Grand Canyon and Riding the Colorado River

The Grand Canyon

August 23-September 6, 2012

The name itself reflects the awe which this special place engenders. Carleton in the Grand Canyon will give you an opportunity to experience the canyon in an extraordinary way, with the time and opportunity to begin to get to know it.

This is Real Adventure Travel

We will ride some of the biggest white-water rapids in North America, hike intriguing side canyons where there is no trail, camp on beaches along the river, and be free of many of the comforts and distractions of modern life–-no couches, phones, TV or e-mail. Instead we will spend our time with more elemental things–-the river, the weather, the rocks, and each other. This is a participatory trip; everyone will do camp chores, carry their own baggage to their campsite, hike up and down steep rocks, even learn something of reading the water in rapids.

Our group of 20 Carleton alumni and friends will travel in dories, beautiful, stable, and exciting, which will be rowed by skilled professional boatmen guides–this is the best way to see the Grand Canyon. We will be outdoors 24 hours a day, clambering in and out of boats, camping, hiking, running the river, and living in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Do note that it will be hot, that there is little protection from the sun, that it may rain or blow, that the shoreline is rough and rocky, and that the river water is cold. No unusual skill, strength, or experience is needed beyond ability to move about easily on uneven terrain and the willingness to take things as they come in a wilderness setting. Not recommended for children under 12.

Trip Leaders

The trip will be led by Beth Schwarzman '66, geologist and leader of the 9 previous Carleton Grand Canyon trips. We will be traveling through textbook examples of geology; Beth will help to explain the “naked geology” that creates the scenery of the Grand Canyon.

Beth will be joined by Tim Lloyd who was faculty on the 1992 and 1995 Grand Canyon trips. He will teach drawing.  This will help us all to really see what we are seeing and record some of that with drawings.

Basic Logistics

We will meet in Flagstaff, Arizona in the late afternoon of August 22nd. That evening we will get an orientation from the outfitter, re-pack into waterproof bags, and sleep indoors for the last time on the trip. The next morning we’ll take a 3-hour ride across the Painted Desert to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River,  where we’ll join our boats and boatmen, load our stuff into the boats, and push off on a spectacular journey. On September 6th we will emerge from the canyon at Diamond Creek, tanned, reinvigorated, and with our minds full of grand images, to travel back to Flagstaff. Most people will probably spend the night in Flagstaff before heading home the next day.


$4,240 per person


  • The river trip itself from launch to take-out including all meals
  • Transportation between Flagstaff and the river
  • Professional guides and boatmen
  • Tents and sleeping gear
  • Study materials including a waterproof river map, and drawing materials

Not included:

  • Gratuity to boatmen ($200 suggested per traveler)
  • Dinner in Flagstaff before river trip
  • Transportation from your house to Flagstaff and back
  • Accommodations in Flagstaff before or after river trip


An $800 deposit is due with registration.  This deposit is non-refundable.

An additional payment of $2,100 is due by December 1, 2011. The balance of $1,340 is due by January 30th, 2012.

Any cancellation must be made in writing.

After December 1st,  2011, refunds will only be made if we can fill the space on the trip.

Please note: Because of the way Grand Canyon trips are structured, payments will be refunded only if we can fill the space on the trip. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance, and we’ll send information with registration.


The photos on the right are from our 2007 alumni adventure to the Grand Canyon. We try to offer this trip every two years and whenever we do it sells out quickly.

TOUR OUTFITTER:  Arizona Raft Adventures, operated by Alexandra "Alex" Elliott Thevenin '97 (daughter of Jessica Youle '68)