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Hiking Arizona’s Marble Canyon and Vermilion Cliffs: Off-the-Beaten-Path

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Program #6113RJ

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7 Days | 6 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. 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.
Edda from Massanutten, VA Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 04/06/15 - 04/12/15
Great trip. Mike Young is a great leader. Hiking was challenging, to enjoy it you should be in good/great shape.

Linda from Kirkland, WA Number of programs attended: 3
Date attended: 03/08/15 - 03/14/15
This is a fabulous program that proved to be a personal wake-up call for me. As a result of this hiking experience, I plan to be in much better condition for my next 'challenging' Road Scholar program. I'm really glad I participated in this Marble Canyon event.

Charlene from Lodi, CA Number of programs attended: 10
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/04/14
This hiking experience was a strenuous, adventure-packed week of discovery for me in many ways. Sometimes I felt like a cross between a rock-hopper penguin and Spiderman, as we hiked, scaled, scrambled, and squeezed our way off the beaten path. Our knowledgeable, informative, and careful guides led us from cliff tops to slot canyons while teaching us about the monumental and diverse forces that continue to shape the landscape. As one of the slowest and most tentative of the participants, I appreciated the support and comraderie my companions as we traversed the various landscapes. We experienced the grandeur of the area in many ways, from the moments of silence, to the humorous anecdotes of our group. For me, it was in some ways uncomfortable in its physical demands, but I experienced a great sense of accomplishment and increased confidence in my abilities. Any participants in this adventure should be in excellent physical shape and ready to experience an incredible landscape in a way that few people are privileged to do.

Nancy from Largo, FL Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 10/19/14 - 10/25/14
This turned out to be a physical, emotional and spiritual experience. The hikes were demanding and required strength and commitment that resulted in a feeling of "I did it!" The accomplishment was made with group support and fostered an emotional tie among members and leaders. All this was done in a setting so beautiful and vast that the spirit was refreshed. Do this program if you are physically fit!

Michael from Atlanta, GA Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 10/19/14 - 10/25/14
This program definitely lives up to its billing as both challenging and remote. I did the trip that spent the entire time at Marble Canyon. As a group we pushed the envelope of endurance and went to breathtakingly beautiful and rugged locations. In four full days of hiking we saw only five other hikers. I am 73 and came to this program after previously hiking the Grand Canyon rim to rim, Mounts Mitchell & Washington as well as Pike's Peak, and Kilimanjaro in the last 5 years. It is a trip that will strengthen your heart and bring joy to your soul. October 27, 2014

Lillian from Leasburg, MO Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/04/14
We gained lots of confidence in ourselves on this trip. We scrambled over rocks and climbed up to incredibly high pinnacles!! We squeezed through narrow canyons and slid down ropes into incredible rock formation canyons. The hike on the Kaibab Trail was challenging but doable and very informative. The guides were very knowledgeable about the geology of the area. They were very supportive, encouraging and helpful in getting us up around and through all the various challenges we had. It was a fabulous trip. The scenery is breathtaking and we are looking forward to going back and doing another trip in the near future!

Barbara from Unionville, CT Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/04/14
Fantastic! The places we went were beautiful, high up and way down. Leader Mike (and Mike) so knowledgeable about geology, plants, animals, and more. He kept us laughing and guessing about next challenge. Group dynamics great! Accommodations comfortable with helpful, welcoming staff esp in Marble Canyon. Program definitely challenging!

Alan from Leasburg, MO Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/04/14
Beautiful scenery, renewed confidence in abilities, highly educational, checked off item on bucket list, comfortable accommodations, full days of activity, great hikes and scrambling off trails (loved it), secluded adventures for our group, friendly people in group and staff, Went to top of the world at Cathedral to under ground slot canyons at Waterhole

Gayle from Fort Myers, FL Number of programs attended: 7
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/04/14
This really tapped into my inner Tomasina Sawyer. Every morning waking up knowing our leader, Mike, had a new adventure planned which would take us up, up, up or down, down, down....and loving every moment. The destinations were superb, but the real delight was truly in the process of getting there. I stopped at an Anasazi settlement on my way home with the cave dwellings nestled in the cliffs half way between the growing of crops on the rim and the access to water far below. I've always asked myself, "How in the world did they do that?" I now have an inkling........

Valerie from McKeesport, PA Number of programs attended: 2
Date attended: 09/28/14 - 10/04/14
Exceptional trip with a variety of fun and challenging terrain. Each day offered different breathtaking views and the leaders were extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and fun.

