Grand Canyon Family Adventure: Exploring the Canyon's North and South Rims
Get a unique perspective of the Grand Canyon as you explore the North and South Rims, learn about Native American culture and fly above the Colorado River for a bird’s-eye view!
Rating (5)
Program No. 21290RJ
7 days
Starts at
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
Getting There
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Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Phoenix & The Valley of the Sun
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Tempe / ASU

Afternoon: Check-in: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration: Anytime between 4:30 – 5:15 p.m., come over to the Road Scholar desk, located in a hotel meeting room, to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet containing your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, other important information we will review during Orientation, and to confirm the time and place of the session. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the front desk. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer 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. Transportation during the week will be provided by a combination of passenger vans and motor coach travel. 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: Plated and catered at the hotel. Beverages include water, tea, soft drinks or coffee; other beverages available for purchase at your own cost.

Evening: Orientation: We will gather in the hotel's private meeting room after dinner where the Group leader will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. We will have some time to get to know each other during introductions.

Sedona Jeep Excursion, Grand Canyon National Park
South Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Travel 2 hours to Sedona. Climbing in and out of jeep. Assistance available if needed. Some bumps while in the open air jeeps, but not throughout the entire trip. Seat belts are required. Some short walks away from the jeeps over packed dirt and rocky terrain as we look at attractions or views. Walking up to 1/2 mile on rocky, sandy or uneven terrain.(4500'). 2.5 hours to Grand Canyon National Park S. Rim. Walking short distances on pavement along the South Rim of Grand Canyon (7000').

Breakfast: Enjoy an extensive buffet breakfast at the hotel with many choices of hot and cold items. Coffee, teas and juices available.

Morning: After breakfast depart for Sedona. See how the Arizona landscape changes as we travel from the Sonoran desert with its famous saguaro cactus up in elevation to the Colorado Plateau region.Your group leader/naturalist will be able to point out the differences in plants and geography as you travel. Let the fun begin! We’ll climb into our 4x4 vehicles by drivers who are also well-versed in the geology, flora, fauna and pre-historic details of the region, then head off on our open-air 4x4 adventure to an off-the-beaten-path location in the beautiful red rocks of Sedona. Expect some sections of road where there may be jostling in the vehicle as the driver navigates dirt roads, sandy washes, and/or slick rock. Vehicles are very comfortable, seat up to 7 people, and have grab bars to hold on to with every seat. There will be some short walks away from the jeeps as we visit viewpoints, historic attractions, or archaeological sights.

Lunch: Plated at a Sedona restaurant. Choose from a menu of entrees with kid-friendly options available. Beverages include water, tea, soft drinks or coffee; other beverages available for purchase at your own cost.

Afternoon: After lunch you will travel through scenic Oak Creek Canyon on our way to the Grand Canyon. Travel past the San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field in Flagstaff and the site of Arizona's highest point, Humphreys Peak, elev. 12,633 feet. Afternoon finds the group arriving at the south rim of Grand Canyon National Park and on to the brink of the world famous chasm. If you've never experienced it before, get ready for a thrill! Through activities together over the next few days, your guide will help you to understand this world wonder. Can you see the North Rim Lodge from the South Rim? See if you can find it! In a few days you'll be standing there, 1000' higher, and looking back towards the South Rim. Hotel check in between 4:00 and 5:00 PM.

Dinner: Plated meal at the lodge cafeteria with many entrée choices to choose from, as well as a choice of beverages. We will utilize meal vouchers providing ample choices for every palate. Other beverages available for purchase at your own cost.

Evening: After dinner, walk or take the free park shuttle to the Shrine of Ages Auditorium or McKee Amphitheater (depending on the season) for a National Park Service ranger presentation. All topics relate to Grand Canyon themes, change nightly and are kid friendly.

GC South Rim Village and Trail, Overflight
South Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Walking along the rim on paved trail at 7000' elevation. Walk a short distance down the Bright Angel Trail on a wide, dirt trail with elevation change of no more than 500' in 1/2 mile. Travel to Grand Canyon's airport for a scenic flight over Grand Canyon. Fly in a dual engine "Vistaliner" aircraft, comfortably seating 19. Total walking for the day is approximately 2 miles.

