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1083
Arizona

Scenic Railroads of Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon

Experience the wonders of Sedona and the Grand Canyon via two historic railways as you join experts to learn about the local history, culture and charm of these iconic landscapes.
Rating (4.94)
Program No. 1083RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,449
Arizona

Scenic Railroads of Arizona: Sedona and Grand Canyon

Experience the wonders of Sedona and the Grand Canyon via two historic railways as you join experts to learn about the local history, culture and charm of these iconic landscapes.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,449
Program No. 1083 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
Plan ahead.
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 2 - May 7, 2021
Starting at
1,449
May 16 - May 21, 2021
Starting at
1,449
Itinerary Note

This date includes a night at the iconic Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ.

May 23 - May 28, 2021
Starting at
1,449
Sep 5 - Sep 10, 2021
Starting at
1,449
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
1,449
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,449
Nov 1 - Nov 6, 2021
Starting at
1,449
Itinerary Note

This date includes a night at the iconic Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
May 2 - May 7, 2021
Starting at
1,799
May 16 - May 21, 2021
Starting at
1,799
Itinerary Note

This date includes a night at the iconic Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ.

May 23 - May 28, 2021
Starting at
1,799
Sep 5 - Sep 10, 2021
Starting at
1,799
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
1,799
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,799
Nov 1 - Nov 6, 2021
Starting at
1,799
Itinerary Note

This date includes a night at the iconic Grand Canyon Railway Hotel in Williams, AZ.

At a Glance

The wonders of Sedona and the Grand Canyon are well known, but few visit these locales via scenic and historic railway. Ride the Verde Canyon Railroad through Arizona’s rim country along the wild and scenic Verde River. Later in the week, embark on an overnight adventure to Grand Canyon National Park via the historic Grand Canyon Railway. Throughout your journey gain insights into regional lore as you explore this breathtaking part of northern Arizona.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking up to one mile on varied terrain. Optional longer hike at the Grand Canyon. Elevations of 4,500-7,000 feet.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Enjoy a guided exploration of Sedona’s best-loved sights and red-rock vistas.
  • Travel through dramatic Oak Creek Canyon en route to historic Williams for embarkation on the Grand Canyon Railway excursion.
  • Stay overnight at a Grand Canyon lodge, explore historic village sites and absorb incomparable canyon views.

General Notes

Transportation on this program is by full-sized motor coach.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Stanley S. Beus
From his early days growing up on a dairy farm in Idaho, Dr. Stanley Beus quickly became fascinated with nature. He earned a Ph.D. in geology from UCLA before beginning a career as an exploration geologist, and later became the first head of the Geology Department at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Beus has been both a field and class instructor for Road Scholar programs for over 20 years, and has enjoyed bringing geology to life for literally thousands of participants.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

Profile Image of Gael Summer
Gael Summer View biography
Gael Summer is a graduate of George Washington University where she studied Comparative Religion and Anthropology. Gael loves to travel and has traveled around the world several times. For some years she organized and led adventures to Sacred Sites in Egypt, Peru, Greece and other countries. During the Carter Administration, Gael served as Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff. Since 1981, she has traveled the world collecting fossils, including six years as Operations Manager of a large dinosaur quarry in Wyoming.
Profile Image of Stanley Beus
Stanley S. Beus View biography
From his early days growing up on a dairy farm in Idaho, Dr. Stanley Beus quickly became fascinated with nature. He earned a Ph.D. in geology from UCLA before beginning a career as an exploration geologist, and later became the first head of the Geology Department at Northern Arizona University. Dr. Beus has been both a field and class instructor for Road Scholar programs for over 20 years, and has enjoyed bringing geology to life for literally thousands of participants.
Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Arizona: A Cavalcade of History
by Trimble, Marshall
During America's first 100 years as a nation, pioneers moved ever-westward to new frontiers. When it became too crowded or the soil was mined out, they moved on to virgin land. Those days are gone forever. We have to learn to live with the problems we create. The knowledge gained from studying the mistakes of the past can help provide a better future. Will Rogers said it best: "The Indians never got lost because they were always looking back to see where they'd been." 368pp
Secret Sedona: Sacred Moments in the Landscape
by Larry Lindahl
This book provides an overview of the terrain, ancestral Indian ruins and petroglyphs found in Sedona's wilderness areas. Extraordinary photography from one of the nations most photogenic areas. 80 pages.
Carving Grand Canyon: Evidence, Theories, and Mystery
by Ranney, Wayne
Ranney explains how rivers in general can physically carve canyons, looks chronologically at the numerous theories that have been presented by successive generations of geologists regarding the Grand Canyon's formation, and describes a plausible sequence of geologic events that could create such a landscape. Numerous color photographs, detailed illustrations, and maps are provided. Annotation ©2005 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR 160pp; 2nd edition 2012.
Grand Canyon Geology
by Beus, Stanley
This second edition of the leading book on Grand Canyon geology contains the most recent discoveries and interpretations of the origin and history of the canyon. It includes two entirely new chapters: one on debris flow in the Canyon and one on the impact of water flow releases from the Glen Canyon Dam. All chapters have been updated where necessary and all photographs have been replaced or re-screened for better resolution. Written by acknowledged experts in stratigraphy, paleontology, structural geology, geomorphology, volcanism and seismology, this book offers a wealth of information for geologists and general readers interested in acquiring an understanding of the geological history of this great natural wonder. 423pp
Living at the Edge: Explorers, Exploiters, and Settlers of the Grand Canyon Region
by Anderson, Michael F
A comprehensive look at the pioneer history of the Grand Canyon Region, from its earliest residents to the creation of the national park at the end of the pioneer era (circa 1920). Included are close to two hundred historic photographs, many never published before, and 12 custom maps of the region. 184pp
The Archaeology of Ancient Arizona
by Jefferson Reid and Stephanie Whittlesey
General overview of the archaeology of Arizona written by archaeologists with combined experience of over half a century of a combination of laboratory and fieldwork.
An Introduction to Grand Canyon Prehistory
by Coder, Christopher M.
People have inhabited Grand Canyon for the past twelve thousand years. Evidence of their lives exists throughout the canyon; but it is up to their ancestors and archaeologists to interpret those remains for us. This book provides a popular look at the architecture, art, and tools of prehistoric Puebloan peoples, as well as information about modern-day Native American tribes. With illustrations and color photographs.
Sedona through time: Geology of the Red Rocks
by Ranney, Wayne
Visitors to the towering red rock cliffs near Sedona seldom realize that the area was once a broad river floodplain that lay beyond the Ancestral Rocky Mountains. Or that this same place was later buried in a vast, Sahara-like desert, still later to lie beneath the waters of a warm tropical sea filled with ancient life forms. Sedona Through Time is an eminently readable story of the evolution of this fantastic landscape through the eons of geologic time.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 3 L 5 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Sedona, AZ
D
Andante Inn

