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GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, ARIZONA

The Classic Grand Canyon Challenge: Rim to River

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Walking/Hiking

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Road Scholar
Program #8144RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
ACTIVITY LEVEL: Challenging
While all of our learning adventures offer extraordinary value, our "Best Value" programs were rated by our participants themselves who thought their dollar went particularly far.
Love to learn in a small-group setting? This collection of programs has at most 10-24 participants.
See our Small Group programs.
EasyFor people looking to exercise their minds more than their bodies. There’s minimal walking and not too many stairs.
ModerateThese programs get you on your feet and include activities such as walking up to a mile in a day through a city and standing in a museum for a few hours.
ActiveFor people who enjoy walking as much as two miles a day, perhaps to explore historic neighborhoods or a nature trail.
Moderately ChallengingFor hardy explorers who enjoy a good physical challenge, spending most of their days on the go.
ChallengingGet ready to keep up with our highest-energy group. These demanding — and rewarding — programs are for seasoned outdoor enthusiasts.
Discussion Board

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Barbara Friedman Jul 17, 2014 at 11:23 PM

We are hoping to do this trip, but after looking at weather for the March 2015 we are concerned about ice on the trail. is that less of a problem if we postpone until the fall. The cold is less of the concern that difficult walking conditions
Robert Simpson Aug 03, 2014 at 11:24 PM

You are right to be concerned. A couple of years ago I tried to take a grandson down the Bright Angel to Indian Gardens, but had to give up after we both fell due to ice on the trail. I don't know what RoadScholar does about refunds in such circumstances.
Robert Simpson Aug 03, 2014 at 11:25 PM

Forgot to say our hike was in early March.

Barbara, we provide in-step crampons which grip the ice for all of our participants. We actually use them on our practice hike so everyone can see how secure they make you feel on an icy trail (along with hiking poles). They aren't really needed for more than about the first mile, if at all. Everyone is amazed at how well they work and they don't add much extra weight. I would not let the presence of ice keep me from signing up during March. Ice may keep others off the trails, but not Road Scholar! This time of year there are fewer people in the Canyon which makes the experience even better.


Catherine L Jun 29, 2014 at 09:44 AM

Looking forward to the 09/22/14 hike !

We're looking forward to having you!


MELISSA TOWN Jun 16, 2014 at 01:08 PM

My husband and I have been talking about doing this trip, but the warnings are off-putting. We hike the Olympic National Park/Forest pretty regularly--what level of difficulty would be good to practice for this trip?

Hi Melissa, Thanks for your inquiry. We intentionally make the warnings severe since this is one of the most difficult hikes in the Road Scholar Catalog. We have a 4,600’ elevation change on our hike down day and hike out day. Highest elevation is 7,000’ and our lowest elevation is 2,400’. When participants don’t take the training seriously they can arrive unprepared and may not be able to make the hike. We are concerned that anyone not prepared will slow the rest of the group down and/or jeopardize group safety. Our program materials – which generally arrive 2-3 months ahead of the program start date -- state: We recommend that you do aerobic exercise 5 days a week. By aerobic we mean something that makes you hot sweaty and breathing hard! One of these days should be putting some serious miles in the boots you are planning on wearing on the program, with your pack on with weight in your pack. Step exercises, a Stair Master, a stairwell in a tall building (or stadium), bleachers at the local high school, or bicycling are highly recommended, as they will strengthen the leg muscles you will rely upon the most. If hiking is not an option, then stairs are on absolute must. One of the best ways to train for a Grand Canyon hike is a stairwell with a backpack on your back carrying at least 15 lbs. in your pack. Go both up and down stairs, over and over, and OVER. Real stairs are better than a stair machine, because it works both the up and down muscles. You can use anything to weight your pack such as telephone books, canned foods, etc. In addition to building strength you will need to counteract the effects of the thinner air at Grand Canyon by building cardiovascular stamina. Swimming, running, and cycling are great for the lungs and cardiovascular system. You should be doing these aerobic exercises five days a week from now until your backpack begins. In addition to having well broken in boots, do your practice hikes wearing the boots you plan to use on the hike. This will get your feet used to the actual boots that you will wear during the trip. The better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy your trip. If you take your training seriously – and it certainly sounds like you do or you wouldn’t have inquired -- you should have no trouble with the difficulty of this trip. We also call each participant prior to the trip to answer questions and find out how their training regimen is progressing. We find, after running this program for over 10 years, that this system works well and a greater number of participants arrive well-prepared and with diminished anxiety about this epic hike. Feel free to call us at 800-411-3086 if you have additional questions or concerns.


David Mulligan Feb 07, 2014 at 07:51 PM

At the end of this trip on Thurs March 13, I will be driving to the San Francisco Bay Area, specifically Santa Cruz CA. I'm looking to see if anyone is interested in sharing the ride?


Jodi Abbott Jan 29, 2014 at 10:34 AM

When I signed up for this hike I thought we were hiking from the North Rim to the South Rim, across the Canyon. Doesn't look like that's the case? Guess I should have read the details instead of being in such a rush to get a spot!

Hi Jodi, you can transfer to the Rim to Rim backpacking program #2113 for the 5/14/14 date as there are still spaces available. Likewise there are openings in the 9/14 2113 program though that date may change once we secure the permits in May. Please call Road Scholar or NAU Road Scholar if you have any questions. We want your Grand Canyon experience to be everything you are looking for! Our number in Flagstaff is 800-411-3086 and Road Scholar is (800) 454-5768.


Andrea Zeimet Jan 13, 2014 at 06:29 AM

We have filled out our health information online. Do we also have to send in a hard copy to NAU with the shuttle questionnaire? I am unclear on this. Thanks!

Hi Andrea, you do not have to send the form in. Feel free to email us the info or scan and email to roadscholarprograms@nau.edu We are trying to get away from you having to get out a stamp, so this should work. Thanks for your question and we hope you are having fun training for your upcoming program.

Andrea, you do not have to send in a hard copy of the PIF form. Sorry, I just reread your question.


Sherry Sisson Jan 04, 2014 at 09:52 PM

Do you have a recommended packing list?

Sherry, did you receive a welcome packet yet? If not, feel free to contact us at roadscholarprograms@nau.edu and we'll get one out to you ASAP.


Michael Balster Jan 03, 2014 at 12:09 PM

WE will be driving in. Will we be able to park our car the duration of the trip at the lodge?

Hi Michael, yes, you will be able to park your car at the lodge during the program. You can also check luggage at the front desk of the lodge in case you don't want to leave things in your car. Enjoy your adventure to Phantom Ranch!


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Our Value Promise To You

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Included
at no additional cost on this date ...
5 nights of accommodations
14 meals: 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 5 dinners
3 Expert-led lectures
7 Field trips

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