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Sunrise on the Hermit Trail
Backpacking & Hiking Trips

Hermit Loop: Bright Angel Trail to Hermit Trail

The majesty of the Granite Falls rapid, vibrant foliage, and geological structures await you on this South Rim hike.

  • Dates: September 24–29, 2024
  • Difficulty: Difficult
  • Trip Length: 6 Days
  • Cost: $1,675
  • Group size: 11

Experience the thrill of Grand Canyon with the Hermit Loop!  

Hike along cliffs, soaking in breathtaking views of the Colorado River, and spend nights by the powerful Granite Falls rapid. It's one of the largest rapids in the canyon. Do you know the other famous one with "falls" in its name? 

The Hermit Loop is perfect for experienced hikers who have tackled rim-to-rims or other classic Grand Canyon hikes. This trail will test your endurance with increased sun exposure and mileage. But trust us, the rewards are extraordinary! 

Encounter fewer people, embrace solitude, and connect with a hidden part of the canyon that few have the chance to explore. 

Join us on this thrilling journey, where fun, adventure, and the wonders of the Grand Canyon await. Get ready to create memories and discover the true essence of this magnificent natural wonder. 

Backpacker viewing the Monument along the Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park. Camera is pointed north. NPS Photo by Michael Quinn.

Backpacker viewing the Monument along the Tonto Trail, Grand Canyon National Park. Camera is pointed north. NPS Photo by Michael Quinn.

Are you physically ready to hike the canyon?  

Hiking at Grand Canyon is an adventure that demands both fun and serious preparation. This is not the type of terrain where you can simply go from couch, weekend fishing trips, or occasional rounds of golf to backpacking 7-10 miles and expect it to be a breeze. Let's face it, it can be a challenging first day, with constant downhill sections and the weight of heavy packs. We've had to make tough decisions and turn people around for their safety.  

That's why if you're joining us on this incredible journey, it is absolutely crucial that you train beforehand. Strengthening your joints, especially your knees, ankles, and hips, is of utmost importance. This rugged terrain is unforgiving, and we want to ensure that you not only have a fantastic time, but also stay safe and injury-free.  

Take the time to invest in your physical fitness and strength. Engage in a training regimen that targets the specific muscles and joints you'll be relying on during the hike. Incorporate strength training exercises that will build resilience and endurance. Remember, being in strong standing order will greatly enhance your Grand Canyon experience.  

If you sign up with GCCFI, we're here to support your preparation every step of the way. We will provide you with an example 60-day workout schedule that includes mobility, strength, and cardio exercises. Take it seriously and commit to going above and beyond those 60 days. Start right from the moment you sign up! Trust us, investing in your training will not only enhance your experience but also leave you happier and more fulfilled. Let's embark on this adventure together and make unforgettable memories!  

Take a moment to reflect on your fitness level and ask yourself:  

  • Endurance: Can you handle hiking downhill and walking long distances with weight?  
  • Stamina: Are you up for hiking several miles per day, conquering varied terrain, and dealing with elevation changes?  
  • Strength: Can you carry a 25-35 pound backpack for hours while navigating challenging trails and steep sections?  
  • Balance and Coordination: Are you confident in your ability to navigate uneven and rocky terrain like a pro?  
  • Flexibility: Can you move comfortably, bend, squat, and stretch to handle the physical demands of backpacking?  
  • Altitude: Are you prepared for the effects of high altitude and ready to acclimatize properly?  
  • Medical Considerations: Have you consulted a healthcare professional if you have pre-existing conditions that might be affected by the demands of backpacking? 

Trip Highlights

  • Experience a thrilling adventure through jaw-dropping geology, vibrant flora, and captivating fauna interpreters through educated instructors, providing amazing content
  • Trek a section of the longest continuous trail in the park, Tonto Trail
  • Challenge yourself with long and demanding days
  • Benefit from the expertise of experienced guides who prioritize your safety and provide expert guidance.
  • Discover the grandeur of the Grand Canyon's landscapes, feeling a profound sense of accomplishment and awe.
  • Receive a comprehensive 60-day workout schedule from GCCFI, with mobility, strength, and cardio exercises.
  • GCCFI provides logistics information and transportation to and from the trailhead 


Meet your Grand Canyon expert

Melissa Giovanni

Melissa Giovanni


Melissa Giovanni has been exploring the southwest for over 20 years, considers herself a true desert lizard, and loves the heat! She first visited Grand Canyon during her undergraduate geology field camp at the University of Arizona, where she ultimately earned her B.S. in geology. Melissa then moved to UCLA for her Ph.D., also in geology. While her doctoral studies focused on the geological evolution of the Peruvian Andes, she discovered her passion for teaching and while still a graduate student, led her very first field trip to Grand Canyon.

