Classic Grand Canyon Loop Hike
Fabulous introduction to Grand Canyon
Cascading natural springs
Wide, Well maintained trail
thunderous hermit rapids
set Away from bustle of corridor trails
26.5 mi/42 km
The Undergraduate geologist adventurer is capable of hiking 2-6 miles daily. Trails are generally maintained and have 1500 feet or less of change in elevation. Your backpack will weigh between 20-35 lbs. Undergraduate time traveling hikers must be healthy and relatively fit. Previous backpacking experience is a good idea, but not required.
Hike a classic route in Grand Canyon with all the scenery, adventure, geology, and none of the crowds
The Hermit Loop Backpacking tour, consisting of a lariat around The Hermit Trail to the Boucher Trail, is an epic trip for beginning canyoneers. The Grand Canyon will greet you in all its glory throughout this trip, with unique geologic features such as natural springs, outcrops of travertine, dramatic views of the Inner Gorge, and tremendous solitude with the feeling that you have the whole canyon to yourself. Lewis Boucher, “the Hermit of the Grand Canyon”, famously carved these two trails as part of his homestead and mining claims. The Santa Fe Railroad came through and made improvements to the Hermit Trail portion as a way to shuttle tourists into the Canyon, however, not much has changed on the Boucher Trail side, as it is as rugged and remote a trail as one will find on the South Rim. Adventurous canyoneers will absolutely love this trail, and beginning canyoneers will utterly appreciate the scenery, solitude, and epic granduer that is offered on this adventure.
Guests will need the ability to hike on and off trail in places that may have physical obstacles or barriers with aggressive elevation change for up to 15 miles per day, carrying up to 40 pounds of gear. In every case other than an emergency situation, hikes are one-way and are performed at a 2 to 3 mph pace with breaks.
A real back-packing trip, comfort is what you carry with you. There are no showers or electricity on the trail and restrooms are primitive. Backpackers can expect to sleep on a sleeping pad outdoors or in a small tent. Food consists of single-entrée meals, some food are freeze-dried or dehydrated with a few fresh food selections. Meals are prepared by your guide and served “group-style” out of pots and usually eaten out of personal meal-kits while sitting on the ground.2
The trail less traveled, with some side trips to more popular overlooks and areas. Hikers can look forward to ease of access and simplicity of entry at parking, destinations, meals and morel. If there are crowds, then they’re easily avoided. Overnighting locations combine the convenience of access with the feeling of true solitude in the mother nature.
The Hermit Loop Backpacking tour begins at the Hermit Trailhead, past Hermit’s Rest on the South Rim of Grand Canyon. After final preperations, we will begin our fantastic descent through the Kaibab Limestone, where we can observe movement along the Hermit Fault, tremendous fossils and ancient fossilized reptile tracks, and sweeping views into Hermit Canyon. We make our Supai traverse down into the canyon, as we observe the soaring and cavernous Redwall Limestone that bounds it. After a few switchbacks, we find ourselves at the mighty Colorado River, where you kick back and take it all in while your geologist/guide sets up camp and makes a delicious dinner.
Time in the car: 2.5 hours
Elevation & Distance: 8.7 miles, 5000 foot descent
Light Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Today’s adventure entails a frolick in the Colorado River, followed by epic side canyon exploration along the inner gorge. Bring your camera, and a thirst for adventure, this is a great day, made all that much better with the absence of your backpack!
Elevation & Distance: 4 miles, 160 foot descent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 3 will see us depart the river, and begin our journey to the rim via the Boucher Trail. This rugged challenge will drop your jaw so often with outrageous canyon scenery that you will nearly forget that you are hiking at times. Along the way we will run into old Louis Boucher’s abandoned cabin, which makes for an excellent lunch spot. After a few more miles, we will make camp in the Travertine Canyon area.
