Tuesday, October 15, 2019
Hermit’s Rest is at the end of the seven mile Hermit Road, a road that is closed to private vehicles most of the year.
The entrance is on the rim side of the building.
The covered patio area protecting the entrance from weather is literally on the edge of a serious cliff.
The Hermit’s Rest building was designed by Mary Colter and paid for by the Fred Harvey Company in 1913.
Many of the Mary Colter designed building in the Grand Canyon have amazing fireplaces. The Hermit’s Rest fireplace is a perfect example of unique and beautiful Colter fireplaces. The building and fireplace look like they were grown by magic out of native rock right where they stand.
Sandwiches, refreshments and snacks are served inside the building. The gift shop carried the usual Grand Canyon Conservancy items. The beautiful building with large windows looking out over the canyon made everything being sold somehow more special.
From March through November, Hermit Road access is only by bicycle, National Park Service Shuttle Buses or licensed tour (e.g. Pink Jeep Tours). The National Park Service Shuttle Buses are free to park visitors. Red Route shuttle buses leave from Village Route Transfer bus stop and follow Hermit Route out to Hermit’s Rest, making stops at points along the way.
The maps shown here are from the Grand Canyon Pocket Map South Rim Services Guide and paper copies are available to visitors at park entrances and in visitor centers located throughout the park.
Finding parking spots near “Village Route Transfer,” the bus stop where visitors catch buses to Hermit’s Rest, is difficult. The day we rode the bus out to Hermit’s Rest, the parking lot in front of Bright Angel Lodge was full. We followed the Blue Route path south on Village Loop Drive toward Maswik Lodge. The street parking between the railroad tracks and Maswik lodge were all taken. We pulled into a public parking lot just before Maswik Lodge. The walk from the Maswik Lodge parking lot to “Village Route Transfer” where we would catch our bus only took fifteen minutes.
Had we continued on toward the Backcountry Information Center, we would have found a larger public parking lot.
Subsequent trips through the Village area taught us parking is always a problem. We did get lucky a few times and were able to park near Bright Angel Lodge and El Tovar Hotel.
As indicated on the Hermit Road Map, the only restrooms are vault toilets located at Hopi Point and Hermit’s Rest.
Westbound buses (from “Village Route Transfer” to “Hermit’s Rest”) stop at every stop. Eastbound buses (from “Hermit’s Rest” to “Village Route Transfer”) only stop at a few locations as shown in the figure below.
At each stop, a westbound bus will stop every 15 minutes during peak hours. Each bus stop has an overlook with amazing canyon views. A rider can get off a bus, check out some amazing views for 15 minutes and be back on another bus to their next bus stop. A hop-on, hop-off bus system.
Trailview Overlook is the first bus stop going west. This is the best overlook to see views of Bright Angel Trail and the Village area.
Each overlook is different. To get to Trailview Overlook, visitors descend down a set of stairs.
A viewing platform is at the bottom of the stairway.
From the overlook, there are excellent views of Bright Angel Trail and the Village area.
In the above picture, taken around 8:00 AM, mules are taking a group of visitors to the Grand Canyon floor on Bright Angel Trail. Hikers can be seen returning to the trailhead. Other hikers are headed down into the canyon. Seeing the trail from Trailview Overlook makes an impression. Bright Angel Trail leads down to the Colorado River, roughly a mile lower in elevation than the canyon rim. Quite a drop! Places where the trail tentatively clings to cliffs were visible. From this vantage point, the trail looked positively scary.
El Tovar, located near the far end of the Village, can be seen from Trailview Overlook. El Tovar is a historic and posh hotel built in 1905 and recently renovated/restored. Behind and slightly to the left, Hopi House and Verkamp’s Visitor Center are visible as well.
Since I had wanted to get dramatic canyon pictures and Linda didn’t want to stop at every single stop and wait while I took pictures, I had to chose a few stops. Hopi Point fit the bill as a good stop to take pictures from.
Toilets are only available at Hopi Point and Hermit’s Rest. At Hopi Point, the vault toilets were being pumped out while we were there. During the clean-out process, extremely foul sewer smelling air was being vented out the truck as it vacuumed up the sewage. Ick!
The views from Hopi Point were amazing.
The Colorado River is clearly visible from Hopi Point. Rugged terrain, vivid coloring and the interplay of shadow and sunlight. Beautiful.
Mohave Point is a stop for both westbound and eastbound buses.
Colorado River rapids can be seen from Mohave Point. When I told someone that I was going to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, their response was surprising. They said, don’t go there. You can’t even see the Colorado River from the South Rim. Here we were on the South Rim seeing all kinds of Colorado River.
The above panorama was made from a number of individual images. In the top center the Colorado flows over the canyon floor.
When zoomed in, the river rapids can be seen more clearly.
Hermit’s Rest is the last stop on Hermit Road. As luck would have it, the NPS employee pumping poo from vault toilets was just finishing up pumping poo from the Hermit’s Rest restrooms.
After checking out Hermit’s Rest, we got back on the bus and returned to the Village Transfer bus stop. From there, we walked back to our car and drove back to our campsite for lunch. All in all, a successful site seeing outing.
Hope to see you on the road ahead!