Activity note: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m.

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the conference room by the pool to register with the program staff and get your welcome packet containing the up-to-date schedule that reflects any changes, other important information, and to confirm the time and location of the Orientation session. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, we will have plated meals with an entrée that varies each night, plus a choice of coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation: 7:00 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone 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 questions. All field trips will be led by our Group Leader, a seasoned and experienced naturalist, unless specified otherwise. Transportation will be provided primarily by motorcoach or passenger vans, dependent on group size, unless otherwise specified. Periods in the schedule designated as “Free time” and “At leisure” offer opportunities to do what you like and make your experience even more meaningful and memorable according to your personal preferences. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. Program activities, schedules, personnel, and indicated distances or times may change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
Geology, Sedona Sights Tour, Rail History
Sedona, AZ
B,L,D
Andante Inn

Activity note: Walking approx. 1 mile throughout day; mostly paved surfaces. Driving about 15 miles; approx. 2 hours total, with stops in Sedona for photo ops and red rock vistas.

Breakfast: At the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs, breakfast meats, French toast, hot and cold cereals, fresh fruit, juices, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll be joined at the hotel by a geologist for a presentation on the geologic story of Sedona, Grand Canyon and the surrounding area.

Lunch: At the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, we will have a plated meal with a choice of entrée, plus coffee, tea, or water; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll then set out aboard our vehicle with our Group Leader for a field trip in Sedona to view some of the town's most scenic sites. During our exploration, we’ll learn about the history, geology, climate, flora, and fauna of the area. We’ll also have photo opportunities at some scenic vistas.

Dinner: Restaurant plated meal.

Evening: We will be joined at the hotel by a local historian who will discuss railroad history in northern Arizona.

DAY
3
Montezuma Castle, Ride the Scenic Verde Canyon Railway
Sedona, AZ
B,L,D
Andante Inn

Activity note: Driving approx. 80 miles total for the day; about 2 hours total, with stops for field trips. Walking approx. 1 mile total throughout the day; flat, paved trails. Getting on/off train; ride is approx, 40 miles; about 4 hours.

Breakfast: Restaurant buffet.

Morning: We’ll then board our motorcoach with our Group Leader for 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. While here, we’ll observe the ruins from below and take note of Wet Beaver Creek’s unique ecosystem as we walk the paved loop trail.

Lunch: At a Chinese restaurant in Cottonwood, we will have a buffet including soup, salad, entrées, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: Next, we'll transfer to the railroad platform and board the train for a leisurely ride with commentary given by a railroad expert and supplemented by our Group Leader. The Verde Canyon Railroad follows a 40-mile route along the Verde River. We’ll ride in comfort in renovated passenger and open air cars, journeying at a slow pace mostly near the canyon bottom. Along the route, we’ll pass red rock pinnacles, cross bridges, see Native American ruins, and ride through a 680-foot tunnel. Keep your eyes out for native plants and animals including the more than 30 eagles that winter in this scenic area. We'll return to the hotel in the early evening.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have a plated meal with iced tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

DAY
4
Grand Canyon Railway, Explore Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon - South Rim
B,L,D
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Driving approx. 65 miles one way to Williams Railway Station, approx. 1.5 hours. Getting on/off the train; ride is 60 miles; approx. 2.5 hours. Walking about 1.5-2 miles during group activities, more dependent on personal interest; mostly paved, but some uneven surfaces; elevation of approx. 7,000 feet.

