During most of the year, the only way to enjoy the eight-mile Hermit Road (formerly known as West Rim Drive) is to take advantage of the free shuttle provided by the National Park Service. The “shuttle only” policy was implemented to avoid traffic congestion, not to mention accidents along this rim-hugging thoroughfare. Given that park visitation drops dramatically in the winter, the road is open to private vehicles from December through February.
Regardless of how you travel, the views from the eight Hermit Road overlooks are some of the best in the park. Architect Mary Jane Colter’s historic Hermits Rest can be found at the end of the road. Enjoying a cup of hot coffee and rocking before the structure’s magnificent fireplace is a great way to cap a wintry day.
Note: Given its close proximity to the edge, Hermit Road is typically closed immediately following any measurable snow as it is the last pavement to be plowed by the NPS.