After our morning driving tour of the Grand Canyons eastern South Rim, we decided to make a quick late afternoon tour of the western half of the rim along the Hermit's Rest Road. As we had spent most of the day in the car up to this point a short hike seemed to be in order so, after a quick glance at the map, I decided upon this short two-miler which looked quite promising. The route we'd be taking would follow a portion of the Rim Trail, a 13-mile path which runs from the Grand Canyon Village out to Hermit's Rest itself. The eastern half of the trail is a paved multi-use path but the western half, a portion of which this hike took place on, is unpaved and utilized primarily for hiking. We'd basically be hiking from one viewpoint to another. As the Hermit's Rest Road is only accessible by park bus during the busy season we were limited in that way in deciding our start and end points. Our start would be from the Monument Creek Vista, a half dozen or so bus stops west of the Village. We would then follow the mostly flat Rim Trail in an easterly direction passing by the dizzying overlook named The Abyss and ending up a couple miles later at the popular Mojave Point viewpoint. A quick bus ride would then return us to our car. It would be a suitably easy hike to stretch our day out a bit longer without sapping energy for the 'big' hike we were planning the next day (see my South Kaibab Trail album for that).
This hike closely follows a portion of the South Rim of the Grand Canyon along some of the canyons most dizzying drop-offs. The Monument Creek gorge, which this hike essentially rounds on three sides, is a place where the canyon walls drop off for a near-vertical 3,000+ feet. This isn't a hike for the faint of heart when it comes to heights. The path stays fairly close to the rim along much of the way and there is very little in the way of elevation gain or loss over the entire route. That doesn't mean you won't be out of breath by the end of the walk though. The scenery is sure to take your breath away. In numerous places the trail gets right up alongside the edge of the canyon and, with stops like 'The Abyss' along the way the scenery here is mind-blowing to say the least. On top of it all its a relatively easy way to escape the crowded buses and overlooks at other stops on the South Rim. We were lucky if we saw a dozen people the entire time on the trail. We found it a fantastically personal way to get up close with the Grand Canyon.
So, without further adieu, I present to you our first 'boots on the ground' experience at Grand Canyon National Park. Like I've said already this is a short one but, trust me, its long on majesty and grandeur. As always...ENJOY!!!
Mileage Hiked: 2.1 miles Hike Duration: 1:15
Trailhead Temp: 65'F Trail Traffic: 5-10 people
Min. Elevation: 6,813' Max. Elevation: 7,000'
Total Vertical Gain: 200' Avg. Elevation Gain / Mile: 100'