Welcome to the Wild West. This incredible state is red rock country with vast deserts, jaw dropping slot canyons, stunning hiking trails and epic views. It’s also home to the Grand Canyon, one of the natural wonders of the world which truly lives up to its name.
What you may not expect is the huge snow-capped mountains (well, in winter they are snow-capped), the dense forests and the countless hidden gems away from the madding crowds. Arizona is popular, but you can get over that when you set eyes on Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon or the Devil’s Bridge (to name a few).
A road trip here is one of those bucket list experiences where even a long journey will fly by as you’re transfixed with your view out the window. We could spend months here, but we know few people have that much annual leave, so we’ve squeezed the best of Arizona into an epic 10 day itinerary including all the well known showstoppers plus some true hidden gems.
The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip Itinerary
Get ready for the wild west! Whilst many itineraries tend to stick to driving and viewpoints, we believe that you’ll only get to experience this stunning place by getting out into it (after all, no western ever involved someone staying inside a car!). With this itinerary, walking past cacti and standing on the top of epic cliffs will be part of most days.
We recommend starting in Las Vegas as the flights and car hire here are relatively cheap and you’re not too far away from the major sights. You can choose to fly into Phoenix instead, but it doesn’t quite make a loop.
Our recommended itinerary is:
Las Vegas -> Sedona -> Grand Canyon -> Page -> Monument Valley (we know it’s kinda in Utah as well as Arizona) -> Page -> Zion (yes, we know that’s also in Utah!) -> Las Vegas
We’ve chosen to include Zion National Park in Utah because seriously, who can get this close to the mighty Zion and not venture in?! Not us…
Day 1: Vegas - Sedona
The trip starts in Sedona, a spectacular area which we visited several times on our trip and still want to go back to. You could spend your entire 10 days here and be wowed on each one but I guess that’s not a road trip! Don’t worry though we’ve factored in time for the very best bits of Sedona, prepare for an action packed few days!
AM - Drive to Sedona
After landing in Vegas, pick up your hire car and head south. If you’re like us, you won’t want to waste anytime hanging around when some of the most incredible wilderness is waiting for you.
The drive will take about 4.5 hours and you can stop at Kingman or Flagstaff on the way for a coffee (Flagstaff actually has quite a few cool independent coffee shops).
PM - Check out the best views
Distance - 3.6 miles (5.8km) - out & back trail
Time - 1 hour each way
Elevation - 104 metres
Difficulty - Easy to moderate (flat for the most part, with an uphill section at the end)
Starting & End Point - Devil’s Bridge Trail Head car park
Fee - None
Devil’s Bridge is one of the highlights of Sedona, primarily for the incredible natural rock bridge that has formed at the end of the trail. It is much bigger than you expect and the views across Sedona are stunning. Even if you aren’t interested in an epic photo op, this natural rock bridge is well worth the hike to see.
If you want more information about the famous Devil’s Bridge Sedona, then check out our detailed blog about the trail.
Devil’s Bridge Parking
The car park and trailhead for Devil’s Bridge is about seven miles from the centre of Sedona and can be found along Vultee Arch Road. You won’t have a problem spotting it, it will be the place where cars are parked along the road leading up to it.
Parking can be a struggle here - especially in the middle of the day.
If you are parking in the 4x4 car park it was tiny but very few people seem to use it so it had space both times we passed by.
If you have enough time and energy after Devil’s Bridge, squeeze in the Bell Rock climb, you can scramble up here for a stunning view of the surrounding area. It is near the final walk of the day and you can read up about it on our article about our favourite hikes in Sedona.
Sunset - Cathedral Rock
Distance - 1.5 miles (2.44km) - out & back trail
Time - 1 hour 30 (including time to admire the view!)
Elevation - 229m
Difficulty - Moderate. A lot of sections are fine, but some steep scrambles
Starting & End Point - Cathedral Rock Car Park
Fee - $5 if you don’t have a National Parks Annual Pass
We’ll warn you up front, hiking to the viewpoint at Cathedral Rock involves some scrambling! There are steep, smooth rock sections and one part where you have to climb up an incredibly narrow gully - some people went up it in minutes, confident as mountain goats, we took a little longer but still made it. Most people won’t have a problem but it’s something to be aware of.
However, the reward is some of the best views in Sedona, especially at sunset. This natural platform looks west over the surrounding landscape and has several stunning spots to take it all in. It’s a view that we’ll never forget.
