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Boucher-Hermit Loop Trail Professional Review and Guide
"This is the classic Grand Canyon loop hike, easily reached via paved roads on the South Rim. While none of the trails are regularly maintained, the Hermit Trail is considered the easiest of the old Grand Canyon Trails. The Boucher Trail, while well-traveled, was not built to the same standards as the Hermit, and it is steeper and rougher. By doing this loop clockwise, you’ll have the easier Hermit Trail for the long climb to the South Rim."
--Bruce Grubbs, Best Loop Hikes Arizona (The Mountaineers Books).
FYI-I live in the mountains and backpack quite often. I'm a member of Search & Rescue so manage to climb around in the rocks more than most. I'm 49 and reasonably fit and active.
The best description of the Boucher Trail is the Nat'l Park Service's initial paragraph especially the phrase "tough, tedious traverses linked together by knee-destroying descents". This was the most difficult backpack I have ever done and I would not recommend it. Without the rest day following the descent, we would have been thoroughly miserable continuing on. There are many other more scenic and less punishing trails than this. Even my very experienced GC friends said it was the hardest and least enjoyable they have done and they've done almost all of them.
My favorite section was on the return traveling the Cathedral Staircase and along the 5,000 +/- contour. Wonderful vistas and enjoyable going. For this I give the third star. Otherwise, it would have been a two star.
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