Bright Angel / Hermit Trail 4 Day
Level 4: Immersive Backcountry - Appropriate for adult athletes and backpackers with substantial experience and endurance. Level 4 trips will involve longer daily mileages and deeper travel into Grand Canyon’s backcountry. These longer distances will be traveled on unmaintained trails, which creates a more “intense” overall experience, with a high demand for physical and mental resolve.X
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Total Distance with loaded backpack: 24.8 miles (39.9 km). Elevation loss / gain: -4,530’ / +4,310’ (-1,382 m / +1,314 m)
Day 1: Grand Canyon Village to Horn Creek campsite, via Bright Angel and Tonto trails. 7.3 miles (11.7 km), -3,310’ (-1,009 m), Strenuous. Backpackers begin their trip with a drive from Flagstaff to Grand Canyon Village and the trailhead. The Bright Angel trail engages hikers immediately with ancient pictographs, stunning geology, and outstanding views. Lunch can be enjoyed at Indian Garden after the first 4.8 miles (7.7km) are complete. From Indian Garden, backpackers will head west on the Tonto trail for another 2.5 miles (4.0km) to the very quiet Horn Creek. In the evening, expect an amazing dinner and a mesmerizing night sky. En route: potable tap water (seasonal) and enclosed composting toilets available at Mile-and-a-Half Resthouse and Three Mile Resthouse; year-round potable tap water and enclosed composting toilets available at Indian Garden. At camp: no water available; composting toilet available.
Day 2: Horn Creek campsite to Monument Creek campsite, via Tonto trail. 8.2 miles (13.2 km), -555’ (-169 m), Difficult. After breakfast in camp, backpackers will pack up and continue west. This section of Tonto trail is a phenomenal hike on the Tonto Platform with overwhelming inner Canyon views throughout. En route: water available at Salt Creek (intermittent) and Cedar Spring (intermittent), but must be filtered or treated before drinking; composting toilet available at Salt Creek. At camp: water available in Monument Creek, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; composting toilets available.
Day 3: Monument Creek campsite to Granite Rapid, Colorado River, via Monument route. One way: 1.6 miles (2.6 km), -665’ (-203 m), Moderate. After a leisurely breakfast, guests will want to explore the beautiful sculpted metamorphic stone downstream from camp, and continue on the short hike to the mighty Colorado River. Once at the River, there is plenty of time to relax on the beach, enjoy lunch, and watch the surging and swirling whitewater of Granite Rapid. Back at camp for the evening, expect another delicious dinner and more starry skies. En route: water available in Monument Creek, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; no toilets available.
Day 4: Monument Creek campsite to Hermit’s Rest, via Tonto and Hermit trails. 9.3 miles (15 km), +3,645’ (+1,111 m), Very Difficult. After an early breakfast, backpackers start with the 2.3 miles (3.7km) of Tonto to the Hermit Trail junction. From this point, it is a steady, uphill hike to Hermit’s Rest on the South Rim, passing the Cathedral Stairs, Supai traverse, and Coconino switchbacks. At the top, our backpacking groups relax near the trailhead and savor their accomplishments over a sandwich and cold refreshment. En route: water available at Santa Maria Spring, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; no toilets available.