Cathedral Rock Parking
Cathedral Rock is close to Bell Rock and is one of the most popular places in Sedona. The car park here is small! There are overflow car parks, but you may have to park on the road. This isn’t too big a problem in the off season as the road is pretty quiet but it could be trickier in high season. If you don’t have an America The Beautiful or Red Rock Pass you will need to pay $5 to park.
Where to stay in Sedona
Sedona Summit Diamond Resorts
We’re not sure why but every time we came to Sedona the Diamond Resorts were offering the best deals! There are a few Diamond Resorts to choose from in Sedona (we also stayed in The Ridge on Sedona Golf Resort which was good but not quite as good as the Summit), all of which offer large rooms, a fab kitchenette (with cooking tops, fully stocked pots & pans etc and amenities like a coffee maker).
However, our favourite was the Sedona Summit due to its location (its pretty close to the main town) and the stunning hot tub views it offers. After a long day’s hiking, it was heaven.
The rooms were really good value and spacious which made them perfect to retreat to. We’ve visited Sedona three times and always booked a Diamond Resort. One bugbear though is that the properties are time share and therefore expect to receive a sales pitch! Depending on your room wifi could be iffy too.
Day 2: Sedona
Day one covered many of the smaller trails, but they are also the most popular. We thought for day two we’d showcase a local’s favourite, away from the crowds without sacrificing those spectacular views.
AM - Bear Mountain
Distance - 6 miles (9.5 km) out & back
Time - 4 hours 45
Elevation - 682 metres
Difficulty - Hard & very exposed (bring sunscreen and plenty of water)
Starting & End Point - Doe Mountain/Bear Mountain car park
Fees - Free with National Park Pass, otherwise $5 parking fee
Bear Mountain isn’t an easy hike, but it rewards anyone who puts in the effort to keep hiking uphill to the top. Along the way you’ll be wowed with stunning views of Fay Canyon and the deep red mesas and buttes that make this area so special.
We loved taking in the rock formations for miles, spotting our favourite landmarks like Bell Rock, Courthouse Butte and Cathedral Rock, as well as seeing how the rocks change colour from a dark red to a light yellow.
At the top you may even get a glimpse of the snow capped mountains near Flagstaff depending on the season.
Give yourself a good amount of time for this hike as it may seem shortish at six miles, but it takes a lot longer because of the elevation. Plus you’ll want to stop and take it all in. There are several points where it is breathtaking (both literally and metaphorically).
Few people choose to do this hike, so it is a great one to do if you want to avoid the crowds. It is also a good bet if it has rained recently as the path doesn’t flood like many others in Sedona (it is primarily rock and it drains off quite quickly).
Bear Mountain Parking
The car park for Bear Mountain is shared with those wanting to hike to Doe Mountain on Boynton Pass Road. There is a decent amount of space here, so you shouldn’t have to worry about arriving at the crack of dawn to get a car parking space!
PM - Sunset at Baby Bell Rock
We’ll confess, we never made it exactly to Baby Bell Rock for sunset. We got nearby for sunset but couldn’t find the right path, then headed back the next day to get to the top. Make sure you give yourself enough time to find the trail as it isn’t obvious. The views are fantastic and as you can see in the second pic even though we couldn’t make it to the top for sunset it was still an amazing view from near the base.
To get to Baby Bell Rock, you will need to take Bell Rock Pathway and start heading left (east) towards Butte Rock. Just before you get to Butte Rock you should see a small hill you can go up and a path that will lead you round the back of the rock and up to the top.
Parking for Baby Bell Rock
The best place to park for Baby Bell Rock is at Courthouse Vista which is almost six miles outside Sedona (it should take about 10 minutes to drive to). Parking is free if you have a National Parks Annual Pass or Red Rock Pass, otherwise it is $5.
Day 3: Grand Canyon Views
Time to tick something big off your bucket list! The Grand Canyon is one of those places that doesn’t disappoint and is worthy of all the hype and accolades it gets. It is difficult to truly describe the scale and beauty of this place, you really do need to see it with your own eyes.
It’s not like a mountain which you can see for miles away, the Grand Canyon just suddenly appears from nowhere. This itinerary will take you to the South Rim which is open all year and the most accessible point for Grand Canyon adventures. You can visit the North Rim between May and October (depending on when the road opens due to snow) or fight the tourist trap at the west rim, but we found the South Rim had magnificent views, as well as great hiking trails and infrastructure.
