Exploring & Rafting in Western Grand Canyon With Your Grandchild
Explore Western Grand Canyon and its natural history as you and whitewater raft the Colorado River, learn about the life of a cowboy and ride a helicopter above it all!
Rating (4.94)
Program No. 2519RJ
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
Tempe, AZ
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix / Tempe / ASU

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

Afternoon: Arrive and check in to Hilton Garden Inn after 3:00 p.m. Road Scholar program registration between 4:30 - 5:15 pm in the hotel meeting room.

Dinner: In the hotel dining room, meals are typically buffet service with a rotating variety of choices and beverages including coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Introductions and orientation in the hotel meeting room following dinner. Get to know your fellow participants and get prepared for the action-packed adventure you are about to embark on.

Transport north, Caverns Exploration, Tie Dye, AZ. Wildlife
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs
Grand Canyon Caverns Inn

Activity note: Caverns exploration requires walking short distances and standing for an hour. Some ramps and stairs required.

Breakfast: In the hotel dining room, the breakfast buffet offers choices such as eggs and omelettes cooked to order, bacon, oatmeal, fruit, toast, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: Following breakfast, we will load our luggage up and drive to the Grand Canyon Caverns. Marvel at the change of life zones and scenery as we move from the Sonora Desert to the Colorado Plateau, an elevation change of 5,000'. Our drive will take through the Verde Valley as well as the city of Prescott. As we drive, your group leader will introduce you to the regional geography and natural history

Lunch: Buffet at the Grand Canyon Caverns restaurant with selections which appeal to both young and old. May include cold cuts, hot dogs, make your own tacos and always a salad bar.

Afternoon: Walk through the Grand Canyon Caverns (210 feet underground with elevator access), a famous Route 66 landmark, with a guide who will share the Cavern's geology and its lore. Following the Caverns tour we'll get together for our tie dye shirt project. Our intergenerational groups have been making these colorful shirts together for over 20 years! Take a quick dip in the pool, if time allows, after dying your shirt.

Dinner: Buffet at the Grand Canyon Caverns restaurant. Full salad bar always available. Dinner selections feature home-cooked entrees which appeal to both young and old.

Evening: Evening program on the wildlife of northern Arizona presented by wildlife biologists from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. The program may focus on black-footed ferret reintroduction efforts in the Aubrey Valley (close to the GC Caverns property) and their interaction with their primary prey -- the prairie dog -- or on other key species in the region like coyotes or the unique ways regional animals adapt to this very hot and dry climate.

Bottom of Grand Canyon, Diamond Creek Walk, Colorado River
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs
Grand Canyon Caverns Inn

Activity note: Short walks from van to scenic viewpoints. One mile optional walk along road and in creek down to the Colorado River (some slippery rocks). Walk from parking area to picnic and beach site through soft sand in hot temperatures.

Breakfast: Buffet at the Grand Canyon Caverns restaurant.

Morning: Depart after breakfast for a field trip down Peach Springs Canyon on the Diamond Creek Road to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. Stops will be made along the way at various points of interest (running water and wading). This is a true "Journey to the Center of the Earth" as the walls of the Grand Canyon rise higher and higher as you drive towards the Colorado River. Pass through hundreds of millions of years of geologic history culminating in the arrival at the 1.8 billion year old rock of the Granite Gorge. A 3/4-mile walk along Diamond Creek to the river will be offered.

Lunch: Picnic lunch at the Colorado River in the bottom of Grand Canyon.

Afternoon: Field trip continues at the bottom of the Grand Canyon after lunch. View Diamond Creek Rapids, look for desert bighorn sheep, wild burros, hawks and lizards. At the river, look for river runners rafting the Colorado River. We'll have time to play safely on the beach and in the Colorado River during the hottest part of the day. Interesting human history, facts and management issues regarding the Colorado River will be shared with the group on the beach.

Dinner: Buffet at the Grand Canyon Caverns restaurant.

Evening: Evening program by your coordinators which may include stories, Grand Canyon geology, Arizona geography, natural history, Native American culture or star watching/astronomy. Evening presentations on Day 2 and Day 3 may be reversed, based on availability of Game and Fish Department staff.

Horse Riding & Roping, River Trip Orientation, Kids Only
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs
Grand Canyon Caverns Inn

Activity note: Short periods of standing, sometimes in the sun, during the morning session.

Breakfast: Buffet at the motel restaurant.

