The Intimate Grand Canyon Experience

In the fable of The Tortoise and the Hare, Aesop cautioned us to temper our “need for speed,” because “slow and steady wins the race.” In the case of the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, slow and steady doesn’t necessarily win any race, but taking a gradual, more mindful approach to this now-iconic symbol of the American Southwest will give the viewer a better appreciation for the true complexity of the area’s geology. And that, in our book, is definitely one for the “win” column!

As you exit your vehicle in the newly-expanded Horseshoe Bend parking area just South of Page, Arizona, your first challenge is to make your way up a mildly steep incline through deep, sometimes unwieldy sand. Though most visitors succumb to the temptation to make quick work out of this small obstacle, you might view it as an opportunity to take a trip through a real-life “Jurassic World.”

About 200 million years ago, a massive sea of sand dunes covered the landscape from Arizona to Wyoming. Known to geologists as “ergs,” they eventually became petrified (turned to stone) by water and minerals, solidifying into a uniform layer of sandstone over 2,000’ thick in some areas. After the bedrock of Navajo Sandstone formed, other sedimentary layers of sandstone, mudstone, calcite and limestone settled on top of it, then began to wear away under the constant scouring of relentless winds, flash floods, and extreme heat and cold. Today, the Navajo sandstone is once again exposed, and its top layer turning to sand. So this hill that makes you go “erg” is what remains of a gigantic sand dune that actually saw dinosaurs walk upon it. Indeed, there is a small, but hard-to-find dinosaur track about 50 yards from the end of the trail. Tell us the GPS coordinates if you happen to find it!

As you crest the hill, the trail begins to undulate and you’ll notice the tone of the landscape has taken on more jagged, sloping characteristics. Whitish gravel and chunks of sand also make an appearance. These are remnants of the calcite, or limestone layer that was once here. The diagonal stripes in the rock formations tell the story of how the sand dunes were petrified, yet retained their former shape as minerals, rain and snow changed their molecular composition over the course of 20 million years.

As you get closer to Horseshoe Bend Overlook, you’ll notice that some of the rock formations sport dark, sandy nodules. These are known as “iron concretions.” Because it was heavier than sandstone, iron tended to cluster up into small spheres during the process of petrification. As the sandstone erodes away, these concretions are becoming exposed to the elements once again. Occasionally, they will break away from the sandstone bedrock. When they do, they become what are known as “Moki Marbles.” If you find one – or more – please don’t pocket them. Remember, take only pictures and leave only footprints!

If all this sounds pretty amazing so far, wait until you see what’s ahead of you: the very thing you came here for – Horseshoe Bend! A geologic masterpiece sculpted by the Colorado River, Horseshoe Bend is an example of what happens when water takes the path of least resistance. Approximately 5 million years ago – or what a geologist might describe as “just the other day” – the Colorado Plateau abruptly uplifted. The rivers that flowed across this ancient landscape were suddenly trapped in their beds. Seeking a new natural level, with the help of gravity, the Colorado River began cutting through rock layers deep and fast. Here at Horseshoe Bend, an unstoppable force met an immovable object, namely, a sandstone escarpment. Since this rock formation wasn’t going to budge anytime soon, the river did the most logical thing it could: it went around it. The result is the 270° bend in the river (called an “incised” or “entrenched meander”) you see before you. Who knows, in a few million years, the stubborn promontory might finally decide to give way to the river’s whims, and future tourists could be viewing an attraction that bears a resemblance to Rainbow Bridge!

At this viewpoint, you can see the waters of the Colorado River in all their sparkling, blue-green glory as they drift along toward the Grand Canyon."

But, that’s in the realm of sheer speculation for now. What’s in the realm of absolute certainty is that this is one of the most intimate views of the Colorado River you’re likely to experience on your Northern Arizona vacation. At this viewpoint, you can see the waters of the Colorado River in all their sparkling, blue-green glory as they drift along toward the Grand Canyon. Where else can you take a selfie with this timeless, majestic waterway in the background? Certainly not at the Grand Canyon – from the South Rim, there is only a handful of viewpoints that the Colorado River can be seen from, and then only a small stretch before it disappears again behind a butte or plateau. So pause for a few minutes to breathe in the fresh air and appreciate this magnificent view for how powerful and miraculous it truly is!

Now, wasn’t it worth the walk? For best results photographing Horseshoe Bend, you’ll need a wide angle lens to get the entire scene in the picture. If heights freak you out a little, try sitting or even lying down to take in the view from a more secure perspective. Seeing little blue dots on the river? Don’t worry, that’s not the altitude messing with your mind, those are rafts rounding Horseshoe Bend on the Half-Day Glen Canyon Float Trip. If you take one look at that first hill and still say “no way,” consider flying over Horseshoe Bend to get an incredible bird’s eye view without breaking a sweat.

583 Responses

  1. Hi Ally!
    I’m going Page area this weekend. I’d like to see the new wave , radio tower rock and honeycomb ridge.
    Is it possible to get there by car ? Or do I have to park a car nearby and hike ?
    If I have to hike, how long takes time?

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Mana,
      To visit the New Wave and Radio Tower Rock, you’d need to park your vehicle near the Beehive Campground and hike in.
      Regarding “Honeycomb” Ridge, I don’t know of any place by that name in the Page, AZ, area! Could you perhaps be referring to the “Cockscomb?” If so, that formation can be found on the Cottonwood Canyon Road, which is a beautiful drive, but the road is unpaved. If you’re driving a rental car, recent weather has been rainy or snowy, or signage indicates the road is closed, you should not attempt it. Instead, consider going with a licensed guide service, such as Big Orange Jeep Tours.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  2. Hi Alley!

    We are a group of three traveling to Arizona the 16th-20th of this month. We are flying into flagstaff & planning to stay at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel. (unless you suggest a better spot location wise to stay. It’s about 38 minutes from the airport and about an hour to the canyon)

    We want to go to the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend & Sedona. We really wanted to go to antelope canyon but I just saw that it is closed.

    What do you think would be the best order/best way to do things in? Do you suggest staying in a different spot? Any other great spots we should go see? We would like to have decently full days!

    Thank you!

    1. Hi, Carly!
      Looking at your dates, I’m seeing three full days that you have to visit three separate destinations.
      While the Grand Canyon Railway hotel would be an OK place from which to visit Sedona (~1.5 hour drive, one way from Williams) and Grand Canyon South Rim (~1 hour one way from Williams), I would not recommend staying there to visit Horseshoe Bend as a day trip.
      It takes approximately 3 hours, one way, to drive from Williams, AZ, to Page, AZ (the town nearest Horseshoe Bend). In mid/late March, sunrise takes place at around 6:30 AM, and sunset occurs at roughly 6:30 PM, so that gives you 12 hours of daylight to work with, and you’re already proposing to use up 6 hours of it behind the wheel. We recommend allotting at least 2 hours to visit Horseshoe Bend, including parking your vehicle, walking out to the rim, taking photos, then walking back to your vehicle. That gives you another 4 hours, during which, you’ll probably want to grab lunch somewhere. With the time you have left, you could probably visit the Glen Canyon Dam (Visitor Center closed) and walk across the Steel Arch Bridge, maybe hike to the Hanging Gardens . Whatever you decided to do, you would have to be back on the road no later than 3:30-3:45 PM, so you’re back in Williams, AZ, by nightfall. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that can ratchet up your risk of an auto accident. You don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      A better idea would be to spend the night in Page, AZ, so you can see and do more without feeling rushed. If you do this, you might be able to take a kayak tour of the waterside of Antelope Canyon, which includes some hiking into the transitional area between the Lake Powell shoreline and the slot canyon, which is on Federal land. Unlike the slot canyons, this area is still legally accessible.
      At this point in time, the order in which you visit the sites on your “wish list” doesn’t really matter, but I would recommend putting Page, AZ, either first or last. The drive from Flagstaff, AZ, to Page, AZ, is ~2.5 hours.
      RE: Sedona, I have to be honest and tell you that one day is going to leave you wanting. People often spend 4-5 days there and report back that they’d still felt as though they’d only “scratched the surface” of all that area had to offer. So, you could spend all three days in Sedona this time around and plan a return trip to Page, AZ, and the Grand Canyon when the weather is warmer, all the COVID-19 closures have been lifted, and you can give the area the time it deserves.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  3. Alley

    Stumbled across this site and all the wonderful advice you are providing. Thought I would get you to chime in with a possible itinerary for a family of 5 (kids 8-14). We are arriving into Phoenix on Friday, March 12 and will head straight to Sedona that night. Then we will have (5.5) full days to spend as we please before we drive back to Phoenix on the night of the March 18. Spending the 19th in Phoenix before flying out the morning of the 20th. Other than Hot Air Balloon Ride in Sedona, nothing else is solid yet. Grand Canyon is a must and I hope to squeeze Page in too, though I’m not sure I can make that fit. We are flexible with number of nights we stay in Sedona vs at Grand Canyon.

    Thanks in advance
    Eric

    1. Hi Eric, we’re glad you found us!
      I would suggest repositioning Sedona as the last stop on your trip, for a couple of reasons:
      1. Sedona makes for a nice place to enjoy some chill time before heading home from your vacation
      2. It’s only ~2-2.5 hours from Phoenix, and most visitors prefer to get the longer drives of their tour out of the way first.
      In light of that, here’s what I’d recommend:
      March 12th: Arrive in Phoenix, overnight in Phoenix
      March 13th: Drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours), visit Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page
      March 14th: Take kayak tour into the waterside of Antelope Canyon, with hiking into the transitory zone between the Lake Powell shoreline and Lower Antelope Canyon, which is on Federal land (the Antelope Slot Canyon tours will still be closed at the time of your arrival), 2nd night in Page, AZ OR drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (see info below re: drive time)
      March 15th: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim – unfortunately, this is also going to be ~a 5-hour drive due to the closure of a critical component of the shortest travel route, AZ64 East, which is on Navajo Indian Land, between Cameron, AZ, and Desert View Point. This means you have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North via US180/AZ64N or I-40/AZ64N, overnight at the Grand Canyon South Rim
      March 16th: Sightseeing on South Rim in AM, drive to Sedona (~3 hours from Grand Canyon South Rim), overnight in Sedona
      March 17th: Hot air balloon ride, more sightseeing or just relaxing, 2nd night in Sedona
      March 18th: 3rd day in Sedona, OR drive back to Phoenix (~2-2.5 hours)
      March 19th: Spend day in Phoenix
      March 20th: Fly home in the morning
      Trip map
      If scooting Sedona to the back half of your vacation is not possible, I understand completely, and believe you could still make the above itinerary work with a few adjustments. If you decide to skip Page, AZ, this time around due to the road closures and other COVID-19 complications, just give the extra night to the Grand Canyon, but definitely plan a return trip to Page, AZ, when you can really enjoy it, preferably for 2-3 days!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  4. Hi Alley-
    My wife and I are flying into Phoenix the afternoon of Wednesday, May 19 and flying out the morning of Sunday, May 23. We are in our late 30’s and from the East Coast. Have never been to Arizona. We were planning on staying in Sedona the whole time but now are thinking about going to Page/horse shoe bend or the Grand Canyon as well. We really only have 3 full days so son’t want to over extend… What would you recommend for first time visitors? Thank you in advance for your help!

    1. Hi John!
      With 3 days to work with, your time is indeed limited. If you have never been to the Grand Canyon, you should prioritize that over anything else. It takes approximately 3 hours, one way, to drive to Grand Canyon South Rim from Sedona. Normally, we don’t recommend attempting to visit the Grand Canyon from Sedona as a day trip, but late May is one of the few times of year you can pull it off, with an early start and an eye on the time. Sunrise occurs just before 5:15 AM and sunset takes place at around 7:30 PM.
      Assuming you’re “wheels up” at 6:00 AM, and carry some snacks in the car to tide you over until lunchtime, that would put you at the park at about 9:00 AM. Park your vehicle wherever you can find a spot at the South Rim, preferably in the Grand Canyon Village Historic District area, so you can walk around and explore the old hotels, gift shops, and museums in the main commerce area. Plan on grabbing lunch right at 11:00 AM if you wish to dine in any of the rimside restaurants. The Grand Canyon Railway pulls in at around 11:15 AM and once those passengers disembark, they’ll make a beeline to the El Tovar Dining Room, Arizona Room, or the Harvey House Cafe (assuming all are open; some South Rim restaurants are closed or on reduced operations due to COVID-19). Once that happens, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a table. If you don’t have your heart set on having lunch on the rim, then the Maswik Cafeteria, 1/4 mile South of the Bright Angel Lodge, would be a good alternative, or you can bring your own sandwich fixins and beverages and dine “al fresco” wherever you choose! You could then utilize the free shuttles to ride out to some of the viewpoints on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive, or hike a short way down the Bright Angel Trail into the Inner Canyon. If you do that, just remember that 1 hour down = 2 hours back up. Food and water must be carried if you plan on spending any more than 1 hour’s time, or hiking more than a mile round-trip.
      The main priority is to be back on the road by 4:30 PM at the very latest. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that can ratchet up your risk of an auto accident. The section of US89A from Flagstaff, AZ, down through Oak Creek Canyon in particular is very narrow and windy. I’ve personally driven it at night, and let’s just say I’ll never do it again!
      Should you find that you have time to spare after sightseeing at the South Rim, you might head back to Tusayan, the small community just outside the park gates, and see the short but exciting IMAX movie presentation “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.”
      If at all possible, try to carve out enough time to stay overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim. This will make for a much more relaxed experience for you, and enable you to see sunset and/or sunrise from the best vantage point possible: right on the canyon rim!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Alley- Thank you so much for the information! You have talked us in to staying a night at the Grand Canyon. Our May itinerary as of now: Get into Phoenix Wednesday afternoon and drive to Sedona. Spend Wednesday and Thursday night in Sedona. Get up Friday morning and go to the Grand Canyon South Rim and spend Friday night. We have a 10 am flight out of Phoenix on Sunday morning. Any thought for Saturday? Would you go back to Sedona for Saturday afternoon and night and then get up early on Sunday morning to drive to the airport? Any other towns you recommend to stop at on Saturday night on the way back toward Phoenix? Drive to Phoenix Saturday night? Thank you so much for your help!

  5. Hello Alley,
    I’m heading to the Grand Cayon today. I know I want to hike the Horseshoe Bend Sat morning. Any sugestions of what else to hike?
    What are the hours of operation?
    Do I need to make reservations?
    I’ll be heading he Sunday.

    1. Hi Jessie,
      Hope you’re aware that it will take you ~5 hours to drive from the Grand Canyon to Horseshoe Bend. Normally, the trip from the South Rim to Page, AZ, is 2.5 hours minimum, but due to a critical component of the quickest travel route being closed due to COVID-19, it is now necessary to detour all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North via US89. Trip map
      The Horseshoe Bend parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset. Reservations are not required.
      If you’re prepared for all that, then other areas you might enjoy hiking at include, but are not limited to:
      Page Rim View Trail
      Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      Grand View Overlook Park
      The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  6. Good morning Alley,
    Question regarding access to ADA individuals to Horsehoe Bend. Due to severe hip osteoarthritis I wouldn’t be able to navigate the trail. The video in one articles I’ve seen shows a person being transported in a wheel chair. In one of your recent replies to
    this issue you said you would not recommend it. Do you have any information as when the Navajos will pave the trail (Bring up to ADA Codes)? I’m 85 and have been an Arizona resident since 1980. Horseshoe has been on my bucket list for years. Hope to see it someday.

    Thank you,
    Jan in Happy Jack AZ

    1. Hi Jan!
      Boy, this is a toughie. First-hand accounts of navigating the trail to Horseshoe Bend in a wheelchair have differed widely. One thing’s for certain, if you do need to use a wheelchair to get out to the rim, you will need to have someone push you. The unpaved section in particular still has some rocky areas that are kind of dicey.
      As to when the paving will be completed, we don’t know. The Horseshoe Bend Overlook is actually managed by the City of Page, in cooperation with the National Park Service. The Navajo Tribe manages a separate entrance — which also has a shorter walk — on the Southern flank of the Bend, but access via that entrance has been off-limits since COVID-19 struck.
      The solution that might be best for you at this point in time would be to fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters fly out of the Page Municipal Airport daily, weather permitting, and contingent on a certain number of passengers traveling. For more information on Horseshoe Bend flights, contact Grand Canyon Airlines at 928-638-2436 or Papillon Helicopters at 702-736-7243.
      Sorry I couldn’t give you a more definitive answer! I wish you good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  7. Hello Alley,

    Looks like you are the expert for Horseshoe Bend. First of all I am a newbie to this sort of travel. My family plans usually involve the beach with me parked in a beach chair all day! We are an athletic family so I want to change things up and visit Horsehoe bend and possibly some other “attractions” I was thinking a four-day visit to the area. I have a family of 5. My kids are 6, 12, and 17. My oldest has some mobility challenges but nothing that will stop her from hiking (with breaks) and having fun. Do you have a suggestion on the time of year to visit Horseshoe Bend and the best places to stay?

    1. Hey Brian!
      So if you have the freedom to pick and choose when to visit Horseshoe Bend and the adjacent attractions, I would recommend late September or early October. That time of year boasts nearly picture perfect, relatively stable weather.
      As for where to stay, you can take your pick from several dozen hotels and motels in varying price points and amenity classes from Motel 6 to Marriott and everything in between. Page, AZ, Hotels & Motels
      Since you mention that one of your kids has some mobility challenges, I should let you know that the trail to Horseshoe Bend from the parking lot is .7 miles each way. Although it has been partially paved and graded, making it much easier to navigate than in years past, that still might be a lot for her to take on. If that’s the case, you might consider flying over it in a fixed-wing airplane or helicopter. Horseshoe Bend Flights
      If the Antelope Canyons reopen by the time you visit, you should plan on touring Upper Antelope Canyon. It’s an easy walk on a mostly flat trail, although it can be rendered very sandy if recent weather has been dry. Other popular activities you would probably enjoy, which again, are contingent on reopening after the COVID-19 closure, are the Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip, a jeep tour to someplace like Alstrom Point or Skylight Arch, or renting a powerboat for a day on Lake Powell.
      If you do have a few days to spend in the area, you should also take advantage of the opportunity to visit the other beautiful National Parks within easy driving distance of Page, AZ, such as Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, and the Grand Canyon. Let us know if we can help you plan your itinerary in more detail, or visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ for the Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Dear Alley,
        I was hoping you could help me with planning our trip itinerary to Southwest. We fly to and from Las Vegas April 14 – April 24. We would love to visit Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Horse shoe bend , maybe Sedona and other places if possible to fit in 9.
        I have never been to Southwest and am not sure in which order and how much time to allocate to each destination. Could you help me with the itinerary and places to visit/hike please I have two kids with me 15 and 16.

        1. Hi Lilit!
          Using Las Vegas, NV, as your staging city, with 9 full days to work with, you should be able to get all the items on your wish list crossed off, with a couple of surprises thrown in for good measure. 😉
          Here’s what I’d recommend:
          April 14th: Travel day to Las Vegas, overnight in Las Vegas
          April 15th: Drive to Sedona, AZ (~5 hours), optional stop in Seligman, AZ (Route 66 mainstay, inspiration for “Cars” movies), overnight in Sedona
          April 16th: 2nd day/night in Sedona; possible activities: Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, hike Cathedral Rock or other local trails, visit Chapel of the Holy Cross, Airport Mesa, etc. One Day In Sedona
          April 17th: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hours) via US180/AZ64, optional stops – Chapel of the Holy Dove, Planes of Fame Museum Valle, AZ , overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim
          April 18th: 2nd day/night at Grand Canyon South Rim – possible hikes: Ooh Aah Point or Cedar Ridge on South Kaibab Trail, 1.5 mile or 3 mile Resthouse on Bright Angel Trail, paved Rim Trail and the Trail Through Time
          April 19th: Drive to Page, AZ ***normally, this drive takes ~3 hours, but due to the continued closure of a critical component of the quickest travel route due to COVID-19, you’ll have to detour all the way back to Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North; this means your drive time will be more along the lines of 5 hours** Optional stop: Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monument Loop Drive just North of Flagstaff (will add another 2 hours onto your drive time), stop at Horseshoe Bend on the way into town, overnight in Page, AZ
          April 20th: Tour Antelope Canyon if it’s open and spend 2nd day/night in Page, AZ; if Antelope Canyon remains closed, possible alternatives are kayaking to the waterside of Antelope Canyon then hiking in the transitional section between the shoreline and the slot canyon, which is on Federal land. Another option: drive up to Paria, UT, and hike Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch, and/or the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail, overnight in Kanab, UT, or drive the rest of the way to Bryce Canyon for overnight
          April 21st: Drive to Bryce Canyon (~90 minutes from Kanab, UT), hike the Fairyland Loop or Peek-A-Boo Loop Trails, overnight in Bryce Canyon area Best Hikes in Bryce Canyon
          April 22nd: Drive to Zion National Park (~2 hours from Bryce Canyon), ride Zion Canyon Shuttle to main sightseeing area (advance ticket purchase might be required), hike to Upper Emerald Pools, or any number of beautiful trails in the area; overnight in Springdale, UT
          April 23rd: 2nd day/night in Zion, you can take the shuttle from Springdale back to the Zion Canyon area (you’d probably have to purchase a 2nd batch of tickets), or skip all that craziness and visit the Kolob Canyon area of the park (~45 minutes from Springdale, UT)
          April 24th: Drive back to Las Vegas (~3 hours from Springdale), optional detour through the stunning Valley of Fire State Park, fly back home
          Trip map
          If necessary, you can also reverse this itinerary if room availability (or lack thereof) dictates doing so. The main priority right now is to get your lodging booked, then any guided tours you might be interested in. April is usually one of the nicer times of year to travel here, but you might encounter a stray rain or snowstorm, so keep an eye on local weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel.
          Also, plan on doing all driving during daylight hours to avoid hazards posed by deer, elk, and other nocturnal wildlife.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  8. Hi Alley, you are so insightful. I have a tentative plan and was hoping for some insight from you.

    Date: June 2021
    Duration: 7-8 days
    Travel: flying into PHX or Flagstaff. Flying out from PHX or flagstaff.
    Traveling size: between 6-10 people
    Age ranges: 30-35
    Mode of transportation around AZ: car or Van depending on confirmed final count
    Lodging: Airbnb (phx city, Sedona, Williams)
    Interested Activities: hiking(all moderate-experienced hiker). We are hoping to go hiking on our own without having to sign up for any tour guide (with the exception of antelope) and explore the city life.

    Tentative plan:
    Day 1-3: fly into flagstaff, drive to Williams, explore the lower rims.

    Day 3-6: explore Sedona and possible drive up to antelope if it open. Hopefully it’s opened by then!!

    Day 6-8. Explode phx City and fly home.

    The itinerary is quite lacking right now.. if you have any recommendations to fill in the gap. We’re hoping to pack as much hiking and exploration to our trip with as much as possible given the timeline. We are also all first timer visiting AZ. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!