AM: Sedona to Grand Canyon
The drive to the South Rim will take a little over two hours from Sedona as you wind up the cliffside to Flagstaff and then gradually uphill to the Grand Canyon Village. We recommend going as early as possible as the parking is limited and it fills up quickly. You may be able to snag a space at the village itself, otherwise you’ll have to park and take the shuttle in.
If you fancy a relatively cheap and wholesome lunch, then head to Bright Angel Lodge. The restaurant here serves pretty decent food in big portions (although the menu was hit and miss, we’d go for the stews if you want something hearty)! You’ll be full for hours after eating here.
PM: The viewpoints on the Rim Trail
From Bright Angel Lodge, head towards the bus stop to get the shuttle along Hermit Road. This bus stops at several viewpoints before finishing at Hermit’s Rest at the furthest end.
We enjoyed walking along the trail all the way back to the lodge as you were able to take in multiple viewpoints and spots along the path which showed off different parts of the canyon. Alternatively you can take the shuttle and hop on and off, walking as much as you please.
The Rim Trail
Distance: 1 - 13 miles (21 km) one way - but you can stop at any point and get a bus back
Elevation: Largely flat but with some gentle inclines
Starting Point: Hermit’s Rest or South Kaibab - take the shuttle bus from Bright Angel Lodge
For the most part, the Rim Trail is perfectly flat and the path is in good condition, but there are a few very gentle uphill sections. At points it can be narrow and very close to the exposed canyon rim, if you hit a section you aren’t keen on the road is always just a metre away so you can avoid them.
Otherwise you can make the trail a bus hopping trip with several points where you can simply jump on the shuttle bus back to the village. We recommend seeing at least Hopi Point, Powell Point and the Abyss to take in different perspectives of this incredible place.
Entrance Fee for the Grand Canyon
If you plan to visit more than three US National Parks in a year then we highly recommend purchasing the $80 America The Beautiful Annual Pass.
If not entrance for a car and all passengers is $35, valid for seven days. If arriving on a motorcycle the fee is $30.
Where to stay for the Grand Canyon
For a fully comprehensive guide, check out our separate article on where to stay in the Grand Canyon. Otherwise, here’s a brief summary.
Note that Grand Canyon accommodation sells out very quickly so try to book as far in advance as you can. We ended up staying in five different places because we could never get a straight run in any of them.
Grand Canyon Village
If you possibly can the best place to stay is in the park itself. In peak season it is notoriously difficult to get reservations so book as far in advance as you possibly can.
Bright Angel Lodge
We stayed in GC several lodges (travelling in low season meant we could make last minute-ish bookings but we couldn’t get all the dates we wanted in one lodge) and our favourite was definitely Bright Angel. The rooms were really lovely and clean and had a good feel about them. We had shared showers which were always spotless.
Outside the village - Tusayan
If you can’t get into the park itself then the nearest village, Tusayan, is around 15 minutes from Bright Angel and only two minutes from the entrance to the national park. The hotels tended to be similar prices to those inside the park, so we didn’t go for this option. We did eat here though and surprisingly the food was more expensive than inside the park.
The best option is the Best Western Premier - Grand Canyon Squire Inn. The rooms here are spacious, comfortable and come with everything you’d expect from the better Best Western brands. We nearly booked it for part of our trip here before deciding we’d rather go for a less nice room and be right inside the park.
Day 4: Hike to Phantom Ranch
If you can’t get a reservation at Phantom Ranch then you can do this next section as two day hikes instead.
We’ll let you in on a secret: the true magic of the Grand Canyon lies below the Rim. Yes, those viewpoints are impressive, but you’re so high up that it can almost feel impossible to comprehend. Once you start hiking down, you’ll see just how stunning and unique this place is.
If you can, book a spot at Phantom Ranch. This isn’t easy as the spots sell out incredibly quickly. But you can snag a cancellation like we did, so keep looking. We also have some tips that may improve your chances in this post where we share exactly how we got our spot.
If you can’t, we still recommend taking on the South Kaibab and Bright Angel Trails as day hikes. You can’t go all the way to the bottom of the canyon in a day unless you are insanely fit (it is too long, steep and the heat in the summer is a killer) but you can experience the wonder of the canyon by doing sections of these trails.
