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 (4.78)
Program No. 1083RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Sedona, AZ
Andante Inn

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

Afternoon: Program Registration: After you have your room assignment, come over to the Road Scholar table in the conference room by the pool 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.

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

Evening: Orientation: approximately 7:00 p.m., following dinner. 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. Periods in the schedule labeled “Free Time and “At Leisure” offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable while going out to explore on your own, engaging in available activities independently, making new friends among fellow participants, or simply relaxing. The Group Leader will always 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.

Geology, Best-loved Sites, Western Ballads
Sedona, AZ
Andante Inn

Activity note: Minimal walking 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 by a geologist and Professor Emeritus of Geology at Northern Arizona University, for a presentation on the geologic story of Sedona and the surrounding area.

Lunch: Restaurant buffet.

Afternoon: We’ll set out with our Group Leader for a field trip in Sedona, viewing 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: Enjoy dinner at a local Thai restaurant served family style, soup, entrées, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: 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 two decades. Then prepare for check out and transfer in the morning.

Montezuma Castle, Ride the Scenic Verde Canyon Railway
Sedona, AZ
Andante Inn

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

Afternoon: Next, we’ll take a leisurely ride with commentary on the Verde Canyon Railroad as the 40-mile route follows 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 Indian 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. Return to the hotel in early evening.

Dinner: Restaurant buffet.

Evening: At leisure.

Grand Canyon Railway, Explore Grand Canyon National Park
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: The drive is about 65 miles, approximately 1.5 hours. Walking opportunities along the rim of the Grand Canyon or down into its depths, up to 2 miles or as little as 1/2 mile, depending on personal preference. Evening Park Ranger program dependent on weather.

Breakfast: At a local café, we will have a plated meal with entrée, bacon and eggs, sausage, French toast, oatmeal, fruit, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel, load our luggage onto the motorcoach, and depart Sedona for Williams and the Grand Canyon Railway depot. 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. 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 a sack lunch including, a sandwich, chips, fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: After arrival at Grand Canyon Village and once at 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, and the buildings of Santa Fe Railroad and Fred Harvey architect and designer Mary Jane Colter 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. We’ll then check into one of the Grand Canyon South Rim lodges.

Dinner: At a local lodge or café, we’ll have a buffet including soup, salad, entrées, dessert, non-alcoholic beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Schedule dependent, National Park Service rangers present programs in the evening on a variety of topics.

Explore Grand Canyon, Return to Sedona, Desert Critters
Sedona, AZ
Andante Inn

Activity note: Hiking up to 2 miles either along the Grand Canyon Rim or a short distance into its depths. 120 mile transfer from Grand Canyon returning to Sedona.

Breakfast: At a local lodge or café, we’ll have meal coupons for the breakfast buffet that offers choices such as scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon, pancakes, oatmeal, fresh fruit, juices, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: We’ll check out of the hotel and continue our Grand Canyon learning adventure with time for personal independent exploration. Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most, using the park's pocket guide and map. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. The Group Leader will discuss some of the many activities possible. These include riding the free National Park Service 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 programs, or just find a quiet spot to contemplate and gaze out at the Grand Canyon, taking in all of its grandeur.

Lunch: At a local lodge or café, we’ll have a buffet including soup, salad, entrées, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: We’ll board our transfer vehicle and depart for Sedona via Flagstaff and the San Francisco Peaks. Upon arrival, we’ll check into our hotel.

Dinner: At the restaurant adjacent to the hotel, we’ll have our farewell dinner.

Evening: We’ll have a presentation by a local expert on some of the Southwest's most infamous critters. Share your favorite experiences with new Road Scholar friends during the program wrap-up and farewells.

Program Concludes

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Restaurant buffet.

Morning: This concludes our program. 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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