Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon National Park (Photo: National Park Service)
Help Maintain Trails in Grand Canyon National Park
The Trip: While the summer tourists ride mules to the canyon floor or hover above in helicopters, you can see the Grand Canyon from an entirely different perspective: as a volunteer caretaker. American Conservation Experience runs Volunteer Vacations that allow travelers to participate in environmental restoration projects usually reserved for AmeriCorps members. You'll work eight-hour days with your group to remove invasive species, repair fencing, and maintain the trails. There's plenty of time in the evening to explore the park or hang out at the group campsite with fellow volunteers.
How It's Life-Changing: You have access to awe-inspiring areas of the park that aren't on tourist maps, and after working to improve them, you appreciate this national landmark even more.
Cost: $600 for the 11-day trip, including accommodations (tenting) and meals. The program also offers experiences in Utah's Bryce Canyon National Park and on California's Catalina Island.