If you get a booking at Phantom Ranch, take the South Kaibab down and the Bright Angel up as the South Kaibab is the steepest and a killer if you go uphill.
South Kaibab Trail
The Full Trail: 7.3 miles one way officially however our AppleWatch said 8.3 miles (to Phantom Ranch)
Elevation: 66m (the trail is virtually all downhill)
Ooh Aah Point: 1.9 miles return
Cedar Ridge: 3.1 miles return - Not recommended to go beyond here in Summer
Skeleton Point: 6 miles return - Not recommended to go beyond here any time of year
Elevation for day hike - 300 - 400m (about 1,000 feet depending on which day walk you choose) across a very short distance.
Difficulty - Hard
Starting Point - Accessible only by shuttle bus. You can take the hiker express from Bright Angel Lodge or Parking Lot D, or the Orange Line from the Visitor Centre.
-There is no water on this trail, so ensure you have plenty when you leave. You can fill up at the trail head.
Out of all the trails in the Grand Canyon, the South Kaibab is our favourite. At points we had to pinch ourselves as simply seeing the Grand Canyon along this trail feels like a true privilege.
The track winds steeply downhill before you come to Ooh Ahh Point - an aptly named place. From here you’ll begin to see why the Grand Canyon is so special, there is nothing like being in the middle of it! Many people choose to head back after this point, but we recommend pushing onto Cedar Ridge, one of the prettiest ridge lines we’ve seen.
This eventually opens out to a flat area which makes for a great lunch spot.
After Cedar Ridge if you’re still feeling good (and bearing in mind the return is all uphill), you can continue on to Skelton Point There are more jaw dropping views and we even spotted a rare Californian Condor. From Skeleton Point only those sleeping on the canyon floor should continue. You’ll make your way down towards the Colorado River on a series of switchbacks, there is no point on this track where the views are mediocre, it really is one of the most special places we have ever been.
You’ll finally cross a swing bridge over the river and into Phantom Ranch itself.
Don’t expect luxury as Phantom Ranch is primarily a hiker and camper’s place to stay though everything is very clean and comfortable. There are private cabins, but you will need to use shared bathroom facilities. It does have electricity and air conditioning for when it gets hot as the bottom of the Grand Canyon is a lot of warmer than the rim. We had snow at the rim and wore t-shirts at the bottom!
You can also get a steak dinner or a vegetable stew in the dining area (reservations should be made ahead of time, preferably when making your bed booking as food sells out) and get to know the other people on the trail. Drinks and snacks can also be purchased.
If you have an extra day to spare and are lucky enough to get two nights at Phantom then there are a few hiking trails which you can access directly from the lodge.
Day 5: Hike back to the rim (or begin the day hike from the South Rim)
For the return to the South Rim take the Bright Angel Trail. This is probably the most famous trail in the Grand Canyon and one that is well worth doing. However, prepare yourself for a steep hike with multiple switchbacks - you’ll feel the climb up in your legs the next day!
You can do this as a day walk, but we don’t recommend heading beyond Indian Garden as it will be a brutal climb back if you go further.
Bright Angel Trail
Full trail: 9.8 miles (one way) officially but our AppleWatch measured 11 miles from Phantom Ranch.
1.5 mile resthouse: 3 mile return
3 mile resthouse: 6 mile return
Indian Garden: 9.4 mile return - It is not recommended to go beyond Indian Garden on a day hike
Elevation: Up 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) from Indian Garden- incredibly steep!
Starting Point: Bright Angel Lodge
There are water refill points at Indian Garden (all year round, 3 mile (not in winter) and 1.5 mile resthouse (not in winter) as well as restrooms at 1.5 mile resthouse and Indian Garden.
Whilst the Bright Angel Trail heads down into the Grand Canyon and Phantom Ranch, it feels like a very different track to the South Kaibab. Whereas the other trail is wide and expansive, the Bright Angel takes you through some more intimate feeling areas of the canyon, at points it feels like a secret garden. It’s another truly spectacular trail.
What also surprised us is just how green this area is. Indian Garden especially is a small oasis, full of trees, grass, water and wildlife in the middle of an incredibly arid place. It is another good place to stop for lunch, but make sure you keep an eye out for those pesky squirrels which love nothing more to rip open your bag and steal your food (something that happened to us!).