Morning: Spend this morning learning about ranching, horses and the importance of cattle in the history of the west with Karen Landis, a real cowboy who has cowboy-ed in northern Arizona for over 40 years. Believe it or not, cattle have many uses today, besides just steak and hamburger! Kids will learn about a horse’s tack, how to properly saddle a horse and how to rope. All kids will have an opportunity to ride a horse at the corral. Adults will too!

Lunch: Buffet at the hotel restaurant.

Afternoon: In afternoon a "Kids Only" activity is scheduled. Then we'll tell you everything you need to know for the river trip and helicopter flight coming up the next day. We'll go over how to dress and what to take so you'll be well-prepared for a Colorado River raft trip -- and helicopter flight -- to remember!

Dinner: Enjoy a bar-b-que picnic dinner for our final night at Grand Canyon Caverns.

Evening: Campfire (weather permitting) and marshmallow roasting or s'mores under the stars as well as some group activities. Look up from the smoke of the fire to star-studded western skies and see the Milky Way as you spend this evening with new friends, both young and young at heart, from across the country. Note: we will have a campfire as long as the county is not under fire restrictions due to drought conditions.

Grand Canyon River Trip, Waterfall Hike, Helicopter Trip
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs
Grand Canyon Caverns Inn

Activity note: Climbing in and out of rafts requires some upper body strength and agility. Cold, but invigorating, drenching during rapids. Short hike -- less than 1/4 mile -- to waterfall over sometimes slippery rocks and through sand. Optional climb using ropes and ladders to another hidden waterfall.

Breakfast: Buffet at the motel restaurant..

Morning: Depart after breakfast for Hualapai Lodge in Peach Springs (12 miles) to meet Hualapai River Runner transportation to Colorado River. The Hualapai River Runners operate inflatable eight-passenger motorized (approximately 25 foot long) pontoon rafts. The group will be split between multiple rafts. Passengers will sit on top of the raft tubes on long flat metal sitting decks that are a part of the boat frame. Life jackets will be fitted to each person before boarding the rafts. For pictures of the raft and more information check out the Hualapai River Runner link at: www.grandcanyonwest.com Safety orientation and life vest fitting on the beach, then embark on river trip. The "Diamond Creek 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 to 10 scale) so participants will get splashed and wet with cold water. The air temperature in summer at the bottom of the canyon will likely be around 100 degrees so the splashing is a welcome relief and keeps passengers cool. The rafts pull over at a couple of attractions (including the beautiful Travertine Falls) and at a lunch spot. After 16 miles the rapids flatten out, but the scenery remains "Grand" in all regards. Hualapai tribal members will operate rafts and, along with our staff, provide information about the canyon along the way.

Lunch: Lunch along the river (provided by river company).

Afternoon: Continue down river after lunch to Quartermaster Landing (37 miles downstream from starting point at Diamond Creek). Have your camera ready for the flight! Helicopter out of the canyon on a quick, but spectacular, flight to Quartermaster Point where Hualapai River Runner transportation returns the group to the Hualapai Lodge through a landscape of Joshua Trees and creosote bush through the beautiful basin and range landscape of the Mohave Desert. WIND AND SAFETY ADVISORY: PLEASE NOTE THE ABILITY TO FLY HELICOPTERS FROM THE COLORADO RIVER AT THE END OF THE RAFT TRIP IS DEPENDENT ON WIND AND/OR HEAT CONDITIONS ON THE RIM AND IN THE CANYON. ON EXTREMELY WINDY OR HOT DAYS, DUE TO SAFETY CONCERNS, HELICOPTERS WILL NOT BE ALLOWED TO FLY. ALTHOUGH THIS IS ALWAYS A POSSIBILITY, IT HAPPENS VERY INFREQUENTLY. WHEN THIS OCCURS THE RAFT TRIP IS EXTENDED ON THE RIVER TO A LOCATION WHERE BUSES ARE ABLE TO REACH THE PARTICIPANTS FOR TRANSPORT BACK TO THE HOTEL.

Dinner: Enjoy a hearty buffet dinner in the Hualapai Lodge dining room.

Evening: Return to Caverns Inn after a late dinner. No evening activites planned as everyone will be tired after a long day on the river.

Program Concludes
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs

Breakfast: Buffet at the motel restaurant.

Morning: Enjoy a short program wrap-up and share memories of your week together. At 9:00 a.m. the NAU Road Scholar vans will depart for the Phoenix airport immediately following morning activities with arrival into the airport by 1:15 p.m.. We will then return to the starting hotel for anyone who left their cars there. We hope you enjoyed your Road Scholar learning adventure 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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