Grand Canyon & the Southwest
- Go rafting on the San Juan River
- Explore the ancient cliff dwellings of the ancestral Puebloans
- Work on an environmental service project
- Meet Native Americans and learn about their culture firsthand
Choose one of these projects and delve further into your area of interest:
Itinerary 12 Days
A mile deep, ten miles wide, and six million years in the making, the Grand Canyon is a masterpiece of geology. Beneath its scarlet-striped cliffs—and in the surrounding desert canyonlands—civilizations have carved out an existence for some 12,000 years. Set out with your On Assignment group to explore the gorgeous crags and chasms of the southwest. Meet Native Americans, work on important conservation projects, and float down the San Juan River on a four-day rafting adventure.
PHOENIX AND FLAGSTAFF
3 days.We begin our adventure in Phoenix with an orientation to the surrounding area. Travel to Flagstaff through gorgeous landscapes and archaeological sites, and begin working on your On Assignment projects. Spend the night in Flagstaff, home of the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest, as well as Navajo and Hopi cultural sites.
4 days.Head north to our base at the historic Grand Canyon Lodge on the beautiful North Rim. From here we'll thoroughly explore the canyon, its geology, and the traces of its ancient inhabitants. Hike along the rim to Walhalla Plateau, Cape Final, and Bright Angel Point, and take in some of the world's most awe-inspiring views. Discover ancient dwellings and farming sites, or improve your landscape photography skills amid the most spectacular landscapes imaginable. Descend partway into the canyon, traveling millions of years back in time as you examine massive formations of Coconino Sandstone and fossil-rich Hermit Shale. Roll up your sleeves to work on service projects focusing on wetland restoration, forest management, and raising public awareness. In the evenings, revel in unforgettable sunsets from the viewing deck of our lodge, perched a full mile above the Colorado River.
Cross the vast Navajo reservation of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Shoot dramatic landscapes such as the Vermillion Cliffs, Monument Valley, and Valley of the Gods. Go hiking with a Navajo guide to see the cliff dwellings and rock art of the ancient Puebloan people whose sudden disappearance about seven hundred years ago is one of the lingering mysteries of archaeology. Meet contemporary Native Americans to discover how the sacred desert landscapes continue to sustain them.
SAN JUAN RIVER TRIP
5 days. The program concludes with an unforgettable adventure: a four-day float trip through the archaeological and geological wonderland that is the upper canyon of the San Juan River. Paddle during the day, pausing to hike into side canyons, spot wildlife, or cool off with a swim. Learn to decipher the geology of magnificent canyon walls that lay bare millions of years of our planet's history. Interpret the petroglyphs of Butler Wash panel, where at least three distinct cultures left their indelible visions in stone. Take part in a service project sponsored by the Bureau of Land Management and the Navajo Nation, photographing ancient habitations and rock art to deter violation of these cultural treasures. Set up camp on sandy beaches and spend the cool desert evenings under a tapestry of stars.
We'll spend our final day exploring flagstaff before and sharing our final projects before returning to Phoenix and flying home.