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 (4.69)
Program No. 6112RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,399
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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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