Give yourself a lot of time for the hike back up. It is steep, slow going and is made up of many switchbacks over three miles. You’ll want to take several breaks and refill your waterbottles along the way! The last three miles is where you get the majority of expansive canyon views.
You can also find that the trail at the top has ice or snow in the cooler months, so bring along some traction devices to put on your boots if you visit outside of summer. You can buy them cheaply on Amazon before you go (the ones in the Grand Canyon do sell out and cost more, so get them in advance). We met people who came all the way to the canyon and then the shop didn’t have their size for the traction devices and they couldn’t hike, they were gutted to say the least. We used the Yaktrax linked below all over America and found them to be fantastic.
Day 6: Page
After an epic couple of days at the Grand Canyon it’s time to head over to Page, a town that has an incredible amount of unique experiences. Don’t worry, the majority of the things to do here don’t involve hiking (well, not that far anyway) so you can rest your aching legs!
You will need to book the slot canyons well in advance of your visit as they can sell out, especially if you visit in the summer. This applies for Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon and to a lesser extent Waterholes.
The drive from the Grand Canyon to Page should take about 2.5 hours and once more you’ll be driving through an interesting landscape. Once you arrive, check out the Glen Canyon Dam.
Glen Canyon Dam
Don’t worry, the things to do will get more exciting! But the Glen Canyon Dam is a good place to start as this was the reason the town exists. The Glen Canyon Dam is one of the biggest in the world - so big that we couldn’t take a photo of it all!
There’s an interesting visitor centre that takes you through the history of Glen Canyon and other dams in America, as well as having a good view of the dam itself.
Waterholes Canyon is one of those gems which for years only locals knew about. Whilst it is more popular now, it is still a lot quieter than Antelope Canyon. When we visited, we were not only the only people on the tour, but the only people visiting all day!
Access to this incredible slot canyon is by guided tour only and seeing the narrow, deep red canyon walls was a highlight of our time in Arizona. You won’t get the spectacular light rays that you get in season in Upper Antelope Canyon but that absolutely doesn’t detract from the experience.
Whilst still being pretty easy it is a little more adventurous than both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons as there are a few more ladders and sections which are a bit of a squeeze.
How to book a tour
To book a tour, contact Waterholes Canyon Experience via the phone number on their website. You’ll need to book in advance and then drive to the dirt road at the side of Highway 89 about 15 minutes before your tour starts (it has a locked gate at the side of the road by the Waterholes Experience sign).
Tickets cost $48 per person (I know, it isn’t cheap!) and if you plan to post on Social Media or your website, you will need to purchase a permit. You can read our detailed explanation in our article all about Waterholes Canyon.
There is no better place in the whole of the Southwest to be at sunset than Horseshoe Bend. It is hard to believe that this place was a local secret for decades. Like the Grand Canyon, you can only see it when the cliff drops and it is there in front of you, to say it’s a dramatic view is an understatement.
It has become an Instagram sensation and you’ll see why when you visit. It is an exquisitely beautiful place. We recommend going an hour before sunset, finding a spot to yourself and soak up every moment in this beautiful spot.
The local council and National Parks Services have responded to the growing popularity and there are some big changes on the way. You should check out our article all about the Horseshoe Bend Hike and what to expect.
Where to stay in Page
We were travelling with my parents at this point and got a fabulous Airbnb for our week in Page. However, if you’re looking for somewhere smaller or cheaper, we’d recommend checking out the following:
CountryInn & Suites by Radisson
If you prefer hotels to Air bnb then CountryInn and Suites by Radisson is currently getting rave reviews. It’s in a central location, very close to both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Day 7: Monument Valley
It’s time to head to the place which probably pops into your head when someone mentions the Wild West - Monument Valley. This iconic area full of unique rock formations has been the home to many a western movie and the East and West Mitten Buttes are instantly recognisable.
You can easily spend a day here, but we recommend spending the night as well to have a prime seat for one of the best views in America at sunrise.
So technically you’re about to go into Utah, but the state border runs through the middle of this area, so it’s still kind of in Arizona!
We’ve put a brief summary of our favourite parts below, but if you want a more detailed guide, read our article all about spending a day in Monument Valley.
Page -> Monument Valley
The journey from Page to Monument Valley is just under two hours. It’s a relatively dull drive, but you’ve been spoilt for scenic drives so far!
Take the scenic drive
The highlight of Monument Valley is the scenic drive which takes you around and up close to the iconic mesas and buttes. Whilst you can see some from the highway, the majority are hidden away on the Navajo Reservation.
