5 Double rooms
3 Single Rooms
Join Paul D. Maley of the NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society on what will be his 82nd trip to see an eclipse of the Sun! If the weather in the above zone cooperates, you should be able to see the Moon inside the disc of the Sun for about 4 minutes 46 seconds from our vantage point*. Some 95% of the Sun will be completely blocked by the Moon. The trip will be by motor coach beginning from and ending at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona USA. Participants are asked to make their own way to Phoenix (airport code PHX) arriving Tuesday October 10 to be sure they do not miss the motor coach departure set for Wednesday October 11 and plan a return flight no earlier than 1:00pm on Tuesday October 17. However if you are in easy driving range of Phoenix you could arrive on the morning of October 11.
Are you new to eclipse watching and not sure which company has experience? Ring of Fire Expeditions has the longest track record of eclipse expeditions in the US–almost 50 years. See past trips here
*NOTE: THERE IS NO WAY TO GUARANTEE CLEAR SKIES AT ANY ECLIPSE VENUE BUT WE DO OUR BEST TO MAXIMIZE YOUR CHANCES. WEATHER PROSPECTS FOR THIS PART OF THE ECLIPSE TRACK LOOK QUITE PROMISING!
This is the itinerary as of May 31, 2023 subject to change. The descriptions we have been provided by the vendors for various highlights may experience modifications over which we have no control. In addition, unforeseen situations involving road access could cause deviations or delays along the way causing alteration of visits.) The motor coach has an emergency bathroom onboard but bathroom stops are planned. Also due to the remote areas, it is possible to cater most, but not all, meals as shown below.
WATER: All participants should plan to bring a refillable water bottle with them or plan to purchase water along the way.
How to dress: temperatures can get into the 90 deg F/32 C range in Phoenix but can also drop below freezing 32 deg F/0 deg. C in northern Arizona, so you should be prepared for a large range of temperatures. In the Sedona area 50 deg/10 deg C – 80 deg / 27 deg C is common.
(B, L, D indicate breakfast, lunch and dinner)
We recommend if you do not live within easy driving distance of Phoenix to fly in to Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport the previous day (hotel/meals prior to motor coach departure are NOT included).
Welcome to Phoenix! Meet your Tour Director at the Phoenix Airport before traveling north. After passing through Flagstaff proper, arrive at SUNSET CRATER VOLCANO NATIONAL MONUMENT. Time to explore this fascinating landscape – one which was molded to what it is today after a volcanic eruption in the early 1800’s. Return to Flagstaff for a welcome dinner and tour orientation. (D)
Note: The motor coach will depart the Phoenix airport at 01:30PM (travelers should have lunch on own before). Any flights arriving later than this window are not eligible for the group transfer to Flagstaff and guests on those flights must make their own way in order to catch up to the motor coach.
Overnight at Drury Inn and Suites, Flagstaff.
This morning visit the LOWELL OBSERVATORY for a Mars Hill Guided Tour. The tour takes you back to the founding of Lowell Observatory by Percival Lowell in 1894. This guided tour is led by an observatory educator and includes stops at the historic 9cm/24” Clark Refractor, the Pluto Discovery Telescope, and the Giovale Open Deck Observatory for solar observing. (There is no nighttime viewing offered). Please note that this tour includes steep grades and a one mile/1.6 km walk outdoors.
After checking in at the Steele Visitor Center, you will see the 124-year-old, 9.6m / 32-foot-long Clark refractor which was custom made for the observatory by Alvan Clark & Sons. This 61cm/24 inch diameter telescope was used by Percival Lowell to study Mars and other planets, by Vesto Slipher to find the first evidence that our universe is expanding, and by scientists in the 1960’s to create detailed maps of the Moon in preparation for the Apollo Moon landings. Doors and dome shutters are kept open at the Clark Dome in fair weather to facilitate fresh airflow while guests are inside.
Next, the tour takes you to 1930 when amateur astronomer Clyde Tombaugh discovered the dwarf planet Pluto. You will pass by the building that housed Tombaugh’s office and living quarters as you head up the Pluto Walk toward the Pluto Dome, which houses the 33cm/13 inch Lawrence Lowell Astrograph, which was used to image Pluto. Because of the small size of the Pluto Dome, guests will tour the interior in groups of five.
The Mars Hill Guided Tour finishes up at the Giovale Open Deck Observatory plaza. Here, you’ll get to search the sun for any sunspots or prominences with a hydrogen-alpha solar telescope. In the event of cloudy weather, your educator will lead you on a tour of the Giovale Open Deck Observatory.
Then, continue to the Barringer METEOR CRATER NATIONAL LANDMARK for a guided tour. Forty-nine thousand years ago, a large 30 to 50 meter/99 to 165 ft diameter iron asteroid impacted the Colorado Plateau in northern Arizona which resulted in a massive explosion that excavated 175 million tons of rock forming a crater nearly a 1500m/ 5200 ft wide and 170 m / 570 ft deep.
