Grand Canyon National Park
Hiking 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.
Program No. 6112RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
13 meals
5 B 4 L 4 D
Getting There
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Registration, Program Orientation and Introductions
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges - Yavapai West

Afternoon: Program Registration: Anytime between 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Come over to the Road Scholar table in the dining area adjacent to the front desk lobby, to register with the program staff. Pick up your arrival packet,name tag, the up-to-date schedule and other information we will review during Orientation. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the front desk. Orientation: We will gather in our meeting area at 5:30 p.m. where the Group Leader will greet you with a warm welcoming and introduce everyone. We will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have. Free time is reserved for your personal independent exploration. Evenings at leisure offer opportunities to make the program more meaningful and memorable through personal independent exploration, engaging in available activities on your own, or simply relaxing and making new friends among fellow participants. The Group Leader will always be happy to offer suggestions. Travel throughout the week will be in vans or on board the free Park Service shuttle buses 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 a South Rim Lodge dining facility. Participants will use an automated touch screen to choose from a variety of entrees, sides, desserts and beverages. Alcoholic beverages are available for purchase.

Evening: At leisure. Take the rest of the evening to settle in, relax, and get a good night's sleep for the full day ahead tomorrow.

West Rim Trail and Bright Angel Trail Hike.
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges - Yavapai West

Activity note: The morning Rim Trail Hike is on a mix of dirt and paved surfaces. Prepare for variable weather. The afternoon Bright Angel Trail Hike is on a well maintained, wide trail with good footing when dry. Depending on the season and in case of icy conditions we will employ "Ice Walkers" (in-step cleats that strap onto hiking boots). Trekking poles are recommended. As an introductory, inner canyon warm up hike, a typical hike distance is about 3/4 mile (one way) with a 700 foot loss of elevation.

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

Morning: With your Group Leaders, take a 3 mile hike along the Rim Trail from Mohave Point to the Village. As an introduction to Grand Canyon geology, land features and human history your Group Leader will conduct short trail side talk at appropriate vantage points. Excellent views of the Colorado River are a highlight on this mostly level hike.

Lunch: At the Maswik Café we will use coupons to order from a mini food court buffet style dining venue. American classics, pasta and Mexican station, grill and deli will be offered. Lunch includes soup or salad, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages. Alcoholic beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: With your Group Leaders, take a hike down the Bright Angel Trail to get a feel for hiking on an inner canyon trail below the rim. Distances will vary with numerous turn around points for those that choose not to venture to further points along the trail. The Group Leader will fully describe hiking destinations.

Dinner: Buffet meal at the lodge dining facility.

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

Palisades of the Desert Hike and Desert View
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges - Yavapai West

Activity note: This is an in and out the same way hike. The first 2/3 of the Palisades Hike follows an old road bed. The terrain is generally level for the first 1/2 mile then descends 700 feet to the Palisades Rim. The road bed is generally rocky but with good traction. The hike continues off-trail through a pinyon and juniper stand. Some side-hill contour hiking and minor elevation changes over varied terrain leads the group to a spectacular canyon viewpoint. Retrace route and return to rim.

Breakfast: Buffet meal at lodge dining facility.

Morning: With your Group Leaders, depart for 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. This hike begins on an abandoned rocky road bed and ends 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 six mile round trip hike. Hike highlights include; remote, quiet hiking locations, colorful views of the Painted Desert, 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 sandwich, chips, and fruit.

Afternoon: Return to the vans and 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

Dinner: Dinner at the lodge dining facility.

Evening: Depending on staffing, National Park Service rangers will conduct an evening program at the Shrine of Ages indoor auditorium. Programs will cover a Grand Canyon topic of interest and change nightly.

Red Mountain Volcano or Red Butte Hike
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges - Yavapai West

Activity note: The Red Mountain Trail (50 minute travel time) is well established and is on fine volcanic cinder material with good footing. This trail has a gentle incline over the 1.5 mile (one way) approximately 300 feet elevation gain hike to the cinder cone. The Red Butte (35 minute travel time) hike is on a well established trail with good tread in dry conditions. Switchbacks and water bars (erosion control features) will be encountered on this 1.5 mile (one way) 877 feet elevation gain hike.

Breakfast: Buffet meal at the lodge dining facility.

Morning: Today your coordinator will choose between two half - day hikes for the group depending on weather, road conditions and group interest. Both hikes are located outside the boundary of the National Park on the Kaibab National Forest and both have equally outstanding destinations. The RED MOUNTAIN hike (mostly level, 3 miles round trip), 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". The RED BUTTE hike (3 miles round trip 877 feet elevation gain on an established mountain trail) ascends to the summit with spectacular 360 degree views of the Coconino Plateau, San Francisco Peaks Volcanic Field and the North Rim escarpment. Red Butte also is the site of a seasonally staffed Forest Service fire tower.

Lunch: At the lodge dining facility.

Afternoon: At leisure. Enjoy and explore the canyon on your own. Activities may including 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 for you to explore.

Evening: At leisure.

South Kaibab Trail Hike to Cedar Ridge and Skeleton Point
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Grand Canyon South Rim Lodges - Yavapai West

Activity note: The Kaibab Trail is a well maintained trail. It averages about 4 - 5 feet in width and has numerous water bars and step pads. The first 1/4 mile will be switchbacks then continues at a gentle incline to Ooh-Aah Pt. before descending a series of switch backs to Cedar Ridge. The trail is generally dry and clear but depending on the season patches of mud may exist. In case of icy conditions we will employ "Ice Walkers" (in-step cleats that strap onto hiking boots). Trekking poles are recommended.

Breakfast: At the lodge dining facility.

Morning: With your Group Leaders hike to Cedar Ridge (1.5 miles and 1140 feet elevation loss one way) via Ooh-Aah Point on the the Kaibab Trail. 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! You will traverse several of the geologic layers of the Canyon including the Coconino Sandstone which contains fossilized reptile tracks. Time to enjoy "inner" canyon views, looking out for California Condor soaring overhead and trail side talks by your guides will be enjoyed at Cedar Ridge. Note that 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 more safe.

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

Afternoon: The Cedar Ridge hike continues. Weather permitting an option to hike lower into the canyon to Skeleton Point (an additional 1.5 miles and 1000 feet loss of elevation one way) will be offered for those who want a more strenuous hike. For those that do not choose to go further into the canyon they will return to the rim at their own pace.

Dinner: At a nearby restaurant we will enjoy a tasty plated meal for our farewell dinner in the company of our fellow participants. Alcoholic beverages will be available from your server.

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

Program Concludes

Activity note: Lodge check-out by 11:00 a.m.

Breakfast: Buffet meal at the lodge dining facility.

Morning: Departures after breakfast. Lodge check out is 11:00 a.m. For those taking the Northern Arizona University Road Scholar shuttle van back to Flagstaff, departure will be at 8:00 a.m. from the lodge arriving at Flagstaff Visitor Center by 10:15 a.m. Van Go Shuttle connection departs for Phoenix airport from Flagstaff Visitor Center by 10:30 a.m. 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!