    1. Hey Van!
      First of all, you’re more likely to get a better deal flying into Phoenix than Flagstaff. Do check both options, but the majority of visitors to this area end up “biting the bullet” and making the longer drive.
      One thing that’s thrown a huge wrench in the works this season is COVID-19, which has resulted in the closure of a critical component of the most logical travel route between Page, AZ, and Grand Canyon South Rim (or vice versa). At this writing, it’s now necessary to detour all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back up North, which has turned what’s normally about a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. Oh joy. National Park Service is crossing fingers and toes that this closure will be lifted by late May, which would be just in time for your visit!
      Assuming that occurs, here’s what I’d recommend:
      Day 1: Fly to Phoenix, maybe visit the Desert Botanical Garden, overnight in Phoenix
      Day 2: Drive to Page, AZ (~4.5 hours), take Wupatki/Sunset Crater loop drive North of Flagstaff (add another 2 hours), overnight in Page
      Day 3: Visit Horseshoe Bend right at sunrise, then tour Antelope Canyon (if it’s open), 2nd night in Page
      Day 4: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (3-5 hours depending on status of AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron), overnight in Williams, AZ (1 hour South of GC)
      Day 5: Sightseeing at Grand Canyon, possibly hike to Ooh Aah Point or Cedar Ridge on South Kaibab Trail, drive to Sedona (~3 hours from GC), overnight in Sedona
      Day 6: Sightseeing in Sedona: no shortage of great hikes in varying lengths and degrees of difficulty! Soldier’s Pass and Devil’s Bridge are a couple of the more popular, long-ish hikes (3+ miles round-trip), but whatever you do, you are highly unlikely to be disappointed. Since it’s going to be hot in June, you may enjoy something that entails crossing a creek a few times, such as the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon or Slide Rock State Park.
      Day 7: More hiking in Sedona
      Day 8: Drive back to Phoenix (~2.5 hours from Sedona), fly home
      A couple of notes: in June, it’s going to be hot, so any labor-intensive activities should be done during the cooler morning hours. Adequate food and water for all members of your party (including pets) must be carried at all times.
      Also, you need to make sure that your drives are timed for daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that can jack up your risk of a car accident. That’s not something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. Fortunately, days in June are the longest of the year with sunrise occurring at about 5:00 AM and sunset taking place just before 8:00 PM.
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  9. Hello we are planning on flying in from Houston on the 13 th and driving to Flagstaff on the 13 th . Staying in flagstaff on the 13th -14th then driving up to page 15-16-17th th and coming back to Sedona on the 18th -19th staying in Sedona
    What should be our options
    So thinking of something like this
    13th sunset crater
    Petrified Nation Forest

    14th -GrandCanyon
    -GrandCanyon Village

    15th HorseShoeBay
    16th Momument Valley

    17th Wupatki National momument
    18th Saguro Nationl park

    19th dessert Botanical gardens
    20th fly back

    Thank you in advance for all your help 🙂

    1. Hi Bhakti,
      So, assuming that you are flying into and out of Phoenix, AZ, from Houston, TX, and your trip is occurring in March, your plan looks pretty fun.
      One thing you should probably take off the list, though, is Monument Valley. Not that it isn’t beautiful (it is), but Monument Valley is situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. Due to COVID-19, and the fact that Navajo Reservation residents have been affected in disproportionately high numbers, they are discouraging outsiders from traveling on their lands. IMO we should respect that, but — there might still be a way you can see it. More on that in a minute… 😉
      Another small piece of bad news, and here again, it’s because of COVID-19 and how it’s affected the Navajo Tribe. Your trip from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, to see Horseshoe Bend is going to take longer than you expected. Because a critical component of the normal travel route from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, is closed, it is now necessary to detour all the way down to Flagstaff, then bounce back up to Page, AZ, on US89 North. Since Wupatki and Sunset Crater are both located North of Flagstaff, AZ, on US89, and connected by a convenient loop drive, I would save these two attractions for your travel day between GCSR and Page.
      So a revised itinerary would look something like this:
      March 13th: Arrive in Phoenix, drive to Flagstaff, overnight in Flagstaff.
      March 14th: Visit Petrified Forest/Painted Desert (~2 hours one way from Flagstaff), stop at Winslow, AZ, on the way back, 2nd night in Flagstaff
      March 15th: Visit Grand Canyon South Rim (~90 minute drive from Flagstaff one way), overnight at Grand Canyon OR drive back to Flagstaff, spend 3rd night
      March 16th: Drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours one way from GC Village due to detour, or 2.5-3 hours one way from Flagstaff), visit Wupatki/Sunset Crater, Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page, AZ
      March 17th: Take scenic fixed-wing airplane flight over Monument Valley from Page Municipal Airport, 2nd night in Page, AZ
      March 18th: You might want to skip going all the way to Tucson, AZ, for Saguaro National Park. Again, not that it isn’t beautiful, it’s just an awfully long drive (~6-7 hours from Page, AZ). If seeing large stands of saguaro cactus was your reason for wanting to go there, you’ll find plenty of those in and around Phoenix, which is ~4.5 hours from Page. The Desert Botanical Gardens is one of many beautiful places you might visit. For more suggestions, check out http://www.VisitPhoenix.com: Where To See Saguaro Cactus, overnight in Phoenix
      March 19th: 2nd day/night in Phoenix area
      March 20th: Fly home
      Trip map
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  10. Hi Alley! I have read tons of your comments and noted several tips already. I’m from Memphis, TN and am planning to take my family there for the first time this next Easter. We only have 5d and will be arriving in Flagstaff and the next day will rent a motorhome for 4d. We are a family of 5 (my wife, myself and 3 daughters of 7, 6 & 5)This is our itinerary:
    – D1: drive from Flagstaff to South Rim GC. We’re planning to catch the views at Mather and then do dispersed camping near the Park.
    – D2: spend the morning in South Rim (perhaps a couple of hours doing the easy rim walk or catching the shuttles). Then going to Page. Visit Horseshoe Bend and camp at an rv park in Lake Powell.
    – D3: drive over to Sedona early morning. Do the Red Rock scenic byway, hike the Chimney Rock trail, visit downtown Sedona & Tlaquepaque crafts, and visit the Chapel of the holy cross. Staying in Verde Ranch rv park
    – D4: visit Red Rock State Park in the morning. In the afternoon drive over Jerome, Cottonwood & Cornville and perhaps visit 1 or 2 wineries
    D5: return the RV in Flagstaff and flying back home

    Is this too ambitious? Are we missing something? We don’t have too much time, but wanted to show the girls as much as we could… biggest decision, we feel, is whether or not to go all the way to horseshoe bend…

    Thanks so much in advance for your input!

    1. Hi Ignacio,
      Your plan is OK, there are a couple of areas where you’re trying to cram too much activity into a limited window of time, but more on that in a minute…
      First off, you might want to rethink the dispersed camping idea at Grand Canyon South Rim. The main reason for that is weather: at 7,000′ Above Sea Level, nighttime lows at the South Rim can still dip down around or below freezing. I would recommend staying in a developed RV park with electrical hook-ups so you can have access to reliable heat. The only developed RV campground inside the park is Trailer Village. If that area is full, your next best option will be Grand Canyon Camper Village in Tusayan, AZ, 7 miles outside the park.
      If you wanted to go to Horseshoe Bend, one piece of potentially bad news I have to relay is that the drive is going to be longer than you might expect: due to the closure of a critical component of the shortest travel route between the South Rim and Page, AZ, due to COVID-19, this means you have to backtrack all the way down to Flagstaff, then head back up North via US89 to Horseshoe Bend. This rather long detour has turned what would normally be ~a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. Horseshoe Bend is open from sunrise to sunset.
      The drive down the Sedona from Page, AZ, would then be ~3 hours, one way. When you get to Sedona is where IMO you’re kind of overplanning your days. If you don’t get to do everything on your wish list, don’t fret too much about it. Also, be open to exploring those opportunities that aren’t on the schedule. One of the most fun parts of vacation is those special moments that develop from pursuing an unexpected opportunity, or something that piques your curiosity out of the blue.
      I would recommend trying to plan a return visit to Sedona when you can spend more time, though. A lot of people report staying there for 4-5 days and still feeling as though they’d only scratched the surface. Ditto for Page, AZ, you could spend 3-4 days there and have a wonderful time, but Easter week is still in that transitional zone between winter and spring where your days could be sunny and brisk, or a late season snowstorm could decide to blow through. Best time of year to visit the American Southwest is late September/early October. The weather is more stable, and nearly perfect then!
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  11. Hello,

    We are going to be in Florence, Arizona on April 9th for Spring Break. We need a recommendation on where it is best to stop (around halfway) on our way back to Salt Lake City, Utah. Do you recommend that we stop in Page, Arizona, Escalante or Antelope Canyon? We need to find a hotel for Friday, April 9th and stay the night in order to leave the next day. I would really appreciate your advice. Also, if it’s best to stop in Page, Arizona, do you know any national parks or monuments that we can stop by to hike at (we are looking for hikes around 5-7 miles round-trip)?

    Thanks!!

    1. Hey Marcus!
      Page, AZ, makes for a good stopover between Phoenix and Salt Lake City. The drive from Phoenix to Page, AZ, takes ~5 hours. The trip from Page to SLC would then take ~6 hours. While in the area, you should definitely take advantage of the opportunities we have to offer. Horseshoe Bend can be visited on the way into town between sunrise and sunset. The status of the Antelope Canyons is kind up up in the air due to the closure of Navajo Tribal Parks due to COVID-19. The tribe is optimistically hoping for a reopening date of April 9th, but it remains to be seen what will actually materialize. Kayak tours into the waterside of Antelope Canyon and the portion of the canyon that joins with the shoreline are not affected by the Tribal Park closure, and April is a nice time to be on the lake! The only downside, if you can call it that, is that these tours take approximately 4 hours. Not sure if you have that kind of time to spare.
      Should the hiking tours into Antelope Canyon not be reopened at the time of your visit, you might consider making Kanab, UT, your stopover point. Should you do this, you might stop to enjoy the hike to Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch midway between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT. Another fun hike that’s right on your way is the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail. Trip map
      As you can hopefully see, there is no shortage of fun activities to enjoy in the vicinity of Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT! Maybe you can stay with us for 2 days? 😉
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  12. Hi Alley,

    Is Antelope Canyon closed? Is there anywhere in the canyon we can go to? Are horseshoe bend, cathedral rock, Rainbow Bridge, Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park, Village of Oak Creek all free?

    1. Hi Daniel,
      Sorry to report that the Antelope Canyons remain closed until further notice. Optimistically, the Navajo Indian Tribe is hoping for a reopening date in mid-April, but it remains to be seen whether that will happen.
      Horseshoe Bend remains open, as does Cathedral Rock in Sedona, Village of Oak Creek, Rainbow Bridge National Monument, Zion & Bryce Canyon in Utah, and Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. As to whether they are “free,” they are not. An admission ticket is required to enter the majority of these areas. Horseshoe Bend requires a $10 one-time parking fee for standard passenger vehicles or $35 for light commercial vehicles. To hike the Cathedral Rock Trail, you must purchase a Red Rock Trail Pass. Valley of Fire State Park also requires a $10 entry fee. Zion and Bryce each require a $30/vehicle entrance fee. BTW, if you plan on visiting at least 3 National Parks within a year’s time, you should look into purchasing an America The Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass. For just $80, this card grants you access to all National Parks, Monuments, and Federal Fee Areas in the U.S. for one year’s time.
      The entrance fee to Rainbow Bridge is included in your Glen Canyon National Recreation Area entrance fee (also $30 IIRC), but it’s awfully hard to get to: you would either have to rent a boat to get there, or take a boat tour (on temporary suspension due to COVID-19), either of which would be a rather costly all-day endeavor. If you don’t have that kind of time to spare, an efficient and exciting way to see Rainbow Bridge would be to fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes depart daily out of the Page Municipal Airport, weather permitting. While the flights do not land at the Bridge, they do cover a lot of amazing scenery in addition to it, and will give you a truer sense of Lake Powell’s size and majesty than a land-based perspective ever could!
      I hope that helps. Please feel free to write in again, or e-mail me personally at [email protected] if I can answer any other questions for you.
      Alley 🙂

  13. Hi Alley,
    It seems like you are very knowledgeable and would love to jump in on receiving some advice. Me and my sister are planning a much needed breather vacation and her birthday to AZ. We plan on visiting April 6-11. My idea was since we land late night on the 6th we would be to drive to Sedona and spend 2 days there (7 &8). We planned on doing a day trip to horseshoe bend and possibly Antelope Canyon. IS there guided hiking tours for horseshoe bend? I know that Antelope Canyon is still not open due COVID but hoping come April they will lift the restrictions. However, do you recommend the kayak tour more then the hiking? I know you had mentioned to watch the time and be on the road by sundown. Would daylight saving time change affect this? Do you recommend staying a night in Page? Do you have any recommendations in Sedona? Would love some feedback and/or itinerary.

    1. Hi Tanisha,
      Best wishes in advance for a Happy Birthday to your sister!
      I assume that you are planning on flying in and out of Phoenix for this trip? If so, your plan to overnight there on the 6th is sound, especially if your flight arrives late at night. It takes approximately 2 hours to drive to Sedona from PHX.
      You are correct in that the Antelope Canyons remain closed due to COVID-19, however, they are optimistically hoping for an April 9th reopening. Whether that will be the case or not remains to be seen, so I would start thinking of “plan B” options, one of which would be the Antelope Canyon Kayak/Hiking Tour. This has not been affected by the Tribal Park closure, and was a popular alternative for Page, AZ, visitors last year.
      Horseshoe Bend does not require a guided tour to visit, you can simply go to the overlook at your convenience during normal operating hours of the parking lot, which are sunrise to sunset. At the time of year you’re visiting, I would not recommend trying to visit Page, AZ, as a day trip. First off, it’s a 3-hour drive, one way, from Sedona, AZ. Sunrise occurs at ~6:00 AM, and sunset takes place just before 7:00 PM. That gives you roughly 13 hours of daylight, and you’d already have eaten up half of that time driving. You would have enough time to hit Horseshoe Bend and maybe a couple other places, but not enough to do the kayak trip. Daylight Savings Time will be in effect at the time of year you’re visiting, but the majority of Arizona will remain on Mountain Standard Time. You have also correctly deduced that we do not recommend nighttime driving in this part of the U.S. Long story short, for optimal safety and enjoyment, you should plan to spend the night in Page, AZ.
      One place that is conspicuously absent from your “wish list” is the Grand Canyon. If you have not been there, I would strongly recommend prioritizing it over everything else! As a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the “Big Three” National Parks, it’s a must-see for anyone and everyone. The only drawback is that to travel from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim (the only side of the park that’s open) requires a rather long detour down to Flagstaff, AZ, and back North via US180/AZ64 or I-40/AZ64. The reason for this is the COVID-19 related closure of AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point. Not being able to access this critical component of the shortest travel route between Page and the Grand Canyon has turned what is normally a 3-hour drive into more like 5-hours. It is more desirable to stay inside the park, or in Tusayan, AZ, the small town 7 miles outside the park gates. As for places to stay in Sedona, you’ll find everything from basic bare-bones lodging to upscale boutique hotels. Simply take your pick of whatever fits your desires, and your budget!
      A proposed itinerary:
      April 6th: fly into Phoenix, overnight in Phoenix
      April 7th: drive to Sedona (~2 hours), overnight in Sedona
      April 8th: 2nd day/night in Sedona
      April 9th: drive to Page, AZ (~3 hours), visit Horseshoe Bend
      April 10th: take morning Antelope Canyon kayak/hiking tour, drive to Grand Canyon (~5 hours), overnight in Grand Canyon
      April 11th: drive back to Phoenix (~5 hours), fly home
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  14. Hello, I am currently planning a Bachelorette trip from March 18th – March 21st, and we are staying in Sedona, Arizona. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, do you recommend still planning a trip to see the grand canyons? We also wanted to inquire about the price for general admission. Please reach back out once you have a moment.

    1. Hey Chelsea,
      At the time of year you’re visiting, I don’t recommend trying to visit the Grand Canyon as a day trip out of Sedona. For one, it’s ~a 3-hour drive, each way, from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim. Secondly, you’re visiting at a time of year when days are short: sunrise occurs at ~6:30 AM, sunset takes place at around 6:30 PM. That’s only 12 hours of daylight, and you’re already proposing to eat up half of it driving. That’s not to say that a Sedona-based day trip can’t be done, but you can pretty much count on not experiencing sunset at the canyon. Why? You need to get on the road with enough time to spare to get back to Sedona, AZ, before nightfall. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit. The section of US89A through Oak Creek Canyon is also very narrow and windy, which makes it even more disconcerting to drive in the dark — believe me, I’ve done it before, and I’ll never do it again! Plus the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife ratchets up your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      If possible, try to arrange to spend one night at Grand Canyon South Rim. If you’re locked into your hotel reservations in Sedona, just keep an eye on the time so that you’re “back to base” by sundown!
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi! Do you know if Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon are open for hiking? I thought I saw a website say no visitors allowed due to covid. Thanks!

        1. Hi Jessica,
          Horseshoe Bend is open, but the Antelope Canyon slot canyon tours are still closed by order of the Navajo Tribe.
          If your visit is scheduled for anytime after March 1st, an alternative you may consider is the Antelope Canyon Kayak/Hiking Tour. These depart from Antelope Point Marina and last approximately 5 hours. The hiking portion occurs on the shoreline between the slot canyon and Lake Powell, which is Federal and not Tribal Land. Air and water temperatures are cold at that time of year, so dress accordingly if you take me up on that suggestion! There are several companies offering this tour package, but the one we’re the most familiar with is Hidden Canyon Kayak Antelope Canyon Tour
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  15. Hello!
    I came across this thread trying to plan a honeymoon to Vegas/Arizona area in May 2021.

    I was wondering what your thoughts/advice are on this itinerary:
    1. Fly into Las Vegas & stay 1 night
    2. Drive from Vegas to Page and stay at Under Canvas Lake Powell for 2 nights (any recommendations for what to do and when since antelope canyon is closed?)
    3. Drive from Lake Powell Area to Grand Canyon and stay either in Flagstaff or Under Canvas Grand Canyon 1 night
    4. Drive from Grand Canyon area to Castle Hot Springs Resort, which is about an hour north of Phoenix (staying 2 nights)… hopefully stop in Sedona for lunch?
    5. Finish up our trip by staying in Phoenix with a friend for 2 nights

    1. Hi Celia,
      Your trip plan looks pretty fun and well-paced. Even if the Antelope Canyons remain closed at the time of your visit to Page, AZ, there are still plenty of attractions that are open and accessible. A popular alternative last summer was kayaking to the waterside of Antelope Canyon from Antelope Point Marina, then hiking into the landside portion of the canyon that is on Federal and not Tribal land. Although the scenery is not quite as dramatic as Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon, it is still beautiful, and judging from the number of sold out dates last year, people didn’t have any problem with that! Lake Powell Hidden Canyon Kayak Tour
      Horseshoe Bend, of course, is a must-do, which you can visit at your leisure from sunrise to sunset. Other highlights you might partake of include, but are certainly not limited to:
      – Page Rim View Trail
      – Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      – Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      – Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      – Grand View Overlook Park
      – The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      – Gunfighter Canyon
      – Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      – Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      – Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
      Regarding your reservations for the Under Canvas properties, bear in mind that Lake Powell Under Canvas is actually located in Big Water, UT, ~20 minutes drive from Page, AZ. Grand Canyon Under Canvas is in Valle, AZ, ~30 minutes from the South Rim. So in both areas, you’ll have a bit of driving to do to get to the main sightseeing areas.
      The only kinda-sorta major change I’d recommend is where you get to Sedona: that’s a beautiful area that really deserves at least 3-4 days to fully enjoy and explore, instead of just a quickie drive-by for lunch. Maybe you could drop a night in Phoenix, and push your Castle Hot Springs Reservation back a day, and have your friend come up and meet you in Sedona for an overnight visit? Sedona is only ~2 hours from Phoenix. Even if you were able to do that, I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be planning a return trip to Sedona, AZ, when you can spend more time. People tell me all the time that they spent 4-7 days there and still felt as though they’d only scratched the surface of all the area had to offer!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  16. Good Afternoon,

    My husband and I and our 3 children ( sons 18, 16 and daughter 15) are planning a 7 days trip to Grand Canyon between 3/6/2021 – 3/14/2021. Would you reccomend flying in to Las Vegas or Phoenix? We will rent a car and drive to places. Las Vegas, Red Rocks Canyon, Food Tour, Scottdale, Sedona, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Entelope Canyon… are all on our list to visit. We would like to take a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon (from Las Vegas or drive to Grand Canyon’s Airport from Sedona) to save driving time. Which helicopter tour company would you reccommend and their best tours? Also, would you please reccomend how many days should we allocate to spend at each place.

    Thank you so much,
    Cecilia Wynn

    1. Hi Cecilia,
      With the items on your “wish list,” it would make the most sense to fly into Phoenix and out of Las Vegas or vice versa. The key factor as to whether that’s feasible will be rental car drop-off fees. Rental car outlets typically don’t encourage picking up vehicles in one place and dropping them off in another due to the mileage between cities, and relative remoteness of the area. Do check into it, though. Otherwise, you might have to take Las Vegas off the table, or Scottsdale.
      One little piece of bad news I have to give you, unfortunately, is that the Antelope Canyons in Page, AZ, are still closed due to COVID-19. Horseshoe Bend, however, does remain open. If seeing a slot canyon remains high on your priority list, the nearest alternatives not subject to the closure are Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch near Paria, UT, or Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT. For more information on these, visit our companion site, AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Help! My Antelope Canyon Tour Got Cancelled
      As for which Grand Canyon helicopter tour is best, those that depart from the South Rim will cover more of the National Park, which is were the best views of the canyon can be seen. Flights depart daily from the Grand Canyon National Park Airport in Tusayan, AZ, 7 miles South of the park gates. Morning is the best time to fly for lack of wind and best lighting. Since Sedona is ~a 2.5 hour drive from Grand Canyon airport, I would recommend you spend at least 1 night at the South Rim. As for how to allocate the remainder of your time:
      March 6th – fly into Phoenix, hopefully arriving before noon, rent a car and drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours from PHX), overnight in Page, AZ
      March 7th – Visit Horseshoe Bend first thing in AM, then drive to Paria UT (~45 minutes from Page) or Kanab UT (~70 minutes from Page) to tour afore-mentioned slot canyons, drive back to Page for overnight
      March 8th – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (you can also visit Horseshoe Bend on this morning if you wish). More bad news here (sorry) — normally, this drive would take you 3-3.5 hours, but due to COVID-19, it is now necessary to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, then back up North via I-40/AZ64 or US180/AZ64. This rather long detour has turned a 3 hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim.
      March 9th – take Grand Canyon helicopter flight first thing in AM (if possible, take the longer tour on the Eco-Star EC-130 with Papillon Helicopters, drive to Sedona (~2.5 hours from GC South Rim), overnight in Sedona, AZ
      March 10th – 2nd day/night in Sedona, visit Red Rock State Park
      March 11th – 3rd day/night in Sedona, take food/wine tour or Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour
      March 12th – drive to Scottsdale, AZ (~2.5 hours from Sedona) or Las Vegas (~4.5 hours from Sedona), overnight in whichever city you choose
      March 13th – free day for sightseeing in Phoenix/Scottsdale or Las Vegas
      March 14th – fly home
      Again, check flight and rental car rates for both cities, they can vary quite drastically. Whatever you decide, though, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance of your trip. Even with COVID-19 hanging over our heads, hotels and tours will fill fast due to reduced capacities to facilitate social distancing and sanitizing.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Good Evening,
        I’m helping to plan a trip for my adult son and his girlfriend. They would like to see the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Zion, Bryce, and the Arches. They are planning on using 2 weeks in June for this trip. They would like to hike and do some fun adventure tours. They will be flying in from Chicago and renting a car. What would you recommend for number of days at each place, adventures, etc… What airports do you recommend? Appreciate any help you can give me.
        Thank you,
        Cheryl

        1. Hi Cheryl and thanks for visiting!
          It just so happens we have a sample 2-week itinerary that includes everything they want to see, plus a few extras! 14 Day Grand Circle Itinerary
          To best accommodate what your son and his girlfriend are wanting to see and do, they should look into using Las Vegas (LAS) or Salt Lake City (SLC) as their origin and ending points, or, flying into one and out of the other. The key factor as to whether the latter option is doable will be rental car drop-off fees. Rental car outlets typically don’t encourage picking up vehicles in one place and dropping them off in another due to the mileage between cities, and relative remoteness of the area. It’s worth check into, though.
          As for number of days they should spend at each spot, I recommend:
          Grand Canyon South Rim – 2 days
          Page, AZ (for Horseshoe Bend and the Antelope Canyons) – 2 days
          Zion – 3-4 days
          Bryce – 1-2 days
          Capitol Reef – 1-2 days
          Moab, UT (for Arches/Canyonlands) – 3-5 days
          Regarding “adventures,” there’s no shortage of fun to be had, especially if they like to hike, but one thing to keep in mind is that they’re planning on visiting at the hottest time of the year. Any labor-intensive activities should be planned for the early morning hours for optimal comfort. Also, remember that they’re in varying degrees of desert environments, so water must be carried at all times. Some trails, such as the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon, have drinking water piped in at various spots, but you should still plan on bringing your own, as well as some high-protein/moderate salt content snacks to help keep your energy up.
          June would be a good time to hike The Narrows in Zion as you’re walking in water pretty much the whole time, which is a cool relief. Specialized gear, such as water shoes, trekking poles, and dry suits, is required/recommended for this hike, which can be rented from local guide services and/or retail shops.
          In Page, AZ, Horseshoe Bend will only take a couple of hours time to explore, and again, this should be done first thing in the morning. Another popular attraction there is the Antelope Canyons, which unfortunately have been closed for the past year due to COVID-19. Should the closure remain in place at the time of their visit, other slot canyons they can still get to are Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch in Paria, UT, or Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon in Kanab, UT. Another option would be to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell and hike into the transitional area between the shoreline and the slot canyon. This was a very popular excursion last summer. Another alternative tour that has gotten a lot of traction due to the suspension of the Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip was renting a kayak at Lees Ferry, getting backhauled to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam, then paddling the 15-mile stretch of the Colorado River back to Lees Ferry. The paddle portion of the trip is unguided, but many first-time kayakers have done it and had a great time!
          You might have noticed that I snuck another destination in there, Capitol Reef National Park. This is a stunning area, that you pretty much have to pass by between Bryce and Moab, and it’s definitely worth a stop. A good hike they could do en route would be the Lower Calf Creek Falls. At 6 miles round-trip, it’s a bit on the long side, and being partially exposed, they’d want to get an early start on it, but it’s a beautiful sight.
          In Moab, UT, they’ll want to devote one day each to Arches and Canyonlands, then they might take advantage of the opportunity to do some white water rafting in this area. Trip lengths of half a day to 2 days are more are offered. For more information on these and other Moab area adventures, I recommend working with Moab Adventure Center. I’ve worked with them personally, and know they’ll do right by you.
          Whatever they decide, it’s important that they make all arrangements for hotels and guided tours in advance of their arrival. They should probably start by checking availability at the Grand Canyon hotels, then Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Page, and Moab. Hotel availability will likely be the lynchpin around which the rest of their trip planning revolves, and evolves.
          If they were to fly in and out of Las Vegas, a good trip order would be Las Vegas-Grand Canyon-Page-Moab-Capitol Reef-Bryce-Zion-Las Vegas. Time/desire/Navajo Nation Tribal order permitting, they might break up the drive between Page and Moab with a stop in Monument Valley. Between Capitol Reef and Bryce, they also have the opportunity to visit the outer edge of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument via Scenic Byway 12, one of the most stunning drives in the Southwest! Trip map
          Using Salt Lake City as their origin/end point, you’d need to change things up a bit for optimal use of the time and driving distance, probably hitting Moab first, then Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef. On this itinerary, one little switch I’ve made is that I’ve got them visiting Grand Canyon’s North Rim instead of the South Rim. The North Rim is quite different from the South Rim, in both good and bad ways, the latter being lodging, or lack thereof. There is only one hotel inside the park, the Grand Canyon Lodge, which tends to book up very quickly. This year, they’re doing a staggered roll-out of reservations for the season, which, quite frankly has already proven to be a pain, so they’ll most likely have to look to staying outside the park, someplace like Kanab, UT, or Marble Canyon/Lees Ferry, and making a day trip to the park. In June, this can be pulled off most easily since your days are quite long. Wherever they end up staying, the priority will be ensuring that they are “back to base” by sundown. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could hike up your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. Trip map SLC/SLC
          Last but not least, there is option of coming into Las Vegas and going out of SLC. Should they find this feasible financially, I would switch their Grand Canyon stop back to the South Rim, followed by Horseshoe Bend, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef, Moab, then up to SLC. Trip map
          One last thing: at the present time, a critical component of the drive between Grand Canyon South Rim and Horseshoe Bend (AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ) is closed by order of the Navajo Tribe. This means that people traveling between these two destinations must detour all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back up North. This has turned what is normally ~a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. As to whether this closure will remain in effect in June remains to be seen, I know local influencers are working hard on getting this changed, but it’s something they should be prepared for.
          Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to digest! Feel free to write in again, or contact me at my dedicated e-mail address [email protected] if you need to bounce more ideas off us.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