Elevation & Distance: 10 miles, 3000 foot ascent
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Our final day will cap off our epic adventure, as we traverse past Yuma point, Dripping Springs, across the Supai Group, and up toward Hermit’s Rest and the South Rim. Keep your eyes open for petroglyphs, fossils, old mining claims, and even some Puebloan ruins, remnants of a bygone era here at the Grand Canyon. After we come up topside, we will celebrate our Grand Adventure in the geologist’s tradition: with libations at a local watering hole before we head back to Flagstaff.
Elevation & Distance: 5 miles, 2500 foot ascent
*Final itineraries are occasionally subject to change due to permit/campsite availability, park restrictions/closures, weather conditions and/or road closures.
A professional, degreed, licensed and medically trained geologist/guide
All necessary gear: backpack, tent, sleeping bag, sleeping pad, trekking poles
All cooking/eating gear: bowls, cups, utensils (your geologist/guide will
prepare all trail meals)
All food, including a mix of fresh and pre-made backcountry meals
Roundtrip Transportation from your hotel in Moab to Dark Canyon and all activities/attractions
Entrance fees, camping fees, and backcountry permits
We provide all your meals from a light breakfast on day 1 through lunch the last day. Your geologist/guide will prepare a variety of meals on the trail that will fit the day’s activity. Feel free to tell us about your food preferences, as we’re more than happy to tailor the menu to your needs/desires. Some specialty diets may require an additional fee.
All meals will consist of one entree, prepared by your geologist/guide. Fresh options will be limited, as backpacking typically requires lightweight, non-perishable foods. There will be trail snacks that consist of nuts, fruits, chocolate, and other “gorp” style mixes.
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.
Whats Not Included:
Transportation to/from Escalante, Utah
Lodging the night before/after the trip
Clothing, raingear, and footwear
Personal toiletries, sunscreen
Water bottles/hydration bladder
Headlamp or flashlight
Guide gratuity (suggested 10-15% of trip cost)
*Upon booking you will receive a detailed trip information packet
How many people are in the group?
Most backpacking trips in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument will accommodate 6 people plus one geologist/guide. On occasion, a group may be as large as 10 people plus 2 guides.
Are there age restrictions?
Children under 12 are generally not permitted on any of Blue Marble’s scheduled trips. This can be negotiable on private tours, please contact us to discuss this policy
How do I sign up?
In order to confirm a reservation, we require an initial deposit of %50 of trip cost per person, with the final balance due 90 days prior to the trip’s departure. If you book a trip within 90 days of the trip’s scheduled departure, then full payment is due at the time of booking. Your deposit is payable through our online booking platform or over the phone by Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, or Discover. Checks by mail are fine as well, as are bank transfers ($35 transfer fee).
Where does the trip begin & end?
This trip will begin/end in Flagstaff, Arizona and you will need to spend the night prior to your trip’s scheduled departure in Flagstaff. You will want to fly into Flagstaff or Phoenix. Please visit our travel information page for information on airports, shuttles/rental cars and recommended hotels.
Where do you meet our guides?
We will hold a pre-trip orientation at 4:30pm the evening prior to your trip’s departure at the host hotel. Departure times and logistics for the following morning will be discussed at the orientation. Most trips will depart between 6am and 8am.
*This meeting is not mandatory, but highly recommended, as we will depart early the next morning. If you are unable to attend, please let us know in advance so that we can make alternate arrangements.
What do we do with our car and extra stuff?
We will provide all transportation to/from trailheads for the duration of the trip. We will pick you up at the host hotel and return you there at the trip’s conclusion. Guests staying at the host hotel can leave their cars at the hotel. These hotels will often store your luggage for you, as well. If not, we are happy to store extra luggage at a secure location for the duration of the trip. If you are staying at a different hotel, you will need to check with them as to whether you can leave your car there
What time will we get back on the last day?
Expect to be back at the host hotel by 6pm on the last day of the trip. Some trips will return earlier but we cannot make any guarantees. In general, it is recommended that you do not plan to fly home on the same day your trip finishes. Since each trip has slightly different logistics, feel free to contact us with specific questions related to the expected return time for your trip.
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