Tours & Pricing

Friday
Jul062012

Grand Canyon

Tour Description: The tour of the South Rim of Grand Canyon begins near the south entrance at the Visitor Center with an excellent film describing the geology of the Grand Canyon and points of special interest. This is followed by a visit to nearby Mather Point overlook, one of the best sites for viewing the geologic formations exposed in the canyon. Then to Bright Angel Lodge with other views of the canyon and the start of famous Bight Angel trail down to the Colorado River. About 0.4 miles east along the rim is El Tovar, landmark hotel at the canyon, and the adjacent Hopi House. Nearby is the start of the Trail of Time, a 1.3 mile trail along the rim with samples from each of the rock formations in the canyon. Optional is a 7 mile drive along the canyon rim to Hermit's Rest, west of Bright Angel Lodge. It is accessible by free park shuttle buses. We depart the canyon by following Desert View drive, a 25 mile road to the park's east entrance. There are many excellent views of the canyon along the way, including Desert View overlook with its famous Navajo Watchtower built by architect Mary Jane Coulter. After leaving the park, we pass the East Kaibab uplift which controls the route of the Colorado River through the canyon. This is followed by a stop at the gorge of the Little Colorado River for spectacular views of a deeply incised desert stream. Before returning to Flagstaff, we stop at the Indian Trading Post at Cameron, Arizona, for examples of typical Navajo and Hopi handicrafts.

Recommended Length: The South Rim of Grand Canyon is 75 miles northwest of Flagstaff. Minumum time for a tour, including travel time, is 4 to 5 hours, but a full day is recommended.

Price Range: Tour rates are $250 per day for a group of up to 4 people and $300 per day for larger groups. Not included is the cost of transportation, which can be arranged. Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park is $25 per vehicle and is not included. Meals are available at several restaurants in the park and in the town of Tusayan, south of the main entrance.

Friday
Jul062012

Meteor Crater (Barringer Crater)

Tour Description: This unique geologic feature is located 35 miles east of Flagstaff near Winslow, Arizona. Formed about 50,000 years ago when a giant meteorite struck the earth, the resulting crater is well preserved in the desert environment of northern Arizona. The tour starts at the visitor center, located on the rim of the crater. There is an excellent museum and interactive discovery center describing the meteor's impact and other related features. An interesting 10 minute movie describes meteor impacts and collisions throughout the solar system. Visitors can then take a one mile guided tour along the rim or view the crater from a platform adjacent to the visitor center. (Open toed shoes are not allowed on the guided tour.)

From Meteor Crater the tour travels 20 miles east to Winslow, famous for a lyric (...standing on the corner in Winslow, Arizona...) from the 1972 Eagles song, Take It Easy. We will stop at a corner in downtown Winslow where the town has memorialized the song with a statue and a painted backdrop. The tour then goes a block farther to La Posada hotel, the last of the famous Fred Harvey/Santa Fe Railway hotels. It was designed by architect Mary Jane Coulter around 1930 and is an historic landmark. Visitors can tour the public rooms and eat at its well-regarded restaurant, the Turquoise Room.

Recommended Length: A tour of Meteor Crater and Winslow can be accomplished in half a day. However, it is recommended that it be combined with a tour of Petrified Forest National Park to make a full day's excursion.

Price Range:  Tour rates for a half-day tour of Meteor Crater and Winslow are $100 for a group of up to 4 people and $150 for larger groups. A full day tour that includes Petrified Forest is $250 for a group of up to 4 people and $300 for larger groups. Not included is the cost of transportation, which can be arranged. Entrance to Meteor Crater is $16/adults, $15/seniors, and $8/youths ages 6-17 and is not included. Meals are available at La Posada and several restaurants in Winslow.

Sunday
Jul082012

Petrified Forest National Park

Tour Description: Petrified Forest National Park is located 120 miles east of Flagstaff, near Holbrook, Arizona. It features world-renowned exposures of petrified wood, preserved from trees growing in Arizona during the Triassic period,  225 million years ago. The tour starts at the north entrance adjacent to the Painted Desert. This area is noted for its brilliant colors in the volcanic ash and clay beds making up the Triassic Chinle formation. After stopping at several view points, the tour will visit the Painted Desert Inn, an historic landmark that originally served as a Fred Harvey inn and restaurant for Painted Desert visitors on old US Route 66. Heading south in the park, the tour will stop at various points to see Newspaper Rock, a collection of 650 petroglyphs; Blue Mesa, a 3-mile loop road with views of badlands, log falls, and pedestal logs; and additional points to see exposures of exquisitely colorful petrified logs. Leaving the park via the south entrance, the tour stops at a rock shop where samples of petrified wood collected outside the park and similar objects can be purchased.

Recommended Length: The drive to and from the park takes approximately 2 hours each way so the tour is best done as a full day trip. It is recommended that it be combined with a tour of Meteor Crater and Winslow, Arizona, to round out the day.

Price Range: Tour rates for a full day are $250 for a group of up to 4 people and $300 for larger groups. Not included is the cost of transportation, which can be arranged. Entrance to Petrified Forest National Park is $10 per vehicle and is not included. Meals are available at a Fred Harvey restaurant in the park and in the town of Holbrook, west of the main entrance.