Learn how Arizona’s dry climate has helped preserve the crater, keeping it almost unchanged since its formation. Get acquainted with the different kinds of creatures and flora that surround the impact site and get up close and personal to this natural wonder while hiking on the edge of the rim.
You will also learn about impact processes that played a prominent role in the development of our planets, satellites, asteroids, and comets. The geologic and planetary records are clear, collisions ranging in size from microscopic to gigantic events have occurred since the beginning of the solar system and this is your chance to walk on the rim of the best-preserved meteorite impact site on earth! It’s an easy 30-40 minute hike and will give you a great perspective on how the earth was forever changed after impact.
Travel through the PETRIFIED FOREST NATIONAL PARK. The park is in in northeastern Arizona and named for its large deposits of petrified wood; the park covers about 346 square miles (900 square kilometers), encompassing semi-desert shrub steppe as well as highly eroded and colorful badlands. More than 400 species of plants, dominated by grasses such as bunchgrass, blue grama, and sacaton are found in the park. Fauna include larger animals such as pronghorn sheep, bobcats, coyotes and many smaller animals, such as deer mice, snakes, lizards, seven kinds of amphibians, and more than 200 species of birds. The Petrified Forest is known for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived about 225 million years ago. End your day in Chinle. Chinle is best known as the gateway to Canyon de Chelly National Monument, an 84,000-acre site that preserves large collections of significant Ancestral Pueblo, Hopi, and Navajo ruins. (B,D)
Note: The park closes at 5pm. Due to timing and the day’s schedule, the Petrified Forest visit will likely be a drive through with stops at scenic overlooks. There likely will not be enough time to hike.
NOTE: LUNCH IS NOT INCLUDED SINCE THIS IS AN ALL DAY TRIP INTO RURAL AREAS. WE WILL STOP SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY WHERE YOU CAN PURCHASE LUNCH.
Overnight at Holiday Inn Chinle.
Depart Chinle and visit MONUMENT VALLEY, home of some of the most majestic natural landmarks on earth. Visit Goulding’s Lodge for regional lunch including Navajo Fry Bread.
Goulding’s Lodge has been synonymous with Monument Valley for nearly a century. Harry and Leone Goulding purchased land and started Goulding’s Trading Post in the 1920s. During the Great Depression, they saw an opportunity to bolster the local Navajo economy by bringing in movie production companies looking to film in the Southwest. Harry met with director John Ford, the wheels were immediately set in motion, and the film Stagecoach started production in Monument Valley soon after.
Since then, Goulding’s has hosted films crews, photographers, artists and tourists from around the world. The trading post has expanded to include a lodge, campsite, tour operation, restaurant, convenience store, and a private airstrip. The LaFont family bought Goulding’s Lodge in 1981 and continues to keep the amenities modern while honoring the rich American and Navajo history surrounded by iconic landmarks.
Overnight at Kayenta Monument Valley Inn so as to be near Mexican Hat, UT to position within the eclipse path for tomorrow’s natural phenomenon. This curiously named town draws its moniker from a rock formation that, from some angles, resembles a sombrero, or a “Mexican Hat.” The formation is about two and a half miles northeast of town. Mexican Hat is on Hwy 163, 20 miles southwest of Bluff where a bridge passes over the San Juan River. It is about a 45 minute drive from the hotel. Your Group Leader will have a short briefing on the eclipse upon arrival at your hotel (B,L,D)
Time in Arizona is always Mountain Standard Time (UT-7hours); Utah is on Mountain Daylight Savings Time (UT-6hours) during the trip.
Partial eclipse begins: ……………………..~9:10am MDT. Sun is 18 deg above azimuth 116 deg.
Maximum of the “ring of fire eclipse”: ~10:31am MDT. Sun is 32 deg above azimuth 133 deg.
Partial eclipse ends:……………………….. ~12:01pm MDT. Sun is 42 deg above azimuth 158 deg.
Today is the day – view the amazing annular eclipse! Depart early morning to set up at a photo location. The eclipse is estimated to end around noon. Afterwards, we will see the Mexican Hat Rock Formation and stop at Forrest Gump Hill before we return to your hotel for an afternoon at your leisure. The location is known most notably as the spot where Forrest Gump ended his cross-country run in the movie. It’s also simply an unbelievable view especially at sunrise or sunset.
Forrest Gump — the protagonist of the 1994 Oscar-winning movie of the same name starring Tom Hanks — had run for three years, two months, 14 days, and 16 hours when he reached the hill that looks toward Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. After crossing the country several times, Forrest figured out why he was running so much, and that it was something that his mama had told him, “Put the past behind you before you move on.”
