Arizona, The Grand Canyon State

October 17-28, 2019 



Each year we explore one or two of our 50 states. In October, we will travel to the relatively “young” state of Arizona that was not admitted to the Union as our 48th state until 1912. On our journey, we will discover the storied history and natural scenic beauty of this western paradise. The highlight of our trip will be spending two nights on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Other sites will include: the red rocks of Sedona; the Wild West town of Tombstone; Petrified Forest National Park; the “plane boneyard” at Tucson's Pima Air & Space Museum; the Titan Missile Museum, and Saguaro National Park.  


We are delighted that author and wilderness guide, Scott Thybony will join us for the Flagstaff – South Rim – Winslow portion of our tour.  Scott was the popular co-leader on our 2011 Arizona-New Mexico tour and our 2015 Utah tour. Please join us as we explore the desert country, visit Wild West towns, and take nature walks in red rock country.



Thursday, October 17    (R, D)

Individual arrivals in Phoenix. Join staff and fellow travelers at this evening’s welcome dinner. Overnight Old Town Scottsdale Hilton Garden Inn


Friday, October 18    (B, L)

This morning, we will tour the Arizona Capitol Museum located in the 1901 State House. Our guide will trace the history of Arizona’s government from territorial times to present day. Outside in the Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza, we will see 30 memorials and several salvaged artifacts from the USS Arizona including the signal mast and an anchor.  We will visit the Heard Museum, one of the preeminent museums of American Indian Art. We will conclude the day with a tour of Taliesin West, the winter home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright from 1937 until his death in 1959. Overnight Old Town Scottsdale Hilton Garden Inn


Saturday, October 19  (B, D)

Today we will travel from Scottsdale to Sedona where we will explore the stunning red rock formations around Sedona by jeep.  Afterwards, we will enjoy some free time in town and lunch on our own. Next we will make our way north along the stunning Oak Creek Canyon scenic drive to Flagstaff that lies in the shadow of the towering San Francisco Peaks. Tonight you will have the option of taking an optional tour of the Lowell Observatory. Overnight Drury Inn, Flagstaff


Sunday, October 20  (B, L)

The Museum of Northern Arizona interprets the natural and cultural heritage of the Colorado Plateau. We will see a part of their vast collection on a docent-led tour.  We will continue north to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon where we will check into Maswik Lodge for two nights. We will enjoy our first of two opportunities to marvel at the sun’s rays setting on the buttes, temples, and mesas of the canyon.  Overnight Maswik Lodge, South Rim


Monday, October 21  (B, L)

Today we will soak in spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. We will begin with visits to several historic sites in Grand Canyon Village including Bright Angel Lodge, the Kolb studio, and the Hopi House followed by lunch at El Tovar Hotel. This afternoon, we will take a rim walk with Scott as he discusses the Canyon’s geology and unique ecosystems. Overnight Maswik Lodge, South Rim


Tuesday, October 22  (B, L, D)

This morning, we will drive along the rim and stop at scenic overlooks such as Moran Point, Lipan Point, and the Watchtower at Desert View. Following lunch at the Cameron Trading Post, we will proceed to Winslow AZ to and check into the Hotel La Posada, a Fred Harvey Company hotel designed by Mary Jane Colter in 1929.  Overnight La Posada Hotel, Winslow


Wednesday, October 23   (B, L, D)

This morning we will see the meteor crater outside Winslow. It was created about 50,000 years ago, when a meteorite measuring approximately 160 feet in width slammed into the ground.

We will visit Petrified Forest National Park that is known for its large deposits of fossils, especially fallen trees that thrived in the Late Triassic Period, about 225 million years ago. We will say good-bye to Scott and continue into Zane Grey country on the southwestern edge of the Colorado Plateau.  Overnight Paint Pony Best Western, Show Low


Thursday, October 24   (B, D)

At Fort Apache Historic Park we will learn about two engagements in the Apache Wars (1846-1886): The Battles of Fort Apache and Cibucue Creek in August and September 1881. In 1923, the fort was converted into the Theodore Roosevelt School, a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school, now a National Historic Landmark.


