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.
Rating (4.95)
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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Check-in, Program Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Yavapai Lodge West

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

Afternoon: Program Registration 5:00-5:30 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 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. 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 Instruction on trail is 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. Transportation throughout the week will be provided by vans and 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 the Yavapai Lodge Restaurant we will use an automated touch screen to choose from a variety of buffet entrees, sides, desserts and with coffee, tea, water beverage choices. Alternative beverages are 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.

West Rim Trail & Bright Angel Trail Hike.
Grand Canyon - South Rim
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 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 trail head, we’ll take a 3 mile hike along the Rim Trail from Mohave Point to the Village with your group leaders. As an introduction to Grand Canyon geology, land features, and human history, our Group Leader will conduct short trail side talks at appropriate vantage points. Excellent views of the Colorado River are a highlight on this mostly level hike.

Lunch: At the Maswik Food Court 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. Other beverages available for purchase.

Afternoon: 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. Distances will vary with different turn around points for those that choose not to venture to further points along the trail. There will be two group leaders who will fully describe hiking destinations and lead the two options.

Dinner: Lodge buffet.

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 & Desert View
Grand Canyon - South Rim
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 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 the way we came and transfer 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: 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. The auditorium is serviced by the free park shuttle.

Red Mountain Volcano, Free Time
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Driving about 40 miles; approx. 1 hour. Hiking about 1.5 miles one way; well-established trail of fine volcanic cinder with good footing; elevation change of approx. 300 feet on gentle incline. No restroom facilities on 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."

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: Another lecture at the Shrine of Ages indoor auditorium given by National Park Service rangers will take place on a rotating Grand Canyon topic, depending on staffing.

South Kaibab Trail Hike to Cedar Ridge & Skeleton Point
Grand Canyon - South Rim
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 trail head 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. 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 safer.

Lunch: Along the trail, we will have a sack lunch 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 lower into the canyon to Skeleton Point (an additional 1.5 miles and 1000 feet loss of elevation one way). Those that do not choose to go further into the canyon they 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 beverage choices. Other beverages are available for additional cost.

Evening: With our Group Leader, we will have a program wrap-up at the restaurant 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: Lodge buffet. This concludes our program.

Morning: 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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