Realization struck around mile marker 13 on U.S. 163, and Forrest proclaimed to his followers that he was done running. Now known as “Forrest Gump Point,” this spot offers a most spectacular view, and is visited by gobs of movie fans and tourists on their own trek to the iconic Mittens formations — those conspicuous 1,000-foot / 300 m buttes — and tours within Monument Valley.For fans of the movie who are driving this road, realization will sneak in that you’re in a familiar place. It’s fair to theorize that something intrinsic to this vast, iconic and sacred place, enabled Forrest Gump to finally come to terms with his past and find a way forward. Please be aware this photo stop is located along a highly-trafficked road. Due to the road’s traffic leading to past injuries and fatalities, we urge you to take your safety seriously and refrain from taking photos from the middle of the road and take photos from the shoulder only. (B,L,D)
NOTE: Today’s lunch will be a boxed lunch. Average temperatures are expected to be comfortable in the eclipse area. During October they range from 46 to 71 deg F/8 – 22 deg C. We will be in a remote area (where we cannot get chairs) for eclipse observation so the interior of the bus is the best place for seating prior to/after the main part of the eclipse. Otherwise we will be on hard ground so consider that in your eclipse view planning. The Sun will be at moderate elevation similar to the photo below. A pillow or folded towel may be useful for placement of knees if you are photographing.
Note 2: The eclipse viewing site is subject to change based on real-time weather assessment.
*Note that we cannot guarantee the weather will be clear for this or any other solar eclipse
Overnight Kayenta Monument Valley Inn.
Travel along the Navajo Trail to see the MOENAVE DINOSAUR TRACKS. The Tuba City Dinosaur Track Site is one of the most famous well-known dinosaur trackways along Hamblin Ridge’s bench. First discovered around the beginning of the 20th century, it has lived on to this day as a neat window into the past. The tracks you will see were made 135 million years before T. rex ever walked the earth – more than double the amount time since Tyrannosaurus rex has gone extinct! The hike is relatively easy and mostly flat, and winds around several stone spires and past hundreds of tracks. Regardless of the guides’ knowledge, the hike itself is painless and beautiful, with fabulous views of the Hamblin Ridge, Tuba Butte, and the vast bench lands that stretch to the south. You can walk where dinosaurs once roamed, putting your feet in their prints. That’s an experience that’s beyond cool.
Continue to the CAMERON TRADING POST for lunch and time to shop. Later arrive at the east gate of the GRAND CANYON NATIONAL PARK, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. The spectacular beauty of this famous attraction draws more than 5 million visitors a year from around the globe. You’ll make several stops along the route such as Desert View, Tusayan Ruins and Mather Point, before arriving in the village area of the park. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Thunderbird Lodge.
Marvel as you experience breathtaking views of Grand Canyon National Park. Continue to overnight in Sedona, a center for Southwestern and New Age arts to enjoy a guided 4 WHEEL DRIVE JEEP TOUR. This tour does travel on rocky, bumpy local forest roads, and therefore is not recommended for those that have neck or back problems. As the perfect introduction to Sedona’s red rock trails, the Scenic Rim Tour is 90 minutes of winding, unpaved back roads. Hold on tight during this adventurous journey for a ride to remember in one of the most incredible settings on Earth. Hairpin turns, steep cliffs and blind curves await as your Jeep climbs 606m / 2,000 feet through canyons and washes. You’ll also see Munds Wagon Trail, a main “highway” between Sedona and Flagstaff that was completed in 1902; it was one of the state’s first and most popular cattle trails. The Mogollon Rim rises above you, while the city of Sedona sits below. Photo ops are plentiful on this tour, with many chances to use Arizona’s most stunning scenery as your backdrop. This evening enjoy a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)
Overnight at Sky Rock Sedona.
After breakfast your custom tour comes to an end with a group transfer to the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport for your departure. (B)
Note: Please schedule your departure flights out of Phoenix no earlier than 1:00 pm.
$3622. PER PERSON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY. Max of 2 in a room.
$4410 SINGLE ROOM. Single rooms may be available upon request.
BEFORE YOU SIGN UP
HOW TO SIGN UP FOR THE EXPEDITION
We cannot confirm you unless both the registration form [one for each person] and payment are all received.
GUESTS WITH DISABILITIES
There is no provision for guests with disabilities in that everyone must be ambulatory and able to walk on their own.
From time of booking before April 1, 2022: $1,000. per person
from April 1, 2022: 50% of price.
February 1, 2023: 100% of the total price.
25% penalty of total paid if cancelled by April 1, 2022
50% penalty of total paid if cancelled between April 1, 2022 and February 1, 2023
After February 1, 2023: 100% penalty
IF YOU LIVE OUTSIDE THE UNITED STATES you may pay by one of these methods: 1) credit cards, or 2) wire transfer. A USD$50 fee is charged if a wire transfer is used for each payment. No checks or money orders can be accepted! Please contact Direct Travel Groups Team email@example.com to make arrangements.