Monday, January 22, 2018

Hermit Road Scenic Overlooks #2 ~ Grand Canyon National Park

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     Hermit Road Scenic Overlooks #2 ~ Grand Canyon National Park
     Hermit Road is open for passenger car traffic during the winter season, from December 1st through March 1st.  Visitors can leisurely tour this section of the Grand Canyon and enjoy the scenic overlooks while the weather is cool.  The winter season also tends to be less crowded than during summertime, so one can actually plan a picnic on this section of the canyon rim without having to worry about being trampled under foot!
     Hermit Road runs seven miles west from Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest.  The Powell Point Memorial is located at the first scenic overlook and the old historic canyon rim lodges can be seen from this branch of the rim.  The next two scenic overlooks along this road offers spectacular sunsets and the Colorado River first comes into view.  Articles about Powell Point and the first few overlooks have been previously published in this website, so viewers can see what lies in store.  The upcoming final article in the Hermit Road series will provide information about the historic Hermits Rest outpost.
     Hermits Rest is not only a snack bar and gift shop.  It is the outpost where many back country expeditions take place.  West of Hermits Rest is a vast unspoiled wilderness area that extends all the way to Supai in the Hualapai Nation.  Many mystical features of the canyon can be experienced in this region and the Hualapai guided tours must be booked in advance.  There are restrictions set in place for hikers from the National Park going toward points of interest in the Hualapai Nation territory, so it is best to plan westward bound excursions with the guidance of the Grand Canyon Back Country Office, which is located near the Maswik Lodge.
     When touring by car, Hermits Rest is as far west as one can go.  Even so, there is plenty to see and do along this seven mile long stretch of road.  The wildlife is everywhere and the animals seem to stop in their tracks just long enough for an opportunity to take a great photo.  This section of the Grand Canyon also is where the condors are likely to be seen, because these gigantic birds tend to shy away from populated areas.
     The scenic viewpoints located along the second half of Hermit Road include The Abyss, Monument Creek Vista and Pima Point.  All three of these overlooks offer views that extend far into the horizon.  The summer wildfire season has been long gone, so there is no lingering haze this time of year, unless a foul weather front moves through.  The air is usually crystal clear and the skies are cobalt blue.  The bright colors of the weathered sandstone also seems to be more vivid.  This is why touring Hermit Road during the winter season is like a photographer's dream come true!