        2. Hi Alley,
          We appreciate your time & your wealth of knowledge and reccomendations.
          I talked to my husband and we both want to cut down driving time as much as possible. Also, from reading your comments to others, we are thinking about flying in and out of Phoenix and stay 5 nights in Sedona & 2 nights in near Grand Caynon. Would you please recommend must dos ( once in a life time kind of activities 🙂 and restaurants in both places with 3 active/outdoor/food enthusiastic teenagers.
          Thank you,
          Cecilia

          1. Hey again, Cecilia!
            Good call on concentrating on Sedona and the Grand Canyon this time around. Definitely plan on visiting Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Bryce, and Zion another time when some semblance of normalcy has returned.
            As for “must-do’s” in Grand Canyon National Park, I’d recommend hiking down the South Kaibab Trail to either Ooh-Aah Point (2 miles round-trip) or Cedar Ridge (3 miles round-trip). That trail offers great views of the Grand Canyon. The only disadvantage is that private vehicles may not park at the trailhead (Yaki Point), so you’d need to use a shuttle to get there (it’s free). Hiker’s Express Shuttle If you’d prefer not to mess with that, the Bright Angel Trail also offers some good hiking opportunities. The views are not as expansive as BA Trail is situated in a box canyon, but still a lot of fun. There are rest-houses at the 1.5 mile and 3 mile marks. Whichever trail you choose, just remember that 1 hour down = 2 hours back up. Also, neither trail will have water available, so bring your own, along with some high protein/moderately salty snacks to keep your energy and electrolytes up. In March, also, you might find that the top halves of both trails are iced up, so you should look into renting some instep crampons at the Grand Canyon Marketplace, across from Yavapai Lodge.
            Other activities at Grand Canyon South Rim that are highly recommended are walking the easy, paved Rim Trail through the Village Historic District, airplane or helicopter flights, and the IMAX Movie “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.”
            As for restaurants, the El Tovar Dining Room is generally regarded as the best in the park. Reservations are strongly recommended for dinner, and can be made up to 6 months out for guests of that hotel, or 30 days out for those staying at other hotels. Breakfast and lunch are first-come/first-served. If you do wish to have lunch there (or anywhere on the rim), be sure to get there right at 11:00 AM. The Grand Canyon Railway train arrives shortly afterward, and once that happens, the rimside restaurants get mobbed and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a table. Another favorite, among present company included, is the Arizona Room, a steakhouse style restaurant adjacent to Bright Angel Lodge. Unfortunately, the AZ Room is closed right now due to COVID-19 🙁 Should that remain the case by the time you get here, the only food and beverage outlets open in the park are: the El Tovar Dining Room, Hermit’s Rest Snack Bar, and The Fountain at Bright Angel Lodge (to-go only). In Tusayan, the small community just outside the park, the Coronado Room at the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn is really nice, there’s also Plaza Bonita (Mexican restaurant), and We Cook Pizza & Pasta. Tusayan Dining
            In Sedona, you’ll have no shortage of opportunities for fun and exploration! The “quintessential” Sedona activity is generally regarded to be the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour. While there, you should also take the opportunity to do some walking around the downtown area and leisurely exploring into the myriad art galleries, curio shops, and other architectural gems such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross and Tlaquepaque. Hot air balloon rides are also popular, weather permitting. If you dig trains, you might take one of your days to enjoy the Verde Canyon Railway trip. Other options would be visiting Montezuma Castle & Well, Tuzigoot, and the ghost-town-turned-art-colony, Jerome, AZ. That’s just a small sampling of things to see and do in Sedona. You’ll surely discover other opportunities for yourself once you get there! As for dining, there is no shortage of exceptional restaurants in this town. But not having personally been there in a few years, offerings are bound to have changed, which is typical of the industry. Take a look at VegasEater.com: The Essential Restaurants in Sedona AZ or visit TripAdvisor.com: Best Restaurants in Sedona AZ Be aware that some facilities may be temporarily closed, or operating with reduced capacity due to COVID-19.
            Also, be aware that the time of year you’re traveling is in that transitional zone between winter and spring, so be prepared for anything weather-wise, from sunny and brisk to all-out blizzard, and everything in between!
            Good luck and safe travels,
            Alley 🙂

      2. Good Morning Alley! We appreciate your wealth of knowledge and reccommendations. Definitely made planning a lot easier!
        Thank you,
        Cecilia Wynn

  17. We will be staying at the Grand Canyon (Yavapai Lodge) March 12th thru 16th and had originally planned to do the float trip at Horseshoe Bend. It’s canceled because of COVID-19, along with tons of other stuff. I literally have no idea what to do for three full days, other than hike and bike ride, but we really wanted more. Someone suggested we head to Lake Powell and rent a boat. That would be fine, but can we get to Horseshoe Bend by ourselves, are we allowed? I don’t want to head towards the Las Vegas area because we will be doing that anyway the morning of the 16th. I don’t wanna head towards Phoenix because that’s where we’ll be arriving from. Do you know if anyone is doing float trips, or guided fishing that isn’t $2000, etc.? Four, active party members ages 16, 46, 59, 68. Thanks for any suggestions.

    1. Hey Bridget,
      So sorry that COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into the vacation plans of your family, along with so many others!
      You are correct that the Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip has been suspended until summertime, optimistically. However, there may be a way you can salvage that item on your “wish list.” In order to accomplish that, I would strongly recommend reducing the number of nights you spend at the Grand Canyon.
      The drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, normally would take ~3 hours. However, due to COVID-19, a critical component of that travel route — AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ — has been closed by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe. This means you have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back up North on US89 to Page, AZ. This detour has turned what used to be a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. For this reason alone, we discourage trying to make a day trip out of it from the Grand Canyon due to lack of daylength at the time of year you’re visiting. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could hike up your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      Upon arrival in Page, AZ, you can visit the Horseshoe Bend Overlook in your own vehicle. The parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset. I would recommend spending at least 1 night in Page, AZ, so you can drive down to Lees Ferry the following morning, rent a kayak, get backhauled up to the Glen Canyon Dam, then paddle 15 miles down the Colorado River back to Lees Ferry. Although this is an unguided excursion, many first-time kayakers do this and enjoy it thoroughly. Several companies offer this service, but the one we are most familiar with is Kayak Horseshoe Bend. Other companies you might contact are:
      – Wilderness River Adventures (928) 645-3296 https://www.riveradventures.com/
      – Kelly Outfitters/Lees Ferry Backhaul (928) 510-5511 http://www.kellyoutfitters.com/ http://leesferrybackhaul.com/
      – Kayak The Colorado 928-856-0012 https://www.kayakthecolorado.com/
      – Lees Ferry On The Fly (928) 326-1162 https://leesferryonthefly.com/
      – Marble Canyon Outfitters 800-533-7339 https://www.leesferryflyfishing.com
      Renting a boat on Lake Powell would certainly be an option, but not sure where that $2,000 figure comes from, that sounds more like a houseboat. To my understanding, Lake Powell Resorts is offering private boat tours for up to 6 people, with a licensed captain, for $265/hour. For more information on that, call the Page/Lake Powell Tourism Hub at 928-608-5749. Ask for Gordon, and if he’s there, tell him that Alley from Grand Circle Media referred you.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  18. Hello there!
    We’ll be driving from Yosemite to the Grand Canyon area with our 7&6 years old. We’ll set out on March 8, the drive is about 10-14 hours. It would be night time upon arriving the Grand Canyon area. We plan to spend 3/9-3/10 exploring/hiking. We will then descend our drive to Texas (on 3/11). Which area of the Grand Canyon should we drive to from Yosemite (since our final destination is Texas)? And which kids friendly areas would you recommend? We don’t have a preference; we just want to make the most of our time there. Thank you in advance!

    1. Hey Phoebe,
      First of all, I strongly recommend that you rethink your plan to arrive at the Grand Canyon after nightfall. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could hike up your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. A safer plan would be to break up the drive somewhere like Laughlin, NV, or Bullhead City, AZ. The drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (the area you should visit) would then be ~4 hours.
      For kid-friendly activities at Grand Canyon National Park, the Junior Ranger program is rated #1 , and rightfully so. In Tusayan, AZ, just outside the park, the IMAX movie presentation “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets” is really fun! The scenic Rim Trail is an easy, paved walk with beautiful views of the Grand Canyon. It extends from Grand Canyon Village to Hermit’s Rest, ~9 miles West of the Village, but you don’t have to commit to walking that far! You can utilize the free Hermit’s Rest shuttle to get from Bright Angel Lodge to the end of the trail, then hop on and off as you desire as you eventually make your way back to your vehicle. Be aware that capacity on the shuttles and other areas will probably be reduced or limited due to COVID-19. Then of course, you should try to make sunset and/or sunrise somewhere on the canyon rim. I recommend you stay overnight at the Grand Canyon or Tusayan hotels for optimal enjoyment of your stay.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  19. Alley – You are such a great travel resource and love reading all your responses. We are planning a visit in June and are finalizing our itinerary. Let me know if there is anything we should consider or be aware of as we make our plans (recognizing things can change with COVID). We are a family of 5 with three children 12,14,16 – all are good hikers and adventurous. Thanks in advance.

    Arrive by air in Phoenix on June 18th. Rented a house in Valle, AZ for 3 nights. Planning to visit the South Rim and do some day hikes. We have two full days of activities but have not planned much other than “visit the Grand Canyon”. I want to make sure I have enough to keep the kids occupied and do not know if we should plan any time in Williams, Flagstaff, or nearby attractions.

    Staying for 2 nights in Page, AZ. Will visit Horseshoe Bend of course and if it opens tour Antelope Canyon. We rented a boat for one day on Lake Powell.

    Staying for 4 nights in Springdale, UT. I have not planned much other than “hiking in Zion” and “spending a day at Bryce”. May need to come up with some things to mix in with the hiking to keep the kids engaged over the 3-4 days. Aware we need to make bus reservations in Zion.

    Staying for 4 nights in Moab, UT. Assuming we will have a travel day, and one day hiking at Arches, one day hiking at Canyonlands, and then one day to do something fun that is not hiking (possible ATV tour or biking). We then fly home from Salt Lake.

    Thanks,

    Phil

    1. Hey Phil!
      Your itinerary looks pretty fun, and well-paced, but one place that’s conspicuously missing from your plans is Sedona, AZ. If it’s still possible to make some changes, you might see if you can squeeze at least 2 days in to enjoy this stunning area with lots to see and do for active families just 2.5 hours from Phoenix, AZ. In June, the kids would probably enjoy Slide Rock State Park. This natural waterslide is a ton of fun, and the cool water is a welcome relief from the hot Arizona sun! Another exciting activity is the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour. Fair warning though: Sedona is so beautiful that you’ll probably find yourself planning a return visit when you can spend more time. People frequently report spending 4-5 days there and still feeling as though they’d only scratched the surface of all the area has to offer!
      Staying in Valle, AZ, will put you ~30 miles from Grand Canyon South Rim, which is OK, but it’s always better if you can be either inside the park or Tusayan, AZ, just 7 miles outside the park. The reason for this is because nighttime driving is discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could hike up your risk of a collision. Not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. By staying at a Grand Canyon Village or Tusayan hotel, you can see sunset and/or sunrise on the rim more easily.
      As for Grand Canyon day hikes you can take, again, no shortage of options in varying degrees of difficulty! Start with a hike on one of the “corridor” trails (frequently used trails maintained by the Naitonal Park Service), such as the South Kaibab Trail to Cedar Ridge and back. This is a 6-mile round-trip hike, with beautiful scenery, but, the trail is very steep and there is no water available on it. You’d need to bring your own. Plus, Yaki Point, where the trailhead is at, is not accessible to private vehicles. You’d have to take a shuttle from either the Visitors Center or Bright Angel Lodge. Hiker’s Express shuttle Kaibab Rim Route Shuttle If you’d rather not mess with all of that, you might instead hike the Bright Angel Trail as far as 3-mile resthouse and back up. Drinking water is piped in to 1.5 mile resthouse and 3-mile resthouse, but it is still advisable to bring your own, as well as some high-protein/moderately salty snacks to keep your energy and electrolytes up!
      The next day, you might do a hike on what are known as “wilderness” or “backcountry” trails, meaning, they are not regularly maintained by the National Park Service, and there’s no water or other amenities on them. Taking the Grandview Trail as far as Horseshoe Mesa is a 6.5-mile round-trip hike that also offers the opportunity to explore an abandoned copper mine. You can drive your personal vehicle to Grandview Point and the trailhead. Another option would be to take the Hermit Trail as far as the Santa Maria Springs, ~5 miles round-trip. Here again, it’s a steep, unmaintained trail, and while water may or may not be available at the afore-mentioned springs, you’d need to treat it before drinking it, so bringing your own H2O is the best way to go! Also, private vehicles may not drive to the trailhead, you’d have to take the Hermit’s Rest Shuttle to get there. Before you commit to any Inner Canyon hikes, though, be sure you know what you’re getting into, especially in June. You’d want to do any labor-intensive activities in the early morning hours for optimal comfort. If you decide this is not the thing for you and your family to do, the easy, paved Rim Trail offers beautiful views, and since it extends from Yavapai Point to Hermit’s Rest, you can make it as long or as short as you want!
      Moving on to Page, AZ, should AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, remain closed due to COVID-19, you’d have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back North vis US89 to Page. This rather long detour has turned what is usually a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. One possible “silver lining” is the opportunity to explore the loop drive that connects Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments just North of Flagstaff. An expansive Pueblo dwelling site and a dormant volcano, respectively, are the highlights of this detour that would add ~2 hours onto your trip time. Your boat rental should take up a full day of your visit. The next day, visit Horseshoe Bend and hopefully Antelope Canyon. Should the Antelope Canyons reopen by the time you visit, advance reservations for tours are a must. How To Book A Tour For Antelope Canyon If the Navajo Tribe decides to keep the Antelope Canyons closed through the summer — which we’re praying doesn’t happen — good “plan B” options are Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch near Paria, UT, or Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT. While guided tours are not required to visit these, they are strongly recommended due to the difficult terrain posed by the access roads. Parties in rental cars should not attempt them, or risk voiding their insurance the minute their tires leave the pavement! TheWaveAZ.com: Hire A Guide
      In Zion, the Narrows and Angel’s Landing tie for the ranking of “the Grand-Daddy of all Zion National Park Hikes.” It sounds like your family would be able to do these, no problem. For the Narrows, you’d want to bring or rent equipment such as dry suits, water shoes, trekking poles, etc. As far as non-hiking activities at Zion, you can take your pick of horseback riding, rock climbing, bike rentals/tours, river tubing (when conditions are right), even aerial tours.
      A day trip to Bryce can be done at the time of year you’re visiting, since daylength is quite long, but always keep in mind that nighttime driving is best avoided if you possibly can. It takes ~2 hours, each way, to drive to Bryce from Springdale, UT. In late June, sunrise occurs just after 6:00 AM (Utah time) and sunset takes place at around 9:00 PM.
      The drive from Springdale, UT, to Moab, UT, will be on the long side, anywhere from 6-8 hours. If you don’t mind taking the longer way, I highly recommend driving through the Northern fringe of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument via Scenic Byway 12. It’s a spectacular drive that will give you the opportunity to hike to Lower Calf Creek Falls (but only with an early start out of Springdale — this hike can get super-hot later in the afternoon), or to swing through Capitol Reef National Park.
      In Moab, UT, you have your stay well-structured giving one day to Arches and another to Canyonlands. An extra day might be spend doing some white water rafting in Cataract Canyon, or taking an ATV-ride on the spine-tingling Devil’s Backbone! For more ideas, visit the Moab Adventure Center. I’ve worked with them personally and they can help you arrange any and all outdoor-related activities around the Moab, UT area!
      Don’t know what time your flight home from SLC is, but if you have time (or inclination) on the trip back from Moab, UT, you might take the slight detour to explore the Sego Canyon petroglyphs of “Ancient Aliens” fame.
      Hope that helps. Again, if you can possibly get Sedona in there, I think you’d love it, plus it’s right on the way from PHX to the Grand Canyon. But, even if you leave your itinerary entirely alone, chances are excellent that you’ll have a wonderful time!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  20. Good Afternoon, I am planning a trip for March 11-14. My boyfriend and I are coming from LA. The first two days I would would us to explore horseshoe bend, Grand Canyon, Utah…… I haven’t been able to narrow down what would be the best thing to do because the last two days we are going to stay in Las Vegas. Do you have any recommendations on what we could do for the first two days?

    Thank You for your time!

    1. Hi Fabiola,
      Good morning to you 😉
      With 2 days to work with, and driving in and out of LA, you can pretty much take Utah off the table because all you’ll have time for is a tiny sliver of the state seen as a “drive-by” on your way to Las Vegas. More on that in a minute…
      The drive from LA to Grand Canyon South Rim (the only side that’s open in March) is going to be ~9 hours, factoring in restroom breaks, meal and fuel stops, etc. You should stay overnight at the Grand Canyon if at all possible so you can be on the rim for sunrise and/or sunset.
      The drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Horseshoe Bend, near the town of Page, AZ, normally runs ~3-3.5 hours. Unfortunately, a closure of a critical component of the shortest travel route on Navajo Indian Lands now requires that you drive all the way to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back up North on US89 to Page, AZ. This rather inconvenient detour has turned a 3-hour drive into more along the lines of a 5-hour drive. Stay overnight in Page, AZ, then the drive to Las Vegas, NV, going the most direct way, will take ~5 hours as well. If you’re OK with taking the “scenic route” (meaning more time) to get to Las Vegas, one possibility would be to swing through Zion National Park on the way there, which would add another 1.5-2 hours of your time. Another option — kind of an “and/or” proposition — would be to take the short detour through the stunning Valley of Fire State Park a short distance Northeast of Las Vegas. March is a nice time to visit VOF because it’s not so terribly hot. Trip map
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all your hotels in advance. Your trip coincides with Spring Break.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley!
        I absolutely love your suggestions. We are staying in Sedona Feb. 21-27 and planned to visit Antelope Canyon (learned it is closed) so we are now looking at other areas. I will be doing a retreat during the week and only have time to venture out of the area of Sedona on Friday, 26. My niece is interested in hitting Utah but I also want to make sure I do the Grand Canyon. Would visiting Horseshoe Bend and Grand Staircase region in Utah work in one day? We are traveling back home on the 27 from Sedona back into Phoenix. What do you suggest? Any ideas of what to see in Sedona as well? My Monday after arrival will be fairly open. It is my first time to the area. Thank you!

        1. Hey Alisha,
          I really appreciate your compliments, which makes it all that much harder to be the bearer of bad news: with one day to work with, you don’t have enough time to visit the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Southern Utah. My initial impression is that you’re not aware of how long it takes to get to these areas, plus may not have heard about a crucial road closure that pretty much puts the kibosh on your plans.
          If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, you should prioritize this landmark above everything else. Assuming you’re planning on doing this as a day trip, you should know that the drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim will take you ~2.5 hours, each way. Another factor working against you at the time of year you’re visiting is daylength. In February, it’s short, with sunrise occurring just before 7:00 AM, and sunset taking place at around 6:15 PM. That’s less than 12 hours of daylight to work with, and you’re already proposing to eat up 5 hours of it behind the wheel. If you’re thinking you’d just head back to Sedona at night, think again: nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could hike up your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. The section of US89A through Oak Creek Canyon is especially risky because it’s twisty, narrow, and windy. Therefore, you’ll need to either a. stay overnight at the Grand Canyon (the drive to Phoenix the next day would be ~5 hours) or b. be sure you’re on your way out of the Grand Canyon by 4:00-4:15 PM at the latest.
          Just so you know, the drive from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ, to visit Horseshoe Bend is also ~a 3-hour trip, one way. To get to Utah from Page, AZ, you’d need another 30 minutes on the road to get to Big Water, UT, the first settlement you’d encounter upon crossing the UT/AZ border, or ~1.5-2 hours to get to Kanab, UT, the nearest town to the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. If you were to attempt to access this area from Grand Canyon South Rim, you’d unfortunately need to take a rather long detour back through Flagstaff, AZ, then back North via US89, due to COVID-19 closing a critical section of AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ. This has turned the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, which is normally a 3-hour trip, into a 5-hour drive. Again, these figures are one-way. Trip map
          As a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the top National Parks in the U.S., the Grand Canyon deserves to take 1st priority in your plans. Hopefully you can schedule a return trip to Arizona for the future when COVID-19 isn’t throwing a wrench in the works, and you have enough time to give Northern Arizona and Southern Utah the time they deserve. AntelopeCanyon.AZ: The Ultimate 7-Day American Southwest Itinerary
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

          1. Thank you! I love your detailed explanations. Just what we needed. Is there any part of the Grand Canyon we can see with just a couple of hours and drive back to Sedona the same day?

          2. Hi Alisha!
            If you’re using Sedona, AZ, as a “base camp,” the South Rim will be the closest and most convenient area of the Grand Canyon you can visit. In a couple of hours’ time, you can explore the Grand Canyon Village Historic District and maybe ride the free shuttles out to some of the overlooks on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive. Just outside of the park, in the town of Tusayan, you’ll find the Grand Canyon National Park Airport, where airplane and helicopter tours depart from. The National Geographic IMAX Theatre is also worth a stop for the 40-minute movie presentation, “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.”
            One piece of information I do wish you’d provided is the time of year you’re visiting. If your trip to Sedona, AZ, is coming up within the next few weeks, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend trying to visit the Grand Canyon as a day trip out of Sedona. For one, it’s ~a 3-hour drive, each way, from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim. If your trip is occurring in mid-March, for example, days are very short at that time of year: sunrise occurs at ~6:30 AM, sunset takes place at around 6:30 PM. That’s only 12 hours of daylight, and you’re already proposing to eat up half of it behind the wheel. That’s not to say that a Sedona-based day trip can’t be done, but you can pretty much count on not experiencing sunset at the canyon. Why? You need to get back on the road with enough time to spare to get back to Sedona, AZ, before nightfall. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit. The section of US89A through Oak Creek Canyon is also very narrow and windy, which makes it even more disconcerting to drive in the dark — I’ve done it before, and I’ll never do it again! Plus the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife ratchets up your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
            If possible, try to arrange to spend one night at Grand Canyon South Rim. If you’re locked into your hotel reservations in Sedona, just keep an eye on the time so that you’re “back to base” by sundown!
            Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
            Alley 🙂

          3. We will be arriving this Sunday, Feb 21st-27. We are locked into our stay but will proceed with early morning travel and early evening return before sunset. I will plan in the future to come back and spend more time. You were extremely helpful!

          4. Hi Alisha,
            Yes, you’ll definitely need to keep a close eye on the time as you visit. Days are still on the short side, with sunrise occurring around 7:00 AM and sunset taking place at approximately 6:15 PM. You should plan on leaving the South Rim no later than 3:45-4:00 PM, at the absolute latest.
            Hope you can visit us again soon when you are in a position to spend a night or two and really enjoy it!
            Good luck and safe travels,
            Alley 🙂

  21. Hello Alley! I would love to hear your advice about our first trip with my family to AZ on Feb 14-19, and flying to Phoenix. Place I would love to see if possible are; The Grand Canyon, Horshoe Bend (maybe Vermillion Cliffs) & Sedona. Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Hiromi,
      Using Phoenix as your staging city, you certainly could tick off all the items on your wish list in the timeframe you have.
      Assuming February 14th and 19th would be travel days, I would recommend:
      February 15th: Drive from Phoenix to Page, AZ (~5 hours), visit Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page, AZ.
      February 16th: Day trip to Vermillion Cliffs area (~1.5 hours from Page, AZ). Visit Lees Ferry Lonely Dell Ranch Historic District, Navajo Bridge, Marble Canyon, have lunch at Cliff Dweller’s Lodge (amazing food!), head to Grand Canyon South Rim by sunset (unfortunately, you have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back North due to the closure of AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point, that will take ~4 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon. Or, simply return to Page, AZ, then head to GC the following morning (~5 hour drive due to the detour).
      February 17th: Sightseeing at Grand Canyon South Rim, head to Sedona (~3 hour drive) by sunset. Overnight in Sedona.
      February 18th: 2nd day/night at Sedona. Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour highly recommended!
      February 19th: Drive back to Phoenix (~2.5 hours from Sedona), fly home.
      Trip map
      If you have any wiggle room in your schedule so that you can give an extra night somewhere, I’d recommend giving it to Sedona, AZ. Believe me, Sedona is the kind of place you could spend a week and feel as though you’d only scratched the surface!
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance, if you haven’t done so already.
      Also, keep an eye on the time, especially around sunset. At the time of year you’re visiting, the sun goes down at around 6:00 PM, and you want to be sure you do all your driving during daylight hours. That’s because roads in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah are very dimly lit, and tend to attract deer, elk, and other wildlife after dusk. A collision with a large animal is not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      Hope that helps — good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley my boyfriend and I want to do a mini 3 day trip to see Horseshoe bend and Sedona. We’ll be coming from Douglas, Arizona. About 4 hours from Phoenix. Do you have any advice on places to see or stay at when being around those areas?

