Hermit Road History
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.
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.
Canyon Sketches Vol 06 - October 2008
Hermit Road Today
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.
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.
Why Hermit Road is a popular destination for South Rim visitors:
Last updated: November 30, 2021