Entry here is a steep $20 for the car, but it is worth it. It should take about an hour to take the drive with the stops such as the Mitten Buttes, the Totem Pole and the stunning John Ford Point. If you spend ages taking photos you might want to factor in more time.
John Ford Point
The view at John Ford point is stunning and is one of the best in the area. From here you’ll see over many of the rock formations and on for miles.
If you want a photo of or on that horse you see in all the photos you will have to pay for it!
The Wild Cat Trail
The Wild Cat Trail is just under four miles long and should take about about an hour to complete. It is the only walk in Monument Valley and it takes you around West Mitten Butte, allowing you get far closer than at any other point on the reservation. This is what makes it special, the trail itself does not compare to any other on this list. It is also within the fee zone so will cost $20, but that is not in addition to the scenic drive.
The trail is pretty easy going until the last bit back to your car when it is uphill and on sand!
Forrest Gump Point
Named after the Tom Hanks Movie, Forrest Gump Point is one of the most popular parts of Monument Valley. People love it as it is outside of the Navajo Reservation (so it’s free) and the view from here is amazing, especially if you catch it at sunset or sunrise. We caught both as you can see in the photos below (it is one of the most instagrammable spots in the Southwest after all!).
Be careful as this is a highway, but at sunset and sunrise it should be a little quieter. Just make sure you keep an eye out for oncoming vehicles when visiting.
Where to stay in Monument Valley
The View Hotel
We actually stayed at some tipis nearby but we don’t recommend them. We stopped for brekkie and a poke around at The View and wish we’d stayed there!
The views were phenomenal, seriously jaw dropping. Rooms look comfortable, not anything special but you’re not going to beat those views!
Day 8: Page
It’s time to head back to Page for one of the most popular places in Arizona - Antelope Canyon.
These world famous slot canyons are split into Upper and Lower (and Canyon X but we were told by locals that it wasn’t as spectacular), and you can only visit with a guided tour. These tours are insanely busy for most of the year, so don’t expect peace and tranquility. However, it is one of those rare places where we say that it is worth putting up with the crowds - these canyons are truly spectacular and not to be missed.
If you only fancy seeing one but can’t work out which to pick, check out our guide that discusses Upper vs Lower Antelope Canyon Tours.
Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon flew to fame for being the location of the most expensive photo ever sold at $6.5m. During the summer months (and at the right time of day) you can see these light beams glow in this narrow and incredibly deep canyon.
Out of all the slot canyons we visited, Upper Antelope is the most beautiful. However, it is by far the most crowded and a tour here can feel like you are being herded. If you’re patient and lucky, you can get a few moments without the other tour groups and crowds. Despite the crowds walking through this canyon is utterly awe inspiring.
Make sure you book your tour to Upper Antelope Canyon well in advance of your trip as they do sell out - many were gone when we visited. Tours to Upper Antelope Canyon cost between $50 and $150 per person depending on the time of year and whether you want to take a photography tour (you won’t be able to bring a tripod unless you are on one).
You can read all about the tours you can choose and our advice for making the most of your trip on our article all about Upper Antelope Canyon tours.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon is another stunning slot canyon that is longer and offers a bit more space to move than Upper Antelope Canyon. It is getting more popular, but as it is a one-way canyon it doesn’t feel quite as cramped.
We were lucky to visit during the winter where there were a lot fewer people visiting and were allowed to go ahead of our group and set our pace - pure bliss!
You won’t get such vivid light rays here, but you will still have that stunning swirling, narrow, orange rock that makes Antelope Canyon so special.
The tours to Lower Antelope Canyon are a little cheaper than Upper Antelope Canyon, but the gap is closing every year. Currently they are about $40 + fees per person.
Just like Upper Antelope Canyon, we recommend booking in advance as they will sell out. You can read our advice on the companies and tours in our article all about Lower Antelope Canyon tours.
Wahweap Overlook for Sunset
After a busy day in the slot canyons, head to Wahweap Overlook for sunset. This hill looks over Lake Powell Marina and the surrounding landscape for a beautiful and tranquil view. Whilst technically the sunset is going on behind you, the light cast is beautiful.
Day 9: Take a trip to Utah
Ok, so right now you have the option of driving all the way back through the places you’ve already been, or you can venture into Utah. It may seem strange to sneak this into an Arizona itinerary, but the route via the Toadstools and Zion makes a nice loop and means you don’t have to do all the same things again!