        1. Hi Amanda,
          I hope you guys like to drive, because you’ll be doing a lot of it on this vacation. You’re essentially going to have to drive from the far Southern end of the state to the far North in order to get to Horseshoe Bend, which is near the town of Page, AZ. It will take ~9-10 hours to make the drive from Douglas to Page, AZ. If your trip is coming up in the next few weeks’ time, you need to bear in mind that between Flagstaff, AZ, and Page, AZ, is Navajo Reservation Lands, and the tribe is discouraging outsiders from stopping and/or interacting with reservation residents. Make sure your vehicle is fully fueled in Flagstaff, and that you have water and snacks to tide you over on that 2.5 hour stretch of US89.
          The drive from Page, AZ, to Sedona, AZ, will take approximately 3 hours, again taking you through the same stretch of the Navajo Reservation. The drive from Sedona, AZ, to Douglas, AZ, will then take ~6-7 hours. That’s a lot of time behind the wheel for a 3-day trip. Trip map
          If you can, free up some more time to pull this off, especially for Sedona, AZ. Sedona, AZ, is a huge area with a lot to see and do. People often report staying there 4-5 days and still feeling as though they’d only scratched the surface of all the area had to offer.
          As for where to stay, both Page, AZ, and Sedona, AZ have a generous selection of hotels in a variety of amenity classes and price points. Page, AZ, hotels Sedona, AZ, hotels
          Whatever you decide, be sure to book your lodging and any guided tours you might like to take in advance of your trip.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

      2. Alley – happy Tuesday! Question for you, is it possible to park off of the 89 and hike to horseshoe bend? We are staying in Sedona and want to hit the bend next Monday the 8th. Is this parking lot closed? I saw on the national parks website the lark is closed or is this parking lot Something different? Much appreciated! Cheers, chris

        1. Hey Chris,
          Happy Wednesday 😉
          Not sure where you saw that the Horseshoe Bend parking lot is closed, because that’s not the case, it is open, from sunrise to sunset! A one-time $10 parking fee is assessed for standard passenger vehicle.
          BTW, it is illegal to park anywhere on US89, so please don’t risk getting a ticket. I assure you, it will be much higher than that $10 parking fee.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  22. Alley, I am working on our family vacation this summer..probably in mid July. We will be flying in and out of Vegas. Our To Do list is: Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Zion. Any suggestions on how many days to plan for each location and what to see in route would be helpful.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Katrina,
      If you can possibly set aside a full week for your Southwest vacation, you can accomplish all the items on your wish list, and maybe a few more!
      A “classic” Northern Arizona/Southern Utah vacation itinerary is as follows:
      Day 1: Drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours), optional stop at Hoover Dam, if it’s open. Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim
      Day 2: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. Depending on the status of the Navajo Nation’s COVID-19 closures, this drive could take you anywhere from 3 hours to 5 hours. The longer timeframe would be the case if AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, remained closed, meaning you’d have to detour all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back North to Page, AZ, on US89. Overnight in Page, AZ.
      Day 3: Visit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise to take advantage of cooler temperatures and smaller crowds. If the Antelope Canyons reopen by this time, plan on touring Upper, Lower, or one of several alternate slot canyons, and spending a 2nd night in Page, AZ. If they remain closed through the summer, then consider driving towards Kanab, UT, and visiting Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch or Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. Guided tours are not required to visit these, but they are strongly recommended due to the rugged terrain of the access road not being recommended for rental cars. AntelopeCanyon.AZ: “Help! My Antelope Canyon Tour Got Cancelled” If you do Wire Pass/Buckskin or Peek-A-Boo, Kanab, UT, would be a good place to spend the night.
      Day 4: Drive from Kanab, UT, to Bryce Canyon (~90 minutes), drive the Scenic Rim Drive, overnight in the Bryce Canyon area, or simply drive back to Kanab, UT, to spend the night.
      Day 5: Drive from Kanab, UT, to Springdale, UT (~1 hour), take the Zion Canyon Shuttle into the park, and take one of several easy but scenic hikes in this area. Overnight in Springdale, UT, or Kanab, UT.
      Day 6: 2nd day in Zion, if you’re up for a more challenging hike, consider hiking The Narrows or Angel’s Landing
      Day 7: Drive back to Las Vegas (~4 hours from Kanab, 3 from Springdale
      Trip map
      You can also reverse the order of this itinerary if you find that room availability in the various parks is more conducive to doing so. Whatever you decide, be sure to reserve all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival.
      Take care and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  23. Hi Alley,

    Thank you so much for all the incredible tips! My boyfriend and I are planning to do a short road trip to Arizona from LA (Starting our drive Wednesday evening, returning Monday). We have never been to Arizona so we wanted to get the most of this experience! There are so many tips and things to do that I don’t know where to begin! HA. I really wanted to see and experience Havasu Falls, Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend.

    Considering we won’t have much time to stay in all of them, what do you suggest? We are renting a camper van!!

    Thank you for your time and for kindly responding all of our messages!

    1. Hi Marina,
      Well, one piece of bad news I should get out of the way first is that Havasu Falls isn’t going to happen. The Native American tribe on whose lands the waterfalls are located have closed off their reservation to tourists until further notice. Besides, that is a trip unto itself requiring 3-6 days factoring in logistics such as where to fly in and out of, ancillary hotel reservations, camping or lodging reservations, etc. To plan a future trip to this area, visit http://www.HavasupaiReservations.com
      Not knowing when you’re traveling, another piece of bad news that could affect your plans is that Antelope Canyon is also closed at the present time. BTW, all these closures are due to COVID-19, in case you were wondering. They are expected to remain closed through Spring 2021, optimistically. However, there may be a way to salvage that component of your trip. More on that in a minute.
      So, assuming that Wednesday and Monday are travel days, that gives you four days to work with. Also, assuming that you’ve already been to the Grand Canyon, or are planning to visit in the future, I will leave it off the list for the sake of planning.
      Since it takes anywhere from 8-10 hours to get to Arizona from the LA area, I’d recommend getting the longer drive out of the way first, so head for Page, AZ. Visit Horseshoe Bend, which will take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours of your time to park, hike to the rim, take photos and look around, and walk back to your vehicle. Bear in mind there’s a parking fee, which IIRC is $35 for camper vans as these are considered light commercial vehicles. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you might be limited to just walking around the shoreline of Lake Powell, which is easiest to access at either the Wahweap Swim Beach or Lone Rock Beach. The water usually doesn’t warm up enough for swimming until late April or early May. These areas are located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time. If you prefer not to pay that fee, another area of Lake Powell that’s accessible without entering the NRA is the Chains. If desired, you could also piggy-back a visit there with a hike to the Hanging Gardens.
      If you didn’t make it to Horseshoe Bend that first day in Page, AZ, you can hit it right at sunrise the following morning if you want. If seeing a slot canyon remains high on your priority list, head toward Kanab, UT, the next morning and hike either the Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch (near Paria, UT), or tour Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon (near Kanab, UT). Guided tours are not required to visit these slot canyons, but they come strongly recommended due to the access roads being unpaved, and not recommended for parties in rental cars. For more information on these slot canyons, and the companies that offer tours to them, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: “Help! My Antelope Canyon Tour Got Cancelled
      After touring Wire Pass or Peek-A-Boo, you might spend that night in Springdale, UT, so you can make a quick visit to Zion National Park before heading home. If doing the long haul from Zion to LA doesn’t appeal for some reason, you might consider breaking up the drive in Las Vegas. Trip map
      RE: traveling by camper van, depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you should probably plan on staying in developed RV parks so you have access to electrical hook-ups, at least. If your trip is coming up in the near future, nighttime lows are still dipping down around (or below) freezing, so you’ll want to have reliable heat at night. Should your travels be planned for the summer months, then air conditioning will make a huge difference in your comfort level during the daytime hours, where temperatures can (and do) rise above 100 degrees (Fahrenheit).
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  24. Good Evening,
    Thank you so much for being a wealth of knowledge for all of us unknowledgable travelers.
    This is an awesome help.

    We are coming on a girls trip in early May. We are staying in big water. Here is what we have planned so far, please tell us if you think something won’t work or other better options.

    1st day canyoning tour in kanab in the morning then try a little sand boarding at coral Pink San dunes.
    2nd day boat on lake Powell back to hike to rainbow bridge
    3rd day kayak from antelope point to antelope canyon
    4th day hiking in ? Area with goal of being at horse bend overlook at sunset.

    What are your thoughts on this itinerary? Thank you.

    1. Hi Cendey,
      This itinerary sounds pretty fun, as long as COVID-19 doesn’t throw a wrench into the plan.
      As of right now, Rainbow Bridge Boat Tours are suspended until spring. Boat rentals are available, but honestly, I wouldn’t recommend going to Rainbow Bridge that way if you don’t have any prior boating experience. For one, it’s 50+ miles, one way, uplake to Rainbow Bridge. Then you’re looking at a 1.5-2 mile hike, one way, from the dock to Rainbow Bridge. Then a 50-mile boat trip back to the marina in the hot sun isn’t too much fun. You’d also need to stop to refuel at Dangling Rope Marina. Should seeing Rainbow Bridge by boat prove to be unfeasible, another option would be to fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters depart out of the Page Municipal Airport daily, with mornings being the optimal time to fly for best light and less wind. Rainbow Bridge Air Tours would not land at the bridge, but make an expeditious and exciting way to get a truer sense of how big Lake Powell really is.
      Kayaking to Antelope Canyon is a great way to spend that 3rd day. On your 4th day, plan to hit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures and smaller crowds. If you’re looking for some fun hikes to do afterward, there is no shortage of options!
      – walk the Page Rim View Trail
      – walk across the Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      – hike the Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      – visit the Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      – visit Grand View Overlook Park
      – take the short hike to The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      – Visit Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      – Visit Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      – Do the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Hike (also in Utah, trailhead at mile marker 19 of US89)
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  25. Hello!

    My husband and I are planning a trip the beginning of April. We are flying into Vegas and plan on visiting Zion, Bryce, Antelope/Horseshoe Bend, Sedona and the Grand Canyon. I skimmed some of the messages on here and was curious what is the best route to take seeing that certain roads are closed if i read that right? We were planning to go from Zion to Antelope/Horseshoe then down to Sedona then to the Grand Canyon and back to Vegas. Will that work? Also, is Antelope canyon closed? Can we tour there? Assuming Horseshoe Bend overlook is still open? Any recommendations and advice is welcomed this is our first time traveling out West 🙂 Thank you!!

    1. Hi Lyndsay,
      The good news? Horseshoe Bend is open, never closed during the COVID-19 pandemic (so far, anyway).
      The bad news? We’re not sure if the Antelope Canyons will reopen by the time you get set to travel. I would recommend monitoring the Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation site for further updates, and also, to have a “Plan B” in mind just in case. More on that in a minute…
      So if you stick with your plan to visit Zion, Bryce, Page, AZ (for Horseshoe Bend), Sedona, and Grand Canyon South Rim in that specific order, you would not be affected by the closure of AZ64 from Cameron, AZ to Desert View Point. Trip map
      If for some reason you had to go in the order of Zion-Bryce-Page-Grand Canyon South Rim-Sedona, then you would possibly have to deal with a detour through Flagstaff should the closure still be in effect. Revised trip map
      If the Antelope Canyons remain closed at the time of your visit, the alternates we recommend are Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT, or Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch near Paria, UT. For more information on these, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Help! My Tour Got Cancelled
      Lastly, I hope you have allotted enough time to visit the parks and really enjoy them. The recommended time to spend in each park is as follows:
      Zion: 2-3 days
      Bryce: 1-2 days
      Page: 1-2 days
      Sedona: 3-4 days
      Grand Canyon: 1-2 days
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

  26. Hello, my family and I are planning a trip to the Horseshoe Bend. We are coming from Southern California and plan to stay in Page. Is the drive to Page an issue right now due to Covid or weather concerns? Also, other than Horseshoe Bend, are there any other trails or parks you would recommend? We have already been to the south rim, so we are good skipping the Grand Canyon on this trip. Looking for any suggestions. By the way, we are staying three days in mid-February.

    1. Hi Julio,
      Assuming that by “Southern California,” you mean the LA area, you can drive to Page, AZ, without impedance by COVID-19 road restrictions. The best way to go is to hop on I-15 through Las Vegas, and St. George, then on to Page, AZ. The estimated drive time is ~9-10 hours, factoring in restroom breaks, meal and gas stops, etc. Map If that’s too much driving for one day for you, Las Vegas would be a good place to break up the drive. The trip from LAS to Page, AZ, would then be ~4.5 hours.
      It’s good that you’ve already been to the South Rim, because if you did want to go there, then you would be affected by a COVID-related road closure driving from Page, AZ, to the South Rim. You’d have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back North on US160/AZ64 (or I40/AZ64) to the Grand Canyon. This detour has turned what used to be ~a 3-3.5 hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive, so you’re definitely better off skipping it!
      As for other things to do besides Horseshoe Bend, the Antelope Canyons are unfortunately closed, but I think you’ll still be pleasantly surprised by what is still available to visit:
      – walk the Page Rim View Trail
      – walk across the Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      – hike the Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      – visit the Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      – visit Grand View Overlook Park
      – take the short hike to The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      – Visit Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      – Shoot off a few rounds at Gunfighter Canyon Indoor Shooting Range
      – Visit Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum (13 miles West of Page, AZ, over the Utah border)
      – Do the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Hike (also in Utah, trailhead at mile marker 19 of US89)
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  27. Hi Alley,

    I am looking into a weekend trip from San Diego to visit a few national parks for a birthday request from my daughter. It would be a Friday- Sunday road trip. I wanted to ask you if you could suggest an itinerary to visit a few parks within this timeframe. We’ve never been to any national parks in AZ or Utah. She had mentioned Havasupai at one time but I saw they are closed. If you have any tips on where to stay or a route to follow, any information is much appreciated. If flying is better, we are open to that as well. Thanks!

    1. Hey B Anne!
      In light of the fact that it takes ~9-10 hours to drive to the Grand Canyon from San Diego, I would definitely advise flying into a nearby airport in order to get the most out of your time. Phoenix and Las Vegas tend to be the most popular airports for Southwest US visitors to fly into. Either of these would be ~5 hours drive from the Grand Canyon. There’s also Flagstaff, AZ, and Page, AZ, but these are commuter airports, so you’d have to connect through PHX or LAS anyway.
      With such a limited timeframe, visiting “a few” National Parks won’t be feasible. You are correct that Havasupai is closed until further notice, plus that’s a whole other trip unto itself, requiring a lot of advance planning. You should familiarize yourself with the realities and logistics of a visit to that area before even considering it. Havasupai Reservations
      My advice: think “quality over quantity.” Give yourself at least 1 night at Grand Canyon South Rim, then another night in either Sedona, AZ, or Page, AZ. If your visit is coming up within the next few weeks’ time, I would lean more toward Sedona, AZ. It’s ~a 3-hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim, and offers much in the way of sightseeing and relaxation opportunities! Normally, Page, AZ, would be about the same distance away from the Grand Canyon, but due to the closure of a critical component of the shortest travel route between the two areas by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe due to COVID-19, it is now necessary to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back North on US89 to Page, AZ. This detour has turned what used to be ~a 3-3.5 hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. You would then be facing about that long of a drive to go back to Phoenix or Las Vegas.
      If you take me up on the suggestion to use your weekend to visit Grand Canyon South Rim and Sedona, it would probably be best to fly into Phoenix since the drive from Sedona, AZ, to the airport would be ~2.5 hours.
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and any guided tours you might be interested in in advance of your arrival.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  28. Hi Alley –
    Thanks for helping so many of us plan awesome trips! If you have time for one more, my wife and I would love your help! We’re looking to spend about 7-8 days at the end of February and enjoy some moderate hiking, a good beer and a great roadtrip! We’ve never been to the area so I’m sure that’s way too little time to explore everything there is to offer but things that piqued our interest are Grand Canyon, Sedona, Zion and Bryce Canyon.

    Quick note of caution though… we are Floridians so we may not have the “gear” required to hike in sub-freezing weather/ice/snow (other than we do each have a great Northface coat). I hear that could be an issue in Bryce Canyon and perhaps even the Grand Canyon. Is it possible to rent anything necessary for shoes and whatnot and how likely is it the weather will be an issue for us? I’m guessing the “colder” hikes might be better to do in the afternoon when its 50ish instead of at dawn when its 20ish?

    We haven’t booked a single flight or room yet so we’re pretty flexible (and perhaps it’s a good idea to stay that way until an extended forecast is available in case we need to avoid winter weather). But we’re probably looking at arriving on 2/19 or 2/20 and departing 2/28. Phoenix or even Flagstaff appear to have the best flight options for us. Vegas is a little harder to swing by the looks of the flight availability.

    Any suggestions you have for places to see, additions to our itinerary, specific off-the-beaten path hikes or roadtrip stops, we’re all ears! Thanks again 🙂

    1. Hi Brett!
      I always have time for one more 😉
      February is definitely considered winter in the higher elevations and your likelihood of encountering snow is pretty good, especially in areas like the Grand Canyon and Bryce Canyon. Appropriate footwear, such as snow boots or shoes, are best purchased before you travel at your preferred stores or on Amazon. Cold weather hiking gear, such as instep crampons and trekking poles, can be rented inside the Grand Canyon Marketplace at the South Rim, or the Winter Activity Center at Ruby’s Inn in Bryce Canyon. However, these would only be necessary if you were planning on day hiking on Inner Canyon trails such as the Bright Angel or Kaibab Trail, where the top halves of the trail are already iced over. If you were to stick to rimside trails, which are mostly paved, just a sturdy pair of shoes with good tread on them should suffice.
      If you are fairly well set on using Phoenix or Flagstaff as your staging city, and you preferred to get the longer drive(s) out of the way first, Bryce Canyon would probably be the first place to hit since it’s the “Northernmost” park on your wish list. From Phoenix, AZ, you’re looking at ~an 8-hour drive, factoring in bathroom breaks, meal and fuel stops. Bear in mind that between Flagstaff, AZ, and Page, AZ, is Navajo Indian Tribal Land, and they wish to minimize or eliminate contact with outsiders due to COVID-19. So while that section of the road is open, you should plan on fueling your vehicle in Flagstaff, AZ, and maybe grabbing some drinks and snacks to tide you over so you don’t have to stop. Since that’s such a long trip, you’ll probably want to spend 2 nights at Bryce, then head over to Zion (~2 hours from Bryce) for another 2 nights. The drive from Zion to Grand Canyon South Rim is also going to be a long haul because an integral component of the shortest travel route — AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point — is closed to through traffic by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe. This means that you have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back up North via US180/AZ64 or I-40/AZ64 to Grand Canyon South Rim. Expect this leg of the trip to take anywhere from 2-7 hours. Maybe break up the drive by stopping at Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ. After spending 1-2 nights at the Grand Canyon, Sedona, AZ, would then be ~a 3-hour drive, then 2-2.5 hours to get back to Phoenix, AZ. Trip map
      If that’s sounding like too much driving, you might consider taking Bryce and Zion off the table this time around. Not that they aren’t beautiful, but Las Vegas, NV, is in a better location for visiting these parks. If you do that, I’d recommend using the time to visit Page, AZ, for Horseshoe Bend, Kanab, UT, for Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon and maybe a quick “look-see” at Zion, then Grand Canyon South Rim, then capping off the trip with 2-3 nights in Sedona. Revised trip map
      While flying into and out of Flagstaff, AZ, would certainly cut down on your drive times, it wouldn’t save you much money. Some visitors have even reported to me that the flight leg from DFW or PHX to Flag (that’s what we call it around here) cost just as much as the flight leg from home to the connecting airport. Of course, that’s not the case 100% of the time, but definitely something to consider. On the other hand, though, Flagstaff, AZ, is home to a burgeoning craft beer/microbrewery scene, so if you enjoy a good beer, you’ll find no shortage of choices in this combination college town/nature lover’s paradise. You should at least plan for a stop here, even if you don’t use it as your staging city!
      I know it’s a hard choice, so feel free to write in again if you need to bounce more ideas off us.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for all of your suggestions! We really don’t want to skip Zion because it’s the part of the trip we’re most excited for but good news – we found a set of flights to Vegas that seem to work for us so hopefully that makes this a lot easier! We do like “quick travel” so I always sigh when people on TripAdvisor say “slow down and enjoy it” because we enjoy our travel of style very much, but please let me know if this truly sounds too ambitious or if you have any suggested changes. In particular, I don’t know the “real drive time” for some of these places and how easy it is to drive once the sun sets in February: Friday PM – Arrive in Vegas; Saturday AM – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim; Saturday PM – Explore South Rim Trail for sunset and sleep in GCV or Tusayan; Sunday AM – Hike some of S. Kaibab Trail; Sunday PM – Drive to/sleep in Kanab but stop at Horseshoe Bend on way; Monday AM – Enter “The Wave” lottery and drive to Bryce Canyon; Monday PM – Explore Bryce Canyon, sleep TBD; Tuesday AM – Hike The Wave if win the lottery otherwise find a slot canyon or two (Peek a Boo or Willis Creek or any other suggestions?); Tuesday PM – drive to/sleep in Springdale; Wednesday AM – hike Angels Landing; Wednesday PM – sleep in Springdale; Thursday AM – hike The Narrows; Thursday PM – drive to/sleep somewhere west of Vegas; Friday all day – Death Valley National Park; Saturday – return to Vegas and fly home on red eye.

        1. Hey again, Brett!
          I had to chuckle when you said “people on TripAdvisor tell you to ‘slow down and enjoy'” because I’m a Destination Expert on TripAdvisor, and am guilty of dispensing this same advice LOL I’m glad to hear that you’ve found flights into Vegas, though, that makes your itinerary a lot more feasible than flying into Phoenix.
          One thing that does jump out at me is your question about “how easy it is to drive after the sun sets.” This is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit (a deliberate move in some areas to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky) and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other animals that could hike up your risk of an accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all) and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. Be sure to plan all driving during daylight hours. In late February, sunrise takes place at around 7:00 AM and sunset occurs at approximately 6:15 PM.
          So seeing as though you are prepared for long drives and have an ambitious to-do list, here are my observations on your itinerary, which I’ll put in {{ }}:
          February: Friday PM – Arrive in Vegas {{so far so good!}}
          Saturday AM – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim {{that will take ~5 hours}} Explore South Rim Trail for sunset and sleep in GCV or Tusayan {{be sure to make advance reservations, even at this time of year and with COVID-19 going on}}
          Sunday AM – Hike some of S. Kaibab Trail {{Ooh Aah Point and back will take ~2 hours, Cedar Ridge ~3; be prepared to rent instep crampons}} Sunday PM – Drive to/sleep in Kanab but stop at Horseshoe Bend on way — {{be prepared for this drive to take 6-6.5 hours due to having to detour down through Flagstaff, AZ; also make sure your vehicle is fully fueled and that you have adequate water and snacks to tide you over until you get to Page, AZ, so you don’t have to stop on the Navajo Reservation}}
          Monday AM – Enter “The Wave” lottery {{good luck with that, you’ll need it!}} and drive to Bryce Canyon {{~90 minutes from Kanab, UT}}; Monday PM – Explore Bryce Canyon, sleep TBD {{make a reservation somewhere, maybe just stay a 2nd night in Kanab and visit Bryce as a day trip}}
          Tuesday AM – Hike The Wave if win the lottery {{be sure to verify conditions on the House Rock Valley Road, if recent weather has been wet, the road will be a muddy, impassable mess!}}, otherwise find a slot canyon or two (Peek a Boo or Willis Creek or any other suggestions?) {{Willis Creek would be cool, but typically involves a few creek crossings through some very COLD water; you guys would probably enjoy Wire Pass and the Buckskin Gulch, a bit more rugged than Peek-A-Boo, but typically doesn’t have any water in it at this time of year; also requires a drive down HRVR, so be sure to verify road conditions}}; Tuesday PM – drive to/sleep in Springdale {{nice town}}
          Wednesday AM – hike Angels Landing {{be sure to find out if that trail is iced over and accessible or not; if it isn’t, don’t worry, there are plenty of other good hikes to take}}; Wednesday PM – sleep in Springdale;
          Thursday AM – hike The Narrows {{at the end of February? Not my idea of fun, but if you’re prepared to rent a dry suit, trekking pole, special shoes and other equipment, it can be done}}; Thursday PM – drive to/sleep somewhere west of Vegas {{doubt you’re gonna be in the mood for a long drive after hiking the Narrows. Not much in the way of towns between Las Vegas and Death Valley except maybe Pahrump, ~4 hours from Springdale, ~90 minutes from Death Valley. Whatever you do, don’t go to Baker, CA, that town’s hinky}}
          Friday all day – Death Valley National Park {{in-park lodging is pretty pricey, you might just go back to Pahrump to overnight}};
          Saturday – return to Vegas {{~2.5-3 hour drive from DV}} and fly home on red eye
          Trip map
          Sounds like a fun time! In light of all the parks you’re going to end up visiting, be sure to pick up an America The Beautiful Lands Federal Lands Access Pass. For just $80, this card will grant you access to all National Parks, Monuments, and other Federal Fee Areas in the U.S. for one year’s time. It won’t work at Horseshoe Bend since that is now considered a Page, AZ, city park, but it will more than pay for itself on this trip.
          Good luck on that Wave lottery, have a wonderful time, and if you get a minute when you return home, write in and tell us us things went!
          Alley 🙂

          1. Thanks so much! I should clarify, I use TripAdvisor for a lot of things and it’s mostly great! There’s just always a few bad apples that don’t try to answer questions but just try to tell you how to live your life… like don’t travel to Arizona now because it’s a COVID hotspot (yes, I am aware haha). But you’re so helpful and friendly so thank you! Great suggestions for us and we will start locking up our hotel rooms now. Just a few more questions and then I promise I’ll hopefully leave you alone soon! 1- can we get away with an economy car for this trip or will we need to be in an SUV or a 4WD? 2- is GC the only place we’ll need the crampons? Trying to figure out if we should rent or buy so please let us know if you have know where we can get those once we arrive if we’re ok renting. 3- we also thought about reversing this itinerary and doing DV first then may have opportunity to stop at Valley of Fire on way back thru Vegas to Zion but figured DV and Zion on a weekend would be more chaotic than GC on a weekend, would you agree or non-issue this time of year? 4- are most restaurants in these areas offering any sort of outdoor seating (with heat lamps/fire pits I hope!) or will everything be indoor or takeout only? 5- best place to check road and trail conditions in case weather is an issue the week before or week of our arrival? Thank you once again so much – you rock!

