Hiking Grand Canyon from Rim to River: An Adventure to Phantom Ranch
Hike and learn about the ancient landscapes of the Grand Canyon on some of its most awe-inspiring trails. Plus, spend two nights within the Canyon at historic Phantom Ranch!
Program No. 8144RJ
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, Registration, Orientation, Welcome Dinner
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Check-in after 3:00 p.m. Early arrivals may be arranged ahead of time.

Afternoon: Afternoon Program Registration: Anytime between 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 your name tag, the up-to-date schedule, other important information we will review during Orientation, and to confirm the time and place of the session. If you arrive late, please pick up your packet at the front desk. Orientation: We will gather 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.You need to be in excellent condition for this program - meaning able to climb, with 15-20 lb pack, 4500 ft in a day (3 Sears Towers, 4 Eiffel Towers, or 341 stories.) Longest hike approx. 9.5 miles. If you are not sure you are ready for this trip, we strongly recommend you consider taking #6112 or #7704 first. Seriously, these are great programs, and will give you a good sense of whether you are ready for this program. Please Note: Because our cost are 100% prepaid at Phantom Ranch, there will be no pro-rated refunds for program days or activities missed. Any questions, call the provider. The Provider(Northern Arizona University) can be contacted at (928)523-2359; RoadScholarPrograms@nau.edu; and www.nau.edu/RoadScholar. Hiking in the Grand Canyon this time of year can be more rewarding because it provides an opportunity for solitude not found during most times of the year. A winter hike can be more challenging because of the chance of snow, ice and cold temperatures. If you have your own ice-walkers, feel free to bring them, If needed, in-step crampons will be provided for all participants.

Dinner: At a local lodge or café, we’ll have a buffet including soup, salad, entrées, dessert, non-alcoholic beverages; other beverages 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.

Practice Hike
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: Two hikes, in the morning a stroll along the rim; in the afternoon, 2 mile RT and 1000 vertical feet down and up, with packs.

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Cafeteria.

Morning: Enjoy a short presentation on the Grand Canyon by your Group Leader. Followed by a question and answer session covering packing gear and "Leave no trace" ethics and hiking safety. With your Group Leader hike along the rim to acclimate to the elevation and prepare for the hike into the Canyon, with a discussion of Geology along the way.

Lunch: At a local lodge or café, we will have a buffet including soup, salad, entrees, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Afternoon: With your group leaders, enjoy a practice hike with full packs, one and a half miles and over a 1000 feet down into the Canyon Along the Bright Angel Trail, and back to the rim. Along the way we will see the Historic Kolb Studio, Several Geologic Layers, and continue our discussion of both Human and Natural History at the Grand Canyon. Please note: The practice hike is important for the group leaders to assess everyone's ability to safely complete the hike. If you do not attend and complete the practice hike to the satisfaction of the Group Leader, carrying the weight you will be carrying down, you will NOT be allowed to hike to Phantom Ranch the next day.

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: After dinner there is a National Park Service Ranger presentation at the Shrine of the Ages Auditorium, or go to bed early for the big hike down tomorrow.

Hike to Phantom Ranch
Phantom Ranch
Phantom Ranch

Activity note: 7.5 miles and 4800 vertical feet down with packs.

Breakfast: Early buffet meal at a local lodge or café.

Morning: Shuttle to the South Kaibab Trailhead. With your Group Leaders, begin the day's long, 7.6 mile, 4,800 ft descent to Phantom Ranch. First stop is Ooh-Aah Point, you'll know why they call it that when you get there. At Cedar Ridge, while someone guards your pack from the marauding squirrels, follow the path to the fossil exhibit, originally built by the CCC and recently restored. Continue down past Skeleton Point and the switchbacks in the Redwall to lunch near the Tonto Trail Junction. We will stop along the way to discuss geology, ecology, and human history.

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

Afternoon: Hike into the Inner Gorge and across the Colorado River to Phantom Ranch. Check into our cabin.

Dinner: At Phantom Ranch we'll enjoy a meal served family style and including salad, entrée, dessert, and non-alcoholic beverages; other beverages available for purchase.

Evening: National Park Service Rangers present 2 programs seasonally, 1 in the afternoon and 1 in the evening on a variety of regional topics. Gaze at the stars or visit the Phantom Ranch Canteen.

Layover Day
Phantom Ranch
Phantom Ranch

Activity note: Two possible hikes, 2-3 miles each with day pack.

Breakfast: At Phantom Ranch we'll enjoy a breakfast served family style and including eggs, bacon, pancakes, peaches, and non-alcoholic beverages.

Morning: With your Group Leader, hike the Bridge to Bridge Loop and/or the Clear Creek Trail to Phantom Overlook or beyond. Spend some time by yourself absorbing being at the bottom of the Grand Canyon by sitting by the creek, walking down to the Colorado River, taking photographs and relaxing.

Lunch: Sack lunch including a bagel, summer sausage, snacks, and fruit.

Afternoon: At leisure. Hike part way up the North Kaibab Trail or kick back and look at one of the world's true wonders.

Dinner: At Phantom Ranch we'll enjoy a meal served family style.

Evening: National Park Service Rangers present 2 programs(seasonally available), 1 in the afternoon and 1 in the evening on a variety of regional topics, or enjoy stargazing, or an early turn in before the next day's hike out.

Big Climb To The Rim, Farewell Dinner
Grand Canyon - South Rim
Yavapai Lodge West

Activity note: 9.3 miles and 4500 vertical feet up with packs.

Breakfast: At Phantom Ranch we'll enjoy an early breakfast served family style.

Morning: With your Group Leaders, begin the big climb to the rim. The hike will last throughout the day and will rise 4,500 feet over 9.3 miles. We start by crossing the Silver Bridge and hike on the River Trail built by the CCC. At the mouth of Pipe Creek we start up the Bright Angel Trail. After we enjoy the improved Devil's Corkscrew (it is not nearly as steep as it used to be), we enter the Tapeats Narrows and pass the Great Unconformity.

Lunch: Along the trail, we'll have a sack lunch including a bagel, summer sausage, snacks, and fruit.

Afternoon: Continue hike up the Bright Angel Trail. Travel across the Tonto Platform and up Jacob's Ladder to the top of the Redwall and the 3 mile Resthouse. Don't forget to glance up at the sky for a possible condor sighting and back towards the Inner Gorge for a perspective on how far we have come. As we get closer to the rim, your sense of accomplishment grows with each step. Finally you are at the rim and you head to you room for individual check in and and a well deserved shower!

Dinner: At a nearby restaurant we'll enjoy a plated meal for our celebratory dinner, with an entree, side, plus a choice of coffee, tea, or water. Other beverages available for purchase.

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

Breakfast: Breakfast in the Grand Canyon Lodge Cafe.

Morning: After breakfast there will be a final group gathering and program wrap. The program will end by 8:30 AM. We hope you enjoyed this Road Scholar program sponsored by Northern Arizona University and we look forward to hosting you in the future. Keep in touch via the Road Scholar Social Network and our NAU Road Scholar Facebook page www.facebook.com/nauroadscholar where you can share memories, picture and comments. Best wishes for all of your journeys.

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