The Scenic and Historic Hermit Road

aerial view looking up Hermit Road with the canyon in the background.
View up Hermit Road (West Rim Drive)

Ron Chapple, Aerial Filmworks

Between March 1st, and November 30 (our busy season)

During the winter months of December, January and February, Hermit Road is open to all vehicles.

Improved in 2008, and resurfaced in 2020, Hermit Road (formerly known as the West Rim Drive) has some of the best Grand Canyon views that you can see anywhere. Once you get out to Hopi Point, the Colorado River comes into view, and on a quiet day at Pima Point, you can hear the roar of the Colorado River as it crashes through Granite Rapid.

Nine months of the year, access is by commercial tour bus or free park shuttle bus, which gives you the chance to look at the scenery, while someone else does the driving. (March 1 through November 30)

The shuttle buses are great when you use them in conjunction with the rim trail - you can get off at one stop, enjoy a scenic walk along the rim, and then get back on the bus at the next stop. Photos >

If you feel like taking a longer walk, fill a backpack with food and water, then take the shuttle bus out to Hermit's Rest and day hike the Canyon Rim Trail the 8 miles (11 km) back to the Village.

Winter visitors should be advised that the road can close with little notice, particularly in the evenings, as refreezing snow melt creates the potential for black ice.

If you enjoy bicycling, Hermit Road is probably the best place in the park. There is far less traffic out here because of the limitations on private vehicles. The three miles of Greenway Trail are also a great addition for cyclists as well as hikers.

map shows Hermit Rest Bus Route in Red, along with the 10 bus stops along the route.
Between March 1st and November 30, Hermit Road buses provide transportation between the Village Route Transfer Station and Hermits Rest (7 miles/ 11 km) with stops at 9 canyon overlooks. On the Return Trip, buses stop only at Hermits Rest, Pima, Mojave, and Powell Points. The Hermit Road (Red Route) is a 75 minute round-trip ride (without getting off the bus).


Diagram in red shows the 7 mile Hermit Road or Red Route shuttle stop diagram, with nine stops on the way out and only three on the return trip.
Between March 1st and November 30th, free shuttle buses provide transportation between the Village Route Transfer Station and Hermits Rest (7 miles/ 11 km) with stops at nine canyon overlooks. On the return trip, buses stop only at Hermits Rest, Pima, Mohave, and Powell Points.

This map shows the westbound and eastbound shuttle bus stops on Hermit Road, also known as the "Red Route."



Hermit Road and most of its associated overlooks and parking areas are historic, designed and constructed in 1934-1935 by the Bureau of Public Roads and the National Park Service. These structures retaind a high degree of integrity. However, overall road condition was poor and did not meet current safety standards.

Road rehabilitation and construction completed in 2008 included: road widening and resurfacing to a consistent width of 24 feet, improvements to shuttle bus stops at overlooks, provision for accessible pedestrian routes from shuttle bus stops to viewing areas, and improvements to approximately five miles of rim trails, including a three-mile, multi-use greenway.

Hermit Road is a popular destination for South Rim visitors with:

  • 9 overlooks providing canyon and river views,
  • Free shuttle bus service between March 1 - November 30
    (closed to private vehicles during this period)
  • Popular spots for sunset viewing,
  • Special bus tours for train passengers,
  • Access to historic Hermits Rest and Hermit Trailhead, and
  • 7 miles of improved and unimproved rim trails.


The 2008 Hermit Road Rehabilitation Project

The rehabilitation of Hermit Road began in February 2008, to address safety issues and accessibility and to preserve the historic integrity of the road. The project included widening and resurfacing the road to a consistent width of 24 feet; improving the shuttle bus stops at each of the overlooks; providing more accessible pedestrian routes from the shuttle bus stops and parking areas to the viewpoints; constructing a news shuttle bus shelter at the Hermit Road interchange; and improving approximately five and a half miles of rim trails, including construction of a new three-mile, multi-use Greenway Trail for bicyclists and pedestrians.

In addition to safety and accessibility, protecting the historical integrity of Hermit Road was an important aspect to this project. The original metal hand railings at each of the overlooks and the rustic-style stone masonry retaining walls were retained. Most of the Greenway Trail follows the alignment of the 1913 Hermit Rim Road. Minimizing disturbance to the natural and cultural environment and restoring damaged areas was another significant aspect of the Hermit Road project. Areas were restored that had been damaged by social trailing and other impacts. To better protect a rare plant population and adjacent suitable habitat, the parking area and access-road pavement was removed from Maricopa Point. A new Maricopa Point shuttle bus stop was created west of the rehabilitated parking lot, and a new accessible pedestrian path was built to Maricopa Point.

The Hermit Road rehabilitation project represents the hard work and input of many people and entities. Construction was performed by Fann Contracting, Inc., of Prescott, Arizona. Project oversight and construction management was performed by the Central Federal Lands Highway Division of the Federal Highway Administration. The Grand Canyon Trail Crew worked portions of the Rim Trail and provided stone masonry and viewing area improvements at many of the viewpoints and the Grand Canyon Revegetation Staff planted more than 20,000 plants and restored approximately 4 acres of native vegetation at the overlooks and along the entire road. In addition, crews from the American Conservations Experience, and volunteers from the Student Conservation Association and the Sierra Club were instrumental in assisting with trail work and revegetation efforts.


News Release

Hermit Road Reopens - November 15, 2008 (75kb PDF File News Release)

Grand Canyon National Park's historic Hermit Road reopened on Saturday, November 15, 2008 with a dedication ceremony honoring the road and rehabilitation project

During 2008, Grand Canyon National Park repaved and improved the seven-mile long historic Hermit Road, located on the South Rim between Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest.


Canyon Sketches Vol 06 - October 2008

Park Vegetation Crews Use Multiple Techniques to Restore Native Vegetation Along Hermit Road
Hermit Road re-opened in November 2008 after a nine-month rehabilitation. Restoration of native vegetation along Hermit Road is one of the largest plant restoration and rehabilitation efforts ever undertaken at Grand Canyon National Park. The multi-faceted project includes a variety of restoration techniques and incorporates substantial contributions by park volunteers and interns.

Last updated: October 6, 2020

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