Breakfast: Plated at the lodge restaurant. Many options to choose from including scrambled eggs, pancakes, bacon, oatmeal, fresh fruit, yogurt, juice, and coffee.

Morning: After breakfast the group will depart for a walking tour of the historic Grand Canyon Village with your group leader/naturalist. Walk along the rim to learn about the formation of this world wonder and its "layer cake of stone". See famous village area landmarks including the Kolb Brothers Photo Studio and the buildings of Fred Harvey designer Mary Jane Colter - including the Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio and the Hopi House. To the east, visit the El Tovar Hotel, one of the great lodges in the National Park system. A discussion on free time options and activities for the upcoming afternoon will be included. Especially for kids: A walk down part of the famous Bright Angel Trail will be offered before lunch for those wishing to participate in this short but steep hike.

Lunch: Plated at the Maswik cafe, a short walk from the historic village and near the Bright Angel trail-head and Hermit's Rest shuttle interchange.We will utilize meal vouchers providing ample choices for every palate.

Afternoon: Drive to the Grand Canyon airport to weigh in and then board a 19-passenger fixed wing plane for a thrilling flight over the Grand Canyon. For more information regarding the Vistaliner and a complete listing of the aircraft's safety features and amenities, see Grand Canyon Airlines equipment page at: www.grandcanyonairlines.com/equipment/vistaliner The size of the canyon is immense and while hiking into the canyon and standing on its rim gives great perspective, the overflight will amaze you. After returning from the flight, the afternoon is free to explore the South Rim and environs. Using the park pocket guide and map, participants can choose from a variety of activities and viewpoints.The historic Grand Canyon Village, Hermit's Rest West Rim shuttle, Yavapai Point, bike rentals, and rim walks are all popular activities. The free park shuttle allows anyone to access various points on the South Rim. Your group leader can assist with choosing from the options available.

Dinner: Enjoy a meal on your own from among several restaurant choices in the Grand Canyon Village area allowing more time to experience the Canyon on your own terms and at your own pace. Your group leader will be able to offer suggestions.

Evening: Shuttle to Mather Point for a Grand Canyon sunset! Mather Point will offer late evening shadows and light in the canyon and sweeping rim views. Tonight, for those interested, attend a presentation by a Grand Canyon National Park ranger. It may be inside or outside and may be in the dark, so prepare by bringing a flashlight and a jacket.

Desert View, Lee's Ferry & North Rim
North Rim, Grand Canyon
North Rim Lodge

Activity note: Travel the scenic East Rim 1/2 hour (about 20 miles) to Desert View. Climb the fabled Watchtower; walk up to 1 mile at Desert View. Travel 1.75 hours to Lee's Ferry (110 miles); walk short distance through sand to Colorado River. Travel to North Rim, 2 hours (90 miles).

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the lodge restaurant.

Morning: We'll check out of the lodge following breakfast and begin an epic day. Load the vehicles and continue our journey along the Grand Canyon's "East Rim". Marvel at the amazing Canyon views at Desert View. Desert View has the best vistas of the Colorado River and is the location of the famous Watchtower designed by Mary Jane Colter. Climb the Watchtower on your own -- can you find the petroglyphs built into the tower? Exit the park and enter the western edge of the Navajo Reservation, traveling through the Painted Desert en route to Marble Canyon and Colorado River.

Lunch: Make your own sandwich at a local restaurant in Marble Canyon.

Afternoon: We'll visit historic Lee's Ferry on the banks of the Colorado River. Especially for kids: Enjoy one of the most unique beaches in the world at Lee's Ferry Beach where, on the opposite side of the river, a vertical cliff of Grand Canyon rock 500' high rises up to stun the senses. Explore a few of the other-worldly mushroom rocks -- hmm? how did they form this way? -- in the area. Following a dip in the cool (cold!) water of the Colorado River, continue along the base of the Vermilion Cliffs and rise onto the cool, verdant Kaibab Plateau, with its spruce, fir and aspen forest en route to the North Rim of Grand Canyon. Check in to the North Rim Lodge in the late afternoon.

