool or synthetic hiking socks — at least 3 pairs
- Hiking clothes
- Spare clothes for layering and 4-5 days of hiking
- Waterproof rain jacket
- Toiletries (hand sanitizer, bug spray, toilet paper, etc.)
- Sunscreen and lip balm
- Headlamp or flashlight
- Sleeping bag (can be provided by guide)
- Camera — optional (but recommended)
Dress comfortably and for the weather in clothes you can move in. We suggest bringing clothing appropriate for the season. Layers are best and don’t wear jeans.
What is the accommodation like?
You can expect top-notch 1-person, 2-person or 4-person backcountry tents. Anyone can be issued a single tent. Self-inflating sleeping pads and synthetic-fill sleeping bags are also provided.
Group sizes and age requirements
Group sizes and prices:
- For these adventures, the usual client-to-guide ratio is 5:1, with a maximum of 9 guests per tour.
- It takes at least 4 guests for a tour to operate.
- The cost does not decrease as the group grows.
Hiking in the Grand Canyon can be arranged for larger groups. Contact us to make arrangements.
Min. age requirements:
- If you are older than 18, you’re good to go.
- Minors younger than 18 but older than 12 may be permitted to join the tours on a case-by-case basis, but must be in the presence of a parent or legal guardian.
Deposits and cancellation policy
A $250 USD deposit to secure your place is due upon booking. The remaining amount is paid 2 months (60 days) prior to departure. Once the trip is confirmed by the guide, the cancellation policy stated below applies.
- If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to sixty (60) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking and within 10 days of making their reservation, Client is entitled to a full refund minus a $50 USD cancellation fee.
- If Client cancels the Booking anytime prior to sixty (60) calendar days in advance of the trip contemplated by the booking, but 10 days or more after making their first payment, Client is entitled to a full refund minus a $100 USD cancellation fee.
- For cancellations fifty-nine (59) to thirty (30) calendar days in advance, Client is entitled to a refund in the amount of fifty percent (50%) of the total trip cost.
- After that deadline, Client is not entitled to any refund. Any reimbursable expenses arising out of the Booking incurred by Guide prior to the date of cancellation (including but not limited to plane tickets, car rental payments, and lodging or transportation fees) are non-refundable as soon as they are incurred by the Guide.
Getting there and meeting location
To get to Flagstaff, AZ, most people fly into Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport which is 3 hours away. From there, you can rent a car or take a bus.
Once you and your guide agree on the details of your itinerary, your guide will suggest the best place to meet, which will usually be at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff, or somewhere in Flagstaff. You will meet your guide for an orientation meeting at 5:00 pm the evening before the trip.
Your guide recommends spending the night before the tour at the Little America Hotel. This is why they’ve prepared a 10-60% discount using this reservation page. The following morning, your guide will pick you up and take you to the trailhead (between 4 and 7 a.m.—depending on the weather and road conditions).