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Home National & State Parks Grand Canyon Rebuilt Hermit Road Opens Again for Visitors

South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park

Rebuilt Hermit Road Opens Again for Visitors

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With a ribbon-cutting ceremony honoring widening and rehabilitation work to mark the occasion, Grand Canyon National Park's historic Hermit Road reopened for visitors Nov. 15, 2008.

Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Steve P. Martin, cut a ceremonial ribbon to officially inaugurate public access to the historic Hermit Road, located on the South Rim between Grand Canyon Village and Hermits Rest.

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"The Hermit Road rehabilitation project is an example of how the National Park Service is using a more holistic approach to address Grand Canyon's needs and meet our core stewardship responsibilities," Martin said. "We are working to improve the park's infrastructure to provide a higher quality experience for visitors and residents of all ages and backgrounds, while protecting and improving upon the Canyon's unique cultural and natural resources."

Hermit Road, more than 100 years old, is a popular destination for approximately one million visitors each year. The seven-mile road includes nine overlooks, access to the historic Hermits Rest and Hermit Trailhead, and popular spots for sunset viewing.

The rehabilitation of Hermit Road began 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
  • Improving approximately five and a half miles of rim trails
  • Constructing 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, Martin said.

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The original metal hand railings at each of the overlooks and the rustic-style stone masonry retaining walls were retained. Also, 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.

Speaking to approximately 300 park visitors and residents under clear blue skies and in ideal temperatures, Martin added, "As we head toward our centennial in 2016, we realize that, as an agency, we must better meet our mission and core goals, and the Hermit Road rehabilitation project reminds us that we are the right road."

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After the ribbon-cutting, park visitors and residents were treated to cake, punch and special benchmark pins designed to mark the historic event. They were then encouraged to get out and enjoy the new improvements and to spend time connecting with the amazing landscape along Hermit Road.

While a limited number of the park's new low-floor compressed natural gas powered buses were on-hand to take visitors out to Hermits Rest, many people took advantage of the limited traffic and chose to ride their bikes and walk along the newly constructed road.

Private vehicles are allowed access to Hermit Road now through March 1, 2009, when shuttle bus service will resume for the season. Commercial tours, provided by Xanterra South Rim, L.L.C. resumed service on Nov. 16.

For more information on Grand Canyon National Park's shuttle system visit
www.nps.gov/grca/planyourvisit/shuttle-buses.htm or call (928) 638-7888. For tour information, contact Xanterra at (888) 297-2757 or visit www.grandcanyonlodges.com/.

For information on Grand Canyon National Park, call (928) 638-7888 or visit
www.nps.gov/grca.





 
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