The Best of Sedona: Natural and Cultural Landscapes in Red Rock Country
Immerse yourself in the story of Sedona as you join local experts to learn about and explore ancient cliff dwellings, iconic Red Rocks, a heritage railway and the majestic Grand Canyon.
Rating (4.82)
Program No. 1062RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Sedona, AZ
Hilton Sedona Resort

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the conference room to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, and to learn when and where the Orientation session will take place. If your arrival is delayed, please ask for your packet when you check in. Orientation: At 5:30 p.m. the Group Leader will greet everyone with a warm welcome and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration offering opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may be changed due to local conditions/circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: At the hotel restaurant, we will have a buffet meal that includes an entrée that varies by night, plus a choice of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

Geology, Sedona's Best Loved Sites, Festival of Lights
Sedona, AZ
Hilton Sedona Resort

Activity note: Today there will be minimal walking required while enjoying stops during a tour of Sedona; walking up to 1/2 mile on cobblestones and pavement during Festival of Lights.

Breakfast: Breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Daily options to include: fresh fruit; eggs; breakfast meats; potatoes; French Toast; hot and cold cereals; assorted fruit juices; coffee; etc.

Morning: At the hotel, we will be joined by a Grand Canyon geologist and Professor Emeritus of Geology at Northern Arizona University for a presentation on the geologic story of Sedona and the surrounding area.

Lunch: At the hotel restaurant, we will have a plated meal with a choice of entrée, plus coffee, tea, or water.

Afternoon: Set out for a riding exploration of Sedona with our Group Leader, seeing some of the towns most beloved sites including a stop at the famous Chapel of the Holy Cross. During our exploration, learn about the history, geology, climate, flora, and fauna of the area. As we explore, we will have photo opportunities at some scenic vistas. In late afternoon we arrive to the Mexican Arts village of Tlaquepaque to attend the annual lighting of the luminarias. The Festival of Lights is a true community event with carolers, a variety of musical acts, Santa Claus and over 6,000 luminarias.

Dinner: At a restaurant in Sedona, we will have a plated meal with an entrée that varies each night, plus a choice of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Return to the hotel in Sedona in the late evening to enjoy some rest after your full day.

Full-Day Field Trip to Grand Canyon National Park
Sedona, AZ
Hilton Sedona Resort

Activity note: Drive is about 115 miles, taking approximately 2.5 hours each way. Walking approximately 1 mile on mostly flat, paved or dirt trails.Longer walking/hiking opportunities available in the afternoon where participants have a little free time to explore rim trails or descend into the canyon along the Bright Angel Trail.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the hotel restaurant.

Morning: After an early breakfast, travel Hwy 89A, one of Arizona's most scenic byways, through Oak Creek Canyon, and up its famous switchbacks en route to the Grand Canyon's South Rim. Visit the southwestern corner of the Navajo Reservation and the Cameron Trading Post. Then enter Grand Canyon National Park at its east entrance where the Desert View Watchtower comes into view. This stunning stone structure was designed by Mary Jane Colter, a renowned architect and designer for the Fred Harvey Company and Santa Fe Railroad. The view of the Colorado River from here is unmatched anywhere else along the rim. A naturalist will accompany you on your journey, revealing the Grand Canyon's unique geologic, biologic and historic features while you have the opportunity to walk along the Canyon's rim. You'll see Grand Canyon Village, where you may tour historic buildings and see Native American arts/crafts and other souvenirs in village shops. Colter also designed of some the most impressive structures in the historic Grand Canyon Village including Hopi House, Bright Angel Lodge and Lookout Studio. You may even see an endangered California condor soaring overhead as you gaze into the Canyon's depths below.

Lunch: At the Grand Canyon, we will have a sack lunch including a sandwich, chips, and fruit.

Afternoon: At the end of our field trip, we will begin our return journey to Sedona. Don't forget to take one last look across to the Canyon's North Rim, 10 miles away as the raven flies, before settling into your seat and recapping the 1.8 billion year layer cake of earth's history you've just seen in person!

Dinner: Late dinner at the hotel restaurant.

Evening: Enjoy the remainder of your evening at leisure after your full day at the Grand Canyon.

Sedona Special Presentation, Western Ballads & Tales
Sedona, AZ
Hilton Sedona Resort

Activity note: A free afternoon gives participants the opportunity to explore Sedona on their own. Numerous hiking trail abound for those that want to stretch their legs.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet.

Morning: At the hotel, we will hear a presentation that will expand our knowledge on the area that may cover a diverse array of topics from an archaeologist providing information on the prehistoric peoples of the Sedona region, a local artist or historian, or information about Sedona's film history.

Lunch: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions.

Afternoon: Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Sedona has many options to offer visitors from fascinating art galleries, hiking the thrilling red rock trails, or taking a “Pink Jeep” out and explore Sedona’s back country and archaeological sites. Enjoy the resort's numerous pools and spa amenities (note: additional spa fee may apply).The Group Leader will be happy to offer additional suggestions.

Dinner: Buffet meal from hotel restaurant.

Evening: At the hotel, we will be joined by local musicians who will perform their western ballads and tales. Our performers are frequent guests at Southwest cowboy poet festivals and have been delighting Road Scholar participants for more than a decade. Then prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

Montezuma Castle, Verde Canyon Railroad & Program Wrap-Up
Sedona, AZ
Hilton Sedona Resort

Activity note: The drive to Montezuma Castle National Monument is about 30 miles, approximately 45 minutes. Walking about 1 mile; flat, paved trails. The Verde Canyon Railroad travels 40 miles, approximately 4 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet.

Morning: We’ll depart on a field trip to Montezuma Castle National Monument. This 5-story, 20-room cliff dwelling is nestled in a limestone recess high above the flood plain of Beaver Creek in the Verde Valley. It is one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America, constructed approximately 600 years ago by the Sinagua Indians.

Lunch: At a local restaurant we will enjoy an Asian buffet.

Afternoon: Take a leisurely afternoon ride on the Verde Canyon Railroad as the 40 mile route follows the Verde River with commentary. Ride in comfort in renovated passenger and open air cars as we journey at a slow pace mostly near the canyon bottom. Along the route, we will pass red rock pinnacles, crossing bridges, passing Indian ruins, and riding through a 680-foot man-made tunnel. Keep your eyes out for native plants and animals including the over 30 eagles that winter in this scenic area.

Dinner: Plated meal at a local restaurant.

Evening: With our Group Leader, we will have a program wrap-up and reflect on our experiences. Share your favorite memories from the program with new Road Scholar friends. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

Program Concludes

Breakfast: Hotel restaurant buffet.

Morning: The program concludes with breakfast. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Please join our Facebook page and share photos of your program. Visit us at www.facebook.com/rsadventures. Best wishes for all your journeys!

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