We will continue to Biosphere 2, a 3.14-acre complex that was constructed in 1987-1991 to demonstrate the viability of closed ecological systems to support and maintain human life in outer space. After lunch at the café, we will have a guided tour of the 7 enclosed biological biome areas including a rain forest; ocean and coral reef; mangrove wetlands; savannah grasslands; and a fog desert.  We will proceed to Tucson where we will check into our hotel for the next 4 nights.Overnight Lodge on the Desert, Tucson


Friday, October 25   (B)

We begin the day touring the Pima Air & Space Museum, one of the largest non-government funded aviation and space museums in the world. The museum sits on 80 acres and features over 350 historical aircrafts, housed in six exhibit hangars, three of which are dedicated to WWII. We will also take a bus to the adjacent Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for a tour of “The Boneyard,” the largest aircraft storage and preservation facility in the world. 


We continue to historic Fort Lowell that was an active US Army post from 1873 to 1891. The museum tells the story of the fort during the Apache Wars. Walter Reed, an army physician served at Fort Lowell. We will visit the nearby Museum of the Horse Soldier, one of the only museums that tells the history of the U.S. Military mounted services. Overnight Lodge on the Desert, Tucson


Saturday, October 26   (B)  

We will make a day excursion to the town of Tombstone known for its Wild West history. Exhibits at the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park include a replica gallows. On historic Allen Street, the O.K. Corral outdoor theater re-enacts an 1881 cowboy gunfight. Resident ghosts are said to haunt the bullet-riddled Bird Cage Theatre and outlaws are among the local townsfolk buried at the 1878 Boothill Cemetery. Time permitting we will visit Fort Huachuca National Historic Landmark. Overnight Lodge on the Desert, Tucson


Sunday, October 27   (B, L, D)

Today we will visit the unique Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. The museum is regularly listed as one of the top ten zoological parks in the world due to its unique approach in interpreting the complete natural history of a single region (in this case it is the Sonoran Desert and adjacent ecosystems). Unlike most museums, about 85% of the experience is outdoors. The 98-acre desert museum is a fusion experience: zoo, botanical garden, art gallery, natural history museum, and aquarium.


We will continue to the Titan Missile Museum, visitors journey through time to stand on the front line of the Cold War. This preserved Titan II missile site, officially known as complex 571-7, is all that remains of the 54 Titan II missile sites that were on alert across the United States from 1963 to 1987.


We will end the day with a visit to the Mission at San Xavier del Bac. Built in the 1700s, this recently restored white adobe church, representing a wonderful example of Spanish colonial architecture, is beautiful inside and out, with colorful frescoes, sculptures and carvings. We will toast our adventure at our farewell dinner this evening. Overnight Lodge on the Desert, Tucson


Monday, October 28   (B)

Individual departures from Tucson.


WILDERNESS GUIDE: We are delighted that author and wilderness guide Scott Thybony will accompany us for the Flagstaff-South Rim-Winslow portion of our tour.  Scott was the popular guide on our 2015 "National Parks of Utah" tour and our 2011 "Landscapes of the American Southwest" tour.  An anthropologist by education and a writer by profession, Scott is a former Colorado River guide and archeologist who writes books and articles for major magazines and newspapers.  His interviews have ranged from astronauts to medicine men, and his travels through North America have resulted in award-winning stories. Having lived with Navajo Indians in the American Southwest and the Inuit in the Canadian Arctic, he brings to his writing an enthusiasm for the natural world and those living close to it. Scott has led dozens of trips to the American Southwest for cultural organizations including National Geographic Expeditions. He has written widely about the Southwest including the book Canyon Country Parklands: Treasures of the Great Plateau for National Geographic.

* Services of an Historian Guide
 (Ed Bearss is scheduled to lead this tour)

* Services of a Wilderness Guide
(Scott Thybony is scheduled to lead 5 days of this tour)
* Services of a Tour Manager (Marty Gane is scheduled to manage this tour)
* 11 nights hotel accommodations
* Transportation on a full-sized coach
* All admissions and excursions
* Two wine/beer welcome receptions; daily breakfasts; 6 lunches; 6 dinners

* Most gratuities including tip for the coach driver
* All taxes, baggage handling and gratuities; pre-trip notes, reading list and map book

Double Occupancy: $3,950 per person

Single Occupancy:  $4,695

(NOTE: All costs are based on a minimum of 20 participants.)