During a decade of teaching geology at two different universities, Melissa was able to develop her field teaching skills in locales all around Arizona, Utah, and Nevada. Currently a professor at the College of Southern Nevada, she teaches both environmental science and geology. She has been invited to speak at public seminars and for private groups all around the Grand Canyon region.

Since joining the Field Institute in 2016, Melissa's love for the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, public lands, and conservation continues to grow exponentially. She comes out to hike the canyon as much as possible - her favorite spots are, well, everywhere she has been so far. When at home in Las Vegas, she can be found climbing and hiking in Red Rock Canyon, training as a competitive Masters swimmer, playing guitar, and serving as a Board member for the Southern Nevada Conservancy.



What's included

Price for the class includes:

Expert and educated instructors who are a treasure trove of knowledge, enhancing your hiking journey with their insightful interpretations and enriching your overall experience

Comprehensive gear list, complete with accompanying videos to guide you through the gear selection process

Food and menu planning ideas

Receive a comprehensive 60-day workout schedule from GCCFI, with mobility, strength, and cardio exercises

Expedition First Aid kits

Rat sacks

Group water filter

Satellite phone

Backcountry permits for backpacking into Grand Canyon

What's not included

You are responsible for:

All of your backpacking and hiking equipment, including food

Transportation to and from the canyon

Hotel lodging in the park before or after your trip

Guide gratuity (industry recommendation 15-20% of trip cost, read this article to receive more guidance)

Additional notes

This is an aggressive backpack in very remote terrain, therefore only individuals with comparable backcountry experience may participate.

Age Restrictions: Participants must be 17+ years older for this backpacking program 

Cancellation Policy

Please notify our office as soon as possible should you need to cancel your registration. If you cancel or leave a trip for any reason:

  • 60+ days of program start date: full refund, minus a $100 administrative fee will be issued
  • 59 - 45 days prior start date: 50% refund will be issued
  • Less than 45 days to start date, or once trip has begun: we will retain your entire program fee with no exceptions.

Reserved spots are non-transferable to different programs. However, you may substitute members of your party, specific to the trip date with GCCFI approval, with no penalty, up to 30 days prior to departure date.

GCCFI reserves the right to cancel all, or a portion, of a trip for circumstance beyond our control. Circumstances might include, but are not limited to—public land closures, road closures, weather events, fires, or other natural events. Refunds are not offered in these situations. A full trip credit will be issued, minus any non-refundable expenses occurred by GCCFI if the program is cancelled due to circumstances beyond our control. GCCFI staff will work to change itinerary to another trail or move hiking locations to a safer area.

We reserve the right to cancel any trip if sign-up is inadequate to make the trip economically feasible for us to operate. In this event, we will give a full refund of the trip price.

GCCFI is not responsible for: air tickets, visa fees if applicable, gear, medical expenses, clothing, and any expenses occurred while preparing for this trip.

We HIGHLY encourage the purchase of trip insurance to help offset any costs incurred if cancellation occurs


Family of 4 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Zelkovic Family

“Our day with the Field Institute exceeded all our expectations and we came away with a great respect for the canyon and for the work of the Conservancy. It was such a wonderful experience from beginning to end and hope we can return in the not so distant future to participate in one of your multi-day programs.”

Family of 5 standing and smiling for photo on rock edge at Grand Canyon

The Jankowskis

“Our family’s experience was nothing short of amazing! Slim (our guide) provided a perspective we would have never been able to get on our own and we learned so much. Her passion for the canyon and what she does came through too, which made our time something we’ll never forget!”

Five hikers standing on forest cliff edge overlooking Grand Canyon 2017

Amy Waits

“The guides were awesome – so educational and patient!!! Encouraging & helpful in every way. Such an amazing first visit to the canyon – Life changing to have experienced the GC up close & personal… Thank you so much!”

Group of hikers standing and smiling in front of canyon from ground level at Grand Canyon

Joe Sweeney

“I've brought many school groups to the Field Institute and the quality of instruction provides them with an understanding of Indigenous cultures, diverse ecology, and geologic history. Students leave with a stronger sense of self-confidence, an intimate connection to nature, and memories that will last a lifetime.”

Field Institute guide educating group of hiker tourists seated on beach with water and canyon in background

Andy M.

“Top to bottom, the Field Institute exceeded all of my expectations .... they ensured we packed wisely for our trip and saved me from lugging around 5 lbs. of junk I didn't need. Overall, it's packed with value that I don't think commercial outfitters would provide and delivered a deeply rich experience.”