Stories From Grand Canyon National Park
As Shown in Penny Post Cards
From the Collection of Thomas Alan Ratz




Towering Canyon Walls Rise
Above Hermit Camp

On the inner plateau, Hermit Camp has been built with a central dining hall and eleven tents with accomodations for thirty persons.The tent cabins have pine floors and sides, restful beds, rugs, and other conveniences. A skilled Chef is in charge of the dining room, where excellent meals are provided. It is camping out "de luxe."

If you have a penchant for hiking, do it on the Hermit Trail. The grades are easy, and with the cabins as your center, you can explore the Canyon at will. Return to the cabins, dinner and a unforgetable evening under the stars.

Towering Canyon Walls, Hermit Camp

Hermit Camp

Situated on the inner plateau close to tiny Hermit Creek, the camp has an atmosphere all its own.

Hermit Rim Road to head of Hermit Trail - Hermit Trail to Hermit Cabins and river - return same route - $18.25
Note: For return via Tonto and Bright Angel Trails, instead of Hermit Trail, add $5.00 each person. (1927)

Hermit Creek Trail
Below Hermit Camp

After a cup of afternoon tea and some rest, the trail is resumed over the remainder of the plateau, and then down towards the river.

Perchance, also, one may see a band of mountain sheep, for now that they are so strictly preserved, a heavy penalty being extracted both by territorial and federal governments, they are increasing in numbers.

One of their usual haunts for years has been in the canyons and ravines north of Shiva Temple. It is not unreasonable to anticipate that they will often roam into the view of visitors so near by - on the other side of the river.

Sunset in the Granite Gorge, Grand Canyon, Arizona

1920's Version

1940's Version

Long may the visitor loiter upon the verge, powerless to shake loose from the charm, tirelessly intent upon the silent transformations until the sun is low in the west. Then the canyon sinks into mysterious purple shadow; darkness falls, and should there be a moon, the scene in part revives in silver light, a thousand spectral forms projected from inscrutable gloom.

Both post cards began with the same black & white photograph. The artist who colored the 1920's version was attempting a more realistic interpretation. During the 1940's the scene was redone and reprinted on linen textured postcard stock.

No Man's Land, From Near Hermit Trail

The beholder is at first unimpressed by any detail; one is overwhelmed by the ensemble of a stupendous panorama, a thousand square miles in extent, that lies wholly beneath the eye, as if one stood upon a mountain peak instead of the level brink of a fearful chasm in the plateau whose opposite shore is thirteen miles away.

Another pair for comparison. The image on the left is an early "Phostint" card produced by the Detroit Photographic Company. The scene on the right is a later Fred Harvey version. Look at the second artist's enhancements of the black schist walls of the inner gorge. Also notice the addition of clouds in the sky.

Bath Falls, Hermit Creek

Nearby the camp, in the most colorful part of this colorful chasm, is Hermit Creek, with a plentiful water supply and opportunity for a plunge bath.

"The details of structure of the Canyon can be seen only at close view, but grand effects of structure can be witnessed in great panoramic scenes. Seen in detail, gorges and precipices appear. Seen at a distance, incomprehensive views and vast massive structures are presented. The traveler on the brink looks from afar and is overwhelmed with the sublimity of massive forms. The traveler among the gorges stands in the presence of profound mysteries."

That deep pool in Hermit creek, just below the campground, was washed away in a 1996 flood.

Antelope In Grand Canyon

Ranging the plateau region of Grand Canyon National Park is a small heard of antelope. This scene shows some of the animals watering on Hermit Creek.

In 1924, a dozen young antelope were brought in from Nevada and placed in an enclosure on Hermit Creek. They were fed and grew up under care and protection.

Later, they were given the freedom of the Tonto Plateau and some extended their range to Indian Gardens. They bred and increased slowly though, in the hot, arid Lower Sororan Zone where food and climate were new and strange to them. Twenty years later they had dwindled away. An educational, though not very successful, experiment.

Rapids at the Foot
of the Hermit Trail

From Hermit Camp to the Colorado River one must go on foot, no more than an hour's walk, but the view at Hermit Rapids is well worth the trouble. These rapids are narrow, long, and very rough. Opportunity is afforded visitors to remain and spend the hours sightseeing by the river, fishing for silver salmon, or studying the geological formations.

On the sand or boulders at the mouth of Hermit Creek, one may sit and ponder over the history and mystery of this stupendous Canyon, which for countless ages will remain one of the greatest attractions for man upon the face of the earth.

A Canyon sunrise next morning, breakfast, and then the return to the top by trail.

On the Tonto Trail

You can take the trail of yesterday, which in the rays of the morning sun is almost unrecognizable in its glow of color...

Or take the alternative trail, the Tonto Trail, along the floor of the Canyon as your return to upper earth. The latter route is longer than the former one.

Show the top part of the Hermit Trail from the Trailhead to Dripping Springs Junction

Show from Dripping Springs Junction to Hermit Camp

Explore the Boucher Trail in a 1910 trip report by George Wharton James

Drive the Hermit Rim Road and see Hermit's Rest

Special Thanks to the Grand Canyon National Park Museum Collection
P.O. Box 129, Grand Canyon, AZ 86023