Dinner: Plated from a select menu in the majestic dining room of the North Rim Lodge, with magnificent views through huge picture windows. Kid-friendly choices will be available.Non-alcoholic beverage included. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Especially for kids: We’ll gather at the lodge for a secret "Kids Only" activity led by our Group Leaders! Shhhhh!

Grand Canyon Nature Walk, Point Imperial, Rim Hike
North Rim, Grand Canyon
North Rim Lodge

Activity note: Nature walk on both paved and unpaved trail in area of N. Rim Lodge; 1 mile; 1 hour. Travel to viewpoint at Point Imperial, 30 minutes, 15 miles. 1/4 mile walk out to Pt. Imperial and down some stairs at 8800'. Afternoon hike 2 hours; 1.5 miles along rim of Canyon.

Breakfast: Buffet at the Lodge, including fresh fruit, hot and cold items, breakfast meats, an omelette station, granola, yogurt, breakfast pastries, coffee and juice.

Morning: Wake up only a short distance from views of the Grand Canyon from the North Rim. Enjoy a Grand Canyon sunrise on your own, if you decide to get up that early! Following breakfast, take a nature walk with a National Park Ranger (or with your group leaders if program is not offered). Mid-morning we'll travel to Point Imperial, the highest viewpoint in the park at 8803 feet. Is this the highest you've ever been before? You group leader/naturalist will point out Grand Canyon and regional landmarks (some up to 100 miles away). Discussions may include regional geography, canyon trails, California condors, the controversial 'beefalo' and fire ecology.

Lunch: Sack lunch includes a deli-style sandwich, chips, fresh fruit and cookie.

Afternoon: Enjoy some activities in the Pt. Imperial vicinity. Then journey to the N. Rim Lodge area where we'll get ready for our hike on the Transept Trail. Especially for kids: Before dinner, we’ll gather at the lodge for a secret "Kids Only" activity led by our Group Leaders! Shhhhh!

Dinner: Plated at the Lodge.

Evening: After dinner enjoy a National Park Service ranger presentation in the lodge auditorium or watch sunset over the Grand Canyon. Don't forget to visit some of the amazing viewpoints below the lodge where the Canyon's panorama is on all sides and waaaaay below as well. You may get a chance to see more stars and planets from the lodge deck after darkness falls. Be sure to have a flashlight as the night skies at Grand Canyon are very dark. Can you see the Milky Way?

Depart Grand Canyon, Cameron Trading Post, Return to Phoenix
Phoenix & The Valley of the Sun
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Tempe / ASU

Activity note: Transfer to Phoenix approximately 6 hours and 350 miles of travel on the motor coach with scenic stops and lunch on the Navajo Reservation.

Breakfast: Buffet at the Lodge.

Morning: After breakfast, depart Grand Canyon and re-trace our steps towards Phoenix with a stop at the historic Navajo Bridge. During our stop at the Navajo Bridge, walk across it and marvel at the 500' chasm below and the waters of the Colorado River. Look for California condors sunning themselves or perching under the new adjacent bridge. You may spot fishermen down below, giving you a real sense of the immensity of the Canyon, even here. Continue to the historic 1916 Cameron Trading Post. Native American arts and crafts galore are on display at the historic Cameron Trading Post.

Lunch: Plated at the Cameron Trading Post. In addition to standard lunch menu selections we will offer up their famous "Navajo Taco" - a light, crispy fry bread loaded with traditional taco toppings. It's a memorable experience! Coffee, iced tea, and soft drinks are included.

Afternoon: After lunch in Cameron, travel to Flagstaff, through the Verde Valley, Cordes Junction and on to our Phoenix hotel.

Dinner: Plated at the hotel.

Evening: Dinner will be followed by a program wrap-up session with your group leaders, including reflections and farewells to new friends of all ages from across the country. It will be a great time to share our memories of the week spent together exploring the Grand Canyon region.

Program Concludes

Breakfast: Buffet at the hotel.

Morning: Program concludes following breakfast. Hotel provides free shuttles to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport. 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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