Northern Arizona’s Cultures and Canyons and Western Grand Canyon Rafting
Come discover the many wonders of Northern Arizona as you raft the Colorado River, explore Meteor Crater, learn about native cultures and ride a helicopter above the Grand Canyon!
Rating (4.83)
Program No. 1076RJ
7 days
Starts at
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 4 L 6 D
Getting There
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Registration, Orientation and Introductions
Flagstaff, Ariz.
La Quinta Inn and Suites Flagstaff

Afternoon: Hotel Check in after 3:00 PM. Rooms may be available earlier based upon demand, call hotel for request. Northern Arizona University Road Scholar program registration from 4:30 - 5:15 PM in the hotel meeting room. Meet your program coordinator and receive your program folder, name tag, the up to date schedule and other important information we will review during Orientation. Following registration, in the hotel meeting room, your coordinator will provide an in-depth program orientation, review the schedule and lead group introductions. Come prepare for an adventurous week of learning and new friends! Please be aware that program activities and scheduled times could change due to local circumstances. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

Dinner: Dinner at a local restaurant. Along with a hot entree selection enjoy an endless Salad Bar with over 50 fresh items including seasonal and specialty salads, just picked vegetables and fresh fruits, soups, hot appetizers and cool desserts. Note: that alcoholic beverages are not available at this restaurant.

Evening: At leisure. Take the rest of the evening to settle in, relax, and get a good night's sleep for the full day ahead tomorrow.

Museum of Northern Arizona and Walnut Canyon Nat'l Monument
Flagstaff, Ariz.
La Quinta Inn and Suites Flagstaff

Activity note: The paved, one mile (round trip) Island Trail at Walnut Canyon descends 185 feet by a series of 240 steps into the canyon. This trail affords access to many cliff dwellings and interpretive signs. At an elevation of 6,700 feet, park rangers do urge caution, since climbing the 240 steps back up can tax heart and lungs. The 3/4 mile Rim Trail is a paved and level trail with easy access to great canyon views and to a series of pueblo ruins and interpretive signs.

Breakfast: Deluxe continental breakfast at the hotel to include waffles, hard boiled eggs, fresh fruits, pastries, bagels, cereals, muffins, juices, milk and coffee.

Morning: To begin our adventure and better acquaint ourselves with the native cultures and natural history of the Grand Canyon region we will engage in a docent lead tour of the Museum of Northern Arizona (MNA). The MNA has evolved into a regional center of learning with collections, exhibits, educational programs, publications, and research projects. Museum of Northern Arizona is the premier museum dedicated to the cultural and natural history of the Colorado Plateau. Free time to explore the museum on your own will be provided.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we will have a choice of entrees including soup, salads, pasta, burgers, and more, plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, lemonade, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Returning to the vans, we will ride 20 minutes to Walnut Canyon National Monument for a field trip to the Sinagua ruins, visitor center, and museum. At Walnut Canyon, our naturalist will provide the group with an overview of the monument’s features followed by a choice of two hikes. Descend into the canyon proper on the Island Trail to come face to face with ancient Pueblo cliff dwellings. For those who choose not to go into the canyon, enjoy a lovely walk along the rim with excellent views from where the Sinagua Ruins are accessible. Walnut Canyon is a spectacular scenic attraction in its own right and contains diverse plant and animal communities to be enjoyed from all vantage points. We will return to Flagstaff in the mid-afternoon with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.

Dinner: At a festive local Greek restaurant, enjoy a selection of entrees for all palates, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At the hotel, we will have an introduction to the region’s geology with an emphasis on the Grand Canyon presented by a local expert. Gain a background on the forces that created this world wonder which will then make your next day’s field trip to the Grand Canyon even more meaningful.

