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Tonto West Trail --
Hermit Trail Junction to Hermit Creek
Hiking Around Las Vegas, Grand Canyon National Park
Tonto Trail -- Hermit Trail to Hermit Camp
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Hermit-Tonto Trail Junction
Hermit-Tonto trail junction (view northwest).


This description of the Tonto West Trail is divided into two parts: (1) an overview of the entire trail, trailheads, and other general information, and (2) individual canyon-to-canyon segments. In addition, the Hermits Rest, Monument Creek, Indian Garden, Bright Angel Trailhead loop (west to east) is described separately because this is a popular loop and it is easier to follow descriptions going forward than going backwards.

From the Tonto-Hermit Trail junction, it is about 1.5 miles and 30 minutes to Hermit Creek Campground, the first camping area to the west. Permanent water is available in Hermit Creek. This segment of the trail runs back into Hermit Canyon, passing the Hermit Rapids Trail junction and the old Santa Fe Railroad tourist camp. Legal camping is only permitted at the Hermit Creek campground (Backcountry Use Zone BM7), although there are several illegal campsites at the Tonto-Hermit Trail junction.

Link to map of this segment.

Tonto Trail
Tonto Trail and Cope Butte (view northeast).

Watch Out

Other than the standard warnings about hiking in the desert, sure to read the Watch Out section on the Tonto West Overview page, which discusses things such as cell phones and signal mirrors. While hiking, please respect the land and the other people out there, and please try to Leave No Trace of your passage.

Getting to the Trailhead

Trailhead information is presented on the Tonto West Overview page.

Hermit Santa Fe Camp
Site of Santa Fe Tourist Camp (solid red = Tonto Trail; dashed red = Hermit Rapids Trail) (view southeast).

The Hike

6. Tonto-Hermit Trail Junction to Hermit Creek -- 1.5 miles and 30 minutes

From the Tonto-Hermit Trail junction (Table 6, Waypoint 016), the Tonto Trail starts out wide and rocky as it runs southwest and downhill at a moderate grade across the Tonto Platform. About 1.0 miles out, the trail reaches the Hermit Rapids Trail junction (Wpt. 017). The remains of the old Santa Fe Railroad tourist camp sits on the hill above the trail junction. Only stonewalls and foundations remain in the main camp area, but the old corral on the south side of camp still seems to be used. It is interesting that differences in the vegetation still show where buildings used to be, even though the vegetation has been growing back since the 1930s.

From the Hermit Rapids Trail junction (Wpt. 017), the Tonto Trail continues farther back into Hermit Canyon for another 0.5 miles, running ever closer to the edge of the Tapeats Sandstone cliffs. The trail eventually cuts steeply down through a break in the Tapeats cliffs into the Hermit Creek Campground (Wpt. 018).

Hermit Camp
Hermit Campground (view northeast from west side of canyon; outhouse in middle-right).

Hermit Creek Campground is spread out on a bench along the east side of Hermit Creek, mostly downstream from where the trail enters the area by the outhouse. Permanent water is available in the creek. The Park Service provides food storage boxes (metal ammo boxes) and metal poles for hanging backpacks to keep the rodents away from your food (camper comments suggest that the poles don't work). The last site in the campground (farthest downstream) is located under a rock overhang, but the floor floods 3-inches deep during heavy rainstorms (yes, this is the voice of experience talking).

Table 6. Hiking Coordinates Based on GPS Data (NAD27; UTM Zone 12). Download Entire Route Waypoint (gpx) file.

Wpt. Location Time Easting Northing Elevation (ft) Verified
016 Tonto-Hermit Trail Junction (A06) 1405 391671 3994131 3,223 Map
017 Hermit Rapids Trail junction (XX2) 1424 391100 3993630 3,010 Map
018 Hermit Creek Campground outhouse (112) 1435 390878 3993501 2,904 GPS

Happy Hiking! All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120424

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