We’ll meet in Flagstaff and take a morning transfer to the Sedona area on Day 1. Our warm up hike starts from the village of Oak Creek, for a hike on the loop encircling massive Bell Rock and the Courthouse formation, and an exploration of Oak Creek. After a picnic lunch we will transfer to Grand Canyon Village and check into the newly renovated Maswik Lodge.
Day 2 will be our first venture into the canyon, as we hike down to Indian Garden for a shaded rest and picnic, then return to the south rim. You’ll get a good taste of what hiking in the canyon is like and some beautiful views of the of the Bright Angel Canyon. Ice cream on the south rim will be your reward for this challenging day.
We’ll want a very early start on Day 3 for our descent into the canyon along the South Kaibab Trail. Escaping the crowds and enjoying the cool morning air for the spectacular descent is our goal. We’ll descend from the ponderosa forests at the rim through the layers of Kaibab limestone, Coconino sandstone and hermit shale to the Colorado at the base of the Canyon. The variety within the Canyon is overwhelming. The land forms, the colors, the spectacular vistas, that first sighting of the Colorado – every switchback along the trail is its own visual and sensual adventure. Our lodging at Phantom Ranch will be in 4 – 10 person cabins, or single sex dormitories. Unfortunately we cannot offer a choice of beds as our bed assignment is provided from a lottery and we take what they can give us. Toilets are in each lodging unit, and the well stocked showers are located in a separate, single sex building.
Day 4 is one of choice – a layover day, a chance to enjoy Phantom Ranch, hike, relax and read – your pleasure.
With an early morning start on Day 5, we’ll venture into the North Canyon and eventually climb up the North Kaibab Trail to the North Rim. As this tour is early in May, the north rim will be virtually empty – no horses or tourists are likely to get in the way of our spectacular views as we ascend to the rim. The van will be waiting for us to shuttle us to a nearby ranch for a glorious celebration dinner and a good rest.
On Day 6, we’ll continue our van journey around the north rim, across the Colorado River to a lunch spot both unique and beautiful. We return in the early afternoon to Flagstaff. Feel free to book flights out of Flagstaff that day if you can’t wait to get back to the office – but we’re guessing you won’t want this once-in-a-lifetime tour of the Grand Canyon to end.