DATES & PRICES
|Excludes Grand Canyon flight||Includes Grand Canyon flight|
Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.
Activity note: Hotel check-in from 3:00 p.m.
Afternoon: Program Registration: 5:00 p.m. After you have your room assignment, come to the Road Scholar table in the hotel meeting room 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. Orientation: 5:30 p.m. The Group Leader will greet everyone and lead introductions. We will review the up-to-date program schedule, 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. All transportation will be via motorcoach unless otherwise noted. 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 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: At the hotel, we will enjoy a buffet featuring salad, entrées, and sides, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase from the hotel lounge.
Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Driving approximately 130 miles total; about 3 hours. Walking approximately 1/2 mile total throughout the day; paved paths and trails with uneven footing.
Breakfast: At the hotel, we’ll enjoy a hearty buffet meal including eggs, breakfast meats, muffins, whole-grain breads, and fruit, plus coffee, tea, juices, water.
Morning: Checking out of the hotel, we will ride north from Phoenix for the Verde Valley and the Sedona area. As we travel, we’ll marvel at the change of life zones and scenery as we move from the Sonora Desert to the edge of the Colorado Plateau. Upon arrival at the Montezuma Castle National Monument with our naturalist, we will set out for a field trip to explore the 5-story, 20-room prehistoric cliff dwelling 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 600 years ago by the Sinagua Indians. Afterwards, we’ll return to the motorcoach and continue to the Village of Oak Creek.
Lunch: At a local restaurant along the way, we will have a number of plated lunch selections to choose from, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: Setting out again aboard our vehicle, we will explore some favorite spots in the Sedona area including a stop at the beautiful Bell Rock viewpoint with commentary provided by our knowledgeable Group Leader. We’ll then continue to the hotel for a late afternoon check-in.
Dinner: At a favorite local Mexican restaurant in the Village of Oak Creek, we’ll enjoy a choice of plated meal selections along with chips and salsa, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: After dinner, our Group Leader will brief us on the next day’s itinerary, weather conditions, and departure time. We’ll then return to the hotel. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Driving approximately 110 miles from Sedona to Grand Canyon National Park; about 2.5 hours, with stops. Walking about 1 mile total throughout the day; along the rim on paved paths.
Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a breakfast buffet featuring a variety of items including a choice of eggs, breakfast meats, biscuits and gravy, cereal, breads, muffins, bagels, and cinnamon rolls, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll make our way to the Grand Canyon via scenic Oak Creek Canyon and Flagstaff. We’ll travel past the San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field and the site of Arizona’s highest point – Humphreys Peak – which reaches an elevation of 12,633 feet. As we drive, our expert naturalist will introduce us to the regional geography and natural history. We will arrive at Grand Canyon National Park by mid-morning and travel to various viewpoints, including Mather Point or Yavapai Point, all while learning about the canyon through introductory commentary.
Lunch: In the field on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon we will have a sack lunch enjoyed picnic style.
Afternoon: At the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park, we will transport to the Historic Grand Canyon Village where our Group Leader will conduct a lively history walk focusing on the development of the park from the arrival of the railroad to modern day park management issues. We’ll spend any additional time to take in the grandeur and immensity of this natural wonder. We’ll then check into the hotel in the late afternoon with time to freshen up and relax before dinner.
Dinner: At the lodge dining facility, we will select and order plated entrées ahead of our arrival to dinner, which will come with salad, sides, and a dessert. Fountain drinks, coffee, iced tea, water included; 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 and current Covid mandates.
Activity note: For participants that registered for the Grand Canyon Overflight: Driving approximately 16 miles roundtrip; about 1/2 hour. Getting on/off small plane; the scenic flight aboard the “Vistaliner” lasts about 45 minutes. The aircraft can comfortably carry 19 passengers. For those not going on the flight: Mostly free day; minimal walking throughout the day during group activities; opportunities for more dependent on personal interest.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the Yavapai Lodge dining facility.
Morning: For participants who signed up for the scenic canyon flight when registering for the program, we will transport to the Grand Canyon Airport to board the dual engine “Vistaliner” aircraft and set off for an aerial tour of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The many hued spires, buttes and temples and the Colorado River will be spread out below you in dramatic fashion. The flight will make a broad loop that will include a swing past the forested North Rim. For those who chose not to participate in the scenic flight, enjoy a day of Free Time. Take this opportunity for personal independent exploration to see and do what interests you most. Please refer to the list of Free Time Opportunities. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. A discussion and handout on free time activities will be included, with directions to many of Grand Canyon Village’s famous landmarks. Grand Canyon Village is home to the Kolb Brothers Photo Studio and many buildings designed by Fred Harvey designer Mary Jane Colter including the Bright Angel Lodge, Lookout Studio, and the Hopi House. To the east is the El Tovar Hotel, one of the great lodges in the National Park system.
