Commissioned by the Fred Harvey Company and designed by Mary Colter in 1913, this low-flung stone building is the South Rim's westernmost scenic overlook (note that the overlook remains open when the building closes). It houses a small gift shop and a walk-up window, with sandwiches, ice cream and snacks, and there are restrooms. In the back, past the bustle of visitors, you'll find a lovely picnic area in the desert scrub, quiet views and the Hermit Trailhead.
Hermits Rest is named after Louis Boucher (aka ‘the Hermit’), who came to the canyon from Canada in 1889 with hopes of finding his fortune as a prospector. Boucher lived at Dripping Springs, several miles below the rim, for 20 years, and offered tourists guided trips to his home and orchards there. He never did strike it rich, and eventually sold the upper portions of his trail to the Santa Fe Railroad and Fred Harvey Company, and moved to Utah.
In 1913 the railway also completed the 8.5-mile trail from the rim down to Hermit Camp. A predecessor to Phantom Ranch 10 years later, Hermit Camp, which closed in 1930, offered intrepid travelers tent cabins, restrooms, showers and meals. Colter’s beautiful stone-and-wood shelter offered tourists a place to freshen up before descending by mule into the canyon or after the arduous journey back to the rim.