          2. Hey again, Bret!
            LOL betcha I know those bad apples by name 😉
            In answer to your specific questions:
            1. I would recommend getting something with 4WD just in case you run into some snow while you’re out here, but don’t take that to mean plow through a blizzard. If a severe storm should happen to occur during your travels, stay put until it passes. Also, just because you have 4WD doesn’t mean you can take the vehicle off-road. Most rental car outlets forbid that. Kind of a “Catch22,” I know…
            2. The Grand Canyon may not be the only place where crampons would come in handy. Bryce Canyon trails are also known to ice over in winter, as are some trails in Zion, such as Angel’s Landing. If you do decide to buy them, they won’t take up that much room in your luggage, and I understand crampons are not a forbidden item according to TSA, but they reserve the right to disallow them on a case to case basis.
            3. If you find it easier to reverse the itinerary, go ahead and do so, you’ll probably find that traffic increases a moderate amount on weekends, but not enough IMO to make it a deal-breaker since late February is still off-season. The kicker is whether you are able to find rooms.
            4. Whether restaurants will offer outdoor dining, with or without accommodations for the weather, is something of a crapshoot. Just the other day, a lot of the parks got 1′ of snow, so that wouldn’t be conducive to outdoor dining, heat lamps or no heat lamps. Those with indoor dining have reduced capacity, rearranged tables to facilitate social distancing, etc. Push comes to shove, choose accommodations with mini-fridges and microwaves so you can do your own thing for meals if need be.
            5. For checking trail conditions in the parks, check the official NPS websites for each park:
            Grand Canyon https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
            Zion https://www.nps.gov/zion/index.htm
            Bryce Canyon https://www.nps.gov/brca/index.htm
            Death Valley https://www.nps.gov/deva/index.htm
            For road conditions:
            Arizona: http://www.az511.com
            Utah https://www.udot.utah.gov/connect/current-conditions/road-conditions/
            Nevada http://nvroads.com/
            California https://roads.dot.ca.gov/
            Or just call 511.
            Have a great time and be safe!
            Alley 🙂

  29. Hi! We are planning a trip in 2 – 3 day trip from Vegas. We would like to see the Antelope, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Zion.

    Initial plan is drive 4 hours early from Vegas to arrive 8 am to Grand Canyon. Leave at 1pm and arrive Antelope at 3pm. Stay overnight at a nearby hotel. Next day, wake up early and drive 3 hours to Zion.

    Is this itinerary feasible? Where would it make sense to add Horsehoe Ben?
    We like to take sunrise and sunset shots. If parks are not open until 8 am, are there good spots to do this?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Dory,
      So sorry to break this to you, but your plan is not feasible. You will have to make some adjustments, namely give it more time, or eliminate a destination from the “wish list.”
      Not knowing when you are planning to travel kind of puts me at a disadvantage, but assuming your trip is coming up within the next few weeks time, I’ve got some more bad news: the Antelope Canyons are closed by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe due to COVID-19. If seeing a slot canyon remains high on the list, which I wouldn’t blame you one bit for, there are alternatives. More on that in a minute…
      For one, you’ve underestimated your drive times, one of which was unintentional. The drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim tends to take more along the lines of 5 hours if you factor in bathroom breaks, meal and fuel stops, etc. Still, your plan to drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, then on to Page, AZ, the same day won’t work. Under normal circumstances, I advise against this anyway, but due to COVID-19, a critical component of the shortest travel route between Grand Canyon and Page, AZ, is closed to through traffic. This means that you’ll have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then head back North to Page, AZ on US89 (Page, AZ, is where Horseshoe Bend is located). This very long detour has turned what is normally ~a 3-hour drive (not a 2 hour drive) into a 5-hour drive. This on a day where you’re already proposing to spend 5 hours behind the wheel. Depending on the time of year you’re traveling, you might be fighting daylength (or lack thereof) as well. In the month of February, for example, sunrise in Arizona occurs at ~7:15 AM, and sunset takes place just after 6:00 PM. That’s not even 11 hours of daylight and you’re already proposing to eat up 10 hours of it driving from place to place. Not my idea of a vacation. A better plan would be for you to spend that first night at the Grand Canyon, then move onto Page, AZ, the next day.
      Hit Horseshoe Bend either on your way into town, or just after sunrise the following morning. Either way, plan on spending the night in Page, AZ. If you still wanted to tour a slot canyon at this point in time, I recommend going to Kanab, UT (~70 minutes from Page, AZ) and touring Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this is a short but memorable walk offering up classic slot canyon scenery, and some unique geological features. Red/Peek-A-Boo is the also one of the most family-friendly slot canyons open to visitation right now. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is not difficult, the drive to get there is. Even experienced 4×4 drivers get stuck out there on a daily basis, and if you’re in a rental car, forget it, you will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement. That would leave you on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and having to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. Tour companies in Kanab, UT, that can get you to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Tour of Peek-A-Boo Canyon last approximately 4 hours, so you would want to get an early start on the day if you still wanted to see Zion. After some very rudimentary sightseeing in Zion, the drive to Las Vegas would then be ~4 hours. Better yet, spend the night in Springdale, UT, so you can use part of the next day to hit areas you might have missed the day prior. Trip map
      As you’ve hopefully deduced by now, you really need 4 days/3 nights to pull all this off. If that’s not possible, then take Zion off the list this time around. This is a huge park that really warrants a stay of 2-3 days to fully enjoy and explore it. Save it for another trip when you can give it enough time to do it justice!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  30. Im planning a group trip 3/25-3/29 for my birthday to see grand canyons, horseshoe bend, and Sedona slide rock. We will be staying in Scottsdale, AZ. I was planning on going to the canyons that Friday then come back to Scottsdale the same day. What activities are there to do while at the canyons, horseshoe bend, or Sedona. Also, how early would we need to leave to be able to see everything?

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      I’m sorry, but your plan to visit all of the locations you name in one day won’t work.
      First off, it takes ~5 hours to drive from Scottsdale, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim. You need at least 2-4 hours to at least “scratch the surface” of all there is to see. Then, it will probably take you approximately 5 hours to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ to visit Horseshoe Bend. Normally, the drive, from Grand Canyon to Page, AZ, takes ~3 hours, but a critical component of the shortest travel route between the two locations (AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ) has been closed for nearly a year by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe due to COVID-19. The closure is expected to remain in effect through spring, and if it does, it means you’d have to drive all the way back down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North via US89 to Page, AZ. Even if AZ64 East were to open back up, you’re still looking at a lot of driving just to get to 2 out of 3 destinations on your list. After visiting Horseshoe Bend, which takes ~90 minutes-2 hours to park, walk out to the overlook, take a few photos, then walk back, you’d be facing another 3-hour drive to Sedona, where you won’t have time to do much of anything, then ~2.5 hours to get back to Scottsdale. Trip map
      When you add that all up, 5+(3)5+3+2, that’s 13-15 hours of driving on a day where you don’t even have 11 hours of daylight (sunrise occurs ~6:15 AM, sunset takes place at around 6:45 PM). It would be best if you could set aside at least 2 nights to accomplish all that, 3 would be even better. For optimal safety and enjoyment, spend the night at the Grand Canyon, then another night in Page, AZ. You could then do some sightseeing in Sedona as a “drive-by” on the way back to Scottsdale, but Slide Rock wouldn’t be the best place to go at that time of year. It will probably still be too cold to enjoy the water. But there are still other sights to see and things to do, so I wouldn’t fret about that.
      If one day is all you can spare, then pick one location, and make the most of your day there. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, you should prioritize it over Sedona and Page, and save these destinations for another trip when you can give them the time they deserve.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you so much. We will just visit the Grand Canyons. If we stayed the night at the grand canyons, where is a good place to stay or a close city near by?
        On the drive by Sedona on the way back to Scottsdale. What are some places to go to sight see?

        1. Hi again, Vanessa!
          I think that’s a good call to just hit the Grand Canyon this time around and save the other parks for another time, preferably when COVID-19 is somewhat in the rear view mirror.
          As for where to stay, it’s always most desirable to stay inside the park if you can. If this is not possible, then Tusayan, 7 miles outside the park is your next best option. Should that area be sold out, then Williams, AZ, 60 miles due South of the park would be your “Plan C.” Grand Canyon hotels
          Visiting Sedona, AZ, as a “drive by,” you can see quite a bit without setting foot outside your car, but time/desire permitting, you could visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Red Rock Crossing, maybe take a short hike, such as Little Horse or Cathedral Rock, and have a nice lunch/dinner somewhere. TripAdvisor: Half Day In Sedona – What To Do? Whatever you do, definitely plan a return trip to Sedona when you can spend more time. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be doing this the very second you see how beautiful this area is!
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

      2. Dear Alley,

        Hello 🙂 Alley
        How are you doing today?

        I have question regarding tours to horseshoe bend
        Could you please send me an email?
        Thank you very much 🙂

  31. Hi,
    I am travelling to Page AZ, on 23rd Jan and plan to spend 24th, 25th and a bit of 26th visiting the canyons. Do you have any recommendations as to where all I can visit in this short window? Initially I wanted to visit Zion national park but there seems to be some snow during this period so I decided to visit horse shoe bend but not sure what else I can visit under these circumstances. Any suggestions are greately appreciated! 🙂

    1. Hi Nandini,
      Snow shouldn’t necessarily deter you from visiting Zion National Park. It’s unlikely that the park will be closed if they do receive snow, and even if they do, the roads are usually plowed, and your photographs would be beautiful!
      But I digress… the first thing jumping out at me is wondering whether you’ve been to the Grand Canyon? If not, that should be the area you prioritize over all others. Only the South Rim is open at this time of year, and due to the closure of a section of AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ (or vice versa), is extended from a normal time of ~3 hours to ~5 hours. This is due to having to take a rather long detour South through Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North to Page, AZ (or the Grand Canyon). Because of this, it is best to stay overnight at the Grand Canyon rather than trying to make a day trip out of it from Page, AZ.
      Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ, remains open to visitors (it’s one of the few places that never closed). Unfortunately, the Antelope Canyons, another very popular attraction, remain closed by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe, along with all Tribal Parks. A good alternate slot canyon to visit, though, is Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon, near Kanab, UT, ~70 minutes from Page. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons in a short but memorable walk offering up classic slot canyon scenery, and some unique geological features, Red/Peek-A-Boo is the most family-friendly of the two afore-mentioned slot canyons. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is not difficult, the drive to get there is. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. Even then, experienced drivers get stuck out there on a daily basis. If you’re in a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. There are several reputable companies in Kanab, UT, that can get you to Peek-A-Boo Canyon, including:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Whether you stay overnight in Kanab, UT, or make a day trip out from Page, AZ, another hike you might enjoy in this area is the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos. The trailhead is between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, at mile marker 19 of US89.
      Getting back to the subject of Zion National Park, again, snow shouldn’t scare you off completely. It may limit some of the hikes you can take, due to the presence of ice or snow on higher altitude trails (such as Angel’s Landing), but there would still be plenty to enjoy, especially along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Another advantage to traveling at this time of year is that you don’t have to use the Zion Canyon shuttle, which is a pain in the hind quarters. Winter is one of the few times of year you can drive your own vehicle in the best areas for sightseeing.
      Should you still decide to skip Zion National Park this time around (or even if you don’t!), another nice drive you might take would be to make the loop down from Page, AZ, through Marble Canyon and Lees Ferry, through Jacob Lake, AZ, and then back. At Lees Ferry, this is one of the few places you can actually drive your vehicle fairly close to the banks of the Colorado River and actually dip your feet in (the water will be cold). You could also walk around the Lonely Dell Ranch Area for a fascinating glimpse into the history of transport and commerce in this area. After walking across Navajo Bridge and maybe spotting a California Condor, a great place to stop for lunch is Cliff Dweller’s Restaurant. The view is amazing, and the food is surprisingly good for such a remote location. It’s one of Northern Arizona’s best-kept culinary secrets! If you decide to proceed as far as Jacob Lake, stop at the Inn to grab a bag of their delicious home-made cookies.
      Time/desire permitting, you could also stop by Pipe Springs National Monument, another history-oriented site that illustrates the hardships of life for the areas early occupants and settlers. Another “bonus” stop you might make is the Big Water Visitors Center and Dinosaur Museum. Trip map
      No matter what you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival, and to time any and all driving to occur during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit (a deliberate move to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky), and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other large wildlife that could elevate your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  32. Alley, I really appreciate your positivity even when sharing bad news. We too are planning a trip in March arriving 3/21 in Phoenix with our lodging set as a base camp in Flagstaff. We’re currently working on itinerary and wonder what input you might have. Key areas include Flagstaff, Sedona, grand canyon and page. We’ve got 5 full days, plus the the trip from Phoenix because we’ll arrive early morning.

    We’d like to go rafting somewhere, on the Colorado River.

    Any suggestions and/or recommendations?

    1. Hi Robyn,
      Assuming you only have one day to give to a Colorado River Rafting Trip, you have two options:
      1. Drive to Page, AZ (~2.5 hours from Flagstaff, AZ), and do the Wilderness River Adventures’ 1/2-Day Horseshoe Bend Rafting Trip. This tour covers 15 miles of the Colorado River from the base of the Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry, and occurs entirely on smooth water. Kids must be at least 5 to take part.
      2. Drive to Peach Springs, AZ (~2 hours from Flagstaff, AZ) for Hualapai River Runners’ 1-Day White Water Raft Trip. Open to children 8 and up, this is a full day trip that starts at around 7:00 AM and could last anywhere from 12-14 hours, so it will mean a very early morning and a late night using Flagstaff, AZ, as a “base camp.”
      Now, there is a possibility that option #1 might not be available at the time of your visit. The Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip was unable to operate last year due to COVID-19, and there is a possibility that it might not yet be up and running until later this year. Should that be the case, your best alternative would be to drive down to Lees Ferry, rent a kayak, get backhauled to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam, and paddle the 15 miles down the river back to Lees Ferry. This is a relatively easy activity that first-time kayakers can do, but may not be suitable for families with very young children or seniors in tow. Local companies that offer this service are:
      – Kayak Horseshoe Bend 928-355-2211 https://kayakhorseshoebend.com/
      – Wilderness River Adventures (928) 645-3296 https://www.riveradventures.com/
      – Kelly Outfitters/Lees Ferry Backhaul (928) 510-5511 http://www.kellyoutfitters.com/ http://leesferrybackhaul.com/
      – Kayak The Colorado 928-856-0012 https://www.kayakthecolorado.com/
      – Lees Ferry On The Fly (928) 326-1162 https://leesferryonthefly.com/
      – Marble Canyon Outfitters 800-533-7339 https://www.leesferryflyfishing.com/
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

  33. Hi Alley, We are planning a trip in March 3/18/21 – 3/27/21. We will arrive in Flagg Staff on the 18th. The flight arrives late so we plan on staying there for the night. The 3 places we would like to visit Sedona, Grand Canyon & Lake Powell. We do leave early on Saturday so I am thinking for the last leg to stay in Sedona. What is the best route to take, number of days needed in each area, Good places to stay, and things to do while we are there. These are a few things we have on our wish list. Unfortunately it looks like Antelope Canyon will most likely still be closed.
    Hike Horse Shoe Bend
    Rafting or Boat Tour Lake Powell
    Hiking at the Grand Canyon
    Hiking in Sedona
    Air Balloon
    Train Ride ??

    Any guidance and suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Thank you!!

    1. Hi Nicole,
      A few days in Sedona, AZ, would definitely be a great way to end your trip. A minimum stay of 3 days is recommended to fully explore and enjoy the area, it has a lot to see and do! This would be where you’d want to look at doing a hot air balloon ride. Most depart first thing in the morning.
      As for the rest of your time, I would recommend spending a couple of days in Page, AZ, if you wanted to hike Horseshoe Bend and do a water-based activity. Hopefully they will resume as planned in March.
      If you wanted to do any hiking at the Grand Canyon, I would not necessarily recommend the Grand Canyon Railway. Not that it isn’t fun (it is, I’ve ridden it several times!), but there are some definite points in the minus column that make it inconducive to Grand Canyon hiking. For one, it is pulled by an antique diesel engine, which takes 2 hours and 15 minutes to make a trip that would only take you 1 hour to make by car. You arrive at the South Rim at approximately 11:45 AM, then depart at around 3:30 PM. That gives you less than 4 hours to explore the immediate area around Grand Canyon Village. You could certainly walk part of the easy, paved Rim Trail, or even venture a short way down Bright Angel Trail (remember you have to double how long it took to hike down to calculate your estimated time to hike back up), and maybe grab lunch at some point, but not much else. If you wanted to spend the better part of your day hiking, your best option would be to drive yourself and stay inside the park. Here’s a video that explains the Train Vs. Drive to the Grand Canyon question in more detail.
      The only potential complication to self-driving is is the closure of the section of AZ64 from Desert View Point at Grand Canyon South Rim to Cameron, AZ. This critical component of the shortest travel route between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ, is situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Land and has been closed to minimize Navajo Reservation residents’ potential exposure to COVID-19. All other roads in the area are open, but if you’re planning to travel between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ (or vice versa), you will have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North via US89 to Page, AZ, or US180/AZ64 or I40/AZ64 to Grand Canyon South Rim. This has turned what is normally ~a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive.
      You are correct in that the Antelope Canyons are closed, and probably will remain closed at the time of your visit. The best alternatives at the moment are located near Kanab, UT, which is ~70-90 minutes from Page, AZ, so you might earmark a day to spend in that area. Tours of Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon last ~4 hours. Afterward (or before, depending on the time of your tour), you could enjoy the hike to the Paria Rimrocks and the Toadstool Hoodoos.
      Sorry to jump around a bit with your itinerary, I hope it all makes sense! If not, feel free to write in again and bounce more ideas off us 🙂
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley

      1. Hi Alley,

        I’m planning a trip next week to Zion and further to Page (Buckskin Gulch, Horseshoe Bend, etc). The plan is to go through St. George and Kanab, from Las Vegas, but i’m not sure what the situation is with the closure of the parks in this time. Is that route open all the way to Page from Las Vegas?
        Also, is Horseshoe Bend available to visit?
        Thank you !

        1. Hi Mircea,
          All the roads you plan to take from Las Vegas to Page, AZ, through Zion National Park are open and passable. Horseshoe Bend may be visited at your convenience during normal operating hours of the parking lot, which are sunrise to sunset.
          Some hotels and food service operations may be limited or reduced due to COVID-19, but this will vary from place to place. Whatever you do, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  34. Hello, My family and I plan on going to visit horseshoe bend this weekend 1/16. Does anyone have any issues getting through the indian reservation in page? I was told they are on Lockdown every weekend until the end of the month?

    1. Hi Anissa,
      You are correct that the Navajo Indian Reservation has implemented some very strict protocols in order to mitigate transmission of COVID-19, and one of them includes limiting contact with outsiders via the weekend lockdown.
      One measure they have also taken is to close a section of AZ64 from Desert View Point at Grand Canyon South Rim to Cameron, AZ. This is a critical component of the shortest travel route between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ (where Horseshoe Bend is located). All other roads in the area are open, but if you’re planning to travel between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ, you will have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North via US89 to Page, AZ. This has turned what is normally ~a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive.
      Whatever you do, if your travels must take you through the Navajo Reservation, be sure that your vehicle is fully fueled and that you carry sufficient water and snacks to tide you over until you reach your off-Reservation destination. Avoid stopping on Reservation lands and interacting with tribe members.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  35. Hi Alley,

    Wondering what you would recommend for my fiancé and I as we would be flying into Tucson on March 4th and flying out March 10th. I am bummed to hear that Antelope Canyon is closed as this was #1 on my list to see in Arizona. I don’t have an itinerary planned, but I was thinking to visit the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe bend, and the Wave. I was also recommended Fountain Hills. What can we do that has the most wonderful views, activities, and hiking trails?

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Shannon!
      Well, you’ve gotten the bad news about the closure of the Antelope Canyons, but there is a way to salvage that item on your wish list. More on that in a minute.
      Unfortunately, there’s more potentially bad news: there’s a 99.9% probability that The Wave is not going to happen. This world-famous geological formation is located in a specially managed area called Coyote Buttes North. Due to the uniqueness and fragility of the rock formations, only 20 people per day are allowed by advance permit to enter this area. 10 permits are given out by online lottery; another 10 by walk-in lottery in Kanab, UT, the day prior to when you wish to hike. Since March weather is typically mild, it is considered one of the prime months to hike The Wave, therefore, the permit process is particularly competitive. Best to cross The Wave off this time around, and maybe plan a visit to one of its popular, and so far permit-free, alternatives, such as White Pocket.
      Because you’re starting your trip off in Tucson, AZ, I recommend that you get the longer drive out of the way first, driving up to Page, AZ (~6.5-7 hours), and book a hotel for 2 nights. Visit Horseshoe Bend on your way into town, then the next day, drive up to Kanab, UT (~75 minutes from Page), to tour Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. This is a beautiful slot canyon that offers twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons in a short but memorable walk featuring classic slot canyon scenery, and some unique geological features. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is not difficult, the drive to get there is. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. Even then, experienced drivers get stuck out there on a daily basis. If you’re in a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. There are several reputable companies in Kanab, UT, that can get you to Peek-A-Boo Canyon, including:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Tours of Peek-A-Boo Canyon typically last ~4 hours. Time/desire permitting, you might stop and hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail on the way back to Page, AZ. I recommend you spend a 2nd night there to give yourself a head start on the drive to Grand Canyon South Rim the following morning. What do I mean by that? Since COVID-19 began, the Navajo Indian Tribe decided to close and integral component of the shortest travel route from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim, namely, AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point. This means that to drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim requires that you drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then slingshot back up North to GC South Rim via US180/AZ64 or I40/AZ64. This has turned what is normally ~a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive.
      Stay 1 night at Grand Canyon South Rim, then begin the return trip South. Fountain Hills is a nice area that has a lot to offer, but an area that IMO offers more in the way of scenic beauty and fun activities is Sedona. This is a stunning area ~3 hours drive from Grand Canyon South Rim that really deserves 2-3 days of your time to do it justice, so if you can’t give it that this time around, then by all means, head down to Fountain Hills for your last day and visit Taliesin West (architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s Southwest retreat and school), the River of Time Museum, the Desert Botanical Garden, or hike Sunrise Peak.
      Should you take me up on the suggestion to conclude your trip in Sedona, AZ, the drive back to Tucson, AZ, will be ~4.5 hours. Fountain Hills, AZ, would put you ~3 hours away from Tucson. BTW, if you’re not locked into your flights into/out of Tucson, AZ, you might look at changing your staging city to Phoenix, AZ. That way, you avoid having to switch plans (possibly) for a 30-minute flight, and slice 90 minutes off your drive times at the beginning and end of your trip.
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

  36. Hi Alley –
    Sorry to bother you, but I see you’ve made some amazing recommendations for other people in these comments so I was wondering if you might have some advice for me too. I thought I had a good plan for our trip, but I just saw Antelope Canyon is still closed, so I’m looking for something else to do either around Page or maybe in Kanab? We are car camping and hikers so definitely looking for anything that gets our feet moving. We will be out that way from January 13-23 and here is what I had planned so far:
    13 – arrive in Las Vegas, sleep in Vegas.
    14 – drive through Zion to get to Big Water or Page (maybe Kanab might be better for the first stop?). I know we need 2-3 days to really see Zion, but we are coming back later this year for that. This time we’ll just take our time driving through and stopping at scenic overlooks.
    15 – Finding a hike to do in Kanab and/or the Grand Staircase-Escalante. Sleeping in Page.
    16 – Visiting Horseshoe Bend (and anything else in the area?) Sleeping in Page or heading on to Sedona
    17 – 18 – Visit Sedona and spend time in the area (any recommendations welcome!)
    19 – drive up to the Grand Canyon South Rim. Sleep in Kaibab National Forest
    20- Grand Canyon, Sleep in Park.
    21 – Drive to Hoover Dam/Lake Mead
    22- Hike Liberty Bell Arch Trail and drive back to Las Vegas
    23 – Go home.
    Would love to know your thoughts and suggestions! Thanks so much for taking the time to help us all plan these amazing trips 🙂

