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The Classic Grand Canyon Challenge: Rim to River

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Road Scholar
Program #8144RJ
6 Days | 5 Nights
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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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 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 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!

Marianne Fraser Dec 08, 2013 at 12:21 AM

Hi--A "fitness prep" question--how many flights of stairs should we be able to climb in order to comfortably hike out of the Grand Canyon? Thank you!
Stanley Oberg Dec 08, 2013 at 12:52 AM

I did this trip in April, 2013. I am in very good shape from trail running, but I was encouraged to walk up and down stairs. I found a parking garage with 4 flights of stairs. One time I walked up and down those stairs for one hour without stopping. Another time, I did the same thing, but I had a backpack full of magazines for weight. Again one entire hour without stopping. Since I experienced no soreness, no abnormal fatigue as a result, I figured I was good to go. If you need to build up to that level, do so gradually. I do recommend the one hour with a heavy pack. It's a long way down and a long way up. Most of my group were far more fatigued, stiff, and sore after the descent than after the ascent. It's a great trip! you will enjoy it.
Marianne Fraser Dec 08, 2013 at 10:24 PM

Thank you--very helpful!

Terry Percival Nov 24, 2013 at 01:03 PM

Is a good-sized day pack adequate for the "Rim to River" hike, or is a full-sized pack necessary?

Hi Terry, we recommend a 'day and a half' pack. It should have both a waist belt and sternum strap and have more support than the usual day pack. You do not need a full-sized pack to comfortably pack the needed gear for the Phantom Ranch trip. It should have capacity of 2200-3100 cubic inches. Having a padded waist belt is a big help as well as a place for a hydration bladder (camelbak or other). Let us know if you have additional questions.

Dolores Wilson Nov 23, 2013 at 09:38 AM

Do Road Scholar participants have free entry in private car to the Grand Canyon National Park?
Helen Sternheim Nov 23, 2013 at 08:24 PM

If you are a US citizen and over 62 you can purchase a Senior Pass at any national park. pass lasts for yur lifetime.

Also, in case you or someone in your car doesn't have or is not eligible for the Senior Pass, the fee is $25 for a private car to enter the park. That will cover you for a week in and out of the park and for the N. Rim too, when it's open. More information on park entrance and the options may be found at:

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

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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