Stunning. Inspiring. Breathtaking. These are just a few of the words I heard from other first time viewers standing on the South Rim of the “big hole in the ground” in northern Arizona – aka the Grand Canyon. Dan and I just got back from developing a brand new family adventure that will have kids and parents alike experiencing the oo’s and ahh’s, “mom, look at that!” moments, and family bonding time that the Grand Canyon seems to evoke out of its explorers, adventurers, and enjoyers.
Our Grand Canyon Family Adventure begins in the big city of Phoenix, and while fun for a day or two of checking out its many attractions, you’ll look forward to leaving the summer heat behind for cooler temperatures up north. First stop on our list: Lake Pleasant about an hour north of town where we’ll standup paddleboard to our heart’s content. Believe it or not, you don’t need the balance of a ballerina or the strength of superman to paddleboard. Just about anyone can do it, young or old alike, standing, kneeling or sitting – a paddleboard is very stable and designed to keep you upright.
After spending the night in the quaint mountain town of Prescott, we bike the Rails to Trails Peavine bike path, starting alongside Watson Lake and winding its way through the beautiful pink and orange Granite Dells, an interesting bulbous rock formation that is extremely photographic against a bright blue sky. The afternoon has us arriving in Williams, the “Gateway to the Grand Canyon,” a tourist town along the historic Route 66 and not afraid to capitalize on that fact! We’ll spend the rest of the afternoon touring around Bearizona with our own private guide. Yes, it sounds cheesy but once you see the “Kindergarten bears” rolling around and hear the stories of how the habitats were created, you’ll be sucked in just like I was!
The following morning, we wake up at the aptly named Grand Canyon Railway Hotel to hop on a train bound for the South Rim of the Grand Canyon! After chugging our way across the Colorado Plateau and various types of landscapes, we arrive after a few hours at the Train Depot at the South Rim Village. From here, we have a lot to squeeze into several action packed days! With Kachina Lodge as our base, we’ll hike the “Trail of Time,” a path along the Canyon rim which allows you to see and touch the different rock layers that have been laid down and eroded away over millions of years (a neat experience for the kiddos!) You’ll also bike the Greenway Trail to the trailhead of South Kaibab where you’ll hike down the switchbacks of the canyon wall to an incredible overlook of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River from Cedar Ridge. A spectacular view doesn’t come without its trials and tribulations though! After taking in the beauty of the Canyon from down within, we’ll turn around and hike the 1,000 feet back out! (You’ll earn your dinner tonight, that’s for sure!)
Upon leaving Grand Canyon National Park through the East Entrance, we’ll be sure to stop by Wupatki Ruins and Sunset Crater Volcano ”“ both neat areas often overlooked by the general public due to the Grand Canyon’s proximity. We’ll end our trip with a final night’s stay at the Sedona Best Western Plus Arroyo Roble and Creekside Villas. Perched along the banks of beautiful Oak Creek, the kids can play on the playground or on the large grassy lawn while the adults enjoy a nice brew while your guides prepare a delicious BBQ dinner. Your last morning, choose to sleep in or perhaps do a little shopping in uptown Sedona (you’ll find all kinds of interesting knick knacks and trinkets!) before a two hour transfer back to Phoenix.
This Grand Canyon Family Vacation is one our new favorites – right up there with a few of our current best sellers! The smooth flow of the trip, our connections in and around Grand Canyon National Park with our ties to the Xanterra family (who own several of the hotels we’ll be staying in), and our knowledge of this area from our experience in this area from the past, all combine to form one awesome adventure! We can’t wait to share it with you in 2015!
See you on the trails,