Grand Canyon: River Rafting and a Historic Train Ride With Your Grandchild
Share the journey of a lifetime with your grandchild as you visit the Grand Canyon via train, raft the Colorado River and see ancient Indian cliff dwellings at a National Monument.
Rating (5)
Program No. 5831RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Check-in, Registration, Welcome Dinner, Orientation
Phoenix & The Valley of the Sun
Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Airport North

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

Afternoon: Program Registration 4:30 – 5:15 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 your name-tag, up-to-date schedule that reflects any last-minute changes, other important information, and to confirm when and where the Orientation session will take place. If you arrive late, please ask for your packet when you check in.

Dinner: At the hotel, we’ll have a tasty plated welcome dinner with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water included; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Orientation. 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. Transportation during the week will be provided by a combination of passenger vans and motor coach travel. This is a Road Scholar intergenerational program. Grandparents are responsible for their grandchildren. If/when separate age group activities are conducted concurrently, program staff will supervise. Children are never to be left unsupervised. Periods in the daily 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 change due to local circumstances/conditions. In the event of changes, we will alert you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your understanding. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

AZ Geography, NAU Challenge Course, Amazing Arizona Animals
Flagstaff, AZ
La Quinta Inn & Suites Flagstaff

Activity note: Walking up to 1 mile throughout the day. Driving approximately 150 miles to Flagstaff; about 2.5 hours. University challenge course is on paved and unpaved terrain, on low obstacles close to the ground, and up 25 to 30 in the air on elevated obstacles. Harnesses, helmets, safety orientation and instruction will be provided by certified challenge course facilitators.

Breakfast: At the hotel, the extensive breakfast buffet features many choices of hot and cold items, plus coffee, tea, juices, water.

Morning: After checking out of the hotel, we’ll begin our transfer from Phoenix and make our way to the higher elevations of Flagstaff with its cooler summer temperatures. En route, we’ll learn from our Group Leader about the fascinating and varied geography between the two locations.

Lunch: At a local restaurant in Flagstaff, we’ll have a buffet lunch with an extensive salad bar, plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Especially for kids: After our arrival in Flagstaff, we’ll travel to Northern Arizona University's Challenge Course on the south campus for team building events led by certified leaders who are college students at NAU. The goal is to build a trusting and cohesive group out of grandparents and grandchildren who just met each other the night before. We will start out with on-the-ground games, move to low and then to high element activities. This will include some of the elements of the static course with activities at heights 25-30 feet off the ground. This progression of activities will challenge the group with increasingly difficult tasks while encouraging cooperation, inspiring confidence and having fun, all within a supportive and safe environment. Grandparents as well as grandchildren are encouraged to participate, but all activities are “challenge by choice.” In late afternoon, we’ll travel to the hotel and check-in.

Dinner: At a local Greek restaurant with a variety of entree choices for all ages and palates, we’ll have plated meals. Beverages include water, tea, soft drinks or coffee; other beverages available for purchase at your own cost.

Evening: Especially for kids: In a meeting room on campus, our kid-focused presentation given by a biologist from the university will cover some aspects of Arizona wildlife. We will learn about some of the critters living in the Grand Canyon region and look at their adaptations to this high desert environment.

Navajo Reservation, Raft the Colorado, Lee's Ferry
Flagstaff, AZ
La Quinta Inn & Suites Flagstaff

Activity note: Driving approx. 135 miles to Page, AZ; about 2.5 hours. Getting in/out of raft; assistance provided as needed. The raft trip lasts 3.5 hours, around 15 miles. Daytime temperatures can be very warm; be sure to bring sun protection and stay hydrated. Short 1/4 mile RT walk to view ancient rock art during smooth water raft trip. Return 2.5 hours to Flagstaff from Lee's Ferry following raft trip. Total driving during the day 5 hours.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Setting out from the hotel, we’ll travel to the Cameron Trading Post in the Navajo Nation for a short rest stop.Then we’ll move on to the town of Page to visit the Carl Hayden Visitor Center perched high above Glen Canyon Dam. While here, we’ll see the relief map in the lobby, look at photos documenting the construction of the dam in the 1950s and ‘60s, and gaze out of the giant picture windows at Lake Powell stretching into the distance. Lake Powell has more shoreline than the west coast of the United States! Especially for kids: Next, we’ll shift our gaze down to the rafts moored just below the dam knowing that we’ll soon board one for an unforgettable float through Glen Canyon. After checking in with the rafting leaders, we’ll descend by bus through the tunnel and down to the river where we’ll have a safety orientation before meeting our boatmen and boarding our rafts. As we float downstream watching the walls of the Canyon rise above us, we’ll look for fly fishermen casting for rainbow trout. The water is so clear we may see them swimming!

Lunch: Aboard the raft, we’ll enjoy sack lunches with sandwiches, fruit, chips and a cookie.

