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6112
Arizona

Hiking the Grand Canyon: Adventures On and Below the South Rim

Gain a deeper understanding of the Grand Canyon as you join experts for hikes on and below the South Rim. Naturalists provide insight into the canyon’s epic natural and human histories.
Rating (5)
Program No. 6112RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499
Arizona

Hiking the Grand Canyon: Adventures On and Below the South Rim

Gain a deeper understanding of the Grand Canyon as you join experts for hikes on and below the South Rim. Naturalists provide insight into the canyon’s epic natural and human histories.
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,499
Program No. 6112 RJ
Prefer to enroll or inquire by phone? 800-454-5768
climate
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itinerary
Please Note:
The itinerary for this program is different on certain dates.
Select your type of room
Price will update based on selection
Prices displayed below are based on per person,doubleoccupancy.
DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
1,499
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
1,499
Oct 17 - Oct 22, 2021
Starting at
1,499
Oct 31 - Nov 5, 2021
Starting at
1,499
Itinerary Note

This date is “Micro Group,” group size no greater than 12.

DATES & starting prices
PRICES
Sep 19 - Sep 24, 2021
Starting at
2,029
Oct 3 - Oct 8, 2021
Starting at
2,029
Oct 17 - Oct 22, 2021
Starting at
2,029
Oct 31 - Nov 5, 2021
Starting at
1,999
Itinerary Note

This date is “Micro Group,” group size no greater than 12.

At a Glance

Hike through stands of pinyon-juniper and around yucca and agave, as you venture along and below the rim of the Grand Canyon. Travel back through geological time, with naturalists providing insights into the landscape’s epic natural and human histories. Descend below the canyon’s rim on the historic Bright Angel and South Kaibab Trails. See more of this natural wonder than you ever imagined, with hikes along the western rim viewpoints and others at some of the park’s eastern most points, Desert View Watchtower and the Palisades of the Desert.
Activity Level
Outdoor: Spirited
Hike 3-6 miles daily over uneven terrain, high steps, desert vegetation, rocky areas, elevation changes up to 1,200 feet. Elevations up to 7,000 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 ...

  • Venture out on hikes on and below the rim of Grand Canyon National Park.
  • Learn from experienced naturalists about an array of topics ranging from the surrounding landscapes to current park management issues.
  • Enjoy an “off-the-beaten-path” hike at the Palisades of the Desert, the eastern Grand Canyon’s sherbet-colored cliffs with distant views of the historic Desert View Watchtower.
Featured Expert
All Experts
Profile Image
Mike Masek
Mike Masek is a wilderness skills instructor, herbalist and ethnobotanist living in Flagstaff, Ariz. In addition to his current work with Road Scholar, he is adjunct faculty at Northern Arizona University where he teaches traditional uses of native plants and outdoor survival skills. He also teaches programs at the National Parks and Coconino Community College. He has spent a lifetime exploring the canyons and deserts of the American Southwest and loves to share these treasures with others.

