Road Scholar provides and interesting, educational view of the glory of The Grand Canyon. Observing its beauty is astounding, but seeing it with the knowledge gained by the program adds to the awesome experience exponentially.
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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 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.
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: Arriving in Sedona, we will visit some of its most iconic viewpoints and attractions with our expert naturalist, such as Bell Rock, Airport Mesa, Red Rock State Park, and more. As we explore via motorcoach and on foot, we’ll learn about the rich human and natural history of this world-class destination. A combination of natural beauty and a spiritual sanctuary, Sedona is known around the world for its orange and red sandstone forming incredible creeks, canyons, and buttes. In the mid-afternoon, we will check into our hotel located in the Village of Oak Creek.
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 the famous Mather 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: Depending on the Park Ranger schedule, attending a presentation led by a National Park Ranger. The schedule, location, and program topic will be announced upon arrival to the park.
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: Following breakfast, we will divide into two groups for the morning’s activities. For participants who signed up for the scenic canyon flight when registering for the program, we’ll board the van and ride to the Grand Canyon Airstrip to board the dual engine “Vistaliner” aircraft to set off for an aerial view 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. Constructed for the elite of the early 20th century, it is a National Historic Landmark and was once considered the most elegant hotel west of the Mississippi.
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. A popular dining choice is the historic El Tovar Restaurant. Dinner reservations made in advance are highly recommended.
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 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.” 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: 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. 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.
Activity note: Walking approximately 2.5 miles total for group activities: Morning walk is about 1 miles; approximately 1.5 hours; gravel paths with roughly 50 feet of elevation loss and gain. Afternoon hike on Transept Trail is about 1.5 miles one way; approximately 1.5 hours; established trail, some uneven terrain and rocky sections; elevation change of about 100 feet.
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’ll then join a Ranger-led nature walk to learn more about the forested North Rim of the Grand Canyon and the flora and fauna that call this region home. In the mid-morning, we’ll set out for Point Imperial – the highest viewpoint in the park at 8,803 feet. The quintessential Grand Canyon view will tax the capabilities of your camera to capture it all. With a maximum visibility of up to 100 miles, our expert naturalist will point out and expound on the seemingly endless Grand Canyon and regional landmarks.
Lunch: In the field, we will have boxed lunches including a deli-style sandwich, chips, fresh fruit, and a cookie or granola bar.
Afternoon: We will return to the North Rim Lodge in order to change our shoes, fill our water bottles, and reboard the motorcoach for a short ride to the Transept Trailhead. Once there, we’ll embark with our Group Leader on a beautiful hike back to the lodge. Upon our return to the lodge, the remainder of the afternoon will be free for you to see and do what interests you most. You may wish to catch an afternoon Ranger Program, explore the area and its establishments, or simply relax and drink in the views. If you would rather not go on the hike, feel free to begin the period of free time early.
Dinner: Lodge plated meal.
Evening: At leisure. The Grand Canyon Lodge sits right on the rim of the canyon and is an easy walk from the cabins. You may like to walk along the rim, relax on one of the lodge patios, or on select nights, enjoy an evening program led by a Park Ranger in the lodge auditorium. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.
Activity note: Driving approximately 210 miles total: about 80 miles to Marble Canyon and approximately 130 miles to Flagstaff; about 5 hours total drive time, with stops. Walking up to 1/2 mile total throughout the day; easy terrain.
Breakfast: Lodge buffet.
Morning: Once checked out of the hotel and aboard our motorcoach, we’ll leave the Grand Canyon behind for our return to Flagstaff. After retracing our steps to Marble Canyon, we will travel a short distance to Lee’s Ferry on the banks of the Colorado River where we will have the opportunity to dip a toe into the cold water. At the riverbank as we watch the rigging of boats preparing to go through the Grand Canyon, our Group Leader naturalist will discuss the western water issue and Mormon pioneer history. Due to the geography of the Colorado River, this site is the only place for hundreds of miles where the river can be easily accessed from both sides, creating an ideal place for a ferry crossing. As the Mormons journeyed west, John D. Lee was determined to build a permanent ferry service for Mormon pioneers. Lee’s Ferry was the principal river crossing until the Navajo Bridge was constructed about 4 miles downstream. Returning to the motorcoach, we’ll continue our drive to the town of Cameron where we will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant across from the Little Colorado River Gorge.
Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll order plated meals from a standard lunch menu. You may wish to try a famous specialty, the “Navajo Taco” – a light crispy fry bread loaded with traditional taco toppings – plus coffee, tea, lemonade, water. No alcohol is served on the Navajo reservation.
Afternoon: Next, we will have some time to explore the historic 1916 Cameron Trading Post independently. Set on the banks of the Little Colorado River, the Trading Post is a welcomed rest stop that features a beautiful hidden garden, an in-house Navajo rug weaver, and interesting stone architecture. Leaving Cameron in the mid-afternoon, we’ll complete our transfer to Flagstaff. As we drive south, enjoy majestic views of the San Francisco Peaks and Sunset Crater. We will arrive in Flagstaff in the mid-afternoon and check into the hotel.
Dinner: At a festive local Greek restaurant, we will enjoy plated meals from a variety of entrée choices, plus coffee, tea, soft drinks, water; other beverages available for purchase.
Evening: Gathering at the hotel, we’ll engage in a program wrap up and reflections. We’ll look back on our adventures on both rims of the Grand Canyon and share some of our experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends. The remainder of the evening will be at leisure. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.
Activity note: Hotel check-out by 8:00 a.m. Driving approximately 150 miles to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, approximately 3 hours. Arrival in Phoenix expected by approximately 11:00 a.m.
Breakfast: At the hotel, we will have a buffet including waffles, eggs, bagels, cereal, muffins, and fresh fruit, plus milk, juices, coffee, tea, water.
Morning: Once checked out of the hotel, we’ll transfer to Phoenix for drop-offs at Sky Harbor Airport and the program’s starting hotel. 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!
Road Scholar provides and interesting, educational view of the glory of The Grand Canyon. Observing its beauty is astounding, but seeing it with the knowledge gained by the program adds to the awesome experience exponentially.
I liked the Grand Canyon tour very much. My only complaint is unfortunately the very first full day, when we arrived in the Sedona area. According to the itinerary, "Sedona is known around the world for its orange and red sandstone forming incredible creeks, canyons, and buttes." We visited Red Rock State Park, but spent the entire time walking in the woods. The walk was interesting and informative, but I do wish we could have spent at least some of the time seeing some red rock formations, which I thought was the point of going to Sedona. I only briefly saw the formations from the bus as we were arriving and leaving. It was a real disappointment to me. Other than that, the trip was great. I do wish we had one additional day at the South Rim. I was only just getting used to the way the shuttle service works and we had to leave. An extra day would have been perfect. This is not to say that I liked the North Rim less (I liked it better), but the day trips we took gave me a really good look at several of the spectacular overlooks. The flight I took in the fixed-wing aircraft was fabulous, and definitely the high-point of the trip for me (if you'll pardon the pun). I urge anyone taking the tour to do that optional extra. The tour leaders Mike and Kaolin Young were excellent and I enjoyed their guidance, knowledge, and humor.
This is a great program, even if you have been to the Grand Canyon before.
WOW !!!!!!!!!! A great combination of Mother Nature and Father Time.
Bruce and Norman were very knowledgeable, generous, patient and just plan fun to be with. Layer clothes, Phoenix will hot and your trip will cool as you proceed north. I used the room heater the 2 nights on the north rim (late May). Remember a flashlight or head lamp gear, especially when returning to your cabin at night on the north rim. Three important things to remember, HYDRATE, bring a water bottle. Water filling stations are everywhere. Second, bring walking poles for balance on the many trails available. Third, you will be traveling at HIGH altitude. Your energy, breathing and endurance will be challenged. Come prepared, especially breathing medications (inhalers). This is a bucket list trip, not to be forgotten.
Don't go to the Grand Canyon without seeing both the South and North rim. They are so different you will be glad you did.