Grand Canyon National Park Day Trip
Flagstaff, Ariz.
La Quinta Inn and Suites Flagstaff

Activity note: Travel distance is 105 miles to Grand Canyon via Cameron (2.5 hours drive time) with stops along the way. 80 miles (1.75 hours) Grand Canyon to Flagstaff return. Up to one mile walking on paved rim paths at 7,000 feet elevation in park.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Depart for a full day field trip to Grand Canyon National Park. During our journey, we will be accompanied by a naturalist who will reveal the unique geologic, biologic, and historic features of the Grand Canyon. En route, visit the southwestern corner of the Navajo Reservation and Cameron, site of the Cameron Trading Post. We will enter Grand Canyon National Park at Desert View overlook where we can enjoy sweeping views of the Colorado River, the North Rim and Mary Jane Colter's Watchtower. The Watchtower is an interpretation of a prehistoric "tower kiva" with lavishly painted interior walls by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. We will visit the Grand Canyon Village, where you may see historic buildings and numerous Native American influences. We may even see an endangered California condor soaring overhead as you gaze out at the Canyon. This is a big long day - worthy of one the worlds grandest natural wonders!

Lunch: Enjoy a prepared sack lunch in the field.

Afternoon: Your coordinator will plan and discuss afternoon activities depending on group interest and weather conditions. Return to Flagstaff in the mid-afternoon.

Dinner: At a local restaurant in Flagstaff, enjoy a meal with some southwestern flair popular with locals and visitors alike, plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Rest and relax at the hotel following a long day’s exploration.

Meteor Crater and La Posada Hotel
Flagstaff, Ariz.
La Quinta Inn and Suites Flagstaff

Activity note: Drive is approximately 1 hour to Meteor Crater; drive 1/2 hour further to La Posada. Walk approximately 1 mile along the crater’s rim.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Drive to Meteor Crater, the Earth’s best preserved meteorite impact site. With an experienced local expert, walk along the rim of the crater that has been used by both Hollywood and Nasa for training of the Apollo Astronauts. Along with fantastic crater views, there will be time to explore the adjacent museum with excellent displays on exhibits on discovery, exploration, and ongoing research. It is the most heavily studied impact crater, crucial to our modern understanding of the science of impact craters. Depart the Meteor Crater for our drive to La Posada Hotel.

Lunch: Lunch at the Turquoise Room, the restaurant in the La Posada Hotel. The Turquoise Room, one of the southwest's unique restaurants, describes itself as Regional Contemporary Southwestern with an occasional tribute to the great days of the Fred Harvey Company. using the finest and freshest ingredients.

Afternoon: Enjoy some time on your own to explore the historic and fascinating interior and environs of the La Posada Hotel. La Posada was one of the many sites where the Harvey Girls worked through the first half of the 20th century. These waitresses changed the perception of waitressing thanks to their excellent service and moral character in restaurants established throughout the Southwest by Fred Harvey while assisting the still-developing tourism industry. In the mid-afternoon, we will return to the hotel.

Dinner: Dinner in Flagstaff at a local restaurant.

Evening: After dinner your coordinator will conduct a brief river trip preparation session. River day logistics, river conditions and what to wear will be discussed.

Morning Presentation and Travel to Peach Springs
Peach Springs
Hualapai Lodge

Activity note: Drive from Flagstaff to Peach Springs is 115 miles, approximately 2 hours.

Breakfast: At the restaurant adjacent to the hotel at your leisure, order from the menu with a choice of beverage.

Morning: Enjoy a morning presentation centered on the Native American cultures of the region. The Navajo, Hopi, Hualapai and Havasupai are but a few tribes that call the Grand Canyon home. A tribal member of one of the area tribes will share with the group their culture and heritage. Load luggage mid-morning and depart for downtown Flagstaff. A leisurely walking tour of downtown will bring to life the unique charms of this mountain town.

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

Afternoon: Depart Flagstaff for Peach Springs and the Hualapai Nation. Travel an original stretch of historic route 66. Look for Burma Shave signs and enjoy the wide open view along the way. Check into our hotel by 4:30 PM. The Hualapai Lodge is a modern tribal owned lodge offering comfortable accommodations and access to the more remote and wild western end of the Grand Canyon.