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

Profile Image of Carl Bowman
Carl Bowman View biography
With a bachelor’s degree in biology and having spent 25 years of his life on the South Rim, Carl Bowman knows the Grand Canyon well and specializes in relating the Canyon’s varied and constantly evolving geologic stories. He worked for the National Park Service from 1974-2013, and during his career served as a janitor, wildland fire fighter, archaeologist, ranger, and scientist. A long-time student of the Grand Canyon, Carl has shared its stories with park visitors, staff, university classes and lifelong learners.
Profile Image of Mike Masek
Mike Masek View biography
Mike Masek is a wilderness skills instructor, herbalist and ethnobotanist living in Flagstaff, Ariz. In addition to his current work with Road Scholar, he is adjunct faculty at Northern Arizona University where he teaches traditional uses of native plants and outdoor survival skills. He also teaches programs at the National Parks and Coconino Community College. He has spent a lifetime exploring the canyons and deserts of the American Southwest and loves to share these treasures with others.
Profile Image of Kristin Hooten
Kristin Hooten View biography
Born in El Paso, Texas, Kristin has spent the majority of her life in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. She has a BA in parks and recreation management with an emphasis in outdoor education and leadership. While a student, Kristin worked with the Road Scholar program in capacities including administrative and back-office duties as well as leading hiking and backpacking, intergenerational and On The Road programs. Since then, her passion for promoting lifelong learning has brought her back to Road Scholar at Northern Arizona University.
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.
Life in Stone: Fossils of the Colorado Plateau
by Sadler, Christa
Like pages in a book, the layers of sedimentary rock that are exposed on the Colorado Plateau tell us much about the diversity of environments that have come and gone over a period of hundreds of millions of years. This region is recognized as one of the finest earth-science laboratories in the world. Analysis of the fossil record and new discoveries across the plateau are answering questions, solving mysteries, and making connections that help us understand the history of life worldwide. "Life In Stone" tells the story of past environments and current discoveries with numerous illustrations and lively text written for a general audience. 72pp
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
Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West
by Stegner, Wallace
Here Wallace Stegner, a Pulitzer Prize-winner, gives us a thrilling account of Powell's struggle against western geography and Washington politics. We witness the successes and frustrations of Powell's distinguished career, and appreciate his unparalleled understanding of the West. "Stegner's most exciting work." (San Francisco Chronicle) 496pp
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.
Field Guide to the Grand Canyon
by Whitney, Stephen R
This book describes and illustrates the area's plants and animals, and offers fascinating in-depth information on the natural history and geology of this dramatic region. 272pp
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
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.
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
DAY
1
Check-in, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Grand Canyon - South Rim
D
Yavapai Lodge West

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 dining area adjacent to the front desk lobby 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 in our private meeting room. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss roles and responsibilities, logistics, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions. Transportation will be provided primarily by passenger vans and free Park Service shuttle buses, unless otherwise specified. Educational instruction will take place on the trails provided by our Group Leaders. There are typically no restroom facilities on the trail. Field trips go rain or shine. 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 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 Yavapai Lodge Restaurant we will use an automated touch screen to choose from a variety of buffet entrees, sides, and desserts, plus coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night's rest for the day ahead.

DAY
2
West Rim Trail & Bright Angel Trail Hike
Grand Canyon - South Rim
B,L,D
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Minimal driving to trailhead. Hiking 4 – 5 miles throughout the day; well-maintained trails; elevation change of about 700 feet. No restroom facilities on the trail.

Breakfast: At the lodge dining facility, we’ll have meal coupons for the breakfast buffet that offers choices such as an egg dish, breakfast meats, pancakes, oatmeal, fresh fruit, juices, milk, coffee, tea, water.

Morning: After taking the park shuttle to the trailhead, we’ll take a 3 mile hike along the Rim Trail from Mohave Point to the Village with our Group Leaders. As an introduction to Grand Canyon geology, land features, and human history, our Group Leader will conduct short trailside talks at appropriate vantage points. Excellent views of the Colorado River are a highlight on this mostly level hike, which will end at the Maswik Food Court.

Lunch: At the Maswik Café, we will use coupons to order from your choice of eateries in the mini food court dining venue. American classics, pasta, Mexican meals, a grill and a deli are all on site. Lunch includes soup or salad, entrée, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: After a short walk to the trailhead, we’ll take a hike down the Bright Angel Trail with our Group Leaders to get a feel for hiking on an inner canyon trail below the rim. Both hiking leaders will describe the details, length, and destination of hike they will lead. Participants will subdivide into smaller groups and venture on the trail of their choosing. At the conclusion of the hike, we’ll return to the lodge via the free National Park Service shuttle.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: At leisure. Enjoy a relaxing evening at the lodge or ride the park’s shuttle to a viewpoint for a Grand Canyon sunset.

DAY
3
Palisades of the Desert Hike & Desert View
Grand Canyon - South Rim
B,L,D
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Driving about 30 miles; approx. 1/2 hour. Hiking approximately 6 miles total; about 5 hours; mostly level for the first 1/2 mile on an old road bed then descends 700 feet to the Palisades Rim; rocky trail, some side-hill contouring and minor elevation changes. No restroom facilities on the trail.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We’ll transfer with our Group Leaders to the Palisades hike in the eastern Desert View area of the park. This is a true "off the beaten path" hike so you won't find this hike in any of the guide books. Beginning on an abandoned rocky road bed and ending up on a massive escarpment of the Grand Canyon known as the Palisades of the Desert, there is a 700 foot elevation loss and then gain on this 6 mile roundtrip hike. Hike highlights include remote and quiet hiking locations, colorful views of the Painted Desert, potentially frequent wildlife sightings, and striking views of the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon.

