"Canyon Dave" Thayer's lifelong passion for the majestic Grand Canyon began in his youth, when as a wide-eyed boy he first beheld the ancient chasm's endless vistas and dizzying depths. By age 18, he had become an intrepid explorer, frequently hiking and backpacking along the canyon's precipitous trails. By 29, after countless treks into the canyon's farthest reaches, he had traversed over 1,500 stunning miles through this natural wonder.
His academic credentials further solidified Thayer's status as one of the foremost authorities on the Grand Canyon. He earned a master's degree from the prestigious University of Arizona, focusing his studies on the canyon's rich geological and biological mysteries.
For eight years, Thayer imparted his wisdom as a professor of geology. He then ascended to the position of Curator of Geology at the esteemed Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, overseeing its acclaimed exhibits and educational programs.
A prolific author, Thayer has published extensively on the Grand Canyon, elevating awareness through trail guides, scientific articles, books, and more. His seminal works, "Geology of Grand Canyon along Bright Angel Trail" (1986) and "Introduction to Grand Canyon Fossils" (2009), stand as definitive guides to the canyon's terrain and prehistoric past.
In 2001, Thayer embarked on his life's crowning achievement, founding Canyon Dave Tours. The company incorporated in 2007 with Dave as CEO. Canyon Dave personally trains his guides in the history, geology, and ecology of the Grand Canyon. They usher his guests on transformative journeys along the South Rim of the canyon he knows so intimately. His wife Dora, former park ranger, CFO and guide, partners in sharing Thayer's vast knowledge and passion.
Canyon Dave Tours represents the culmination of Thayer's legendary career - enabling people worldwide to experience the magic of Grand Canyon inspired by one of the canyon's most accomplished explorers and experts.
While at the Desert Museum, Dave met his wife, Dora. Dora has her BS degree in field biology, specializing in marine biology.
Dora, then a Grand Canyon ranger, joined Dave full time in 2004, operating their tour business at Grand Canyon.
In 2007 the company incorporated, with Dave as President and CEO and Dora as Vice-President and CFO. Canyon Dave Tours, Inc. is currently based in Williams, Arizona.
At the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Dave and Dora were inspired by the delightful tours and field trips, many of which they led or in which they participated. They were each further inspired by a stated and implied invitation to every visitor that they participate in conservation of nature and natural areas. Canyon Dave Tours, Inc. was and is founded on these same principles.
“At Canyon Dave Tours, we really listen to you, the tour guest—we never spout information like a TV that no one is
watching. Your contribution to our tour is essential because you are doing something bigger than yourself or your guide:
you are increasing your own understanding of local nature, history, and culture. Learning leads to love, and love to
protection and care.
We have designed your tour so that you will visit interesting people and viewpoints. We foster open-minded conversation rather than giving a canned spiel. While the goal is to learn about our destination, having fun is also vital—happy, engaged people are more alert--they learn and experience more. That’s why your contribution is the very heart of our tour. You are much more than a mere passenger. We want you to bring your viewpoints to our viewpoints. We always hope your tour is not over when it’s over.”