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Grand Canyon National Park: Exploring the North and South Rims

Experience Sedona’s red rocks and get a unique perspective of the Grand Canyon as you explore both the North and South Rims, and fly above the Colorado River for a bird’s-eye view!
Rating (5)
Program No. 2804RJ
7 days
Starts at

Grand Canyon National Park: Exploring the North and South Rims

Experience Sedona’s red rocks and get a unique perspective of the Grand Canyon as you explore both the North and South Rims, and fly above the Colorado River for a bird’s-eye view!
7 days
Starts at
Program No. 2804 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
Plan ahead.
What kind of weather can you expect? Take a look!
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.


Excludes Grand Canyon flight
Accommodation Details
Excludes optional scenic flight over the Grand Canyon aboard a fixed-wing aircraft.
Includes Grand Canyon flight
Accommodation Details
Includes optional scenic flight over the Grand Canyon aboard a fixed-wing aircraft.
Sep 5 - Sep 11, 2021
Excludes Grand Canyon flight 1,679
Includes Grand Canyon flight 1,799


Excludes Grand Canyon flight
Accommodation Details
Excludes optional scenic flight over the Grand Canyon aboard a fixed-wing aircraft.
Includes Grand Canyon flight
Accommodation Details
Includes optional scenic flight over the Grand Canyon aboard a fixed-wing aircraft.
Sep 5 - Sep 11, 2021
Excludes Grand Canyon flight 2,159
Includes Grand Canyon flight 2,279

At a Glance

Carved from millions of years of erosion, the Grand Canyon has countless layers of history just waiting to be discovered. Explore the hidden treasures inside this national park from ancient fossils to the Marble Canyon, all alongside the local experts who know them best. Witness a part of the United States that has been preserved for millennia on excursions to both the North and South Rims, and gain a deeper understanding of the indigenous people who first inhabited this land. On a journey through this epic national park and Sedona’s stunning landscapes, learn the story of the region’s geological beginning while standing in awe of this sea of sandstone.
Activity Level
Keep the Pace
Walking up to two miles daily on varied terrain. On South Rim, quarter-mile walk between lodging and dining. Elevations of 7,000-8,000 feet
Small Group
Small Group
Love to learn and explore in a small-group setting? These adventures offer small, personal experiences with groups of 10 to 24 participants.

Best of all, you’ll…

  • Experience the incredible opportunity to fly over both rims aboard a fixed-wing aircraft, if you choose.
  • Discover one-of-a-kind vistas as you explore the jewels of Sedona, the Grand Canyon South Rim and the serene North Rim when you spend a night at its historic lodge.
  • Venture into Marble Canyon and the Vermilion Cliffs—two of the Grand Canyon’s lesser-known gems—and walk across the historic Navajo Bridge spanning 600 feet across the Colorado River.

General Notes

Grand Canyon overflight at added cost.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Jeff Strang
Jeff Strang's knowledge of the environment stems from over 40 years of hiking, paddling, and photography in the outdoors, his extensive experience as a naturalist, as well as from his education at the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. In 1987, Jeff filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against Oregon polluters under the Clean Water Act. Jeff has been leading Road Scholar programs since 2002. In his free time, Jeff enjoys biking to work, hiking, kayaking, outdoor photography and studying geology.

