Reaching Hermit’s Rest was a cause for celebration!
After spending our first day driving from scenic viewpoint to scenic viewpoint along the 25 mile Desert View Drive, stopping at the Desert View Watch Tower and the Tusayan Ruin, and then walking through all of Grand Canyon Village, on our second day at Grand Canyon National Park, we decided to walk most of the 7.8 mile Canyon Rim Trail.
We stopped at every stunning scenic viewpoint along Hermit Road and the Canyon Rim Trail, including Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista, and Pima Point, as well as many stops along the trail between the lookouts. Finally, our last stop along Hermit Road was historic Hermit’s Rest at the very end of the road.
With the only other restroom along Hermit Road way back at Hopi Point and us drinking lots of water to stay hydrated, our first stop was the restrooms. Then we did some exploring around Hermit’s Rest — and to be honest, it wasn’t our favorite part of the day.
While the Hermit’s Rest building is beautiful, the experience there was not what we had hoped, but exactly what we had expected.
The views of Grand Canyon were blocked by a dense line of trees and shrubs along the edge of the canyon and the entire area was very crowded and very loud. And, holy moly, the line of people waiting for food from the snack bar was insane — we were never so happy to have backpacks full of food and water!
To reach Hermit’s Rest from the parking area/shuttle stop, a path leads passed a stone arch with a broken bell that Colter salvaged from a Spanish mission in New Mexico. As you reach the covered porch and entrance, a low stone wall of rubble masonry separates the outdoor observation area from the drop-off into the canyon.
After checking out the beautiful interior of Hermit’s Rest, we didn’t stick around long. Brian got in the line for the free park shuttle and soon we all hopped back on the bus for the ride back to Grand Canyon Village — and it’s a good thing we did, because by the time we got back to the village, it began to snow again and the snow was much heavier!
About Hermits Rest
Built in 1914 and designed by architect Mary Colter, Hermit’s Rest was originally built as a rest area for tourists on coaches operated by the Fred Harvey Company who were traveling to the now-vanished Hermit Camp. Located at the western end of Hermit Road, the structure was built to resemble an old miner’s cabin or hermit’s hideaway.
Standing only a few feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon rim, Hermits Rest is partially buried in a man-made hill. The exposed portions of the building, made of rubble masonry bonded with cement mortar, structural logs, and a few expanses of glass, are designed to look like a natural rock formation.
Hermits Rest has covered front porch, and inside, the building open up into a large, two-story tall, open room. Directly opposite the entry, a giant semi-circular alcove with a raised flagstone floor and fireplace dominates the space. Wrought-iron wall sconces holding candles flank the far edges of the alcove.
The main room contains a gift shop and there are also several smaller rooms used for the snack bar, office, and storage, as well as the rug room where native crafts and Navajo rugs are sold.
Some of the furnishings seen at Hermits Rest, like the the chairs and tables that may be of German origin, the European pendulum clock, the bear traps, and frontier items decorating the exterior post, are antiques included in the 1987 National Historic Landmark designation.
Know Before You Go
- Hermit’s Rest is located at the western end of Hermit Road in Grand Canyon Village, Arizona 86023 in Grand Canyon National Park, Coconino County.
- Hermits Rest is open from 8:00 am to 6:00 pm in summer and 9:00 am to 5:00 pm in winter.
- Hermits Rest has a water bottle filling station, a snack bar, vault toilets, and a gift shop — but consider packing your own food as the line at the snack bar is VERY long and VERY slow.
- The Hermit Trail, winding steeply down into the canyon, begins about 0.5 miles, 0.8 km west of Hermits Rest.
- Hermit Road follows the South Rim for 7.0 miles from Grand Canyon Village to Hermit’s Rest. The Canyon Rim Trail also travels from Grand Canyon Village to Hermit’s Rest, but over 7.8 miles because it hugs the edge of the canyon rim and runs between Hermit Road and Grand Canyon.
- Don’t want to hike the entire Canyon Rim Trail? No problem? You can walk/hike between scenic overlooks or take the shuttle and mix it up, so you could walk the shorter distances and ride the shuttle for the longer distances.
- In the winter, you can drive your own vehicle from scenic viewpoint to scenic viewpoint, but the rest of the year, you need to ride the free shuttle bus.
- Traveling from Grand Canyon Village, the Hermit Road (Red) Shuttle Route stops at nine overlooks — Trailview Overlook, Maricopa Point, Powell Point, Hopi Point, Mohave Point, The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista, Pima Point, and Hermit’s Rest. Traveling from Hermit’s Rest to Grand Canyon Village, the shuttle stops at only four overlooks — Hermits Rest, Pima, Mohave, and Powell Points.
- You can also travel to Hermit’s Rest by bike. If you didn’t bring a bike, you can rent a bike at Bright Angel Bicycles near the South Rim Visitor Center.
- Hermits Rest is one of four Mary Jane Colter Buildings that, as a set, were added to the National Register of Historic Places and declared to be a National Historic Landmark in 1987. All were designed by Colter and were built for the Fred Harvey Company, which operated restaurants and hotels under contract with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, parent of the Grand Canyon Railway.