    1. Hi Blaire,
      First off, you’re not bothering me a bit, helping people like yourself plan trips out here is my passion!
      To coin a phrase, there’s good news and bad news: the good news is that your itinerary looks pretty fun and very well-paced.
      The bad news is that there’s a rather large flaw in it that I cannot ignore: the car camping. Although the area you’re proposing to visit is considered “the desert,” nights are very cold at this time of year. For examples, the nighttime low at Grand Canyon South Rim tonight is forecasted to dip down to ~20 degrees (Fahrenheit). Page, AZ, is expecting similarly cold temperatures. Kanab, UT, is slightly warmer, but low temperatures are expected to remain below freezing for the better part of the month. Unless you have a sleeping bag that’s specifically rated for cold weather, and/or a reliable heat source in your vehicle, you’re going to be very uncomfortable, and hiking is no fun if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep the night before! I would strongly recommend that you spring for motel rooms along your itinerary. While in-park lodging can be expensive, gateway city hotels tend to be more reasonably priced.
      On that first day out (01/14), make Kanab, UT, your stopping point. The drive over from Las Vegas takes ~3-3.5 hours. If you can, get an early start on the trip so you can make the short detour through the stunning Valley of Fire State Park. It’s not far out of your way, and winter is a great time to visit. Summer is way too hot! Time permitting, you might also stop by Pipe Springs National Monument near Fredonia, UT. It’s something of a “hidden gem,” but a very educational glimpse into the hardships and triumphs experienced by the area’s early settlers.
      On 01/15, the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos is a good and fairly easy hike you can make en route from Kanab, UT, to Page, AZ. If you want something a little more rugged, try the Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch. Overnight in Page, then hit Horseshoe Bend the next morning. Other areas you can visit whilst in Page, AZ, include, but are not limited to:
      Page Rim View Trail
      Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      Grand View Overlook Park
      The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      Now, if you wanted to drive to Sedona, AZ, to spend the night after sightseeing in Page, AZ, note that the drive takes ~3 hours, and you want to be sure you do ALL your driving out here during daylight hours. Local roads are very dimly lit (a deliberate move to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky), and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife which could elevate your risk of a collision. That’s not something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. Sunset at the time of year you’re visiting takes place at around 5:45 PM, so if you wanted to make it to Sedona, AZ, safely, plan on leaving Page, AZ, no later than 3:00 PM, or spend the night in Page, AZ and hit the road when you’re fresh the next morning.
      In Sedona, AZ, you’ll find no shortage of things to see and do, including hiking! Top 12 Hikes in Sedona AZ The town itself is also home to some beautiful buildings, including the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, Amithaba Peace Park, and a ton of art galleries, if that’s your thing.
      The drive to Grand Canyon South Rim from Sedona, AZ, will also take ~3 hours. Here again, try to get a motel room in the park if you can. If budget is a primary concern, inquire about a European-style lodge room at Bright Angel Lodge. These are economical units with no TV, shared bath down the hall, but the bare basics taken care of, namely, a comfortable bed!
      The drive to Las Vegas will take ~5 hours. If you’re into Route 66 nostalgia, consider stopping at Seligman, AZ, which was partially the real-life inspiration for the town of Radiator Springs from the “Cars” movies. The Hoover Dam Visitors Center is closed due to COVID-19, but its outside areas have recently reopened to the public, which is good.
      For optimal convenience for hiking the Liberty Bell Arch Trail, you might want to stay in Boulder City or Henderson, NV, then drive on to Vegas after completing eLiberty Bell Arch Trail
      Good luck, safe travels and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley,

        I see you’ve made some amazing recommendations for other people in the comments so I was wondering if you might have some advice for my group as well. We have been staying in Scottsdale, AZ for the past 2 weeks and are looking to do a little road trip this weekend and explore (Friday, 1/15 – Monday, 1/18). We have no set itinerary and are very much open to any of your suggestions. Please see below for some of our thoughts and must-do items we have heard about:

        Horseshoe Bend / Lake Powell area
        Antelope Canyon alternatives since it is closed
        Glen Canyon Dam Bridge
        Toadstool Hoodoos
        Vermilion Cliffs National Monument
        Whitepocket
        Grand Canyon

        We are planning on leaving Friday, Jan 15th mid-afternoon to drive to Page, AZ so we are ready to go first thing Saturday AM. We were thinking of doing Horseshoe Bend / Lake Powell area, Antelope Canyon alternatives since it is closed, Glen Canyon Dam Bridge, Toadstool Hoodoos, Vermilion Cliffs National Monument and Whitepocket spread out between Saturday and Sunday (open to other suggestions). I also saw you recommended the Sunset Safari Tour in Kanab, Utah which looked great. I see it is ~ an hour drive from Page, AZ so perhaps we can squeeze it in on Saturday afternoon if you think it is worth seeing? We then were going to drive to Grand Canyon area Sunday PM so we are ready to enter the South Rim first thing Monday AM. We were going to spend the entire day at Grand Canyon on Monday and then drive back to Scottsdale Monday PM.

        We are open to any and all recommendations and “must-see” things while here. Looking forward to hearing from you and so appreciate your help.

        Thank you!
        Alix

        1. Hey Alix,
          Thanks so much for your kind compliments! It makes it harder to be the bearer of bad news, but you’re trying to cram too many sites into a very short weekend. The one item that is least realistic is White Pocket. Not that this area isn’t beautiful — it is, incredibly so — but according to the tour companies that are authorized to go there, 7-9 hours is the typical timeframe for excursions to White Pocket. That essentially eats up an entire day of your already limited time. Save this for another trip when you can spend a week or more out here and really take your time!
          Another thing that’s potentially working against you this time of year is daylength. It’s very short, with sunrise taking place at ~7:45 AM, and sunset occurring around 5:30 PM. You need to make sure that you do all your driving out here during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, due to local roads being very dimly lit (a deliberate move to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky), and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife which could elevate your risk of a collision. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
          In light of some of these considerations, here’s what I’d recommend:
          01/15 – Drive to Page, AZ. Since the drive from Scottsdale, AZ, to Page, AZ, takes ~5 hours, you need to hit the road no later than 12:30 PM-1:00 PM. Overnight in Page, AZ
          01/16 – Visit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning, brief stop at the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge, then drive to Kanab, UT (~75 minutes from Page, AZ), to tour Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon (this is the #1 Antelope Canyon alternative tour). On the way back to Page, AZ, time and desire permitting, hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail, then return to Page, AZ. OR you could return to Page, AZ, via the “long way around” which would take you past the Vermilion Cliffs, Marble Canyon, and Lees Ferry. Time permitting, you could have a late lunch or early dinner at Cliff Dweller’s Restaurant, one of the best-kept culinary secrets in Northern Arizona! The latter route will add another hour onto your drive time, so you should carefully consider whether you’d have enough daylight left before committing to it. Spend a 2nd night in Page, AZ. The reason I suggest driving back to Page instead of spending the night in Kanab, UT, is to give you a head start on the drive to the Grand Canyon.
          01/17 – Drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim. Now, normally, this would be ~a 3-hour drive, but since AZ64 is closed between Cameron, AZ, and Desert View Point, that means you have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then “slingshot” back up North to GC via US180/AZ64 or I40/AZ64. This has turned a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim.
          01/18 – Head back to Phoenix. Via most direct route, drive time is ~5-hours, or if you want, make a detour through Sedona, which would extend the trip another 90 minutes-2 hours.
          Trip map
          Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours before you set out this weekend.
          Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
          Alley 🙂

          1. Hi Alley,

            You are a wealth of knowledge! Thank you so much for sharing and for all your recommendations to people! I am still putting my trip together, and was wondering if you would have any kayaking recommendations for horseshoe?

            I am flying into Phoenix 1/21 and planned on heading straight to Sedona. I am from MN and have winter gear for both hiking and backpacking- but planned on car camping with my -20 rated sleeping bag and insulated pad. I should be to Sedona by 3p and looking for a short (8miles tops) sunset hike.

            On 1/22 I was hoping to rent a kayak and kayak Antelope Canyon- I was recommend https://lakepowellpaddleboards.com/paddling-horseshoe-bend/ – but they are closed for the season. Do you have any other recommendations?

            1/23 is unplanned

            1/24 I fly out in the afternoon- but debating the following hikes: Cathedral Rock, Bear Mountain or Solider Pass – also open to other suggestions for a quick morning hike.

          2. Hi Johnnashae,
            Thanks for your compliments, they are definitely nice to hear!
            Unfortunately, I have to be the bearer of a bit of bad news: kayak, SUP, and boat tours are on hiatus for the winter. Honestly, this time of year is not great for water-based activities anyway. Both the water temperature are way too cold to be comfortable. About the only option out there for doing anything on the water — and this too is something of a crapshoot — would be a private boat tour through Lake Powell Resorts. The boats seat up to six guest and can be chartered for $265 an hour, which includes the boat, captain, gas and taxes. To book or inquire about that, you must call Lake Powell Resorts directly at 928-645-1111.
            Other activities available in Page, AZ, are:
            – Horseshoe Bend
            Page Rim View Trail
            Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
            Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
            Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
            Grand View Overlook Park
            The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
            Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
            One potential omission which is kind of jumping out at me is the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never been there before, you should definitely make time for it! The only complication is the closure of the section of AZ64 from Desert View Point at Grand Canyon South Rim to Cameron, AZ. This critical component of the shortest travel route between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ, is situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Land and has been closed to minimize Navajo Reservation residents’ potential exposure to COVID-19. All other roads in the area are open, but if you’re planning to travel between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ (or vice versa), you will have to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North via US89 to Page, AZ, or US180/AZ64 or I40/AZ64 to Grand Canyon South Rim. This has turned what is normally ~a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. If you were wanting to camp in that area, you’ll definitely need that cold weather sleeping bag and insulated pad. You’ll also be required to camp in a designated camping spot, which you’d have to pay for, or utilize “camping at large” areas outside the park, which would require you to be at least 1/4 mile from the main highway, and pack out all trash.
            As for hikes in Sedona, AZ, all the ones you’ve named are great, but are certainly not the only options. There are literally hundreds of miles of hiking trails in Sedona, AZ, so you’ll have no trouble finding a great way to spend your morning!
            Good luck and safe travels,
            Alley 🙂

      2. This is amazing! Thank you so much! Also thank you for warning us about the weather, but I may have over-simplified with my “car camping” reference – we will be in a converted camper van with all-weather sleeping bags, extra blankets, and a portable heater so I think we should be warm enough. If it still turns out to be too cold, we will definitely find some motels!
        Again I really appreciate all the recommendations and think we have more than enough options now to keep ourselves entertained. Now comes the hard part of choosing which ones to do 🙂 Please take care and Happy New Year to you as well!

        1. Hi again, Blaire!
          Thanks for the clarification about having a camper van, all-weather sleeping bags, and a heat source. You seem adequately prepared for colder weather, and in light of that, and willingness to spring for a motel if need be, you should have a great time. If the purpose of car/van camping is to save money, visit FreeCampsites.net or download the app to find free or nearly free spots to camp along your route.
          If you get a minute when you return home, feel free to write in again and let us know how things went!
          Take care,
          Alley 🙂

  37. Hi,
    We will be having a quick getaway to sedona, az on January 26. Planning to leave on the night of the 25 from san gabriel valley,ca. Is it possible to do horseshoe bend before reaching sedona since our check in is until 3pm. We will be leaving sedona on the 28th; it os super tight but I really wanna maximize. Since antelope is closed do you have any suggestions on the itinerary…thanks mucho!

    1. Hi Regale,
      I get the distinct impression you are not aware of where Horseshoe Bend actually is. It is located ~5 miles South of the town of Page, AZ, ~a 3-hour North of Sedona.
      As it stands, you’re facing ~7-8 hours drive from San Gabriel, CA, to Sedona, AZ. Trying to cram Horseshoe Bend in will turn that into a 11-12 hour drive. Not my idea of a vacation, unless you can somehow rearrange your schedule so you can spend the night in Page, AZ.
      My advice? Enjoy your two days in Sedona, AZ. Plan a return visit to Page, AZ, when you have the time to do it justice, and the Antelope Canyons are open once again. From what we’ve heard, that won’t occur until spring of this year, and that’s being optimistic.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year,
      Alley 🙂

  38. We are travelling into Las Vegas on 1/13. My daughter (27) and I (46) are trying to plan our trip to include Bryce Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Escalante, and The Narrows/Zion. We really have three days to do all of this 1/15-1/17. Is there an itinerary that you would suggest to accomplish all of this within that given timeframe? Is Escalante worth trying to include, or is there something else you would suggest. We are totally open to suggestions in order to maximize our time in the area. We have not booked lodging in the area, so could base ourselves out of whatever is easier, and even stay each night in a different place. Do we need to hire a guide or take a tour to visit any of these, or can we do them on our own? We will have a rental car and can try to get a 4×4, although I am not experienced in driving off road.

    1. Hi Jill,
      One little “reality check” I need to throw in right off the bat is that I wouldn’t count on hiking the Narrows at this time of year. You have to realize that this hike requires walking through water most of the time, and it’s awfully cold on the river right now. Not that it hasn’t been done, but frankly, if you’re not experienced with this kind of hiking, I’d skip it this time around. The good news is that there are lots of wonderful hikes you can enjoy in Zion National Park. I think the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive is open to private vehicles at this time of year, but if it’s not, you’ll need to utilize the shuttle system, which requires advance purchase of tickets via Recreation.gov. But again, I’m relatively certain that at this time of year you can drive your own vehicle into the park.
      RE: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, that is a huge area, and most of it is located East of US89 in Southern Utah and Northern Arizona. You will, however, be able to pass by the Western “fringes” of the Monument driving from Kanab, UT, to Page, AZ. If you are able to plan a future trip out here, definitely set aside a few days to visit the area, as well as Capitol Reef and Moab.
      So in light of your timeframe and desires that can be realistically accomplished, here’s what I’d recommend:
      January 15th: Drive from Las Vegas to Page, AZ (~5 hours), visit Horseshoe Bend (or do it the next morning), overnight in Page
      January 16th: Drive from Page, AZ, to Bryce Canyon (~3 hours), maybe hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail on the way, overnight in the Bryce Canyon area, or Kanab, UT (~90 minutes from Bryce)
      January 17th: Day trip from Kanab, UT, to Zion National Park (~30 minute drive from Kanab), 2nd night in Kanab, UT
      January 18th: Drive back to Las Vegas (~3.5 hours from Kanab, UT), if desired, take short detour through Valley of Fire State Park, just Northeast of LAS
      Trip map
      Another alternative would be to simply book all 3 nights in Kanab, UT, and visit Horseshoe Bend as a day trip from there. Page, AZ, is about one hour and change, one way, from Kanab, UT.
      None of the activities/areas I’ve recommended require a guide to visit, and all are located on paved, well-traveled roads. The thing you’ll really need to keep an eye on is the time, namely, to be aware of when sunset occurs. This time of year, it takes place around 5:30 PM. You need to plan on doing all driving during daylight hours out here since local roads are very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife elevate your risk of a collision. That’s not something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      Whatever you decide, I strongly recommend that you book some hotel reservations before you fly out here. Some motels and lodges have reduced capacity to facilitate cleaning and sanitizing between guest occupancies due to COVID-19. I’d hate to see you come all this way and not be able to find a place to stay!
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year,
      Alley 🙂

  39. Okay so we are a family of 4 (2 teens) that are visiting AZ for the first time. We will be at a meeting in Prescott that ends on Jan 16. We fly out of Phoenix the afternoon of the 19th. So what should we do with those 3 nights, 3 days? What would make the most sense? We were thinking about driving from Prescott to Grand Canyon the night of the 16th so we can do the Grand Canyon on the 17th. Should we try Page or Flagstaff on the 18th? We have never really seen much snow since we are from New Orleans:) Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Christine!
      You could do a number of things with your free time after your meeting in Prescott, AZ, but if you’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, you should definitely prioritize it over everything else. Going via the most direct route through Chino Valley, Ash Fork, etc., the drive would take you approximately 2.5 hours. If you wanted to take a more scenic route through Sedona, AZ, the drive would take ~4 hours. Due to the driving distance, plan on staying overnight at the Grand Canyon for optimal comfort and safety.
      Whatever you choose, hopefully your meeting in Prescott, AZ, would end early enough for you to make it to your destination by sundown. All your driving should be done during daylight hours since local roads are very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife elevate your risk of a collision. That’s not something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. In mid-January, sunset occurs at approximately 5:45 PM, so plan accordingly. If your meeting ends later in the afternoon, I would recommend just staying put in Prescott, then head to your next destination the following morning.
      RE: visiting Page, AZ, or Flagstaff, AZ, Page may not be so practical this time around due to the closure of an integral component of the shortest travel route from Grand Canyon South Rim. The Navajo Indian Tribe, in order to mitigate exposure to COVID-19, has opted to close AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ. This means that to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, you must drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then slingshot back North via US89. This has turned what is normally a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. Since the Antelope Canyons are also closed, and water-based activities are on seasonal hiatus, as much as I hate to say it, I’d recommend skipping Page, AZ, this time around and maybe taking that extra day to concentrate on Flagstaff, AZ, and/or Sedona, AZ. Either town would put you just 2-2.5 hours from Phoenix, so you wouldn’t have far to drive for your return flight.
      As for snow, Northern Arizona has gotten a fair amount of it, but nowhere near what’s typical. It fluctuates from year to year. You might take the scenic gondola ride at Arizona Snow Bowl in Flagstaff, AZ, or visit one of several local sledding or snow play areas. Naturally, actual snow amounts can’t be guaranteed, so if you do get some during your visit, consider it, as you would say New Orleans, “lagniappe.”
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

  40. Hello,
    We reserved a cabin in Glendale, UT in the spring 2021 and will have full 4 days plus a 5th day that we are leaving from LV at night. Just realized Antelope is closed:( What would be your recommendation for each day? Anything we must see/do. Traveling with a 7 years old. Thank you!

    1. Hi Olga!
      Sorry to hear that the closure of the Antelope Canyons has thrown something of a wrench into your plans, but there may be a way to salvage that. More on that in a minute…
      Using Glendale, UT, as your “home base,” you can have a great time exploring Northern Arizona and Southern Utah! You should take one full day to visit Zion National Park (~30 minutes from Glendale, UT [one way]), another to do Bryce Canyon (~45 minutes from Glendale), a third to visit Horseshoe Bend and Page, AZ (~2 hours from Glendale), then your 4th day to visit Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon in Kanab, UT (~30 minutes from Glendale, that’s the best alternative to the Antelope Canyons for those traveling with young children). Note that the order in which you do these doesn’t matter all that much, with one possible exception.
      As you can see, all the destinations I’ve listed are a fairly short drive from Glendale, UT, except one: Horseshoe Bend. Since the drive from Glendale, UT, to Page, AZ, is almost 2 hours one-way, you may want to drop a night at Glendale, UT, and stay in Page, AZ, instead. If you’re locked into those reservations, you can visit Page, AZ, as a day trip from Glendale, UT, as long as you keep a close eye on the time, particularly, sunset. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could hike up your risk of a car accident. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold (spring nights can still dip down around freezing), where help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. When you refer to your trip taking place in spring 2021, assuming that you mean March or April, sunset in Page, AZ, occurs sometime before ~7:00 PM, 8:00 PM in Utah. You must bear in mind also that Utah is on Mountain Daylight Time, but Arizona will be on Mountain Standard Time, meaning that Utah is one hour “ahead” of Arizona. You would need to leave Page, AZ, no later than 5:15-5:30 PM, local time, in order to make it back by Glendale by sundown.
      One question that does pop up for me is have you been to the Grand Canyon? If not, you should definitely work it in somehow, but staying in Glendale, UT, situates you best to visit the North Rim, which doesn’t open until May 15th. If your visit is occurring before then, you wouldn’t be able to go to the North Rim on the ground, but it would be possible to fly over it. Fixed wing airplanes can be chartered out of Kanab, UT, or Page, AZ. Should your visit occur sometime after May 15th, the park would be open then, but the drive from Glendale, UT, would be 3 hours 1 way. Here again, best to stay in the immediate area of the North Rim rather than try to cram it in as a day trip.
      On the drive back to Las Vegas, you might take the short detour through Valley of Fire State Park. That’s a stunning area that’s really nice to visit in the springtime if it’s not too hot!
      For Red Canyon/Peek-A-Boo Canyon, a guided tour is not required, but they are strongly recommended due to the access road not being suitable for rental cars or those inexperienced with off-road driving. Tour companies offering trips to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

  41. Hi Alley! I am visiting Phoenix January 20 – 25th and would love to visit Page and Sedona. As we are landing before 1 p.m., I was thinking of driving straight to Sedona from the airport and spending one night there. The next day driving to Page and spending one night there. Visiting Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning and driving back to Phoenix/Scottsdale to spend the remaining 3 nights there. Does this itinerary make sense to you, or do you think it’s too exhausting? Any recommendations on must see things in Page and Sedona that are open at the time? Thank you in advance!

    1. Hey Jennie,
      Your proposed itinerary doesn’t sound exhausting at all, totally feasible. Still… I can’t help but add my .02 😉
      When you propose to spend the remaining 3 nights of your vacation in Phoenix/Scottsdale, I can’t get too enthusiastic about that because to me, that area is just another big city. I can think of better places to spend that kind of time, namely, Sedona, AZ. That’s a stunning area with lots to see and do, and is a great place to just chill for a few days before heading back to reality. One day is nowhere near enough time to do that area justice!
      If it were me, here’s what I’d do:
      January 20th: Fly to Phoenix, overnight in Phoenix
      January 21st: Drive to Page, AZ (~4.5-5 hours), overnight in Page
      January 22nd: Visit Horseshoe Bend, drive to Sedona (~3 hours), overnight in Sedona
      January 23rd: 2nd day/night in Sedona (Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, hot air balloon ride)
      January 24th: 3rd day/night in Sedona (hiking, wine tasting, city tour of Sedona)
      January 25th: Drive to Phoenix (~2.5 hours), fly home
      One night should be sufficient in Page, AZ, what with the Antelope Canyons being closed. One thing that did raise a red flag is that the Grand Canyon is conspicuously absent from your itinerary. If you’ve never been there, you should definitely try and work it in somehow, and between Page, AZ, and Sedona, AZ is the most logical place to put it. The only potential problem right now is that due to COVID-19, an integral component of the shortest route between the two destinations is closed, specifically AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point. That means you’d have to go all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North to the park via US180/AZ64 or I-40/AZ64; this has turned what used to be a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. Sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news on that front.
      Hope that helps. Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

  42. Hello! I’ll be landing in Phoenix, AZ with my 3 year old daughter on the 6th of January and I’ll be leaving AZ on the 11th in the evening. I was wanting to visit Phoenix, Sedona, Page, Grand Canyon and UT. Could you give me some suggestions on any kid friendly hikes and whatever else we could do? I’ll most probably have her stroller on some of the hikes just in case she gets tired but she has hiked 2 hour trails before.

    1. Hi Haneen,
      First off, I’d recommend taking Utah off the table. With only 5 days to work with, you simply don’t have enough time to do it justice. Zion National Park in particular warrants at least a 3-4 day stay. Ditto for Sedona, AZ, but you can still have a fulfilling visit in just 2 days time. Hopefully you’ve allowed for that seeing as though you’re leaving tomorrow.
      In light of your time constraints and the fact that you’re traveling with a toddler, I’d recommend:
      January 6th: Land in Phoenix, overnight in Phoenix
      January 7th: Drive from Phoenix to Page, AZ (~5 hours), overnight in Page
      January 8th: Visit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning (trail is partially paved, so should be navigable with a stroller), drive to Grand Canyon South Rim ***due to the closure of AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point, you’ll have to go all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North to the park via US180/AZ64; this has turned what used to be a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive*** The paved Rim Trail would be the best hike to take with a toddler in a stroller, overnight at the Grand Canyon
      January 9th: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Sedona, AZ (~3 hours), overnight in Sedona. Sedona has many stroller-friendly trails in various lengths, so you’ll find no shortage of beautiful hikes you can take!
      January 10th: 2nd day/night in Sedona
      January 11th: Drive from Sedona, AZ, to Phoenix (~2.5 hours), fly home
      Whatever you decide, be sure that you reserve all your hotels and any guided tours you might want to take ASAP.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you so much! Would white pocket be a great place to visit with my daughter? I understand I would need a 4×4 high clearance vehicle, anything else I should know or how I could get clear directions on getting there?

        1. Hi again, Haneen,
          White Pocket would probably be a bit too labor-intensive with a 3YO in tow. Not only the walking involved, but the drive to get out there. If you’re not experienced at driving in deep sand, you’re very likely to get stuck.
          A better hike for you guys would be The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock, which is just a few minutes away from Page, AZ, easy to find, and the trail is very easy to follow. You may not be able to manage a stroller out there, but it’s short enough so that if you end up carrying your daughter for a ways, it won’t be that far.
          You might also enjoy walking across the Glen Canyon Dam and Steel Arch Bridge, and the Hanging Gardens Trail nearby. For more information, check out this recent YouTube video featuring a young family hiking out to Horseshoe Bend and the Hanging Garden area, plus the little guy narrating is just SO cute 😉
          Have a wonderful time!
          Alley 🙂

          1. Thank you so much for taking the time to give me some insight and recommendations! I will definitely be looking into all that you have suggested and plan accordingly! Happy New Year!

