Hermit’s Rest Route With Kids (The Grand Canyon)
The Grand Canyon is undeniably one of the great natural wonders of the world. The canyon spans over 227 miles and is 6,000 ft. deep. Visiting the Grand Canyon with kids can either be very challenging or very rewarding (or perhaps both!) depending on how much planning you do and what parts you decide to visit. When visiting with kids, the Hermit’s Rest Route is perhaps one of the best ways to get some great views of the canyon while minimizing the amount of stress involved with hiking with young kids.
The Hermit’s Rest Route can either be hiked or explored via bus. If you are traveling with younger children who can not tolerate long hikes, the bus loop is one of the best ways to see the canyon without hiking. If your family is up for smaller hikes, the close proximity of the points along the route give you the perfect chance to do some hiking mixed in with taking the shuttle from point to point. The bus loop for Hermit’s Rest follows the red loop as pictured below.
If you choose not to get off the bus along the route (which we HIGHLY discourage!) the trip is about 80 minutes long round trip. If you plan to get off the bus at all or some of the overlook points, the trip can be any where from a couple hours to a full day’s journey, depending on how much time you decide to spend at each stop.
The Hermit’s Rest bus loop is a great option for seeing a good portion of the canyon without the hiking. The route is 7.8 miles long with a shuttle bus that stops at 9 different viewpoints along the route. The free shuttle bus stops at the Village Route Shuttle Transfer stop every 15 minutes in the summer months and heads towards Hermit’s Rest and for one hour after sunset.
The wait can get long at times, so be prepared for this. Our longest wait was at the shuttle transfer stop waiting to get on the bus to Hermit’s Rest. We arrived first thing in the morning (around 7am) and still found ourselves waiting about an hour to get on board. (This was partly due to COVID precautions and limited passengers being allowed on the bus).
Once we were on the route the max time we spent at any of the stops waiting for the shuttle to the next stop was 15 minutes. You can also hike to the next stop and for some of the points (such as Powell Point to Hopi Point) I would recommend this as the distances are pretty short.
The Trail Overlook is the first stop you will come upon. It is 0.7 miles from the Village Route Transfer station. At this overlook you will get some good views of the Bright Angel Trailhead heading down into the canyon, but the canyon views are not as great as some of the other stops. This stop has a series of staircases you can climb up or down for different viewpoints.
Maricopa Point is the next stop on the route, 0.7 miles from Trail Overlook. This overlook extends out over the canyon about 100 ft. This viewpoint gives you clear, unobstructed canyon views. Looking down into the canyon you can see the Tonto Trail and part of the Colorado River.
At this point you can also see the remains of the Orphan Mine-mining equipment, cable lines, and a manmade hole is the side of the canyon. If you choose to hike the path from Maricopa Point to Powell Point you will notice signs and a section of the trail rerouted due to “hot spots” from uranium ores.
Powell Point is the next stop, 0.5 miles from Maricopa Point. Powell Point offers similar views as Maricopa with views extending Westward, but obstructed due to the next ridge, Hopi Point.
A couple interesting facts about Powell Point-it was the site of the 1920 Grand Canyon National Park dedication ceremony and contains a memorial for John Wesley Powell, an explorer of the Colorado River.
Hopi Point is a short 0.5 mile walk (or bus ride) from Powell Point. Hopi Point features the first unobstructed views of the western Canyon and is one of the most popular stops along the Hermit’s Rest Route. Hopi Point has two distinct lookout areas. The first is a fenced viewing area near the road and the second is a flat overlook area about 2,000 feet below the main viewing area.
Hopi Point is the most popular spot on the Hermit’s Rest Route and the west rim for viewing the sunset. Also important to note-Hopi Point is the only stop along the route (other than Hermit’s Rest) that has restrooms available.
