Hermit to Monument Creek
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: 18.6 miles (30 km). Elevation loss / gain: -4,310’ / +4,310’ (-1,314 m / +1,314 m)
Day 1: Hermit’s Rest to Monument Creek campsite, via Hermit and Tonto trails. 9.3 miles (15 km), -3,645’ (-1,111 m), Very Difficult. Backpackers begin their trip with a drive from Flagstaff to Hermit's Rest on the South Rim. The first 7 miles (11.3km) of the hike down the Hermit Trail are full of steep descents, rugged traverses, and ever-expanding views on the way to the Tonto trail junction. From here, backpackers turn east and travel an additional 2.3 miles (3.7km) into Monument Creek, past the towering stone spire from which the drainage gets its name. Lunch will be served along the trail. Arriving at Monument camp, hikers can enjoy a well-deserved rest, an excellent dinner, and incredible night skies. En route: water available in Santa Maria Spring, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; no toilets available. At camp: water available in Monument Creek, but must be filtered or treated before drinking, composting toilets available.
Day 2: 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 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 amazing dinner and more starry skies. En route: water available in Monument Creek, but must be filtered or treated before drinking; no toilets available.
Day 3: 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 retrace the 2.3 miles (3.7km) back to the Hermit Trail. From this point, it is a steady, uphill hike back to the trailhead, passing the already-familiar Cathedral Stairs, Supai traverse, and Coconino switchbacks. At the top, our 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.