Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs

Hike Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs

In This Guide
  • Turn-by-Turn Hike Directions & Video
  • What to Expect on the Hermit Trail Hike to Dripping Springs
  • Tips on Weather, Parking, and Planning for the Hike
Distance6.8 miles (10.9 km)
Hike Time4-5 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Hard
Total Ascent (?)2,600 feet (792m)
Highest Elevation6,640 feet (2024m)
Fees & PermitsNational Park Entry Fee
Dog FriendlyNo
Park Website (?)Grand Canyon National Park
Park Phone928-638-7888
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Located far away from the South Rim crowds, this hike on the Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs is one of the great Grand Canyon hiking adventures. The Hermit Trail is an engineering marvel, once paved with sandstone slabs when it was built in 1911 for tourists.  At the end of the hike you reach a unique hanging garden spring, tucked into a remote corner of the Canyon. It’s not a very long hike but it’s challenging, with steep climbs and narrow sections.

Don’t forget to check out my Grand Canyon hiking tips here!

How To Get to the Trailhead

The hike starts on the western end of the South Rim area of the Grand Canyon at Hermit’s Rest. In the winter you can drive right to the trailhead, but in the other times of the year Hermit Road is closed to private vehicles, so you need to take a shuttle bus.

Shuttle Bus Parking

Except for the winter months when Hermit Road is open to private vehicles, you have to take a Hermit Road Shuttle Bus to the start of the hike at Hermit’s Rest. You can get the Hermit Road shuttle at the Village Route Transfer station, where the blue Village Route intersects the red Hermit Road route. In the winter you can drive right to the Hermit’s Rest area.

If you’re driving to the shuttle bus, navigate to the Bright Angel area and then find a spot just past (to the west) of the lodges. There’s parking on the street and in the lot by the Bright Angel Trailhead. You can park anywhere that you don’t see a no-parking sign or staff parking sign. The parking lots are shared with visitors staying in accommodations such as Bright Angel Lodge.

Use this navigation address to park near the shuttle bus:
Bright Angel Lodge, 9 Village Loop Drive, Grand Canyon Village, AZ 86023

Rim Trail Village Transfer Parking
Once you past the Bright Angel Lodge (on the right), you can park in any of these lots or street-side parking spots.
Farther Parking Bright Angel Trail
If you do need to park farther out, here are your options, all within a short walk to the trailhead.

The blue Village Shuttle Bus is a good option to get to the trailhead if you’re parked or staying somewhere else in the park. The bus runs year-round.

Trailhead From Hermit’s Rest Bus Stop

Once you get to the shuttle stop at Hermit’s Rest, walk along the right to reach the actual Hermit’s Rest building.

Hermit Rest Hike Start

Hermit Rest Bathrooms
There are bathrooms and a water fill by the bus stop.
Hermit Rest Hearth
The Hermit’s Rest building is pretty cool inside and worth a look. It houses another gift shop and a small snack bar.

Gear for the Hike

Even though this isn’t a long hike, it’s still a challenging one with some narrow and steep trails. You can get away with fitness clothing, but I recommend proper hiking gear. Trekking poles will be helpful on some of the narrow sections. And even though Dripping Spring generally drips all year, it is just a drip, so it’s easier to take 3L of water with you. The water at Dripping Springs also needs to be treated, so bring a water filter if you plan on refilling there.

As is the case will all hikes in the Grand Canyon, conditions can be extreme. In the summer, it can be incredibly hot, and in the winter, the trail can be covered with snow and ice, so prepare accordingly.

FYI >>REI 50% Clearance Sale on now

La Sportiva Spire

I try a lot of hiking boots and shoes, and there are some great options out there, but the La Sportiva Spire is the best combination of comfort, protection, low-weight, and durability. They are waterproof, and the high cuff keeps debris out without the need for a gaiter. Time tested over thousands of miles. Use them with a two-layer sock system to end blisters for good.
Reviews & Lowest Prices: WomenMen

Osprey Talon

On a medium or longer hike I recommend a pack like the Osprey Talon 33 (men) or Osprey Sirrus 36 (women) which is a little bit larger. These packs are on the upper end of the (35L) daypack range, but they only weigh a small fraction more than a pack with less capacity. Having the extra space gives you more flexibility and means you don’t have to jam things in there. I use the space for things like extra layers in the winter, extra water on desert hikes, and even a tent & sleeping bag on overnights.

Garmin Inreach Mini Beacon

If you’re not familiar with the Garmin InReach technology, it allows you to send and receive text messages where you don’t have cell phone signals. You can also get weather reports and trigger an SOS to emergency responders. Even if you don’t have an emergency, sending a quick message telling a loved one that you’re okay or are running late is well worth the cost. The Mini fits in your palm and weighs next to nothing. Read my review and see the lowest prices and reviews at REI (or Amazon).

Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated January 2020.See All of My Best Gear Picks Here

No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps offset website expenses. There is no cost to you.

Hermit Trail Maps

Overall the trail is in great shape, but there is one section between the start of Dripping Springs Trail and the Boucher Trail that has narrow sections and has steep drop-offs. I’ve done this trail many times and I can confirm that it’s easy to traverse, but I’ve also seen people turn around when they get to it. I’ll show you some images in the turn by turn directions below. Having trekking poles will help fortify your footing here.

Click To View Map

Hike Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs Map Downloads

Download the Hike GPX File

View a Printable PDF Hike Map

Fenix 6 Pro

I’m a big fan of GPS watches to follow my GPX track (which I also use as a sleep, wellness, and fitness tracker) and my current watch is the Fenix 6 Pro Solar (full review here). I load my GPX tracks onto the watch to make sure I’m in the right place, and if not, the onboard topo maps allow me to navigate on the fly. It’s pricey but it has a great battery, accurate GPS, and tons of functionality. If you want something similar without the maps and big price tag, check out the Garmin Instinct which is a great buy (prices on REI and Amazon) and does a lot of the same things.

Hike Landmarks

LandmarkDistanceElevation
Hermit’s Rest Building06640
Trailhead0.26640
Waldron Trail1.55400
Dripping Spring Trail Start1.85270
Boucher Trail Junction2.85270
Dripping Spring3.45600

Elevation Profile

Dripping Springs Hike 3d Map Elevation
The main climb in and out is from the start down into Waldron Basin, but then you have a small climb back up to Dripping Springs. The portion of the trail between the bottom of the climb and Dripping Springs also has many ups and downs. It’s hard to just cruise.

3D Map

Dripping Springs Hike 3d Map
After dropping down into the Waldron Creek Basin, you’ll skirt the canyon walls to reach the remote Dripping Springs.

Hike Brief

Horse On Hermit Trail
On the right you can see the Hermit Trail in this photo from 1913. It’s still that steep. Photo Grand Canyon NP

Hermit Trail to Dripping Springs Hike Directions

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Video Directions

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Turn-by-Turn Directions

Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 2
Continue through the patio area of the Hermit’s Rest building.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 3
Keep heading on the path straight through the back of the Hermit’s Rest area.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 4
Eventually you’ll see the trailhead in the distance.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 5
The trail board marks the official start of the trail.
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The beginning of the trail is a gradual path down.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 8
But it soon gets steeper and rougher. You can see remnants of the old cobbles here that date back to 1911.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 9
Keep hiking downhill. You’ll enjoy some views into the western section of the Grand Canyon and down to the Hermit Basin below. This shot gives you an idea of how steep it is.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 10
There’s a section in the middle of the descent that mellows out.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 11
And soon enough you’ll be going down the steep cobbles again. In this shot you can see an example of a slab that used to cover all of the cobbles. It must have been like a sidewalk when all the slabs covered the trail.
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There are some more great examples of the slabs on the lower slopes.
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Almost to the bottom! The trail building here is almost as spectacular as the natural beauty.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 14
When you reach the bottom the trail has some ups and downs and is still easy to follow.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 15
Go straight at the Waldron Trail junction. The Waldron Trail climbs out of the canyon to the south and joins a dirt road.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 16
Continue on the ups and downs of the trail. It looks flat on a map but is slower going than you’d think.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 17
At this intersection you’ll leave the Hermit Trail behind and continue to the left on the Dripping Springs Trail.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 18
Okay, this is the part of the hike that some people have a problem with. You’re going to be hiking around the cliff wall.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 19
In most places the trail is a decent distance away from the edge. The views here are pretty incredible.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 20
Here’s a portion along the edge. There are a few trees below, and after that, about 1000 feet of drop.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 21
This is the worst section in my opinion. The trail is loose and there’s a drop on the side. Trekking poles and a slow, focused pace will get you through fine though. If there’s snow and ice here, I’d turn around.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 22
Toward the end, the trail is wider and not as sketchy. This section has great views down into Hermit Basin.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 23
Once you are past the edge section the trail becomes more “normal” again.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 25
And shortly after that you keep left toward Dripping Springs.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 26
The trail is easy to follow and gently climbs up.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 27
Be careful at this little switchback.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 28
Dripping Springs is ahead in the corner of the cliffs.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 29
And here you are, Dripping Springs. The area is shady and has some rocks where you can sit down for a rest. Dripping Springs is known as a hanging spring.
Hike Hermit Trail To Dripping Springs 1
After that, you just head back the way you came. Like all hikes into the Grand Canyon, the tough part is at the end.

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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