Afternoon: As we continue floating downstream and gazing up at the high cliffs, search for golden eagles, California condors – North America's largest flying bird – hawks and turkey vultures. We’ll stop along the way and walk led by our boatmen to see the amazing petroglyphs, perhaps 1000 years old, just a short distance from shore. We may even catch sight of a chuckwalla lizard sunning itself nearby. Before reboarding the rafts for our spectacular trip around Horseshoe Bend, we may wish to jump into the 48 degree water of the Colorado River! After rounding Horseshoe Bend, we’ll wind up in Lee's Ferry where the Grand Canyon officially begins. As we finish up our journey, we may see other boatmen readying their rafts for their exciting trips through the Grand Canyon and its many rapids. Time permitting, we’ll stop at the wild looking mushroom rocks – just part of the fascinating geology near Lee’s Ferry. We’ll then get off our rafts and board a motorcoach for transfer to Cameron Trading Post.

Dinner: At the historic Cameron Trading Post, we’ll have a choice of plated dinners from a select menu including an authentic Navajo dish; kid-friendly entrees available. Water, iced tea, soft drinks and coffee are available. There is no alcohol served on the Navajo Nation.

Evening: We’ll then return to our Flagstaff hotel late in the evening with the rest of the evening at leisure.

Grand Canyon Geology, Walnut Canyon National Monument
Flagstaff, AZ
La Quinta Inn & Suites Flagstaff

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles throughout the day; Paved Island Trail descends 185 feet into Walnut Canyon and is about 1 mile round trip; pavement can be uneven at times; 240 stairs. There is a level and paved rim trail for those unable to descend into the Canyon. Driving about 1/2 hour one way to Walnut Canyon, NM.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Especially for kids: We’ll gather at the university for a secret "Kids Only" activity led by our Group Leaders! Shhhhh! While the kids are engaged, the adults may wish to take a breather, a dip in the pool or engage in purely adult conversation for a short time. Then, we will participate in a hands-on presentation that will focus on how the mighty earth forces worked over millions and even billions of years to carve the Grand Canyon.

Lunch: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated lunches with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water.

Afternoon: Next, we’ll travel to Walnut Canyon National Monument to view its 900 year old Anasazi pueblo ruins. We’ll descend the canyon's 240 stairs (185 feet) to the Island Trail to visit and, in some cases, step inside these ancient structures. As we walk in the footsteps of these early area inhabitants led by our Group Leader, we’ll have the opportunity see how they lived, learn where they got their food, and how they built their homes while enjoying the spectacular scenery and geology of Walnut Canyon. We’ll hear of the connection that the Hopi people have to this beautiful canyon. On our way out, we’ll visit the Monument's museum and explore the exhibits independently before returning to the hotel.

Dinner: At a local restaurant, we’ll have plated dinners chosen from a select menu with water, iced tea, soft drinks and coffee are available; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. We’ll be able to jump in the pool and have fun with new friends.

Grand Canyon Railway, Grand Canyon National Park, Pizza!
Flagstaff, AZ
La Quinta Inn & Suites Flagstaff

Activity note: Walking about 2 miles; during the 3.5 hours at Grand Canyon National Park; paved pathways on S. Rim of Grand Canyon. Driving approx. 30 miles and 1/2 hour one way to Williams and Grand Canyon Railway depot. Getting on/off train; assistance available as needed. Rail journey is about 60 miles; approx. 2.5 hours one way. Elective hike is up to 1 mile round trip on steep, unpaved Bright Angel Trail.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Especially for kids: After boarding our transportation to the Grand Canyon Railway Depot in downtown Williams, just a short drive from Flagstaff, we’ll be treated to a Wild West show and shoot out. Then we’ll board the train for a trip through forests and high desert ranch land to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Keep a look out for prairie dogs near Williams then watch for mule deer in the ponderosa forest and pronghorn antelope and free range cattle in the open range lands. Our rail car attendant will provide commentary.

Lunch: Aboard the train, we’ll have our pre-selected sandwiches, chips, fruit and cookies as we travel through an iconic Arizona ranch landscape with mountains in the distance.

Afternoon: Upon arrival, we'll walk to the rim together, many of us seeing this world wonder for the very first time! Then we’ll stroll throughout Grand Canyon Village exploring its many viewpoints of the canyon from the S. Rim. We’ll then have some time for independent exploration. We may choose to take the elective hike down the famous Bright Angel Trail. One could also explore the Canyon rim independently or find the nearby fountain for ice cream before boarding the train for the return trip to the Williams train station – that is, unless the train robbers get us on the way back!

Dinner: At the hotel for our final dinner, we’ll have a festive pizza party with salad and dessert, plus lemonade, iced tea, water.

Evening: We’ll then gather for a program wrap-up session to go over all we learned throughout the week. Afterwards, the remainder of the evening will be at leisure for new friends to enjoy together. We will prepare for check out and departures in the morning.

Program Concludes

Activity note: Driving approximately 150 miles to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport; about 2.5 hours. Expected arrival at the airport about 11:30 a.m. Be sure to schedule airline departures with ample time to check bags and clear security – not earlier than 2:00 p.m. Hotel check-out by 12:00 Noon.

Breakfast: Hotel buffet.

Morning: Depart after breakfast for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and independent departures. Expected arrival at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport about 11:30 a.m.This concludes our program. 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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