**Tip: Because of the upper fenced in area, Hopi Point is a great location for photo ops with young children without having to get too close to the edge.**
Mohave Point is next, 0.8 miles from Hopi Point. Mohave Point is great for viewing the Colorado River and the rapids below, including the Salt Creek, Granite, and Hermit rapids. From Mohave Point you can see the 3,000 ft. cliffs that encircle the Abyss and in the distance Yuma, Cocopa, and Havasupai Points.
Mohave Point is a less crowded option for viewing the sunset that still offers gorgeous views. You can also find multiple smaller overlook areas at this point.
The Abyss is a unique viewpoint along the Hermit’s Rest Route. The viewpoint allows you to look down into a 3,000 ft. side canyon carved out by the effects of gravity on the rocks. You will also get some good views of the Tonto Plateau, the Colorado River, Granite Rapids, and Monument (a large sandstone column).
The Monument Creek stop, 0.9 miles from the Abyss, gives you great views of, you guessed it, Monument Creek and the Granite Rapids of the Colorado River. You can also see the Colorado River with Monument Creek flowing into it.
Pima Point, 1.7 miles from Monument Creek, is the next stop and boosts some great, unobstructed views of the canyon from Bright Angel Canyon to the east to Powell Plateau and the Great Scenic Divide to the west. Also visible from this viewpoint are Monument Creek, sections of the Hermit Trail, the Granite Rapids, and NinetyFour Mile Creek.
The last stop along the route is Hermit’s Rest. Here you will find a small gift shop and snack stand as well as bathrooms and picnic tables. You can also access the Hermit’s Rest trailhead at this stop. While you can get some good views of the canyon from this stop, most are limited and obstructed.
After checking out Hermit’s Rest you can catch a shuttle back to the Village Transfer Route station. On the journey back you can expect the shuttle to stop again at Pima Point, Mohave Point, and Powell Point.
Tips for Visiting
- If you visit during the winter months (December, January, and February) you will be able to drive the Hermit’s Rest Route in your personal vehicle. During the more crowded months (March 1-November 30) the road is closed to personal vehicles.
- Unless you are staying within Grand Canyon National Park be sure to arrive early in the morning (before 8am). If you arrive later you will most likely run into very long lines and wait times at the entrance booth.
- Bring plenty of water! Depending on what time of year you are visiting, the Grand Canyon can get very hot! Be sure to bring plenty of water for you and the kids, especially if you are planning to hike any of the route to Hermit’s Rest.
- Keep a close eye on your younger children! It is a common fear of parents bringing their children to the Grand Canyon that they are going to fall in. While the overlooks have fencing, there are parts of the trails that do not so it is important to keep a close eye on and close distance to young kids who may run around.
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Good to know there are options to both hike or take the bus along the Hermits Rest Route at the Grand Canyon. We would certainly get off many times if we used the bus. Although I can see how the long wait times might discourage us from getting off. I always find it fascinating that the views are so very different at the different viewpoints. And the rock colours are so amazing!
I’ve always wanted to visit the Grand Canyon and your post is very useful. I think it’s a good idea to take the bus along the the Hermits Rest Route. You can enjoy the view and relax on the bus at the same time.
I love Grand Canyon and Hermit’s Rest Route. You provide useful and great tips for doing this adventure with kids that each family should read. One of my favorites is Mohave Point.
The Grand Canyone is always spectacular! I never knew about the rest route, but it’s so helpful to know. I’m a newbie at hiking so maybe taking that bus would be good for me too! Good tip on the water; I felt thirsty while reading!
I’ve always wanted to visit the grand canyon but never really knew much about it so this is really helpful. I had no idea it was so extensive. Great tip about Hopi Point photograph opportunity with the kids.
What a beautiful trail along the Grand Canyon, didn’t know there were so many viewpoints. Like the Abyss, Mohave, Pima Point all offer such spectacular views. Am sure it must have been an adventure, more so with your daughter in tow 🙂
I haven’t as yet made it to Grand Canyon but this Hermits Route sounds like a really cool trail. I’d rather hike than take the bus but if its too hot, I might look at the bus option. So many viewpoints on the way, its amazing!