Cathy from Boise, ID Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
I waited for several months to write my review because I thought maybe the “high” I felt afterward would wear off. Maybe it really wasn't as awesome as I gushed to everyone when I got home. Well, it was real, folks, and had everything I love: lots of hiking, lots of red rocks, solitude, beauty, new knowledge of plants, animals, and geology, fantastic group, and the best guides: Mike Young and Charles Goodrich. Oh yeah, and laughter, so much laughter! And...a few long moments of...quiet...listening...just being there, including the best one while floating on the Colorado. But here's the very best part: after I figured out what “off the beaten path” hiking involved, I started calling the experience “Outward Bound for Fogies.” After you have squeezed down through a sandstone crack, rappelled off a rock face, walked and run across inclined surfaces (“trust your boots!,”) and climbed/descended through many, many rocks which may or may not have achieved their angle of repose, and which are definitely not glued down, you have a new awareness of yourself and what you are capable of. I'm still on that same “high.”

Carolyn from Pleasanton, CA Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
Absolutely LOVED the experience and plan to do another Road Scholar Program. My sister and I shared this time together as first timers. We both love hiking and can't seem to stop talking about what we did and that we were thrilled by every turn of every day! Wonderful!

Gavin from Waterville, OH Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
This is an excellent hike, climb, scramble and the leader Mike Young made sure that we were given the information to do the climbs and the slides and the repelling. This is definitely a level six Road Scholar program and if you consider it you should be in really good shape. Make sure you wear hi-top rugged boots, have hiking poles and 2-3 liter bottles for water. Mike gave excellent instructions each day what to take and that helped. Charles, the second leader, was the back up and made sure the end of the line was fine. Together they were an awesome combination and I felt safe even on some really challenging adventures. Mike's knowledge of flowers and creatures and geology was astounding! What amazed me was the whole group of 18 did all of the hikes except one optional hike and the Cathedral Rock. This was the first time in 6 programs that was the case. I think part of that was Mike's ability to instruct us all about the art of climbing, sliding on our back-side and "monster walking" in sand. I never felt that we were put at risk even though the days were very tough and challenging. The food was excellent and the kitchen staff made every effort to serve us well. They even made vegetarian and gluten-free meals for some. That was great. This is an adventure that I recommend only to those who are able to do strenuous hikes and love to be in the desert. It was the best program I have been on and the combination of all that I have mentioned made this a few days that will live with me for the rest of my life. I think this is one of Road Scholar's premiere programs!

Ann from Peoria, IL Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
This was a fantastic program in all respects. Be sure to take a "camelback"and good hiking shoes!

Linda from Kailua Kona, HI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
As with many others, this was my first Road Scholar trip. I had no expectations but loved every day and the challenges that were presented physically. I gained new skills for my hiking "tool belt" and am in awe at my accomplishments. This venture is not for the light hearted as the hiking was strenuous but the leaders encouraged and "pulled" us all along allowing us to prove that we could do it. This "off the beaten path" trip takes you on unmarked trails with only your group. The passion for the outdoors and nature was evident with our great leaders, Mike Young and Charles Goodrich. Remember everyone: "It's not the distance but what you see along the way." (As quoted by our leader Mike - Thank you.)

Mary from Rohnert Park, CA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
We were hoping for a physical challenge as well as a glimpse of a place unique and photogenic. Our expectations were vastly exceeded. Flying over this rugged and vivid stretch of Arizona evokes the question, "Is it possible to hike down there?" It is, and we did! We viewed the sky from chasms deep in the earth, and viewed the earth from high outcroppings made of sandstone the color and texture of finely ground gemstones. "Off the Beaten Track" lives up to it's name--the trails are not widely known or easily accessed. Our extraordinary guides were the energizers, enlightening, encouraging, and supporting us. They also kept us in stitches, while expertly preventing anyone from actually needing stitches.

Katherine from Honolulu, HI Number of programs attended: 1
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
This program allows access to a part of the Southwest that most would probably not see without knowledgeable guides, as we did. The information that was imparted during the trip was mind-boggling. It was all done in a fun and friendly fashion. The trip exceeded our expectations ! We would return again.

Ellen from Silver Spring, MD Number of programs attended: 6
Date attended: 04/06/14 - 04/12/14
This is an amazing hiking adventure. I had previously done the combined Marble Canyon/Grand Canyon trip and wanted to get back as a more experienced hiker and to spend the entire week at Marble Canyon. It exceeded my expectations for a challenge and enjoyment and Mike Young is still one of the best leaders ever!

