Hiking Granite Gorge and Havasupai

Granite Gorge and Havasupai are some of the best-kept secrets in the Grand Canyon. Come hike these lesser-known wonders as you learn their story, from prehistory to today.
Rating (4.89)
Program No. 7704RJ
6 days
Starts at
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
Check in, Registration, Orientation and Welcome Dinner.
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs
Grand Canyon Caverns Inn

Afternoon: Check-in: Hotel check-in available from 3:00 p.m. Program Registration: 5:00 – 5:30 p.m. Come over to the Road Scholar desk, located in the hotel meeting room to register with the program staff and pick up your arrival packet containing an up-to-date schedule. Other important information will be reviewed during orientation. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the front desk. Orientation will follow registration. 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. We will conclude with group introductions. Travel throughout the week will be in 9 passenger vans. Throughout the program, your naturalist Group Leader will describe and explain aspects such as geology, geography, human, and natural history as we pass though spectacular scenery. 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: After our program Orientation the group will gather and board Road Scholar vans and drive one mile to the Caverns Restaurant for dinner. Dinner at the Caverns Restaurant will be a buffet that includes entree, sides, soup and salad. Tea, coffee, water, and sodas are available. Other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: After dinner we will transport back to our rooms. The remainder of the evening will be at your leisure. Continue getting to know your fellow Road Scholars, settle in, and get a good night’s rest for the full day ahead.

Western Grand Canyon Hike on Hualapai Reservation.
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs
Grand Canyon Caverns Inn

Activity note: Driving approximately 35 miles one way to Trailhead; about 1 1/4 hours; rough, bumpy road in sections. Diamond Creek Hike; approximately 5 1/2 miles round trip; approx. 4.5 hours. Stream gradient elevation with rocky stream bed substrate and occasion cut bank step-ups and step-downs, sparse vegetation. Tonto Rim Hike; approximately 6 miles total for the day; approximately 4.5 hours, roughly 500-foot ascent; rocky trail, one side drainage section to negotiate with larger step downs and step ups.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the Caverns Restaurant.

Morning: Depart after breakfast for an all-day hike in Grand Canyon on the Hualapai Indian Nation lands. Our hike will be located in the western Grand Canyon in the Peach Springs Canyon / Diamond Creek area. NOTE: Due to Hualapai Tribal mandates that requires a tribal liaison to accompany our group - we will not know the actual availability of a tribal liaison until the start of our program. The presence of archaeological and cultural resources that may be encountered on the Tonto Rim is the impetus for the tribal liaison's participation and will determine which of the two hiking locations will be available to our group. We will hike in either the Diamond Creek or the Tonto Rim area. Be prepared for either of the following hikes. The Diamond Creek Hike offers unique riparian habitat and a spectacular "inner canyon" experience. Round trip approximately 5 1/2 miles. Stream gradient elevation. The hike culminates with towering granite and metamorphic rock walls towering a thousand feet over head! Note that you WILL be walking in ankle deep water and we will cross the creek numerous times. Hiking boots are highly recommended due to the rocky nature of the stream bed. In an arid environment boots typically dry completely overnight! Sturdy closed toed athletic shoes such as New Balance, Nike or Keens for example with sturdy soles and a good lace up configuration can be substituted. Hiking poles are highly recommended. Your Group Leader will have a few loaner hiking poles and will advise the group prior to the hike the proper use of hiking equipment and foot ware. The Tonto Rim Hike is largely on an open plateau. Round trip approximately 6 miles. From our starting point we climb on a rocky trail approximately 3/4 mile and a 500 foot elevation gain to the Tonto Rim proper. The Tonto Rim affords spectacular canyon and river views. Extra care will be taken with footing as the group negotiate a side drainage and various cactus varieties along the trail.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail. Sandwich, chips, cookie, fruit and carrots or grapes. Cold drinks available upon return to vans after hike.

Afternoon: Continue hike. Once we return to the vans on the TONTO RIM HIKE we will drive the last 1.5 miles of the Diamond Creek Road to the Colorado River. Once we return to the vans on the DIAMOND CREEK HIKE you will have the opportunity to walk the last 1 mile to the Colorado River (or catch a ride in the vans). Upon arriving at the Diamond Creek beach and the Colorado River enjoy the scene before you and ponder the forces that carved the Grand Canyon. This will be a perfect time for a photo op and to dip your toe in the cold river. Return to Caverns Inn in late afternoon.

Dinner: At the inn restaurant, we’ll enjoy a buffet dinner with soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: Gathering in the inn’s meeting room with our Group Leader, we’ll engage in a preparatory session focused on hiking down to the village of Supai in the morning. A complete review of packing strategies, hiking tips, distances, clothing and personal gear needed will be discussed. Be sure to consolidate personal items into larger duffle bags to be carried to the Havasupai Lodge by horses. We will only be at the Havasupai Lodge for two nights so we will plan on minimizing what we pack down. Bring a small nylon stuff sack or trash bag to put your personal gear in; no hard sided luggage for the horse packs. For the hike down we will use our day packs to carry our lunch, water, personal gear and wet weather outer wear. Be sure to prepare for check-out and transfer in the morning.