Lunch: In the field on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Sack lunches will be distributed to the group - to be enjoyed at the time and place of your choosing.
Afternoon: Free Time on your own to see and do what interests you most. You may wish to visit the historic Grand Canyon Village, use the Hermit's Rest West Rim shuttle, see Yavapai Point, or go on rim walks, all popular activities.
Dinner: This meal has been excluded from the program cost and is on your own to enjoy what you like. The Group Leader will be happy to offer suggestions. There are a number of dining venues to choose from in the park. If you are interested in dining at the El Tovar Lodge for dinner note that this is the one restaurant that requires reservations for dinner. Call 928-638-2631 and ask for El Tovar dining room. No reservations needed for breakfast or lunch.
Evening: At leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Driving approximately 220 miles from Grand Canyon Village to North Rim; about 5 hours drive time, with stops. Walking approximately 1 mile total throughout the day; about 1.5 hours on our feet; mostly paved surfaces.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the Lodge dining hall.
Morning: After breakfast, we will check out of the hotel and begin an epic day filled with surreal landscapes and other worldly views en route to the North Rim as we ride along the Grand Canyon’s “East Rim.” Our first stop will be the Desert View overlook, the location of the famous Mary Jane Colter’s Watchtower and some of the best views of the Colorado River. We will have time to explore the watchtower with our naturalist available to answer any questions. Known for her many works for the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad, Mary Jane Coulter 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. After we exit the park, we will enter the western edge of the Navajo Reservation and travel through the Painted Desert as we ride north to Marble Canyon and cross the Colorado River.
Lunch: At the Marble Canyon Lodge at the base of the towering Vermilion Cliffs, we will have a make-your-own sandwich bar with a choice of meats, cheeses, condiments, and salad, plus iced tea and water; other beverages available for purchase.
Afternoon: After lunch, we’ll visit the Navajo Bridge and Interpretive Visitor Center. The original Navajo Bridge was completed in 1929 to allow for reliable crossing of the Colorado River. With the construction of the new bridge in 1994, the Navajo Bridge opened for pedestrian use and was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. During our stop, participants will be able to take a thrilling stroll across the pedestrian bridge and marvel at the Marble Canyon chasm which contains Colorado River 500 feet below. While strolling, keep an eye out for California Condors - frequent visitors to the Navajo Bridge and residents of the region. Continuing along the base of the Vermilion Cliffs, we’ll rise onto the cool, verdant Kaibab Plateau with its spruce, fir and aspen forest. Mid-afternoon we will check-in to our cabins and settle in before dinner. Note that the Frontier Cabins on the North Rim are historic log cabins built in the 1930s. They enhance the rustic ambiance of the North Rim. Please be aware that the cabins are much smaller and cozier than modern day lodgings.
Dinner: In the dining room of the North Rim Lodge, we will have a 3-course plated meal featuring a choice of entrée, plus a non-alcoholic beverage; other beverages available for purchase. As we dine, we’ll enjoy magnificent canyon views through huge picture windows.
Evening: After dinner, the remainder of the evening will be at your leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departure in the morning.
Activity note: Driving approximately 120 miles total throughout the day; about 4 hours, with stops. Walking approximately 1 - 2 miles depending on activities participated in on the North Rim. Walks are on paved and unpaved, rolling trails with about 100 feet of elevation change.
Breakfast: Breakfast at the North Rim Lodge.
Morning: After checking out of the lodge, we will begin our journey to the North Rim viewpoints. The first stop will be Grand Canyon's Point Imperial, the highest point on the north rim at 8,803 feet. Point Imperial overlooks the Painted Desert and the eastern end of Grand Canyon. We will then go to the most expansive viewpoint of the North Rim, Cape Royal, where what surrounds you is a feast for the eyes almost too much to comprehend.
Lunch: In the field, we will have boxed lunches including a deli-style sandwich, chips, fresh fruit, and a cookie or granola bar.
Afternoon: Following our exploration of the Grand Canyon viewpoints, in mid afternoon, we depart the park and drop back down to the high desert, arriving to Marble Canyon, AZ
Dinner: At the lodge, we will a variety of entrée choices with sides, plus coffee, tea and water.
Evening: At leisure.
Activity note: Hotel check-out and driving 127 miles (2 hours) to Flagstaff, AZ
Breakfast: In the hotel breakfast room we will have a buffet featuring hot items plus toast, cereal, yogurt, pastries and fresh fruit and milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: After checkout, we will drive through the Painted Desert on our return to Flagstaff, AZ.