The Boucher Trail was created by none other than the man who put “hermit” into Hermit Creek Basin. Well acclimated to Grand Canyon terrain, Louis D. Boucher designed a trail even the seasoned hiker would find challenging.
The trailhead is located a quarter of a mile down Hermit’s Rest, accessed via Hermit Road. To bypass the gate enclosing Hermit Road however, you’ll need a backcountry permit- and boy are you about to meet the backcountry. From here on out, the terrain will be rough, with plenty of steep sections you’ll have to climb and scramble over.
The first two miles (3.2 km) will take you across the Kaibab, Toroweap, and Coconino Formations, an expansive and arid plane of mostly easy hiking leading to the Dripping Springs junction due westward. You won’t actually be hiking Boucher Trail until about a mile after hiking along Dripping Springs Trail.
The first “Boucher Trail” view is the Esplanade Sandstone, visible as you head northward along its rim. Along the way, you’ll also spot a few drainage spots before reaching the campground.
Beyond the campground (which is spectacular at the cost of helicopter noise), the Esplanade opens onto Travertine Canyon, a rigorous and dynamic section of hiking requiring climbing skills. Erosion has really eaten away at the stone here, so be extremely cautious when crossing.
The next risky section along the trail is the descent toward Tonto Trail. The going here is steep and physically demanding as well as elusive- as stated before, erosion has really done its best to disfigure the face of the canyon along this section. Instead of a proper sign, you’ll know you’ve reached Tonto Trail by the huge cairn marking the path. From this post, turn northwest toward Boucher Creek and the Colorado River.
For a southern trail, Boucher Trail is one of the most challenging and dangerous. Keep in mind that this is a primitive trail and should you get lost (which is likely given the faint path and nonexistent signs) or injured, official assistance is unlikely. Much of the trail, especially along the Supai and Redwall Formations are badly affected by erosion, rendering the area a hazard. Only experienced hikers (experienced in reading maps and climbing) should consider this trail.