Dinner: At the Hualapai lodge, we will have a buffet featuring a buffet with a different entrée each night, plus coffee, tea, water. Alcoholic beverages are not available on the Hualapai Reservation.

Evening: Enjoy an evening presentation on a subject of local interest. Depending on availability of speakers - subjects may include Arizona ranching history, Hualapai Culture, Black Footed Ferret re-introduction or Colorado River History and issues to name a few.

Grand Canyon White Water Rafting and Helicopter Trip
Peach Springs
Hualapai Lodge

Activity note: Drive to river put-in is 1 hour, return trip to hotel approximately 2.5 hours. River trip is approximately 4.5 hours with stops to explore the area requiring limited walking over uneven surfaces. To board helicopter requires climbing a couple flights of stairs. Dress for the appropriate season; water temperatures are cold so adequate rain gear is mandatory, as you will be getting splashed. Dry bags will be available before boarding rafts to put all personal gear and extra clothing in.

Breakfast: Hot buffet breakfast at Hualapai Lodge Restaurant

Morning: Depart lodge and travel down to the bottom of the Canyon aboard the Hualapai River Runners bus on Diamond Creek Road, the only road to the bottom of the Canyon. The Diamond Creek road is a 21 mile dirt road so prepare for a bumpy ride. Once at the (Colorado River) beach, the Hualapai river guides give us a safety orientation and life vest fitting. Then we load the inflatable motorized (approximately 25 feet long) pontoon rafts and head downstream on the Mighty Colorado! The "Diamond Down" Colorado River trip is about 37 miles in length. The first 16 miles you will encounter about 10 whitewater rapids. Some of these are large (5, 6 and 7 's on a 1-10 scale). YOU WILL GET WET! The air temperature at the bottom of the canyon will likely be around 80 - 90 degrees so the splashing is welcome relief and keeps everyone cool. BUT as everyone knows the weather can do strange things so in the event of cooler than normal temps, be prepared by having adequate rain gear for warmth. The rafts pull over at a couple of attractions (including the beautiful and hidden Travertine Grotto where you'll have an opportunity to climb on the rocks and splash in the water) and at a lunch spot. After 16 miles the rapids flatten out, but the scenery remains "Grand" in all regards.

Lunch: Lunch on a Colorado River beach.

Afternoon: Continue down Colorado River after lunch to Quartermaster Point helicopter landing zone. After disembarking rafts the group will check in with the helicopter flight crew and queue up for loading. When you're called, get buckled into a helicopter for a short (8 minute) but spectacular ride from the river to Grand Canyon West on the Hualapai Reservation. Don't forget your camera for this once in a lifetime experience! In late afternoon, travel via bus through the starkly beautiful Joshua Tree forest and basin and range topography of the Mohave Desert to a late dinner at the Hualapai Lodge. WIND AND SAFETY ADVISORY: Please note that the ability to fly helicopters from the Colorado River at the end of the raft trip is dependent on wind conditions on the rim and in the canyon. On extremely windy days due to safety concerns, helicopters will not be allowed to fly. This is a very infrequent occurrence. If this occurs, the rafts will continue to Pearce Ferry (and additional hour on the river) where buses/vans are able to reach the river and provide transportation back to the hotel. For pictures of the raft and more information, see White Water Rafting link at www.grandcanyonwest.com

Dinner: Enjoy a well deserved dinner back at the Hualapai Lodge.

Evening: At leisure, start packing up for our transfer to Phoenix in the morning.

Farewells and Program Departures

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Hualapai Lodge dining room. Group program wrap up and farewells after breakfast.

Morning: On the last day of the program the Road Scholar van will transport (for free) participants back to the starting hotel in Flagstaff. NOTE: Van Go Shuttle offers express service to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport from the Hualapai Lodge on the last day of the program arriving at the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport by 12:00 pm. 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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