Breakfast: At a local café, we will have plated meals featuring a variety of hot and cold items as entrées and sides, plus coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll load our luggage onto the motorcoach, and transfer from Sedona to Williams and the Grand Canyon Railway depot. Upon arrival, we’ll enjoy the Wild West Show before boarding the Grand Canyon Railway train for a scenic and entertaining ride across the Coconino Plateau to the Grand Canyon, narrated by our Group Leader and the rail car attendant. The Grand Canyon Railway first arrived at the Grand Canyon in 1901. It heralded in a new age of travel, development and some might say luxury at the canyon. We’ll experience and relish this "classic" way of travel to the "doorsteps" of the historic El Tovar Hotel, Grand Canyon Village, and to the very rim of the canyon. On board, strolling musicians will provide entertainment during the ride.

Lunch: Aboard the train en route to the Grand Canyon, we’ll have sack lunches including a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: After arrival at Grand Canyon Village and the South Rim, we’ll gather for our first views of the canyon. Our Group Leader will point out the canyon's many features with historic and natural significance. We’ll also explore historical Grand Canyon Village— sometimes called "downtown Grand Canyon" — the site of much of the human development on the canyon's South Rim. Highlights of the village include the Kolb Studio where the Kolb brothers took photos of mule riders into the canyon, the buildings of Santa Fe Railroad and Fred Harvey, and architect and designer Mary Jane Colter’s work including the Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio, and the Hopi House. At the east end of the Village, we’ll visit the El Tovar Hotel, built in 1903 and one of the great hotels in the National Parks. From the village, we’ll be able to see the North Rim and various spires and monuments rising from the canyon floor. We’ll also have time to explore rim trails and admire canyon vistas. Those who are energetic can walk part way down the famed Bright Angel Trail independently. We’ll then check into the lodge.

Dinner: At the lodge restaurant, we’ll choose plated meals from a variety of entrees, sides, and desserts, plus a non-alcoholic beverage; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Those who wish to participate may transfer to a park location for an engaging elective program led by National Park Service Rangers. Programs will cover a Grand Canyon topic of interest and changes nightly. Please note this activity is dependent on national park scheduling.

DAY
5
El Tovar, Canyon Exploration, Desert View, Program Wrap-Up
Grand Canyon - South Rim
B,D
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Walking up to 2 miles or more, depending on preference, either along the Grand Canyon Rim or hiking a short distance into its depths.

Breakfast: At your leisure, take the park shuttle to the most famous of all Grand Canyon eateries, El Tovar Hotel, and enjoy a plated breakfast using prepaid vouchers. Take in the historic ambiance, large picture window views of the canyon, and a full selection of breakfast entrees. Juice, coffee, tea, water included.

Morning: The El Tovar was designed by architect Charles Wittlesey, who also designed the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway Depot. Take the remainder of this morning for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most using the park's pocket guide and map. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The National Park Service includes a free shuttle along the West Rim Drive to Hermit's Rest with access to numerous scenic viewpoints (Powell, Hopi, Mohave, and Maricopa points to name a few) with sweeping views of the Canyon and the Colorado River. You might also like to go for a rim walk, hike further into the Canyon, attend an NPS ranger program, or just find a quiet spot to contemplate and gaze out at the Grand Canyon, taking in all of its grandeur.

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

Afternoon: This afternoon we'll meet at a predetermined time and location to travel to and explore the scenic East Rim of the Grand Canyon to Desert View. Desert View is the location of Mary Jane Colter’s famous Watchtower and some of the best views of the Colorado River. Known for her many works for the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad, Mary Jane Colter was a female architect in the early 20th century and helped blend Spanish Colonial and Mission Revival architecture with Native American motifs. The Watchtower is an interpretation of a prehistoric “tower kiva’ with lavishly painted interior walls by Hopi artist Fred Kabotie. We will have time to explore the Watchtower with our Group Leader available to answer any questions. In late afternoon, return to the hotel via Mather Point and Grand Canyon National Park's Visitor Center for a final look at this world wonder.

Dinner: At a nearby restaurant in the town of Tusayan, just outside the park boundary, we'll enjoy plated meals for our celebratory dinner with salad, an entrée and side, and dessert, plus a choice of coffee, tea, or water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Gather for a program wrap-up at the restaurant. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
6
Return to Sedona; Program Concludes
Departures
B

Activity note: Driving approx. 120 miles from Grand Canyon to Sedona.

Breakfast: In the lodge café, we’ll have a breakfast buffet featuring a variety of hot and cold items, plus a choice of coffee, tea, juice, or milk.

Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll load our transfer vehicles and depart for the starting hotel in Sedona. This concludes our program. If you are returning home, safe travels. If you are staying on independently, have a wonderful time. If you are transferring to another Road Scholar program, detailed instructions are included in your Information Packet for that program. We hope you enjoy Road Scholar learning adventures and look forward to having you on rewarding programs in the future. Don’t forget to join our Facebook page and follow us on Instagram. Best wishes for all your journeys!






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