Photo: Matti Bernitz Pedersen

Premier Grand Canyon Hiking Company

Wildland Trekking Phone Number

Hermit Loop

Highlights

  • Voted the Guides Choice trip in the Grand Canyon
  • Descend the famous Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden
  • Traverse a remote and breathtaking section of the Tonto Plateau
  • Soak up 360° kaleidoscope views of the Canyon
  • Hike narrow side canyons to rapids on the Colorado River
  • Visit the ruins of the historic Hermit Camp
  • Enjoy the peace and quiet of remote hiking and camping


Description

This deservedly very popular, point-to-point Grand Canyon hike off the South Rim is excellent for guests looking for a more remote, diverse and absolutely stunning tour of the Canyon. It features fantastic views, historic ruins, a canyon narrows section, and time at one (on the 4-day itinerary) or two (on the 5-day itinerary) of the more spectacular and more photographed rapids on the Colorado River. This is probably the most scenic hike in the Grand Canyon and offers tremendous natural and cultural diversity.

The first day takes us down the famous Bright Angel Trail past Indian Garden. We'll take a side trip out to Plateau Point, one of the most scenic viewpoints in all of Grand Canyon, before hiking to our first camp. From here we'll hike west across the Tonto Trail, paralleling the Colorado River a thousand feet above it. The breathtaking views on this trip are punctuated by side hikes down narrow canyons to two impressive rapids on the river. We'll enjoy majestic creek-side camps, desert wildlife-viewing opportunities, ancient fossils, and some of the best hiking the Grand Canyon has to offer!

Please note: Due to Grand Canyon's permit system, it's beneficial to register 5 months or more in advance, and you'll receive a 5% discount for doing so. Click here to read more about permits.


 

Photos of this Trip

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Shuttle to the South Rim: 1.5-hour drive from Flagstaff
Hiking Mileage: 6.9 miles (+ optional 2-mile side hike to Plateau Point)
Elevation Loss: 3,060 feet


This memorable Grand Canyon backpacking tour begins with a 4.9-mile downhill hike on the Bright Angel Trail to Indian Garden, a Havasupai spring site that watered seasonal garden plots for centuries. At Indian Garden we'll relax in the shade of the Cottonwood trees, dip our feet in the ice cold spring water of Garden Creek, and enjoy a peaceful picnic lunch. If time and conditions allow, we'll add a side hike to Plateau Point - one of the most stunning views in all of Grand Canyon - before continuing to our first night's camp at Horn Creek. Horn Creek is a beautiful creek-side camp with wonderful solitude, where we're guaranteed to be the only group since only one group is allowed per night.


Day 2

Hiking Mileage: 8.9 miles
Elevation Gain: 800 feet


We’ll get an early start and begin our westward trek along the Tonto Plateau to Monument Creek. This is a long hike of almost 9 miles, but most of the route is on a well-groomed, relatively flat trail. Our hike takes us around the head of two large drainages: Salt and Horn Creek, and offers an abundance of classic, expansive views of the Grand Canyon, inner gorge, and Colorado River. Our destination for the night is Monument Creek, a cozy camp nestled beneath towering Redwall Limestone cliffs next to a trickling, spring-fed creek.


Day 3 (on 5-day itinerary only)

Day Hike Hiking Mileage: 3 miles
Day Hike Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,000 feet


This is a layover day (if a 5 day trip) to sleep in, relax, read, bathe, hike and explore, or do nothing at all. For the willing, we’ll hike down Monument Creek to the Colorado River and Granite Rapids. This is a great day hike, and we often see bighorn sheep as a small population inhabits the area. At our leisure, we’ll eventually hike back to camp to enjoy a quiet evening.


Day 4

Hiking Mileage: 3.5 miles (plus an optional 3-mile day hike)
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,200 feet (includes day hiking)


We’ll get up reasonably early, eat and pack up. We'll hike west past the fascinating Hermit Resort ruins, which were constructed by the Santa Fe Railroad Company in the early 1900's, to our camp on Hermit Creek. We’ll set up camp and have lunch, then hike approximately 1.5 miles one-way to Hermit Rapids, where we’ll take a few hours to explore this breathtaking section of the Colorado River. If we're lucky we'll get to watch a rafting party brave these impressive rapids! We'll return to camp and enjoy a tasty dinner beneath one of the clearest night skies you've ever seen before turning in for the night.


Day 5

Hiking Mileage: 8 miles
Elevation Gain: 3400 feet
Shuttle to Flagstaff: 1.5 hours


The first mile of hiking takes us back past the Hermit Resort ruins on the Tonto Trail to the junction with the Hermit Trail. At the junction we begin our ascent out of the Grand Canyon on the Hermit Trail. We'll switchback throught the immense Redwall, then contour a series of shelves high above Hermit Creek. This section of hiking features increasingly stunning views of the Grand Canyon behind us. The last bit of hiking is on beautifully constructed, hand-fitted rock slabs - a true work of masonry art - and takes us past 250+ million year old footprint fossils that are some of the best in the Canyon. Once we reach the South Rim, we'll shuttle back to the South Rim Village where our shuttle awaits us.


Please Note: We always do everything in our power to follow the set itinerary, however it can change occasionally based on temporary park restrictions, campsite availability, weather, road closures, guest ability/injury, and natural events like fires and flooding.

Trip Details

What's Included

  • Top-of-the-line tent, sleeping pad, sleeping bag, and technical backpack
  • Use of trekking poles and Microspike Crampons if necessary
  • All meals are included from breakfast the first day through lunch on the last day
  • A professional, knowledgeable, certified Grand Canyon hiking guide
  • Roundtrip transportation from your hotel in Flagstaff, Arizona to the Grand Canyon and back
  • Entrance fees and national park permits
  • Emergency equipment including a company-issued first-aid kit and satellite phone
  • You will receive a Lifetime Hiking Membership entitling you, your spouse and kids to a lifetime discount of 10% off any Wildland Trekking hiking trip after your first one!

