The Grand Canyon’s Hermit Trail Slated for Restoration

Though it boasts spectacular views of waterfalls, wildflowers and, of course, the canyon itself, Hermit Trail has been restricted to experienced backpackers for many years. Trail erosion, neglect and feral burros have taken their toll on this 10-mile rim to river trail. Originally established and maintained by ancestral Puebloans, the trail was commercially developed in 1911 by the Sant Fe Railroad to service Hermit Camp, a luxury campground that included a Fred Harvey chef. Operations ceased in 1930 when the National Park Service requested that the company focus on the more centralized Phantom Ranch.

 

Landslides, overgrown vegetation and stretches of trail that have been almost completely washed away have prevented all but the most experienced hikers and backpackers from enjoying this trail. This is all about to change as the Grand Canyon Association (GCA) has prioritized Hermit Trail for their fund-raising efforts in 2017. Every  donation made to the GCA from now throughout 2017 that is specifically designated for trail restoration will go toward the Hermit Trail.

 

The trail drops over 4,000 feet from the canyon rim trailhead to Hermit Falls at the Colorado River. The first 2.5 miles of the trail cover almost half of this elevation. The switchbacks are intense but allow you to get an up-close look at the distinctive layers of the Grand Canyon. Fossils abound in the Kaibab Limestone and the Toroweap Formation and fossilized invertebrate tracks can be seen in the Coconino Sandstone.

 

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