8 mile hike to Supai Village. Check in: Havasupai Lodge.
Supai (Havasupai Indian Reservation)
Havasupai Lodge

Activity note: Driving approx. 70 miles to Hualapai Hilltop Trailhead (elevation 5,200 feet); about 1.5 hours. Hiking approx. 8 miles to village of Supai; about 5 hours; total elevation loss of 2,000 feet with 1,200 feet loss in first 2 miles on switch back trail. Then 6 miles on relatively level dry gravel and rock canyon floor trail.

Breakfast: Breakfast buffet at the Caverns Restaurant.

Morning: Morning chores will include storing extra luggage in storage room, bringing personal duffle bags with two days’ worth of personal gear to staging area (overnight luggage will be carried to the Havasupai Lodge by pack horse), and checking out of the inn after breakfast. We’ll then transfer to the trailhead at Hualapai Hilltop and begin hike our hike to Havasupai Lodge. We will be accompanied by two hiking leaders – one monitoring the middle to front of the line and one as sweep. The entire hike offers world-class scenery and allows us to experience the Grand Canyon without the masses of people one might find in the National Park.

Lunch: Along the trail, we’ll find a comfortable spot to have a rest and enjoy our sack lunches.

Afternoon: Arrive in the village of Supai and check into Havasupai Lodge. After check in, retrieve personal gear from the duffles and settle in. The lodge provides a simple, yet comfortable place from which to explore the waterfalls and features of Havasupai Canyon. A time will be set for the group to meet in the lodge courtyard to depart for dinner.

Dinner: At Havasupai Café, we’ll enjoy a plated dinner featuring a famous Native American dish, plus soft drinks, iced tea, lemonade, juices and water. Alcohol is prohibited on the reservation.

Evening: We’ll then gather for an informal meeting in the lodge courtyard to recap the day’s events and prepare for tomorrow's outing to Havasu and Mooney Falls.

Hike to Havasupai Waterfalls & Evening Lecture.
Supai (Havasupai Indian Reservation)
Havasupai Lodge

Activity note: Hiking approx. 5 miles roundtrip from Havasupai Lodge to Mooney Falls; about 7 hours in the field; established trails; roughly 400 feet in elevation loss and gain.

Breakfast: In the Havasupai Lodge courtyard, staff will prepare and serve breakfast selections, plus coffee, tea, hot chocolate, water. We’ll then make our own sack lunches from a variety of lunch offerings put out by the staff, including sandwich materials, fruit, and other snacks.

Morning: After breakfast, we’ll set out for an all-day hiking trip along Havasu Creek to the world-famous, photogenic Havasupai waterfalls. This is the reward for all our effort! Revel in the deep blue green water of Havasu Falls as it drops 100 feet to sculpted travertine pools below. Mooney Falls, the highest at nearly 200 feet, is equally stunning and dramatic. Our Group Leader, well-versed in the local flora and fauna and natural history of the area, will share interesting commentary. While here, we’ll go on side trips to other area features and enjoy some time for independent exploration of the village of Supai.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail.

Afternoon: After lunch your hike leader will offer an excursion to the base of Mooney Falls. This GUIDED activity entails negotiating a series of uneven steps (rock footholds) with chains for handholds. The steps lead to a series of large wooden ladders and the base of the falls and return. Other available activities include lingering and relaxing at Havasu Falls or the newly formed Little Navajo Falls. Relax, take photos and leisurely return to the village and Havasupai Lodge in late afternoon.

Dinner: Havasupai Cafe plated dinner.

Evening: Then we’ll gather in the lobby of the lodge for a talk given by a Havasupai tribal member who will share their knowledge and stories with us. Be sure to prepare for check-out, the hike back to Hualapai Hilltop, and transfer back to the inn tomorrow.

Havasupai Hike Out Day. Program Wrap up.
Grand Canyon Caverns/Peach Springs
Grand Canyon Caverns Inn

Activity note: Hiking approx. 8 miles from Havasupai Lodge back to Hualapai Hilltop; about 5 hours; roughly 2,000 feet elevation gain.

Breakfast: Havasupai Lodge courtyard breakfast. We’ll then make our own sack lunches from a variety of lunch offerings put out by the staff.

Morning: Once checked out of Havasupai Lodge, we’ll begin our hiking transfer back to Hualapai Hilltop and the trailhead. Hiking out of the canyon on your own two feet will doubtlessly be a rewarding experience! If you are unable or decide not to hike out of the canyon, you may want to – if available – fly via helicopter or arrange for a horseback ride out of the canyon at additional cost. Potential for long wait times. You will find seasonal helicopter flight schedules, prices, and other information in the Program Notes.

Lunch: Sack lunches along the trail.

Afternoon: Upon arrival at the Hualapai Hilltop trailhead, we’ll board our vans and travel back to the inn for a late afternoon check-in. After retrieving your personal gear from the storage room, take some time to freshen up before dinner.

Dinner: At the Inn restaurant, enjoy a delicious buffet meal featuring access to a generous soup and salad bar, plus soft drinks, coffee, tea, water; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: We’ll then gather in hotel meeting room for a program wrap-up and reflections on the week's adventures. 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.

Program Concludes

Activity note: Hotel check-out by 11:00 a.m. Road Scholar van shuttle: driving distance 115 miles; about 2 hours. Expected arrival in Flagstaff by approximately 10:30 a.m.

Breakfast: Inn buffet.

Morning: Program concludes after breakfast. The Road Scholar van will depart after breakfast and transfer to the Flagstaff Visitor Center for those with shuttle connections. 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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