What's Not Included

  • Clothes, raingear, and footwear
  • Sunscreen, toiletries and personal items
  • Waterbottles and a headlamp or flashlight
  • Guide gratuity (industry recommendation is 10-20% of trip cost)
See the Packing Lists page for more information.


Meals: What To Expect

All of our hiking and backpacking tours include a diversity of tasty meals packed full of critical carbohydrates, proteins and fats. We carry foods that travel well in the backcountry – rice, pastas, lentils, beans, couscous, packaged meats, nuts, breads, oatmeal, granola, and more.

For optimal taste and energy, we supplement all our meals with spices, herbs, oils, cheeses, butter, sugar, and fruits and vegetables (fresh and dried). In addition, we provide you with with an assortment of trail mix, snacks, and dried fruits to eat at your own discretion.

We regularly accommodate vegan, vegetarian, kosher and non-gluten diets and will make adjustments for food allergies. These and other special dietary requests may require an additional fee.


Gear We Provide

We provide all group gear which includes the following:
  • Deuter or Osprey backpacks
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty or Big Agnes tents
  • Sierra Designs, Kelty, Big Agnes and Mountain Hardware sleeping bags
  • Thermarest or Big Agnes sleeping pads
  • Leki or Black Diamond trekking poles
  • Cooking stoves and cookware
  • Company-issued first-aid kit
  • Satellite phone


What Gear To Bring

We ask that you supply a couple of gear items on your hiking tour. These items are three 1-liter water bottles per person and either a headlamp or flashlight per person. Basic items like sunscreen, bug repellent (where and when applicable), lip balm, and toiletries are also important. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.


What Clothes to Bring

Please refer to the trip packet for a recommended clothing list (we email you a detailed trip packet when you inquire and when you register). All trips require a sturdy pair of hiking shoes or hiking boots (reliable brands include Montrail, Lowa, Merrell, Vasque, and Salomon), rain gear, and non-cotton and cotton clothing layers. A minimum of three pairs of wool or synthetic hiking socks are also required. All of these items are available online at Wildland Trekking Outfitters.

NOTE: See the Packing Lists page for more detailed information on what clothes and gear to bring on your hiking tour. The trip packet you receive when you contact us will have the most accurate clothing and gear list for the tour you're interested in.

Trip Logistics

How do I Register?

Ready to hike? Simply click here and complete the form to get the ball rolling. Our adventure consultants will confirm availability, and if you're ready to register we'll email you a link to a registration profile. You'll have 48 hours to complete your profile (and that of any dependents) and pay the deposit ($500).

Feel free to call us for more info - we're here 7 days a week!


Where Do We Meet?

Unless we tell you otherwise, you will meet your guide and group at the Little America Hotel in Flagstaff (use this reservation page for a 10-60% discount at Little America) for an orientation meeting at 5:00 PM the evening before the trip begins. We're happy to give you a ride to this meeting if you're not staying at Little America, but staying at one of our other recommended hotels. Your guide will then pick you up at your hotel the next morning for transport to the trailhead. For Private Grand Canyon Tours your guide will meet you at your hotel in Flagstaff at an agreed upon time.

Check out our Travel Resources page for information on flights, shuttles, lodging and more.


Start/End Times

Your guide will inform you of the first day's pick-up time at the orientation meeting. Generally, you can expect it to be between 4 and 7 am, although the exact time will depend on current weather and road conditions. We will drop you off at your hotel on the final day normally before 5 PM (this time is not guaranteed, as a variety of circumstances can influence our exact return time).


Safety Considerations

Your safety is our top priority. Our hiking tours are led by professional hiking guides, all of whom are wilderness-certified first responders or EMT's, each with years of guiding and wilderness experience. We've developed comprehensive risk management protocols that our guides adhere to in case of an emergency, and most tours carry a satellite phone. If you have any further questions about safety, please contact us at 1-800-715-HIKE (4453) for more information.


Guides

Your tour will be led by a trained, experienced professional with a solid guiding background, years of personal wilderness and hiking experience, medical certifications, and a passion for leading people into breathtaking landscapes. Check out our Meet Our Team page for staff bios.


Group Size and Age Restrictions

The standard group size on Grand Canyon backpacking trips is 5 guests and 1 guide, with a maximum of 9 guests and 2 guides. If you have more questions about group size, please give us a call at 800-715-HIKE (4453) and we'll answer all your questions.

Age restrictions are as follows:
  • 12 and older to join scheduled tours (mixed groups)
  • 10 and older to join private tours, with final approval on a case by case basis
  • specific logistical requirements (such as porter or stock assist) determined on a case by case basis


Weather in the Grand Canyon

The weather in the Grand Canyon varies tremendously from the rim to the canyon floor, with as much as a 30 degree Fahrenheit difference. For this reason, the Canyon is truly a year-round hiking destination. To be fully prepared, please follow the recommended clothing list closely (this list comes as part of your trip packet when you register). Read below for average high and low temperatures at the South Rim and the Canyon bottom:

Average Temperatures (Fahrenheit)
         
 
Month
South Rim
Canyon Bottom
 
 
hi
low
hi
low
 
 
Dec-Feb
41°
18°
60°
38°
 
 
March
51°
25°
71°
48°
 
 
April
60°
32°
82°
56°
 
 
May
70°
39°
92°
63°
 
 
Jun-Aug
82°
53°
108°
75°
 
 
September
76°
47°
97°
69°
 
 
October
65°
36°
84°
58°
 
 
November
52°
27°
68°
46°