The drive to Zion is a little over two hours, but we recommend stopping at the Toadstools along the way (they are 30 minutes outside of Page).
On the southern section of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument are the Toadstools. The landscape is magical with so many of these unique rock formations in all different shapes and sizes as well as yet more wonderful views.
The Toadstools are the result of erosion wearing away a softer rock underneath a heavier rock on top. The hike is short and fairly easy, so you definitely shouldn’t miss it.
It makes for an interesting hour stop on the way to Zion! You can read more about them in our article about Grand Staircase Escalante hikes.
Zion National Park
After a couple of hours driving you’ll arrive at the stunning Zion National Park, one of our favourite national parks in the world. The entry is grand as you see the huge red canyon walls begin to close in as you drive closer and closer to the entrance.
There are plenty of long and epic hikes, but as this is a stop on your Arizona itinerary, we thought we’d include a couple of easy, short but scenic hikes in Zion National Park you can do.
Canyon Overlook Trail for Sunset
Distance: 2.4 km (1.5 miles) return (out and back)
Elevation: 30 minutes
Time taken: 1 hr 30 (including a lot of time enjoying the viewpoint)
Condition of trail: You are largely walking on flat rock which could be a little slippery in wet conditions but is otherwise easy to walk on. There are a couple of narrow sections, most of which have hand rails, but there are a few parts which don’t - probably only unnerving for vertigo sufferers but as there are some steep drops it is definitely one where you need to keep an eye on children.
Start point: Canyon Overlook Car Park.
The Canyon Overlook trail is spectacular, and we were lucky enough to be here when it was covered in snow. This made the sweeping canyon views even more special.
The trail winds along the canyon walls before arriving at the Canyon Overlook, one of several stunning views in Zion. Whilst it isn’t technically a sunset spot, the light was beautiful and we’d recommend visiting at that time of day for photos.
Where to stay in Zion
Cable Mountain Lodge
When it comes to staying in Zion, the majority of accommodation is concentrated in the nearby village of Springdale. We stayed at Cable Mountain Lodge and absolutely loved it. The lodge is literally steps away from the entrance to the park and the Visitor Centre, meaning you won’t lose any time driving to and from the park!
The rooms here are beautiful, comfortable and have stunning views of the Watchman and Zion Canyon. Many rooms also come with kitchenettes which allows you to self cater which was a massive bonus for us. It was the perfect place to relax after a long day hiking. There’s a pool and hot tub with great views. The pool wasn’t open on our visit as it is outdoors but we definitely made use of the outdoor hot tub - even when it was snowing!
Day 10: Onwards to Las Vegas
Sadly, all good things must come to an end. But if you have time before you flight out of Vegas, check out the Par’us Trail.
Distance: 2.49km (1.5 miles) one way. If you don’t want to walk back you can use the free shuttle from Canyon Junction to the Visitor Centre.
Elevation: 0 metres
Time taken: 40 mins
Condition of trail: This trail is fully paved and wheel chair accessible.
Start point: Zion National Park Visitor Centre.
The Par’us is flat, scenic and easy, making it a nice stroll before your flight. The trail leaves from the Visitor Centre and offers beautiful views of the canyon and the Virgin River.
Whilst it isn’t quite as awe-inspiring as Angel’s Landing or the Narrows, it is still a beautiful walk and one which doesn’t require a shuttle so you can control the time taken before your flight.
The drive to Vegas
The drive back to Las Vegas airport should take around 2 hours 45 minutes. Note that as you cross the state line to Nevada you gain an hour back in time. It’s another pretty drive.
What to pack for Arizona
You’ll want some good hiking gear to see the best of Arizona, so get yourself a pair of good hiking boots. We’ve used Merrell for years and they are comfortable, hard-wearing and never let us down.
We recommend Osprey day packs to carry all your essentials as they are light and fit perfectly. You can check out recommendations on Amazon by clicking on the link below.
Car Hire for an Arizona Road Trip
We always use RentalCars.com as they provide the cheapest prices and cover just about every location you can think of. They browse every car hire company (even several we’ve never heard of) and do all the hard work for you.
You can get a quote using the link below. Many offer free cancellation, so there’s no risk.
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Are you planning a trip to Arizona? Have you been before and have a recommend for our next trip? Let us know in the comments below!