Dripping Springs

Best Spring Day Hike at the Grand Canyon


A pleasant day hike to a shaded alcove spring, this trail offers a chance to see fossilized reptile tracks, awe at the deeply cut Hermit Canyon and ponder the early tourist history of the Canyon. Developed strictly as a tourist trail by the Santa Fe Railway, it was once considered to be the nicest trail on the rim and thousands of people would pay to be guided down to Hermit camp 8 miles below the rim.

The Hermit trails steep beginnings are mostly west facing providing a pleasantly cool early start. You will work your way down along blocky limestone and reach the switchbacks of the thick layer of ancient sand dunes known as the Coconino sandstone. It is here that you can keep your eyes peeled for the fossilized traces of scurrying reptiles clawing their way along the sand. Cool! Look for the larger slabs along the side of the trail. Looking across the canyon, you can see a great example of the layers of Grand Canyon’s top sections. If you look carefully you may see the Boucher (boo-shay’) trail.

You will follow the Hermit trail to a signed fork leading either down alongside the steep gorge, continuing on Hermit, or skirting around to Dripping springs. Take the uphill left to our destination. Traverse along a somewhat precarious and definitely sun exposed edge until you reach the Boucher trail junction. Follow the sign left and make your short half mile way through the dry wash. This section is an interesting hike into a kind of alcove. If you plan on drinking the water from the spring it must be treated. Enjoy the shade and probable solitude until the heat of the day passes. Your way back will be heated by the western sun so take your time and advantage of occasional shade.

  • Getting there: Take the shuttle from The Village to Hermits Rest (40-minutes one way with several nice viewpoints). Walk a short ways west after visiting Hermits Rest to the trailhead.
  • The Hike: Hermit trailhead to Dripping springs = 3.2 miles one-way
      - Hermit trailhead to Dripping Springs trail junction = 1.5 miles one-way
      - Dripping Springs junction to Boucher trail junction = 1.2 miles one-way
      - Boucher trail junction to Dripping springs = .5 miles one-way
  • Elevation loss/gain: Trailhead to Dripping Springs = 1400 feet (500 foot climb up to springs after junction)
  • Camping: None
  • Water: Treat water at Dripping Springs. This water source is not considered permanent so it is advised to bring all the water you will need for the day hike! During the summer, .5 -1 liter per hour of hiking is advised.

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A Day At The Canyon from John Burcham Photography. John Burcham is a commercial, editorial photographer based out of Flagstaff, AZ. You can see more of his work at www.johnburcham.com