Grand Canyon National Park
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Grand Canyon Circle Tours
Our Custom Private Grand Canyon Circle Tour is a very complete and extensive tour of the Grand Canyon that also includes a visit to the Cameron Trading Post, Navajo Nation Indian Lands, the Painted Desert, the Little Colorado River Gorge, and the San Francisco Peaks.
This tour takes a circular route from Flagstaff or Williams Arizona to and from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon that is always giving the traveler unique and different views. This tour takes from 9 to 11 hours and covers significantly more territory than the normal Grand Canyon tour.
This special tour to the awe-inspiring Grand Canyon follows a route close to the Sunset Crater National Monument area, a volcano that has been inactive for only about 938 years. For some sixty miles (97kilometers), you will also enjoy many views of the San Francisco Peaks, the highest mountains in Arizona at 12633 feet (3,850 meters) and also an extinct volcano. Sunset Crater is the youngest volcano on the Colorado Plateau, erupting around 1120 AD, ± 40 years. The volcano's red rim and the dark lava flows seem to have cooled and hardened to a jagged surface only yesterday. As plants return, so do the animals that use them for food and shelter.
Next door to Sunset Crater National Monument is the Wupatki National Monument. Wupatki was and still is a very unique pueblo. It was the largest and tallest village in the area less than 800 years ago. It was probably the richest and most influential pueblo of the time. It was home to about 100 people, but several thousand more lived within one day's walk. It was constructed on one of the lowest and warmest places on the Colorado Plateau after the eruption of Sunset Crater. The availability of a nearby spring, the natural warmth of the area, and the eruption of Sunset Crater added minerals and insulation to the surrounding grounds to greatly enhance their ability to cultivate productive crops.
A short distance later we visit the Cameron Trading Post and Museum with a particularly nice dining room that features a view of the Little Colorado River Gorge. The dining room also displays fine Indian crafts and paintings. This is our best choice for lunch, which is included with this tour. A favorite menu item is the "Navajo Taco”, but unless you are a really hearty eater, you should order the “small” size. Before or after lunch, you will want to browse this historic and authentic trading post and their Art Gallery to see or purchase quality Southwest Indian arts and crafts.
From here we travel through portions of the Painted Desert and the Navajo Indian Reservation. At another optional stop along the Little Colorado River Gorge is an overlook where Native American artisans display a variety of crafts including rugs, pottery, and jewelry. They will gladly pose for photographs along with their works. The Gorge itself will literally take your breath away as you look hundreds of feet down to the river winding its way along the bottom of the steep, narrow canyon. Continuing on, you will relish the serenity, open spaces, and ever-changing colors of the Colorado Plateau.
Our very first stop at the Grand Canyon is the Desert View overlook and Watchtower. The Watchtower's winding staircase inside the native stone structure takes you past traditional Indian paintings. At the top you will appreciate vistas of the Painted Desert, the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River, the surrounding forested hillsides and even the San Francisco Peaks, now about 80 miles (129 kilometers) to the south. On a clear day you can see over a hundred miles (161 kilometers) north into Utah. To the northeast you can see Navajo Mountain on the largest Indian Reservation in the United States, the Navajo Nation.
As we continue our tour we will visit famous and especially scenic overlooks including Thomas Moran Point, the historic Grandview Point, and Yavapai Point.
The Visitors' Center at Grand Canyon Village displays information regarding the history and geology of the Canyon. At the village you will be able to stroll along the rim of the canyon and visit historic buildings and museums. You can even descend a short distance below the rim on the Bright Angel Trail to get a quick feel for the difficulty of hiking in this Seventh Wonder of the World. If you are fortunate, you may even spot a bighorn sheep along the trail or an American Bald Eagle or California condor flying over the canyon’s greatness. On a recent Grand Canyon tour we saw nine different condors. On another of our recent Grand Canyon day tours we saw elk, antelope, a bighorn sheep and a coyote.
After leaving the Grand Canyon National Park, we cross another area of the Colorado Plateau were we often see antelope in the open plains. We soon pass Red Mountain, containing a red and orange formation somewhat similar to Bryce Canyon in Utah. We now travel through part of the largest ponderosa forest on the continent, containing tens of thousands of acres. This journey is also well known for it’s beautiful forests of Quaking Aspen, whose fall colors are stunning during the month of October. We climb to over 8000 feet (2438 meters) in elevation as we again pass the classic beauty of the San Francisco Peaks. All the mountains in this area are part of the second largest volcanic area in the United States.
On this Grand Canyon Circle Tour you may also select from the following options:
- Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments
- Open air Navajo arts and crafts booths at a Little Colorado Gorge overlook
- The Museum of Northern Arizona
- A trip through parts of the Painted Desert and the Navajo Reservation
- Red Mountain Volcanic Geologic Site
- A helicopter or airplane flight over the Grand Canyon
- A viewing of the world famous Grand Canyon Imax film
- Art Galleries and Craft shops
- Tusayan Indian Ruins & Museum
- Visitor's Center with displays on the history and geology of the Grand Canyon
- A visit to one of the last and historic Indian trading posts at Cameron. This stop could include a fine breakfast on the way to the Grand Canyon or an evening meal to top off the return trip. The dining room features a view of the Little Colorado River Gorge and displays fine Indian arts and crafts. You may also browse this historic and authentic trading post to see or purchase high quality Southwest Indian art.
Let TourTheSouthwest.com custom tailor your perfect Grand Canyon Circle Tour to all the best sites at the most optimum viewing times. Since we have been visiting and exploring the Grand Canyon for over 55 years, we have lived through a lot of it's history and have a lot of personal experiences to share. We can put together the ultimate Grand Canyon Tour to any area of the canyon, from top to bottom, North to South, or East to West. A client said: "There is really no way to place a value on a tour with a particularly superlative guide who knows and shares information that has taken a lifetime to acquire.