Sunday
Jul082012

Antelope Canyon

Tour Description: Described as a "Jewel of the Southwest", Antelope Canyon is located near Page, Arizona, 140 miles north of Flagstaff. It is a beautiful slot canyon carved in the 180 million year old Navajo sandstone of Jurassic age. The sandstone is the record a vast desert that occupied what is now southern Utah and northern Arizona. It has beautiful crossbedding typical of desert sand dunes and is stained orange, purple, yellow, and other colors by minerals in the rock. Light reflected off the rock makes for dazzling displays of color and form.  The canyon is divided into two sections: the Upper Canyon, 200 yards long, and the Lower Canyon, 1/4 mile long. Both feature narrow passageways, often only as wide as your extended arms, and walls 140 feet tall. The Lower Canyon requires more agility and has a number of ladders that must be climbed, but is entered by a short walk from the gate. The Upper Canyon has a flat floor and is reached by jeep from the gate. Both require a Navajo guide. Physical abilities of the participants will determine which section the tour will visit.

Following the visit to Antelope Canyon, the tour will go to Glen Canyon Dam, just north of Page. It impounds beauful Lake Powell, which stretches north into Utah. The lake is named for John Wesley Powell, famous geologist who first navigated the Colorado River from northern Utah to near present-day Las Vegas. We will stop at the dam's visitor center and view the dam, lake, and spillway into the Colorado River from various points. On the way to and from Page the highway parallels and then crosses the spectacular Echo Cliffs, a monoclinal uplift of rocks of Mesozoic age. Beyond Echo Cliffs on the return to Flagstaff, the tour will stop at the Indian Trading Post in Cameron, Arizona, for examples of typical Navajo and Hopi handicrafts.

Recommended Length: The drive to and from Page takes approximately 2 hours each way so the tour is best done as a full day trip.

Price Range: Tour rates for a full day are $250 for a group of up to 4 people and $300 for larger groups. Not included is the cost of transportation, which can be arranged. Antelope Canyon is in the Navajo Park system so the park entrance fee is $6 per person with an additional $20 per person for entrance to the canyon. These fees are not included in the tour. Meals are available at restaurants in Page.

Wednesday
Jul112012

National Monuments Near Flagstaff

Tour Description: Three very different national monuments are located within 20 miles of Flagstaff: Walnut Canyon, which preserves the 800 year old dwellings of Sinagua Indians in caves in the Kaibab limestone of Permian age; Sunset Crater, a cinder cone formed by an eruption in 1065 A.D.; and Wupatki, in which are located a series of Sinagua pueblos dating from the 1100s.

The tour starts at Walnut Canyon National Monument, a beautiful, wooded stream valley. High on the sides of the valley are the ruins of dwellings sheltered by overhanging Kaibab limestone cliffs. The ruins can be viewed from the visitor center on the rim of the valley or by taking stairs (240 steps) down to a loop trail that passes 25 of the cliff dwelling rooms. Physical abilities of the participants will determine which option the tour will take. A second 0.7 mile Rim Trail overlooks the canyon and requires no uphill or downhill walking. It is also optional. An excellent museum in the visitor center explains the life of the Sinagua here.

The tour then goes to Sunset Crater, a spectacular 1,000 foot cinder cone, well preserved by the dry climate and its young age. The visitor center has displays illustrating the origin of the volcano and other nearby volcanic features. On the way to the visitor center the tour stops to examine the Bonito lava flow, a basaltic flow of aa lava originating at the base of the volcano in its dying phases. Beyond this is the one-mile Lava Flow Trail at the volcano's base that shows a variety of interesting features. This trail is optional for tour participants.

The tour leaves Sunset Crater and travels along the eastern edge of the Painted Desert, arriving in about 25 miles at the visitor center of Wupatki National Monument. Here, the museum explains the history of the pueblo ruins and the life of the Sinagua who lived there. Behind the visitor center are the ruins of the main pueblo, a multi-level, high-rise with about 100 rooms. It is made of sandstone slabs from the Moenkopi formation of Triassic age, widespread in this area. A self-guiding tour takes visitors around the outside of the pueblo and then to a circular ball park and a large kiva (meeting room). Nearby is a "blowhole", a natural opening that takes in and discharges large quanities of air in response to changes in temperature and atmospheric pressure at the surface. After viewing the features of the pueblo, the tour returns to Flagstaff.

Recommended Length: A tour of the three national monuments can be accomplished in half a day. However, three-quarters of a day would give more time for enjoying the scenery and learning about each site.

Price Range: Tour rates for a half-day tour of the three national monuments are $100 for a group of up to 4 people and $150 for larger groups. A full day tour is $250 for a group of up to 4 people and $300 for larger groups. Shorter tours of less than a full day are proportionally less. Not included is the cost of transportation, which can be arranged. Entrance to Walnut Canyon is $5 per vehicle and to Sunset Crater/Wupatki is also $5 per vehicle and is not included. Meals are available at restaurants in Flagstaff.

Note: Tours other than the ones described here can be arranged to match your interestsPlease discuss this with us.