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

Profile Image of Stewart Lasseter
Stewart Lasseter View biography
After completing studies in geo-science, natural history and Spanish at the University of Arizona, Stewart Lasseter studied as the protege of a Native American healer, learning from her practices of wholeness, kinesiology, mind-body medicine and dyslexia correction. He has years of experience bringing groups in touch with the natural world, and has completed post-graduate studies in health sciences at Prescott College.
Profile Image of Jeff Strang
Jeff Strang View biography
Jeff Strang's knowledge of the environment stems from over 40 years of hiking, paddling, and photography in the outdoors, his extensive experience as a naturalist, as well as from his education at the University of Oregon and Lewis and Clark Law School. In 1987, Jeff filed a precedent-setting lawsuit against Oregon polluters under the Clean Water Act. Jeff has been leading Road Scholar programs since 2002. In his free time, Jeff enjoys biking to work, hiking, kayaking, outdoor photography and studying geology.
Profile Image of Bruce Banker
Bruce Banker View biography
Bruce Banker is a graduate of Northern Arizona University, where he studied natural sciences and geology. He lives in Flagstaff and has worked for the National Park Service as a naturalist on the north rim of the Grand Canyon, Chaco Canyon National Historic Park and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Bruce also serves as an outdoor educator for the Grand Canyon Field Institute. Bruce has taken students to many of the far-flung corners of the Southwest and has a few good stories to share.
Profile Image of Mike Young
Mike Young View biography
Mike Young has lived in Arizona for 40 years, and taught math and geology at Yavapai College prior to his work with Road Scholar. To convey the Arizona landscape, Mike uses a broad range of topics including botany, natural history and geomorphology. He has worked as a commercial boatman, designed and constructed his own home and conducted field exercises throughout the intermountain west. He is an accomplished hike leader who challenges hikers of all skill levels.
Profile Image of Chuck Wahler
Chuck Wahler View biography
Chuck Wahler spent 39 years working for the National Park Service at such varied locations as Grand Canyon National Park, Fort Laramie National Historic Site, Morristown National Historical Park and Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Originally from New Jersey, Chuck attended Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff where he studied American history and geology and received a degree in Recreation Resource Management. Chuck and his wife, Sally, live in Flagstaff, Arizona.
Profile Image of Norm Geiger
Norm Geiger View biography
Norman Geiger moved to the Colorado Plateau in 1986 with a degree in geology, working odd jobs including group leading in Utah and conducting field exploration work in Nevada. Norm received his teaching certification from Northern Arizona University, followed by a rewarding 26-year career as a science teacher on the Navajo Reservation in Ganado, AZ. He built his home off-grid outside Flagstaff, Ariz. Norm keeps busy with Road Scholar, assisting at his old school, and working with the National Science Foundation-funded STEM Guitar Project.
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.
The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons
by Powell, John Wesley
Full text of Powell's 1,000-mile expedition down the fabled Colorado in 1869. Superb account of terrain, geology, vegetation, Indians, famine, mutiny, treacherous rapids, mighty canyons. 240 illustrations. 432pp
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
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.
Introduction to Grand Canyon Geology
by Price, L Greer
This overview of Grand Canyon geology is perfect for the first-time visitor or the seasoned Grand Canyon traveler. Chapters cover the basic priciples of geology, the history of geological exploration at Grand Canyon, the canyon's structural features, and the Colorado River. Includes over 70 photos and illustrations, an index, and glossary. 63pp
Unquenchable: America's Water Crisis
by Glennon, Robert
In the middle of the Mojave Desert, Las Vegas casinos use billions of gallons of water for fountains, pirate lagoons, wave machines, and indoor canals. Meanwhile, the town of Orme, Tennessee, must truck in water from Alabama because it has literally run out. Robert Glennon captures the irony—and tragedy—of America’s water crisis in a book that is both frightening and wickedly comical. Unquenchable reveals the heady extravagances and everyday inefficiencies that are sucking the nation dry.
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.
The Scalpel and the Silver Bear: The First Navajo Woman Surgeon Combines Western Medicine and Traditional Healing
by Alvord, Lori
The first Navajo woman surgeon combines western medicine and traditional healing. A spellbinding journey between two worlds, this remarkable book describes surgeon Lori Arviso Alvord's struggles to bring modern medicine to the Navajo reservation in Gallup, New Mexico—and to bring the values of her people to a medical care system in danger of losing its heart. 204 pp
Volcanoes of Northern Arizona - Sleeping Giants of the Grand Canyon Region
by Duffield, Wendell A
Just south of the Grand Canyon lies a range of volcanic mountain including Mt. Humphreys, the highest point in Arizona. These mountains encompassing Sunset Crater and the San Francisco Peaks, collectively make up the San Francisco Volcanic Field. This book provides, for the first time, a popular look at the fiery origin of these volcanic features. With magnificent aerial photographs, original geologic illustrations, and detailed road logs to many of the key features, this book is an indispensable tool for the traveler, the educator, and all that are interested in the remarkable landscape of northern Arizona. 68pp
The Man Who Walked Through Time: The Story of the First Trip Afoot Through the Grand Canyon
by Fletcher, Colin
The remarkable classic of nature writing by the first man ever to have walked the entire length of the Grand Canyon. 256pp
Breaking Into the Current: Boatwomen of the Grand Canyon
by Teal, Louise
This book profiles eleven of the first full-season Grand Canyon boatwomen, weaving together their various experiences in their own words. Breaking Into the Current is a story of romance between women and a place. Each woman tells a part of every Canyon boatwoman's story: when Marilyn Sayre talks about leaving the Canyon, when Ellen Tibbets speaks of crew camaraderie, or when Martha Clark recalls the thrill of white water, each tells how all were involved in the same romance. All the boatwomen have stories to tell of how they first came to the Canyon and why they stayed. As river guides in love with the Canyon and their work, these women have followed their hearts. 178pp
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7 days
6 nights
16 meals
6 B 5 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Phoenix & The Valley of the Sun
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix/Tempe ASU Area

