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Old 06-28-2012   #1
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 14
Hiking in to Hermit

I'll be meeting up with a trip at Hermit in about 2 weeks and I need some info on what to expect. How long might it take at a "moderate" pace? How much water did you carry? Night hike ok? Did you drive to the trailhead or take the shuttle? Anything you can share would be appreciated!

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Old 06-28-2012   #2
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,931
Water: as much as you can carry (at a minimum I would carry 4-6 qts). There is one spring house along the way if I remember but its within the first few miles. It can be unreliable in the summer. Water is at Hermit Creek but then you are only a mile from your group. Its gonna be bloody hot there.

Pace: Too many variables to guess. Have you hiked much off outside the corridor trails in GCNP? If not, plan on much longer for the 10 miles than you are used to. There is some minor route finding and several places the trail has been eroded by rock fall and debris. I find hiking down the canyon takes much longer than hiking up but that is because I don't like sprinting down such heavy elevation (hurts in the long run). I remember losing the trail every now and again in the upper stretch (first 1.5 miles) but that was winter. I made it from the TH to camp with 2 hours to spare for sunset but that was December. A guess on time: anywhere from 6-10 hours for the middle of summer like this.

Nighthike: I wouldn't if you haven't been on the trail before. If you go with someone who knows the trail it can be a way to reduce the effects of heat.

Shuttle/TH: You would need a backcountry permit to drive to the TH, it has a keycode. If you are meeting your group the first night then I would just take the shuttle and avoid the cost and permit issues.

Its a beautiful hike. Start as early as the first shuttle runs to avoid the heat. The "Cathedral Stairs" are a pleasant, old style of trail that is common in the GC. More of a route than trail. Tons of historical artifacts just above the junction with Hermit Creek. If I remember right they were trying to run a tram in that region.


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Old 06-29-2012   #3
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 14
Thanks Phillip. I'm looking into the back country permit.
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Old 06-29-2012   #4
cedar city, Utah
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,931
Enjoy your hike and river trip. That is going to be a wild first day on the river, Hermit and Crystal within the first few miles.

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Old 06-29-2012   #5
Beaverton, Oregon
Paddling Since: 2005
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 569
I have no idea of the place, but can you guys comment (for the benefit of the OP) on the merits of trying to knock out the first couple of miles before dawn? Is it an easy first couple of miles?
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Old 06-29-2012   #6
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 14
Hermit trail goes from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon down to a camp next to Hermit Rapid. It is about 10 miles down to the bottom. The Canyon is damn hot in July and I want to be down before the heat of the day sets in - ideally by 10am. I know it is common practice for hikers leaving Phantom Ranch to hit the trail by 4am as they head back up, but I wasn't sure if the nature of this trail made that a bad idea.
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Old 06-29-2012   #7
Avon, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1997
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 471
Not sure how old you are or shape you are in. About 15 years ago (mid 20s) i did it with a fully loaded pack (50 lbs), much faster than 2 miles/hr. We didn't mess around and were "moving". So probably about 3 hours (9 miles)
snow on the rim...100 plus at hermits (early May)
we got dropped by the shuttle
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Old 06-29-2012   #8
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Eastern Slope, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 2,404
Don't let them run Hermit without you. It's about as fun as rapids get. Have them wait for you at the top of the rapid.
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Old 07-25-2012   #9
Fort Collins, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1995
Join Date: May 2010
Posts: 14
Just returned and wanted to share about the hike for anyone else doing the same. Our group changed their plans and called us from Phantom the day before to let us know to hike into Granite instead of Hermit. The trail to both is the same until you hit the Tonto trail at mile 7.5 or so. To get to Hermit you hang a left while a right will take you to Granite.We set out at about 4:30am. The first 7.5 miles were a long descent with oodles of switchbacks. Steep and slowish, but not terribly difficult. From the Tonto trail where we headed the other way the trail to Hermit continues down for another mile and a half. If Hermit had been our destination it probably would have taken 4 hours. The trail to Granite was another 4.5 miles and much of it up, up, up. It was a tough trail and the hike in took about 6 hours - should have started earlier. All of us were pretty well exhausted by the time we got to camp, but a soak in the river improved my outlook on lifetremendously. The next day all 4 of us were hurting - we aged from 25 to 40 and ranged from fabulous to fair shape. Blisters abounded, calves knotted up and we hobbled around like folks 40 or 50 years our senior. Not pretty. I ended up with a blister under the toenail of my big toe that began pushing my toenail off. Awesome.After 2days we were feeling mostly back to normal and able to enjoy all that the canyon had to offer. If I hike in again my first choice would be Phantom - easy hike and more rapids. If not Phantom, then Hermit, but probably not Granite again.
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Old 07-26-2012   #10
Colo Springs, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1980
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 599
Thank you Kate. Hance is another popular place to walk down to the river (also known as Red Canyon). I don't know the details of the walk.

One year we had two people who had planned to be with us only until Phantom walk out at Hance, take care of some business, and then rejoin us at Phantom the next day for the rest of the trip.

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