  43. Hello! I am a little confused about which roads are closed due to COVID restrictions. As of right now, our plan is the following:
    -Hike around Sedona
    -Drive from Sedona to Page
    -Hike Horseshoe Bend
    -Stay the night in Page
    -Drive from Page to Springdale/Zion
    -Hike around Zion (Zion National Park, Bryce, Grand Canyon)

    Would this itinerary make sense? I remember seeing a post about restrictions between Page and Zion! Also, should we plan to see Grand Canyon based out of Zion or white in Page? If you have any other suggestions, we would appreciate it so much! Thank you so much!!!

    1. Hi Annie,
      Your itinerary looks pretty fun, and logically organized. However, I don’t recall seeing when you were planning to travel, and that piece of information is a crucial component of the advice I would give.
      If your trip is taking place between May 15th and October 15th, you could certainly make a day trip to Grand Canyon North Rim based out of Zion, Kanab, UT, or Page, AZ.
      If you are planning on traveling between October 15th and May 15th, Grand Canyon North Rim is closed during that time, so you would be limited to visiting Grand Canyon South Rim or Grand Canyon West (where the Grand Canyon Skywalk is located). Grand Canyon South Rim can be visited as a day trip out of Flagstaff, AZ, or Sedona, AZ, with careful planning and an eye on the time, but honestly, it can be better enjoyed if you stay the night either in the park or Tusayan, AZ.
      At the moment, driving from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, Zion NP, and points North requires taking a rather long detour through Flagstaff, AZ. This is due to a critical component of AZ64 on Navajo Indian Land, from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, being closed. Should that remain the case, and you are limited to visiting Grand Canyon South Rim, the drive from GCSR to Page, AZ, will be 5 hours one way instead of its normal ~3 hours.
      As of right now, there are no travel restrictions between Page, AZ, and Zion National Park, however, private vehicles are not allowed on the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive during peak tourist season. You are required to ride a shuttle to the viewpoints in that area, and advance purchase of tickets is required. Zion Canyon Shuttle Tickets
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

  44. Hi Ally! I have a 4 year old golden retriever, and we are fairly strong hikers I would say, though I always worry about his safety in new places and I was reading that Horseshoe Bend has some steep and rocky terrain. What are your thoughts on hiking Horseshoe Bend with a dog? Thank you!!

    1. Hi Maggie,
      Dogs visit Horseshoe Bend all the time. They are perfectly welcome as long as they are leashed at all times and their owners pick up after them. Also, be sure to bring enough water for yourself and your pet as this is a desert environment and as such, it’s very dry, even in wintertime.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Stephanie,
      I wouldn’t count on it. According to the official website of Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation, all Navajo Tribal Parks are still closed until further notice. These include:
      – The Antelope Canyons
      – Monument Valley
      – Four Corners
      – Tseyi Heritage Center at Canyon de Chelly
      – Some areas around Marble Canyon
      – Window Rock Veterans’ Memorial
      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news. If seeing Monument Valley remains high on your priority list, the safest way to go about it would be to take a fixed-wing airplane flight over it from the Page Municipal Airport. For more information on these, visit Westwind Air Service: Page To Monument Valley Air Tour
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hey Sandra,
      Yes, 4.5 hours is a fairly accurate figure, wheels turning, no stops. However, you can easily extend the drive as it’s very scenic and you will find many sights that warrant a photo stop! Have fun,
      Alley 🙂

  45. Hi,
    Is it possible to do a day trip to horseshoe band from Phonix? What time should we leave? And do you think we can do other things beside see the horseshoe band before we head back to Phonix? When would be the best time to leave the area to avoid driving in darkness? I see some comments that it could be dangerous. We are doing this on New years day. And antelope canynon is closed now, right?

    1. Hey June,
      So sorry I didn’t see your inquiry in time. You’ve probably already come and gone, and hopefully were able to find your way around without much difficulty.
      For anyone else considering a similar plan, it is possible to visit Horseshoe Bend as a day trip from Phoenix, but at this time of year, it’s not ideal. For one, days are short. Driving at night is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that elevates your risk of an accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, where cell service will be spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      The drive from Phoenix to Page, AZ, takes approximately 4.5 hours, each way. Sunrise occurs at approximately 7:45 AM and sunset takes place at ~5:15 PM. So that’s less than 10 hours of daylight to work with, and you’re already proposing to use all of it up driving up from Phoenix and driving back. You should allot at least 90 minutes-2 hours to park at Horseshoe Bend, walk out to the rim, take photos, and walk back to your vehicle. Since the Antelope Canyons are closed, that doesn’t leave much else to do during the time you have to work with. The section of US89 from Page, AZ, to Flagstaff, AZ, is the most dangerous part of the drive back to Phoenix. I-17 from Flagstaff, AZ, to Phoenix, AZ, does have more ambient light, although not much until you get to the suburbs around Phoenix. If visiting as a day trip is your only option, 2:00-2:30 PM would be the latest I’d advise leaving so you’re not caught on the darkest part of the drive after sundown.
      Better option? Stay overnight in Page, AZ.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year to all!
      Alley 🙂

  46. Hi I’m really looking forward to spend New Year’s Day at horseshoe bend coming from Santa Fe, we will travel on the 30th spend the night at some hotel and go hike on the 1st but wonder if there is another place to go the following day.

    1. Hey Jessica,
      You’ll be happy to know there are plenty of beautiful sights near Horseshoe Bend and Page, AZ, that are open for exploration!
      Some you might visit include, but are certainly not limited to:
      Page Rim View Trail
      Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      Grand View Overlook Park
      – The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum **scroll down to the bottom of the linked page for this specific information** (in Big Water, Utah, ~20 minutes West of Page, AZ, on US89)
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Abbi,
      Barring super-bad weather (which is not expected) or some completely bizarre occurrence, Horseshoe Bend will be open on Christmas and New Year’s Day 🙂
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley

          1. Hi Douglas,
            The trail from the Horseshoe Bend parking lot to the overlook itself is ~.7 miles one-way, 1.4 miles round-trip. It is partially paved, the rest is graded, and relatively flat, so if everyone in your party is relatively healthy and fit, you should be able to manage it no problem.
            Good luck and safe travels,
            Alley 🙂

  47. Hello do I need reservations for the horseshoe bend hike ? I plan to travel from Las Vegas on Saturday the 26th!

    1. Hey Monique,
      No reservations required to visit Horseshoe Bend — simply arrive at your convenience between sunrise and sunset and pay the $10/vehicle one-time parking fee.
      BTW, it’s ~a 5-hour drive, each way, from Las Vegas to Page, AZ, so plan accordingly.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  48. hi, I am planning to spend couple of hours in horseshoe bend on my way to Zion on Christmas day? Is Horseshoe bend open on christmas day?

    Thanks
    Mahender

    1. Hi Mahender,
      Barring super-bad weather (which is not expected) or some completely bizarre occurrence, Horseshoe Bend will be open on Christmas and New Year’s Day 🙂
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley

  49. Hello! I will be in Arizona Dec. 28 – Jan. 1 and I was wondering if you have any suggestions for my trip including horseshoe bend… here is what we currently have in mind but I would love to hear any thoughts or ideas of stops or adjustments that we should make. Thank you in advance!
    – Monday Dec 28 – fly into Phoenix (stay the night)
    – Tuesday Dec 29 – drive to sedona, red rock state park, broken arrow trail, drive to flagstaff (stay the night in flagstaff)
    – Wednesday Dec 30 – drive to tusayan, hike grand canyon (stay the night in tusayan)
    – Thursday Dec 31 – sunrise at grand canyon south rim, drive to page, hike horseshoe bend at sunset (stay the night in page)
    – Friday Jan 1 – drive to phenix, fly home

    1. Hey Lily,
      Your itinerary as it stands looks pretty fun, and if it’s too late to change it (locked into hotel reservations, etc) I think you’ll have a perfectly wonderful time just leaving things the way they are!
      If you do have some flexibility to make some alterations, however, here’s what I’d recommend: flip-flop the order of the places you visit. Right now, you’re looking at doing the longer drives on the back end of your trip. Most people I talk to prefer to get them out of the way at the beginning.
      Another thing you may not be aware of is that due to COVID-19, an integral component of the shortest travel route between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ (AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point on the South Rim) on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands is closed. This means that to get from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, now requires that you drive all the way back to Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North to Page, AZ via US89. This rather long but unavoidable detour has turned what used to be a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive, whether you go from GC-Page or the other way around. Be sure you plan accordingly.
      So here’s what I’d recommend:
      December 28th – fly to Phoenix, stay overnight (no change)
      December 29th – Drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours), hike to Horseshoe Bend at sunset (5:18 PM), overnight in Page, AZ
      December 30th – Drive to Tusayan (~5 hours), sunset at Grand Canyon, overnight in Tusayan (so, no change in hotel reservations here)
      December 31st – Drive to Sedona (~2.5 hours from Grand Canyon South Rim), overnight in Sedona (or Flagstaff)
      January 1st – Drive to Phoenix (~2.5 hours from Flagstaff, 2 hours from Sedona)
      One more observation: one day and/or night in Sedona is going to leave you wanting! Sedona, AZ, is a stunning area with lots to see and do, enough for at least 3-4 days. Even then, people report that they feel as though they’d only “scratched the surface” of all the area had to offer. I can pretty much guarantee that you’ll be planning a return trip! Boo-hoo, huh? 😉
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  50. Hi, we were planning to go Horseshoe Bend on Dec 26 but the weather shows it would snow that day. So, we preponed to Dec 24 and how will the weather be? Is it safe to travel from Las Vegas? Also, do we need to hike to the spot as we are visiting this place for the first time ?

    1. Hi Rahul,
      Actually, Page, AZ, is showing no indications of precipitation expected for your timeframe. Page, AZ, weather You might be looking at Grand Canyon South Rim weather, which does show a slight chance of precipitation early next week, but the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are two separate areas.
      Horseshoe Bend is approximately a 5-hour drive, one way, from Las Vegas, NV, all on paved roads that are very well-traveled. When you get to Horseshoe Bend, you should allot 90 minutes to two hours to park your vehicle, hike out to the rim (it’s ~.7 miles one way, partially paved and fairly flat). You’d then be facing a 5-hour drive back to Las Vegas, which doesn’t sound like my idea of fun on a vacation, plus your day is going to be quite short: sunrise occurs at around 7:30 AM and sunset takes place at approximately 5:15 PM. You might consider spending the night in Page, AZ, so you can have a nice relaxing visit to Horseshoe Bend.
      While snow is not expected in the Page, AZ, area, it is expected to be on the cool side with daytime temperatures in the ’40’s and overnight lows in the teens and ’20’s. Bring a jacket and maybe some gloves if you’re out and about in the morning or evening.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

  51. Hi! Thank you for all your helpful information – I have a trip scheduled from 12/16 landing at night through 12/27 flying out of phoenix. Right now, my plan is to first start south in tuscon and saguaro park (1 day) then the next day in the petrified forest, then north to Grand Canyon and horse shoe bend for two nights. Then to Sedona for 3 nights (?). Does this route sound like a good plan? I have some free time in there, so have flexibility. Thank you!!

  52. What a plethora of information here in your comment section!!!! I have all the information I need for our trip in a week! The detour from the Grand Canyon to Page,AZ was super helpful. Thank you so much for the time in answering others questions!

    1. Hi Teresa,
      Yes, having a 3-hour drive turn into a 5-hour drive is the kind of surprise we’d rather have people avoid!
      Have a wonderful trip, and a Happy Holiday season,
      Alley 🙂

  53. Hi,

    We are planning for a trip to AZ/UT. Arriving from San Jose to Vegas on Dec 23 evening, considering the road conditions are not very safe to travel in night, we plan to reach St George by 10 pm and stay overnight. Considering we have 1 and half day (Dec 24th and half of 25th) what all can we visit in and around Horseshoe. I was so looking to cover Antelopes but heard it is closed :-(.
    I will be with my spouse and daughter (8). We can do moderate hiking.

    Thereafter, we plan to start to Moab post lunch on Dec 26th to cover Arches. Google map shows it is 4:30 hours drive, (1) are there any destination we can cover enroute, (2) it the route to Moab safe to reach late night (10 PMish) just in case we plan to cover some scenic points on the route.

    1. Hi Gaurav,
      So sorry that the closure of the Antelope Canyons has dealt you an unpleasant surprise in your trip planning, but there may be a way to salvage that part of your trip. More on that in a minute…
      Driving into St. George at night isn’t as risky as other areas because it’s a well-populated community with a good-sized light dome. Everywhere else, we strongly recommend doing your driving during daylight hours, including Moab.
      Page, AZ, where Horseshoe Bend is located, is approximately a 2.5 hour drive from St. George, UT. However, if seeing a slot canyon remains high on your priority list — which we wouldn’t blame you one bit for! — you should make Kanab, UT, your first stop so you can tour Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery, as well as some geological features unique to it. Technically, a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, however, we strongly recommend that you take one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is not difficult, the drive to get there can be. People get stuck on this route on a daily basis. Reputable tour companies who can help you get to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Kanab, UT, is approximately 90 minutes from St. George, UT. Tours of Peek-A-Boo Canyon last approximately 4 hours. Then, Page, AZ, would be a further ~75 minute drive from Kanab, UT. I recommend staying overnight in Page, AZ. Time permitting, you could visit Horseshoe Bend that afternoon or evening before retiring for the night, or hit it the following morning en route to Moab, UT.
      The drive from Page, AZ, to Moab, UT, typically takes ~5 hours, but that’s wheels turning, no stops. That’s unlikely to happen since it’s a very scenic drive and you will be stopping more often than you realize to take pictures. ***Word of caution: be sure that your vehicle is fully fueled, and that you eat breakfast in Page, AZ, or at least have some snacks and water to tide you over until you get to Moab, UT. The reason for this is because the first 2-2.5 hours of the drive will be through Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. Due to being hit disproportionately hard by COVID-19, they have made the decision to close most businesses on their lands to outsiders in order to minimize their exposure. So while you can drive through the reservation in order to get from Page, AZ, to Moab, UT, you are strongly discouraged from stopping at anytime. That means that you’ll have to enjoy Monument Valley as a “drive-by,” but you can get out of the car at other off-reservation sites such as the Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park, and the quaint towns of Bluff, UT, and Blanding, UT. Don’t be surprised if the drive ends up taking 6-7 hours! However long it takes, I recommend timing your arrival in to Moab, UT, before sunset, which takes place at 5:00 PM at the time of year you’re visiting. Sunrise occurs just after 7:30 AM.
      Trip map
      Hope that helps! Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  54. Hi there! We are flying into Phoenix on 1/7. Depart on 1/11. We want to see Sedona (hikes and places recommended are welcome), Horeshoe Bend, Bryce and Antelope Canyon. I know it’s closed, but are there any other slot canyon hikes we can do? Is this itinerary doable? We’re renting a car. Thanks so much for your feedback. We aren’t opposed to kayaking Horseshoe as well.

    1. Hey Christine,
      Assuming that 1/7 and 1/11 will be devoted to flying out and flying home, that gives you 3 full travel days to work with. Unfortunately, that’s not a lot of time. Plus, you’re visiting at a time of year when snow is a very real possibility in the higher elevations, such as Bryce Canyon, plus, if you’re going to visit Bryce Canyon, you should really visit Zion National Park since it’s practically right next door, but there’s that pesky time consideration, or, lack thereof as the case may be. In light of these issues, I recommend taking Bryce off the table and saving it for another trip, preferably when it’s warmer, and when you can fly in and out of Las Vegas and spend a week or more exploring and enjoying the sights at a more leisurely pace.
      Technically, you don’t really have enough time to do Sedona, AZ, justice either. Even eliminating Bryce from your wish list, you have at most one day to spend there, and I guarantee that will leave you wanting. Sedona is a huge and stunning area, with lots to see and do, even in wintertime. You really need at least 3-4 days there, and even then, people report that in that amount of time, they still felt that they only “scratched the surface” of all the area had to offer. As much as I hate to say it, you might consider just using the 3 days you have and giving it all to Sedona. Should the weather turn horrible and put a kabosh on your sightseeing plans, it’s a great place just to relax and chill. Sedona is ~a 2-hour drive (one way) from Phoenix.
      If you decide against that, here’s what I’d recommend:
      January 7th: fly to Phoenix, overnight in Phoenix
      January 8th: drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours from Phoenix), visit Horseshoe Bend (sorry, the kayaking doesn’t run at the time of year you’re visiting), overnight in Page, AZ (book 2 nights)
      January 9th: day trip to Kanab, UT (~70 minute drive, 1 way) to tour Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. With the Antelope Canyons closed, this is the most easily accessible alternative. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery, as well as some geological features unique to it. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you consider taking one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. People get stuck on this route on a daily basis. Reputable tour companies who can help you get to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Tours of Peek-A-Boo Canyon last approximately 4 hours. Time permitting, you might also use this day to enjoy the hike to the Paria Rimrocks and Toadstool Hoodoos, between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT. The trailhead is on US89 near mile marker 19. If you have time to spare, you might pop into the Big Water Visitors Center and Dinosaur Museum, ~20 minutes from Page, AZ, over the Utah border. Overnight in Page, AZ, again.
      January 10th: drive to Sedona (~3 hours from Page, AZ), overnight in Sedona
      January 11th: drive to Phoenix (~2 hours from Sedona), fly home
      Trip map
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance. Also, be sure plan to do all your driving during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to the fact that local roads are very dimly lit, and you might encounter deer, elk, or other wildlife, which can hike up your risk of an accident. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. At the time of year you’re traveling, days are short: sunrise occurs at around 7:30 AM and sunset takes place just before 5:30 PM.
      Hope that helps! Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you so much! We extended our trip another day, and have now opted to fly out of Vegas instead of circling back to PHX. I’ve done Zion before, but I’m not opposed to do it again. The Narrows was amazing!!

        I appreciate your feedback!

        1. Hey Christine!
          Good call on adding another day. More time is always a good thing in the American Southwest 😉
          Have a wonderful Christmas and New Year’s, and if you get a minute when you return home, let us know how things went!
          Take care,
          Alley

    1. Hi North Lee,
      Yes, Horseshoe Bend is open! It’s one of a few attractions that never closed during COVID-19.
      As for other sights in the Page, AZ, area that are still open for visiting, there is:
      Page Rim View Trail
      Glen Can Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      Grand View Overlook Park
      The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      Hope that helps! Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  55. Hi Alley! Thanks for all of the great information and being so helpful for all of us out-of-towners. I’m sorry if this is a repeat question. I read through quite a few, but still have some questions.

    We are landing in PHX the morning of Saturday, December 26th. We plan on stopping at the Old Town Scottsdale Farmers Market. From there I am undecided between spending the next few days in Sedona or Page. We fly out at 1 PM on Tuesday, December 29th so we really only have two full days. I thought about doing Sedona one day and then Page the other day, but I feel like that may be too much. We were looking at going to Horseshoe Bend for sunrise and then looking for hiking or biking tours. If you have any recommendations on tours and any opinions on what you would do with that amount of time they would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!!

    1. Hey Kylee and thank you for your compliments!
      Good call on choosing “quality over quantity” for your upcoming trip. As to which destination you choose, that depends on a few factors, such as your preference or aversion to long drives and cold weather, but most importantly, it will probably come down to hotel availability and pricing. You’re traveling during the week leading up to New Year’s Day, so it is most likely to be busy, COVID-19 notwithstanding.
      It takes ~5 hours to drive from Phoenix to Page, AZ. You could hit Horseshoe Bend either on your way into town or on your way back to Phoenix; the parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset. As for the rest of the time, you could certainly enjoy hiking and maybe even some biking. For biking, you might enjoy an electric mountain bike tour around the Page Rim View Trail with Lake Powell Adventures. Hiking is easy enough to do on your own. Popular trails and sights include, but are certainly not limited to:
      Page Rim View Trail
      Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
      Grand View Overlook Park
      The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (these are located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
      Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum (in Big Water, UT, ~15 miles from Page, AZ)
      Sedona is ~2-2.5 hours drive (one way) from Phoenix, and offers plenty to see and do in 2-3 days time! If you opt to visit Page, AZ, on this trip, definitely plan a future trip to Sedona, AZ, when you can spend 4-5 days. You won’t regret it!
      Hope that helps. Good luck, safe travels, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thanks Alley!!! As much as we wanted to go to Page we decided to do Sedona since it was a shorter drive and we will have my parents with us. Do you have favorite hikes in the Sedona area? We are also looking at the jeep tours. Do you have a favorite company? Thanks for all your recommendations! We are saving them for a future trip to Page 🙂

        1. Hi again, Kylee,
          At the time of year you’re traveling, and in light of the road closures in effect in Northern AZ, I think this is a good decision.
          As far as hikes in Sedona, AZ, go, you’ll find no shortage of good ones. I like the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, but that trail crosses a river several times and may not be practical when outside temps are at or below freezing. You might look at the Fay Canyon Trail, Deadman’s Pass Trail, or the Honanki/Palatki Heritage sites. For more information, visit HikeSedona.com or Sedona.net
          For jeep tours, again, several possibilities here, but the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour continues to be the “quintessential” Sedona backcountry tour. Naturally, this will occur weather permitting and possibly contingent on a certain number of passengers traveling. IIRC, you’re traveling around the Xmas holiday, so advance reservations for hotels and guided tours are an absolute must!
          We hope you’ll get a chance to plan a trip to Page, AZ, for another time. The best time of year to visit the Grand Canyon, Page, AZ, and the surrounding area is late September-early October. Weather is nearly perfect for sightseeing and hiking at that time of year <3
          Have a great time and if you get a minute when you return home, let us know how things went!
          Take care,
          Alley 🙂

  56. Hi there – great page and resources! My friend and I are traveling to Arizona from Dec 16-20th (flight lands at around noon on the 16th, and we depart at around 3 pm on the 20th, all to/from PHX airport).

    We’d like to visit the Grand Canyon, as well as Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope Canyon via the kayak options. Do you have any recommendations on the best route between these three? We were thinking to spend Thurs Dec 17 kayaking to the Lower Antelope Canyon to hike and then spend the afternoon visiting Horseshoe Bend – we don’t know if many have taken the kayaks to the Antelope hike so want to know if this is recommended? We also don’t know if it would be feasible to visit Horseshoe Bend in the afternoon close to closing as we read it gets busy / parking lot gets full…. We then wanted to drive toward the Grand Canyon area and spend Fri Dec 18 at the Grand Canyon. We aren’t able to visit these sites on Saturday because we observe Sabbath and Sunday we fly out…so we appreciate any advice on these plans.

    1. Hi Shaked,
      Thank you so much for your compliments. They are much appreciated!
      If you are interested in kayaking in Lower Antelope Canyon, you would have to rent a kayak and go there on your own, which is relatively simple, especially if you rent from Antelope Point Marina. They would advise you as to how far into the land-side of the canyon you could hike so as not to trespass on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands which are closed to outsiders. To reserve or get more information, phone 800-255-5561.
      Time permitting, you could visit Horseshoe Bend that afternoon, or evening for sunset. If that doesn’t work out, simply stop by on your way to Grand Canyon South Rim. One word of warning about the drive to Grand Canyon South Rim: normally it’s ~3 hours, but due to an integral component of the drive (AZ64 from Cameron to Desert View Point) being closed since it’s on Navajo Tribal Land, you are now required to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North via US180/AZ64 (or I-40/AZ64 if you prefer). This has turned a 3-hour drive into more along the lines of 5 hours, so be sure to get an early start on that day! Trip map
      Good luck, safe travels, and good Shabbat,
      Alley 🙂

  57. Hi Alley,

    This is an incredible feed and thank you for your service to everyone here. I have tried to read as much as I can, but it’s a lot to piece together so I am just going to ask about my particular situation anyway. Sorry for the likely duplicative questions.

    My wife and I are flying in and out of PHX on Dec 11-16. We would like to cover the Grand Canyon (not the whole thing obviously!), Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon (or similar given the closure), Sonoma, and Phoenix (time permitting). We will rent a car to drive location to location. We are in our mid-twenties and good shape so hiking is fine/good! Any tips on what is best to cover with this limited time? What is the best path to take based on timing and geography? Any other tips/recs? Perhaps most importantly… where should we eat? 🙂

    Thank you so much for your advice! Wishing you good health!