Lunch: Along the trail, we will have a sack lunch including a deli sandwich, chips, and fruit.

Afternoon: Once completing our hike, we’ll return to the vans located in the Desert View Watchtower parking lot. Time will be allotted to explore Desert View and the well-known Watchtower designed by Mary Jane Colter at the Park's east entrance. Sweeping views of the Colorado River and distant views of the Painted Desert are among the attractions. While our Group Leaders will be available for commentary, we will also have some time for independent exploration. We’ll then return to the lodge.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

Evening: National Park Service rangers conduct evening ranger programs at the Shrine of Ages indoor auditorium nightly - depending on staff availability. Programs will cover a Grand Canyon topic of interest and change nightly. The auditorium is serviced by the free park shuttle.

DAY
4
Red Mountain Volcano, Free Time
Grand Canyon - South Rim
B,L
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Driving about 40 miles; approx. 1 hour. Hiking about 3 miles roundtrip; approx. 2.5 hours; well-established trail of fine volcanic cinder with good footing; elevation change of approx. 300 feet on gentle incline. No restroom facilities on the trail.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: We will go outside the park boundary to enjoy a less visited but awesomely unique hike in the Kaibab National Forest. The Red Mountain hike offers a great scenic and geologic reward. Due to the forces of erosion, Red Mountain Volcano has been cut in half and eroded into a geologic fairyland of spires, pinnacles and "hoodoos." Upon completion of our hike, we’ll return to the lodge.

Lunch: Lodge buffet.

Afternoon: 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. You may wish to enjoy and explore the canyon on your own. Activities may include riding the West Rim shuttle to various viewpoints and Hermit's Rest, exploring the many interesting buildings in the historic Grand Canyon Village, rim walks, or other activities of your choosing.

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.

Evening: National Park Service rangers conduct evening ranger programs at the Shrine of Ages indoor auditorium nightly - depending on staff availability. Programs will cover a Grand Canyon topic of interest and change nightly. The auditorium is serviced by the free park shuttle.

DAY
5
South Kaibab Trail Hike to Cedar Ridge & Skeleton Point
Grand Canyon - South Rim
B,L,D
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Minimal driving to trailhead. Hiking choices totaling between 4 and 7 miles throughout the day depending on route preference; elevation changes ranging from 1,000 to 2,100 feet on well-maintained trail of about 4 – 5 feet in width; numerous water bars and step pads.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet.

Morning: With our Group Leaders we will transfer to the South Kaibab trailhead for our hike to Cedar Ridge. Switchbacks and amazing canyon views at each corner will be the order of the day. This hike is to be counted among the highlights of the week! We will traverse several of the geologic layers of the Canyon including the Coconino Sandstone which contains fossilized reptile tracks. Along the way, we'll have time to enjoy inner canyon views, looking out for California Condor soaring overhead and trailside talks given by our Group Leaders at Cedar Ridge. We will break into smaller groups with multiple Hike Leaders and stagger the groups along the trail as we descend. This will aid in the dissemination of info by the Hike Leaders to the group along the trail and make passing by other hikers easier and safer.

Lunch: Along the trail, we will have sack lunches including a sandwich, chips, and fruit.

Afternoon: The Cedar Ridge hike will continue. Weather permitting, those that wish to continue hiking can choose to extend the route farther into the canyon to Skeleton Point (an additional 1.5 miles and 1,000 foot loss of elevation one way). Those who choose not to go farther into the canyon will return to the rim at their own pace. After the hike, we will transfer back to the hotel with time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At a nearby restaurant, we will enjoy a tasty plated meal for our farewell dinner with coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: With our Group Leader, we will have a program wrap-up at the restaurant and reflect on our experiences. Share some of your favorite experiences from the program with new Road Scholar friends. Be sure to prepare for check-out and departures in the morning.

DAY
6
Program Concludes, Independent Departures
Grand Canyon - South Rim
B

Activity note: Lodge check-out by 11:00 a.m. Road Scholar vehicle departs for Flagstaff at 8:15 am.

Breakfast: Lodge buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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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