Everything you ever wanted to know about the Grand Canyon, especially my favorite part, the geology of the regoin.
***** (FIVE STARS. Can't figure out how to edit to add my stars) Wonderful trip. Wish I had begun immune system strengthening before trip as I caught a cold at the North Rim and the altitude was weakening. Word to the wise: not everyone is as considerate as they should be with regard to prohibiting the spread of their own virus germs when traveling in groups. If you have a cold move away from others before coughing or sneezing. Use hand sanitizer and tissue. Sneeze into your arm. Control coughing w/drops or syrup. No hugging or close contact. I still enjoyed the trip and the expertise of the guides, the superb group management (seniors...lots of bathroom breaks; frequent snacks). Based on my experience I will do more Road Scholar trips.
The Grand Canyon can be seen in photos but the first hand experience is truly awe inspiring!,
This trip presented me with an amazing experience of the Grand Canyon. The learning, social time with other participants, and the experience of the land itself made this a wonderful vacation.
This trip was the most illuminating learning experience, led by a knowledgeable guide, and allowing plenty of latitude for gearing up or down. My partner and I, expecting to learn about the area, never could have guessed that we would learn so much, and in such depth. If I say any more I will sound like a groupie! :)
This program exceeded my expectations on every level. This was our first Road Scholar trip and we are already planning our next.
Fantastic adventure with Road Scholar in exploring the North and South Rims of the Grand Canyon!
If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, this is a great program for you. I really came to appreciate the majesty of the canyon by spending a total of 4 days there. I highly recommend the plane ride over the canyon as it is the only way to truly understand the complexity of the canyon!
If you want to see the Grand Canyon, this is the trip for you!
If you want to see the Grand Canyon, complete and unabridged this is the program for you.
This was our first trip to the Grand Canyon as well as our first Road Scholar trip. I am thankful that we took a tour like this to be introduced to the awesome grandeur of this part of God's creation. It would have been impossible to experience all that was included on our own.
This was a great first experience of the Grand Canyon for us. Seeing both rims is the best way, as the views are different. Even the view of each rim changes with the lighting and weather on any given day. Our group had a rare delight watching the skies from Cape Royal, seeing the weather in the distance while we were safe from harm. The only caveats are relative to the north rim cabins. Be sure to bring a flashlight for seeing/reading indoors at night, and it can be pretty chilly up there. Bring clothing for weather from ridiculously hot to quite brisk. Mike Young, our tour leader, was excellent, and our bus driver, Alex, very competent and friendly.
Great trip for value. Well presented, This is my 3rd trip with road Scholar. I travel quite a bit, enjoy a variety of people, many older but many well traveled, like new things, experiences.
If the Grand Canyon is on your bucket list, this is the program for you.
The 'Best" of the "Best" Road Scholar programs that we have attended as well as the Best Group Leader any program could have!
This trip was absolutely fantastic. I would do it again.
How can you not enjoy learning about and hiking in the Grand Canyon.
My husband and I just completed our first Road Scholar trip. We would highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to enjoy tours of various places around the world, to meet new friends, and to learn more about the regions visited.
#1 bring warm clothes for the Grand Canyon #2 be prepared for a lot a travel - yet the instructor kept us entertained with information about where we were, so that the travel time did not appear to be that bad. #3 a walking stick might help some - especially on the south rim (optional trip down the rim) #4 the food was plentiful and delicious. #5 do not forget the charger for your camera and/or phone.
This program was an absolute dream come true. Both the north and south rims of the Grand Canyon were included with enough time for adequate exploration of both. As a bonus, several other interesting and beautiful areas between Phoenix and the Canyon were explored. Our guide Bruce and driver Alex were fabulous.
I came to this program not knowing anything about the Grand Canyon and came back knowing so much! It would be a shame to do less than we did to truely appreciate the grandeur and size of this amazing experience. If you are a scientifically minded person and want answers to how and why, this give it to you. In world experiences( and I've had a few) this is "Up there".
This program is good for people who want to see the Grand Canyon over several days but do not want to backpack, raft, camp, or hike long distances.