Geraldine from Sarasota, FL Number of programs attended: 9
Date attended: 10/27/13 - 11/02/13
The Marble Canyon trip takes one to an area, not well known, but very beautiful. The Vermillion canyons and the start of the Colorado River rafting is inspiring, followed by the visit to the Grand Canyon which is a must see for all of us. This was my third visit to the canyons and it still took my breath away!!

Linda from Manson, WA Number of programs attended: 4
Date attended: 10/27/13 - 11/02/13
What an amazing program. If you love off the trail hiking -- this is the program for you. Beautiful views every direction. Challenging hikes but not over the top. Very knowledgeable, organized, friendly leaders who made you feel comfortable right from the beginning. This is my third hiking program with Road Scholar and each one has been fabulous!! Go hiking!!

David from Ann Arbor, MI Number of programs attended: 11
Date attended: 10/13/13 - 10/19/13
I have been on many RoadScholar hiking adventures, and the hiking experience in Marble Canyon has them all beat. Indeed, this was "off the beaten path" in that you would never find these day hikes on your own. Once the van turned off the road, the only hikers were from RoadScholar. The one caution: This experience is for hikers that want adventure; if you want to just hike long distances each day find another hiking experience. Another: Good hiking skills are required; this adventure is challenging. Our leader, Mike Young is outstanding in every way; I cannot say enough good things about him.

Eileen from Ann Arbor, MI Number of programs attended: 21
Date attended: 10/13/13 - 10/19/13
This is an excellent program that definitely lives up to its designation as "Challenging." While the hikes are not particularly long, each involves extra challenges -- steep uphills, lots of rock scrambling, rappelling down a rock face, unmarked trails, hiking uphill on a very sandy slope, and more. The dramatic canyon walls, views from on high, amazing rock formations -- the rewards make all the effort worthwhile. Mike and Charles were excellent guides and leaders, always encouraging us and being ready to give us help when the trail was particularly difficult. Mike clearly enjoys sharing his extensive knowledge of the plants, geology, and history of the area. For the week of our program, we were scheduled to spend the entire time in Marble Canyon. Although there were some changes due to the government shutdown and subsequent park closures, Mike substituted hikes that were equally outstanding. Fortunately the Glen Canyon area opened in time for us to enjoy our motorized raft trip through the canyon. The Marble Canyon Lodge was clean and comfortable, although below the standards of most places that we have stayed on RS trips. However, there simply aren't other accommodations in the area, and this location allowed us to reach our hikes after very short drives. The food at the lodge was generally OK, with excellent breakfast buffets and one outstanding barbecue dinner. Despite the fire in early summer than destroyed part of the complex, the staff did their best to meet our needs. If you have a sense of adventure and enjoy challenges in a beautiful setting, this trip is a great choice. Please email me at emknesper@gmail.com if you have questions about our experiences on the program. I have posted pictures from our trip at https://marblecanyonroadscholar2013.shutterfly.com/. and you can read my blog entries at http://emknesper.blogspot.com/.

Ann from Silver Spring, MD Number of programs attended: 13
Date attended: 09/29/13 - 10/05/13
Guides great as was the hiking group. Due to the govt. shutdown couldn't get to the Grand Canyon and other places....guides did a good job of finding alternative hikes. However, The Marble Canyon Lodge and food was way below par.

Barbara from Hayward, CA Number of programs attended: 13
Date attended: 09/29/13 - 10/05/13
It is hard to write a review for a program that was halved by the shutdown of our Federal Government! The Marble Canyon experiences - expanded due to the loss of Grand Canyon - were simply marvelous. There is so very much life in this environment that can seem to lacking in life. Our leaders did a great job of lining up adventurous hikes and called our attention to plant life and critters that we encountered on the way. Geology, too. Lots of geology in them thar rocks! The members of the Marble Canyon community were very welcoming, friendly and helpful, too.

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"Reflections in the Colorado River" Uploaded By: Eileen
"Reflections in the Colorado River" Uploaded By: Eileen

"Climbing Cathedral Rock at Lee's Ferry" Uploaded By: Eileen

"Amazing canyon scenery" Uploaded By: Eileen

"Rappelling in Waterholes Slot Canyon" Uploaded By: James Attended: 04/17/11 - 04/23/11

"Paria River from cliff opening" Uploaded By: James Attended: 04/17/11 - 04/23/11

"Hiking in Marble Canyon" Uploaded By: Sandy Attended: 11/01/09 - 11/07/09
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"Hiking Grand Canyon: An Incredible Experience" Uploaded By: linda Attended: 10/31/10 - 11/06/10

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Our Value Promise To You

You won't find a better value.

at no additional cost on this date ...
6 nights of accommodations
17 meals: 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 6 dinners
2 Expert-led lectures
5 Field trips


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