July 22 – August 5, 2025

Capacity: 20

The Grand Canyon

The name itself reflects the awe felt by everyone who visits this special place. Join faculty leader Chloé Fandel on a fifteen-day adventure through one of the true wonders of nature. Our itinerary was created and sustained for many years by Beth Schwarzman ’66, geologist and leader of ten previous Carleton Grand Canyon trips, who passed away in 2012.

This Is Real Adventure Travel

We will ride some of the biggest white-water rapids in North America, hike intriguing and pathless side canyons, camp on beaches along the river, and enjoy freedom from many of the comforts and distractions of modern life—no couches, phones, or email. We will spend our time instead with more elemental things: the river, the weather, the rocks, and each other. This is a participatory and strenuous trip; everyone will help with camp chores, carry their own baggage to their campsite, and hike over steep rocks.

Our group of 20 Carleton alumni and friends will travel in dories—beautiful, stable boats rowed by skilled professional river 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.

The trip will be rigorous. Good health and good physical condition are musts. It will be very hot, there will be little protection from the sun, it may rain, the shoreline is rough and rocky, and the river water is cold. Participants must be able to move about easily on uneven terrain and be willing to take things as they come in a wilderness setting. The following considerations will help you determine if this expedition is right for you. Can you:

  • Ascend and descend two flights of stairs carrying a 20-pound bag without using a handrail in 90-degree heat?
  • Get on top of a kitchen counter, stand up, and return to the floor, all without using a stool?
  • Climb several steps of stairs while urgently needing to use the bathroom?
  • Rise from a seated position on the ground up to 30 times a day?
  • Suspend your body weight from a pull-up bar for 15 seconds?
  • Balance a plate of food on your lap while eating?

If even one of these activities presents a challenge to you, please consider signing up instead for one of our less strenuous Alumni Adventure trips.

Faculty Leader

Chloé Fandel

is an assistant professor of geology at Carleton College, where she teaches courses on hydrogeology, geomorphology, environmental geology, and the geology of national parks. She holds a Ph.D. and M.Sc. in hydrology with a minor in water law from the University of Arizona, and a B.A. in geosciences from Brown University. 

Chloé studies groundwater in karst aquifers and in arid regions and has a long-standing interest in the many springs found throughout the Grand Canyon. She is currently focused on springs and groundwater-fed streams in the Driftless Region of southeastern Minnesota but previously worked on groundwater conservation efforts and water policy in Arizona. Her research approach is based on linking multi-model ensembles and strategic field data collection to inform practical water resource management decisions in working landscapes. Chloé has worked in private consulting, public land management, environmental non-profits, and the oil and gas industry, both in the U.S. and in Europe. She is also a scientific illustrator, featured in textbooks, public signage, and peer-reviewed publications. She previously co-led a Brown University geology field trip backpacking in the Grand Canyon from rim to river, and this will be her second rafting trip down the canyon. She is delighted for the chance to share the wonder, intensity, and beauty of the canyon with more visitors.

Basic Logistics

We will meet in Flagstaff, Arizona in the late afternoon of July 22. An informal welcome reception and dinner will be followed by an orientation from our outfitter. We’ll re-pack our belongings into waterproof bags and sleep indoors for the last time on the trip! The next morning we will take a 3-hour ride across the Painted Desert to Lee’s Ferry on the Colorado River, where we will join our river guides, load our belongings into the boats, and push off on a spectacular journey. On August 5 we will emerge from the canyon at Diamond Creek and travel back to Flagstaff. Many of us will choose to spend the night in Flagstaff before heading home the next day.

Pricing and Registration

$5,420 per person, plus $100 per person for both the pre-departure dinner on July 22 and the return dinner on August 5. The total cost of the trip is $5,420 + $100 per person.


  • The river trip itself from launch to take-out, including all meals
  • National Park entrance fee ($20)
  • July 22 welcome reception and dinner
  • August 5 return dinner in Flagstaff
  • Transportation between Flagstaff and the river
  • Professional guides and river guides
  • Tents, camp chairs, and sleeping gear
  • Waterproof bags for personal clothing and sleeping gear
  • Study materials, including a waterproof river map and drawing materials

Not included:

  • Gratuity for river guides (recommended 7-12% = $380 to $650 per traveler)
  • Transportation from your home to Flagstaff and back
  • Accommodations in Flagstaff before and/or after the trip
  • Alcoholic beverages

Payment and Refund Policy

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

An additional payment of $2,000 is due by November 1, 2024. The final balance of $2,720 is due by January 3, 2025.

PLEASE NOTE: Because of the way Grand Canyon trips are structured, after January 3, 2025, payments will be refunded only if we can fill the space on the trip. We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance, and we will send more information with registration.

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

Questions about this trip?

This trip is planned by Carleton Alumni Relations staff. Contact Alumni Relations at alumni-office@carleton.edu or 1-800-729-2586 with any questions.