Boucher-Hermit Loop

 
This great loop hike starts from Hermits Rest at the end of the Hermit Road. Use the free Hermit Shuttle to reach the trailhead, except during winter when the shuttle is not running. (There is trailhead parking down a short gravel road beyond the main parking lot.) This loop makes a nice three day trip, though you could easily expand it to four or five days.
 
Follow the Hermit Trail down through impressive construction in the Coconino Sandstone past the junction with the Waldron Trail. At the second junction, turn left onto the Dripping Spring Trail, and follow this trail across the top of the Supai Group cliffs at the head of Hermit Canyon to the Boucher Trail. Turn right, and follow the Boucher Trail along the top of the Supai, down into the head of White Creek, through the saddle next to White Butte, and eventually down to the Tonto Trail. Take the Tonto Trail a short distance west into Boucher Creek. The ruins of the Hermit's (Louis Boucher) mine and cabin are still present near the creek, which has permanent water- if not at the trail crossing, then a short distance downstream. The cross-country hike down Boucher Creek to the river is easy, and only takes a few hours round-trip.
 
The hike continues east on the Tonto Trail, which winds around Travertine Canyon before reaching Hermit Creek and its permanent water. Here, you can hike cross-country down Hermit Creek to the Colorado River to catch a view of the huge waves of Hermit Rapid, and also spend some time exploring the remains of Hermit Camp. This tourist camp was the main resort below the rim until the opening of Phantom Ranch on the Kaibab Trail. It was supplied by a 4,000-foot aerial tramway from Pima Point on the South Rim.
 
Hike east on the Tonto Trail to reach the junction with the Hermit Trail, your trail out of the Canyon. After a long climb up the Tonto slopes, a tight series of switchbacks ascend the Redwall Limestone at Cathedral Stairs. The Hermit Trail then climbs across the Supai Group slopes, switchbacking up through breaks in the cliff bands, and eventually reaches the old rest house and watering trough at Santa Maria Spring (the spring is seasonal and not reliable.) After climbing through the Esplanade Sandstone at the top of the Supai Group, the Hermit Trail passes the junctions with the Dripping Spring and Waldron trails, and continues to the rim at Hermits Rest.