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 delicious 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.

Montezuma Castle Natl Monument, Sedona, Village of Oak Creek
Sedona, AZ
Holiday Inn Express Sedona - Oak Creek

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 to order, breakfast meats, cereals, 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.

Flagstaff, Grand Canyon South Rim
South Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Yavapai Lodge West

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 enter through the East entrance to the park. 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.

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.

Scenic Canyon Flight, Free Time
South Rim, Grand Canyon, Arizona
Yavapai Lodge West

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: At the lodge dining facility, the breakfast buffet includes an egg dish, pancakes, breakfast meats, oatmeal, yogurt, and fresh fruit, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

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: At the Maswik Café, which is conveniently located near the Grand Canyon Village and scenic viewpoint shuttle buses, we’ll choose plated meals using vouchers in a food court style. There will be a wide variety of entrées and sides to choose from, plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

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.

Desert View, Navajo Bridge, Arrive North Rim Lodge
North Rim, Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon Lodge North Rim

Activity note: Driving approximately 220 miles from Grand Canyon Village to North Rim Lodge; 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: Lodge buffet.

Morning: 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.” After driving the East Rim, we will stop at Cameron trading Post on the Navajo Reservation. This will give everyone a chance to purchase traditional native jewelry or clothing. 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: Next we’ll stop for a visit at 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 this now pedestrian bridge and marvel at the 500-foot chasm below and the muddy waters of the Colorado. Keep an eye out for California Condors! Continuing along the base of the Vermilion Cliffs, we’ll rise onto the cool, verdant Kaibab Plateau with its spruce, fir and aspen forest at an elevation of 8,000 feet. Upon arrival at the North Rim Lodge in the late afternoon, we’ll check in. The Frontier Cabins on site, which we will be staying in, are historic log cabins that were built in the 1930s. They enhance the rustic ambiance of the North Rim. Please be aware that the cabins are smaller and cozier than average 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: At leisure. You may wish to relax at the lodge, enjoy a walk along the rim, or soak up the evening light on the patio.

North Rim Exploration, Nature Walk
Kanab, UT
Parry Lodge

Activity note: Driving approximately 90 miles total throughout the day; about 2 hour, 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: At the lodge, we will have a buffet featuring hot items such as breakfast meats, French toast, eggs, hash browns, with granola, yogurt, pastries, and fresh fruit, plus milk, juice, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: If you would like, rise early on your own to take a short walk and experience a sunrise over the canyon to the east. After breakfast, we will offer a nature walk lead by your Group Leader. During the walk we will discuss the unique natural history and geologic features found on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon Following our walk we will check out of our cabins, load our luggage into our vehicles and depart for various stunning North Rim viewpoints located on the Walhalla Plateau.

Lunch: In the field, we will have boxed lunches including a deli-style sandwich, chips, fresh fruit, and a cookie or granola bar.

Afternoon: Mid-afternoon we will depart for famous Jacob Lake Inn and onto Kanab, Utah. We will have the chance to make stops along the way to learn about the geologic history of the "Grand Staircase" of Southern Utah. We will arrive and check into our hotel in Kanab, Utah.

Dinner: Enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Evening: After dinner, we will have the opportunity to explore downtown Kanab. Centrally located on Main St., your hotel is in the perfect location for short walks to local art galleries and gift shops.

Program Concludes

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 8 a.m. Driving approximately 210 miles from Grand Canyon to Las Vegas; about 4 hours. Expected arrival at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport by approximately 11:30 a.m.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: Once checked out, we will depart from Kanab for our return trip to Las Vegas McCarran International Airport. 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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