    1. Hi Blake and thank you so much for your compliments.
      No problem asking questions that have already been asked, it comes with the territory when helping folks like you plan trips to unfamiliar areas.
      Normally, I don’t like to make assumptions, but in this case I’m going to assume that your auto correct kicked in and that instead of “Sonoma” you mean “Sedona?” Sonoma, CA, would be too far a swing out of the way and California’s wine country deserves its own trip!
      So, assuming (again!) that December 11th and 16th will be travel days, that leaves you with 4 full days to work with. Unfortunately, that’s not enough time to do Sedona, AZ, justice. Sedona is a stunning area, with lots to see and do. You really need 3-4 days minimum to enjoy and explore it fully; people even report spending a week there and still feeling as though they’d only “scratched the surface.” Long story short, you can still get there, but your visit will be short; I can pretty much guarantee that you will be planning a return trip there someday!
      Secondly, a road closure that could potentially throw a kink into your plans is AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ. Normally, this is an integral component of the shortest travel route from Grand Canyon South Rim to Horseshoe Bend (or vice versa), but since it lies on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, which are closed to outsiders due to COVID-19, it is now necessary to drive all the way back from GC South Rim to Flagstaff, then back up North to Page, AZ, via US89. This detour has turned what used to be ~a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive.
      With the Antelope Canyons being closed, since they are also on Navajo Indian property, you might want to instead hike Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch near Paria, UT. This photogenic two-part slot canyon is located between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on US89, about a 45 minute drive from Page, AZ. The nice thing about Wire Pass Canyon that is short enough for intermediate-level hikers to enjoy, yet offers the option to delve further into Buckskin Gulch for those wanting more of a challenge. The walk to the entrance of the initial slot is via a typically dry streambed, which may be full of deep sand if recent weather has been dry. An 8-10’ drop a short distance into the slot canyon is one reason why Wire Pass Canyon may not be appropriate for those traveling with young children, the elderly, or individuals afraid of heights. As the canyon walls become higher and closer together, they suddenly open up as the second slot connects with the Buckskin Gulch. If you’ve had enough at this point, you can simply turn around and head back to your vehicle. If you’d like to explore further, you can easily make a half-day hike out of the immediate area around the confluence with the Buckskin. Look for some bighorn sheep petroglyphs dating back hundreds, maybe thousands of years! Access to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road. Hikers are required to pay a self-permitting fee at the kiosk by the trailhead. Fair warning: the House Rock Valley Road is unpaved! While it is accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Parties in rental cars should think twice about attempting this road since off-road driving is strictly prohibited by most rental car companies. A guided tour will get your family to Wire Pass Canyon and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT based companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
      – Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
      – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
      – Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
      So, here’s what I’d recommend:
      December 11th: fly to Phoenix, if flight arrives early, drive to Sedona, AZ (~2 hour drive) and overnight
      December 12th: drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon, maybe hike a short distance down the Bright Angel Trail
      December 13th: drive to Page, AZ via Flagstaff, AZ (~5 hours), visit Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page, AZ
      December 14th: Hike Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch **be sure to verify that the House Rock Valley Road is passable before attempting to drive it yourself, or book a guided tour** spend 2nd night in Page, AZ
      December 15th: Drive from Page, AZ, to Phoenix (~5 hour drive), explore around Phoenix area that afternoon or part of following morning, overnight in Phoenix
      December 16th: fly home
      Trip map
      If the idea of shorting Sedona, AZ, doesn’t appeal, as much as I hate to say it, you might skip Page, AZ, this time around and schedule a visit there at another time, namely the Navajo Nation feels safe enough to welcome tourists to the Antelope Canyons once again. If you take me up on that suggestion, plan a trip in the spring or fall months that has you fly into Las Vegas and do a 7-day loop through Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon North Rim, Lake Powell, and Monument Valley! Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah
      As for where you should eat, again, COVID-19 will have a definite influence on where you can go, seating capacity, mask requirements (maybe lack thereof in some cases). If you’re looking for quality and variety, Phoenix and Sedona will offer more of both. Dining options at the Grand Canyon have been significantly reduced. Some places in Page, AZ, have also closed, either temporarily or permanently, due to COVID-19. My best advice would be to consult TripAdvisor, Yelp, FourSquare or whatever restaurant review sites you prefer to use and look for recent reviews in the areas you plan to visit. Also, be prepared to take a DIY approach, maybe pick up a cheap cooler after arriving in Phoenix, hit a grocery store, and pick up food supplies you can easily take with you sightseeing, or prepare in your hotel room. Since most hotel rooms these days have microwaves and mini-fridges (with the exception of the Grand Canyon), that makes things easier.
      Whatever you decide, book your hotels ASAP if you haven’t done so already. Ditto for guided tours.
      Hope that helps and that you have a wonderful trip! If you get a minute when you return home, write back in and let us know how things went.
      Take care and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley,
        I am glad to see this website with your responses to people’s queries for trip planning. I was initially planning to go to San Diego for a week with my sister’s family as a group of 4 adults and 4 children (aged 16, 12, 11, and 8). My trip was from 24th Dec to 1st Jan. Since there are travel restrictions in San Diego we are canceling our trip to San Diego.
        I am thinking about planning a trip to the canyons (Horseshoe, Zion, Sedona, Antelope, Bryce, Arches) instead. I will avoid Las Vegas. I am planning to fly into Pheonix and depart from Pheonix. Can you help me plan my trip itinerary for 7 seven nights from 24th Dec to 1st Jan from Pheonix.
        Thanks
        Gokul

        1. Hi Gokul,
          So sorry your trip plans for California have been impacted by COVID-19 🙁 But, hopefully California’s loss will be Arizona and Utah’s gain.
          Unfortunately, I have to begin by giving you couple of small ‘reality checks:’
          1. Take Arches out of the equation. It’s too far a swing out of your way flying into Phoenix (~8 hours, one way – yikes!), and Moab, UT, deserves at least 4-5 days to do it justice, preferably when it’s warmer. That way you can explore and enjoy Arches, Canyonlands, Dead Horse Point, Castle Valley, maybe do some rafting in Cataract Canyon. Lots of possibilities! For that area, Salt Lake City is a better airport to fly into.
          2. You’re traveling during the Christmas/New Year’s holidays, which means that many hotels near the parks are likely to be sold out. If you haven’t made reservations already, you might have a rough time finding accommodations. We’ll keep our fingers crossed for that not to be the case, but that’s why I’m suggesting you use Kanab, UT, as a “base” from which to sightsee in Bryce and Zion.
          With those small modifications, here’s what I’d recommend:
          December 24th: Fly into Phoenix, overnight there
          December 25th: Drive from Phoenix, AZ, to Kanab, UT (~6 hours), stay 3 nights
          December 26th: Day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park (~90 minutes each way from Kanab, UT), back to Kanab, UT, for overnight
          December 27th: Day trip to Zion National Park (~45 minutes each way from Kanab, UT); you will have to use the shuttle to access Zion Canyon, the main sightseeing area. Tickets must be purchased in advance for the Zion Canyon Shuttle, and may already be sold out. Should this be the case, there are still areas you can visit by driving UT9 throug the park to Springdale, UT, including the visitors center, watchman trail, parus trail, the long tunnel, canyon overlook trail, Checkerboard mesa, the chance to see the mountain sheep, and many pullouts along the way where you can stop for the view, or hike down into the washes. Return to Kanab, UT, for overnight
          December 28th: Drive from Kanab, UT, to Horseshoe Bend/Page, AZ (~1 hour), then to Flagstaff, AZ (~3 hours), spend 2 nights **the reason I don’t suggest going directly from Kanab, UT, to Grand Canyon South Rim is because an integral component of the shortest drive is on Navajo Reservation land, which is closed due to COVID-19 along with the East gate of the park; you have to detour through Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North to the park, so in light of the detour, you may as well spend the night in Flagstaff***
          December 29th: Day trip to Grand Canyon South Rim (1.5 hour drive, each way), visit Grand Canyon Village Historic District, Canyon View Information Plaza, overlooks on Hermit’s Rest Road What’s open in Grand Canyon, return to Flagstaff, AZ, to overnight
          December 30th: Drive to Sedona, AZ (~1 hour from Flagstaff, AZ), visit Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, perhaps take the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, overnight in Sedona, or return to Flagstaff, AZ, to overnight if Sedona is sold out One Day In Sedona
          December 31st: Drive back to Phoenix (~2 hours from Sedona) to fly home
          Trip map
          One last thing: your visit is taking place during a timeframe when you might encounter snow. “White Christmases” are especially common in Bryce Canyon and Grand Canyon South Rim. Should you run up against a snowstorm, your best bet is to wait it out until it clears, then move on to your next destination when it’s safe to do so. Start monitoring local weather and road conditions ~2 weeks before you get ready to travel. That will give you the best idea of what to expect.
          Oh, another last thing 😉 — be sure do all your driving during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to the fact that local roads are very dimly lit, and you might encounter deer, elk, or other wildlife, which can hike up your risk of an accident. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. At the time of year you’re traveling, days are short: sunrise occurs at around 7:30 AM and sunset takes place just before 5:15 PM.
          Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
          Alley 🙂

  58. HI,

    We are planning to visit Grand Canyon, Horse Shore bend, Zion and Arches National Park. As of now our trip is planned from 24-29th Dec. Is it possible to cover all these ?.
    As of now we have planned to travel early mrng on 24th Dec from Vegas to Grand Canyon. Spend daytime in Grand Canyon and head for Page by 3 or 4 PM. Stay in Page 24th Night and watch sunrise (25th Dec) at horse shoe bend. After watching sunrise leave for Zion/Arches, this is where we are confused. Should we go to Zion or Arches from Page. Thinking to spend 1 day in Arches (see Delicate arch and few easy hikes) and spend rest 2 days in Zion. And return back to Vegas on 29th to catch our 6PM flight.
    Can you suggest us good itinerary for our above tentative plan ?.
    Thanks for your help in advance :).

    1. Hi Rajat,
      Sorry, but I can’t endorse your itinerary as it stands.
      Your plan pretty much goes wrong on day 1: it takes ~5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim. It then takes roughly the same amount of time to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. You might have heard that the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, takes ~2.5-3 hours, but that’s not the case right now. Due to COVID-19, an integral component of the normal travel route that traverses Navajo Indian Tribal Land (Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, on AZ64) is closed. That means, to get from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, requires that you drive all the way back down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North to Page, AZ, via US89. This rather long and mandatory detour has turned a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive, which you’re proposing to do on a day when you’ve already driven 5 hours, and your day is already going to be very short: sunrise in Las Vegas occurs shortly before 7:00 AM and sunset in Arizona takes place at around 5:15 PM. Nighttime driving is something you should avoid in this part of the U.S. due to the fact that local roads are very dimly lit, and you might encounter deer, elk, or other wildlife, which can hike up your risk of an accident. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      A better plan on your first day of travel would be to overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim , then drive to Page, AZ, the next morning, spend the night in Page, AZ, then move on to your next destination.
      As to where your next destination should be, as much as I hate to say it, I recommend taking Arches off the table this time around. It is simply too far out of your way (~5 hours from Page, AZ, roughly the same from Zion [see map]), and you don’t have enough time to enjoy and explore it fully. The Moab, UT area — where Arches and Canyonlands National Parks are situated — really needs 3-5 days to do it justice. So instead of driving all that way just to “scratch the surface” of all Moab, UT, has to offer, I’d recommend instead going to Bryce Canyon. It’s a beautiful area, and would probably be a better option for you this time around. For one, it’s closer to Page, AZ (~3 hour drive). Second, it comprises a relatively small area, square mileage-wise, so one day there is usually sufficient for most visitors. Secondly, it puts you closer to Zion, ~90 minute drive. Zion definitely needs at least 2 days time as it is a very large park with a lot to see and do. The drive back to Las Vegas from Zion will take anywhere from 3-4.5 hours depending on where you stay the night before. Springdale, UT, and Hurricane, UT, are popular gateway communities for Zion as they are both situated on the Western border of the park, which gives you a substantial head start on the drive back to Las Vegas.
      A couple more things: you’re traveling during the Christmas holiday, which is a very popular time of year for tourism in this area, COVID-19 notwithstanding. All hotels and guided tours must be booked in advance. On the subject of the Christmas holiday, “white Christmases” are common in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, especially Grand Canyon South Rim and Bryce Canyon. Be sure to keep an eye on local weather conditions, starting about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. Should you encounter a snowstorm during your travels, be prepared to wait it out, don’t try to power through it, especially if you’re not used to driving in such conditions. Lastly, and probably most importantly, you will be required to utilize the Zion Canyon Shuttle System in order to access the main scenic drive of that park. Due to COVID-19, capacities on these vehicles have been substantially reduced, necessitating the advance purchase of tickets for all riders. For more information on this arrangement, visit NPS.gov: Zion Canyon Shuttle Tickets
      Oh, one more thing 😉 — if possible, get an early start on the drive back to Las Vegas so you can make the short detour (road and weather conditions permitting) through the Valley of Fire State Park. This is a stunning area with exquisite rock formations, that can be enjoyed via an easy loop drive that won’t take you too far off course. Full trip map
      I hope that helps! Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  59. Hi Alley! Your insight is so great I am so glad I found this page. I have a few questions. I am staying in SLC with a friend in an apartment from December 2-10 and planning on traveling the Thursday night-Sunday (December 3-6). Zion and Bryce are definitely things we wanted to see in that time but now I am wondering if it would be a fun idea to see Horseshoe Bend at sunrise one morning. Do you think it is doable and worthwhile? This is my thought process:
    1. Drive to hotel/airbnb Thursday afternoon near Zion National Park (we were thinking of staying in Hurricane, UT because we heard it was cheaper)
    2. Spend all day Friday at Zion and hike angel’s landing then drive back to Hurricane for the night.
    3. Leave hotel around 5am to make it to Horseshoe Bend for sunrise and then head to Bryce Canyon for the day. And drive back to SLC on Saturday night? I know it is a 4 hour drive. We could wait until Sunday to drive back- I just didn’t know if it would be worth it to find another hotel near Bryce for the night.

    I am not glued to this plan, we just want to make sure we at least see Zion and Bryce in the one weekend! I am open to any and all suggestions and would love to hear any recommendations you have. Thanks so much in advance!!

    1. Hi Julia, we’re glad you found us, too!
      Your plan looks pretty fun, I’d still recommend some small modifications for optimal safety and comfort.
      You are correct in that hotels in Hurricane, UT, are significantly less expensive than those in Springdale, UT, a popular gateway community for Zion National Park. You would also find that to be the case in Kanab, UT.
      The reason(s) I would tend to steer you toward Kanab, UT, over Hurricane, UT, is because it’s more centrally situated between the 3 attractions on your wish list, and would substantially reduce your drive time to Page, AZ, for Horseshoe Bend on that 3rd day: Hurricane, UT, is ~2 hours from Page, AZ, whereas Kanab, UT, is more like 1 hour. You want to avoid driving before sunrise or after sunset as much as possible in this part of the U.S. due to the fact that local roads are very dimly lit, and you might encounter deer, elk, or other wildlife, which can hike up your risk of an accident. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      Similarly, instead of driving all the way back to SLC after sightseeing at Bryce, you could just drive back to Kanab, UT, which is ~90 minutes from Bryce. The trip back to SLC the next morning would be slightly longer, but only by ~30-45 minutes.
      On the trip back to SLC, you could make a slight detour through Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument, weather and road conditions permitting, of course. Map of trip
      Hope that helps! Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Janet,
      Horseshoe Bend will be open from sunrise to sunset. You pay a one-time $10 parking fee to visit. As you might imagine, Horseshoe Bend is very popular for sunset viewing, but I personally think that sunrise is the best time to be there because crowds are usually smaller.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

      1. So you can hike the Horeshoe Bend? I was just told by my hotel that you can’t have your view of it but can’t really do anything else.

        1. Hi Kiki,
          Yes, you can hike to Horseshoe Bend. It is one of a few attractions in the area that never closed during the COVID-19 pandemic. The parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset, and you pay a one-time $10 parking fee to visit. As you might imagine, Horseshoe Bend is very popular for sunset viewing, but I personally think that sunrise is the best time to be there because crowds are usually smaller.
          Other places in the Page, AZ, you might go include, but are not limited to:
          The Page Rim View Trail
          Glen Can Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
          Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
          Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
          Grand View Overlook Park
          The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
          Wahweap Swim Beach and/or Lone Rock Beach (these are located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires a $30/vehicle entrance fee, good for one week’s time)
          Big Water, UT, Visitors Center and Dinosaur Museum
          Hopefully as you can see, there’s still no shortage of things to see and do in the Page, AZ, area, even with some attractions closed due to COVID-19.
          Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
          Alley 🙂

  60. hi there,
    planning on going tuesday at Horseshoe Bend please i need some advice it’s our 1st time 🙂 do u think bringing kids is a good idea? (age 8,12,14) also how far is the Horseshoe Bend from Vegas strip? and last what time is the best time to arrive at Horseshoe Bend ? thank u so much.

    1. Hi Trisha,
      It takes approximately 5 hours to drive from Las Vegas, NV, to Page, AZ, where Horseshoe Bend is located. It’s fine to bring kids with you as long as you are aware that the majority of the rim of Glen Canyon is unfenced and it’s a 700′ drop to the Colorado River. Also, since it’s a desert environment, be sure to bring enough water for all members of your party.
      As for the best time to visit Horseshoe Bend, there’s no such thing as a bad time. As you might imagine, Horseshoe Bend is very popular for sunset viewing, but I personally think that sunrise is the best time to be there because crowds are usually smaller.
      One last thing: since the drive from Las Vegas to Page, AZ, is so long, I’d recommend making it an overnight visit instead of a day trip. You’ll find many hotels in Page, AZ, in a variety of amenity classes and price points. Page, AZ, hotels
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Lucy,
      If your visit is coming up in the near future, you should be aware that the main campground at Great Sand Dunes National Park has closed for the season. There is no lodging inside the park, so you’d need to look at hotels and motels in the nearby towns for accommodations. For more information on exploring and enjoying Great Sand Dunes, CO, visit http://www.NPS.gov/grsa/planyourvisit/index.htm
      For Arches, you’d need to stay in Moab, UT, and give that area about 3 days of your time so you can also explore Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Castle Valley, and other sights. Since that area is still quite busy, it is advised to arrive before 9:00 AM if at all possible so as not to experience delays getting into the park. For more information on Arches National Park, visit https://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/conditions.htm
      Please note that services in both areas may be limited or curtailed due to COVID-19. Be prepared to abide by any mask mandates or social distancing guidelines in place at each park.
      If you were planning to visit both parks in one trip, know that it takes ~6-7 hours to drive from one park to the other. If driving that long a distance in one go is not desirable, you might consider breaking up the drive in Mesa Verde National Park. Trip map
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  61. Hello!
    We just did Horseshoe bend today. So beautiful! Since Antelope Canyon is closed, we found this blog about Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon. However, Google says there is a Peek-a-Boo Canyon in Kanab but also one that is a four-hour drive away from Page. Is the one in Kanab the one that looks similar to Antelope? And if so, are you able to provide detailed instructions with how to get there. Any other suggestions for the area? Thanks so much for all this info! This blog really helped us plan our trip.

    1. Hi Maria,
      So sorry I didn’t see this until today, hopefully, you were able to get the answers you needed to this very good question!
      There are indeed two “Peek-A-Boo” Canyons in Southwest Utah, but they are very different from one another. Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon in Kanab, UT, is presently the most popular alternative to the currently closed Antelope Canyons in Page, AZ. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery (including the occasional light beams in the summertime), as well as some unique features such as ancient “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you consider taking one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. If you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. If you want to try your hand at self-driving, go 7.5 miles past the Kanab, UT, city limit sign on US 89; turn onto BLM road #102 and follow it 4 miles in until you find the parking area. For those who would prefer to explore Peek-A-Boo in the safety and comfort of a guided tour, there are several reputable companies to choose from in Kanab, UT, including:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      The other “Peek-A-Boo” Canyon is located in the Dry Fork Area of the unpaved “Hole In The Rock” road in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, approximately a 4-5 hour drive from Page, AZ. A hike of this slot canyon can easily be piggy-backed onto exploration of another, called “Spooky” Gulch, for a nice afternoon of adventure! A little climbing and boulder scrambling is required to explore this memorable slot canyon “two-fer,” also, Spooky has some tight spaces that claustrophobes and folks with larger BMI’s may find difficult to manage. The hardest part about accessing this area is the road. Like the House Rock Valley Road, the Hole in the Rock Road (or HITRR as we call it around here) is unpaved. Though regularly graded and passable for 4×4 vehicles most of the time, when wet, it can be rendered a clay bog that’s easy to get stuck in, and that (along with a very high tow bill) can be a major buzzkill. Before embarking on this particular trip, area road conditions should be verified through the local visitors center, who can be reached at 435-826-5499 Peek-A-Boo/Spooky Gulch Loop Hike
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

  62. Hello!
    My friends and I are going to the grand canyon from Nov 22-24. We wanted to see if we could separate one day for the grand canyon and on the other days go to horse shoe bend, but we do not know if it is going to take all day long. Also, what other natural parks do you recommend and where is a good place to stay?

    1. Hi Ashley,
      With 2-3 days to work with, you don’t have much time to begin with. If you’re wanting to use one of those days to visit Horseshoe Bend, you need to think in terms of spending the night in Page, AZ. Normally, it takes ~3 hours to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. Unfortunately, a critical component of the normal travel route (AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ) passes through the Navajo Indian Reservation, and has been closed by executive order of the Navajo Tribe. This means that to get from GC South Rim to Page, AZ, you must drive all the way South to Flagstaff, AZ, then up North via US89 to Page, AZ. This has turned a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. That’s one-way. You don’t want to try and make a day trip out of Horseshoe Bend at the time of year you’re visiting because of daylength, or, lack thereof. Sunrise occurs at ~7:15 AM, and sunset takes place at around 5:00 PM. That’s roughly 10 hours of daylight, and the drive time has essentially taken all of it. You need ~90 minutes to 2 hours to visit Horseshoe Bend, then there’s the matter of having lunch at some point, so, as you can hopefully see, you’re already well into a “daylight deficit.” Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, plus the possible presence of large wildlife such as deer and elk, as well as free range livestock such as cattle and even wild horses, ratchets up your risk of an accident. You don’t want to chance a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, extremely cold (nighttime temps are dipping down below freezing in the higher elevations), where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      If your plans can be altered at this point, you should plan on overnighting in Page, AZ, to visit Horseshoe Bend. If you haven’t booked a Grand Canyon hotel yet, you must do so ASAP. I wouldn’t be surprised if lodging in the immediate vicinity of the park is already full since that’s Thanksgiving week, which is a popular time of year to travel, even in the age of COVID-19.
      As for other National Parks, again, you don’t have that kind of time. I’d recommend getting the most out of your visit to the Grand Canyon and/or Horseshoe Bend, and think about other places you might visit on a future trip. For a sample 1-week trip itinerary, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: The Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Dear Alley,

        we are planning a trip to visit the Grand Canyon on the week of Nov 23. I will be coming from Flagstaff. We would like to see the Canyon and the Horseshoe Bend. What would you recommend?

        1. Hi Marcus,
          Using Flagstaff, AZ, as a base, you should take two separate days to visit Grand Canyon South Rim and Horseshoe Bend. It is not practical at this time to combine the two into a single-day trip. More on that in a minute.
          It takes ~1.5 hours, each way, to drive from Flagstaff, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim. Upon arrival at the park, you should park as close as possible to Grand Canyon Village and use the Hermit’s Rest Shuttles to get to the viewpoints West of the Village. You can self-drive to the viewpoints East of Grand Canyon Village, as far as Navajo Point. AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, is closed by the Navajo Tribe due to COVID-19. At the time of year you’re visiting, you should be sure that you’re heading back to Flagstaff, AZ, no later than 3:30 PM from Grand Canyon Village so that you’re not doing any of the drive in the dark. All driving in this part of the U.S. must be done during daylight hours if at all possible due to local roads being very dimly lit, plus the possible presence of large wildlife such as deer and elk, as well as free range livestock such as cattle and even wild horses, ratchets up your risk of an accident. You don’t want to chance a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, extremely cold (nighttime temps are dipping down below freezing in the higher elevations), where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
          The following day, plan on making the trip to Horseshoe Bend. It takes ~2.5 hours, again, that’s one way, to drive from Flagstaff, AZ, to Page, AZ, where Horseshoe Bend is located. Allow at least 90 minutes to park ($10 one-time fee), walk to the rim, take photos, then walk back to your vehicle. Other activities in the Page, AZ, area you can explore, time permitting, are the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge, Hanging Garden Trail, the “New” Wave, and Grandview Overlook Park. Again, if you’re overnighting in Flagstaff, AZ, make sure you’re back on the road by 2:30 PM so you arrive back in Flagstaff, AZ, before sundown.
          BTW, if you were thinking you’d visit both Grand Canyon South Rim and Horseshoe Bend in one day, here’s why it won’t work: normally, the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, takes ~3 hours. Due to the closure of a critical component of the normal travel route (AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ), it is now necessary to detour all the way back to Flagstaff, then proceed North on US89 to get to Page, AZ. This has turned what used to be a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. 1.5 (Flagstaff to GC) + 5 (GC to Page) + 2.5 (Page to Flagstaff) = 9 hours of driving on a day where you only have about 10 hours of daylight to work with in the first place.
          Long story short: you need to take two separate days to explore Grand Canyon South Rim and Horseshoe Bend. If one full day is all you’ll have, then prioritize the Grand Canyon and save Horseshoe Bend for another visit.
          Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
          Alley 🙂

  63. Hi,
    My partner and I are staying a few days in Page AZ, 12/4-12/7. We wanting to see horseshoe bend and Antelope canyon ( We know do to Covid-19 the Navajo tribe and certain activities will not be available). We are looking for recommendations for Trails to hike or things to see, also we would love to do some kayaking if available.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Courtney,
      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but the Antelope Canyons won’t be open at the time of year you’re visiting by Executive Order of the Navajo Indian Tribe. Other slot canyons in the area you might consider visiting are Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT, and Wire Pass Canyon and Buckskin Gulch, near Paria, UT. For more information, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Help! My Tour Got Cancelled
      You’re also visiting at the wrong time of year to enjoy kayaking on Lake Powell. December is wintertime, and even though the Page, AZ, area rarely sees snow, days in December are typically cold and windy. Not ideal kayaking weather, but there are other activities you can still take part in, such as walking across the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge, hiking to the Hanging Garden Area or the “New” Wave, taking a walk down by Lake Powell (which is inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, so you’d have to pay the park entrance fee), visiting the John Wesley Powell/Glen Canyon Conservancy Museum. And don’t forget Horseshoe Bend, which is open from sunrise to sunset.
      Hope that helps. Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

  64. Hi Alley,

    We are planning a trip to Arizona December 20th-December 25th. Where do you recommend we stay if we potentially want to visit the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend? Do you recommend a helicopter tour? What else would you recommend to do in Arizona?

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Sara!
      First of all, the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are two separate areas, so you should allot one day each to these places. This is especially true in light of the fact that the Navajo Tribe has closed an integral component of the most logical travel route between the two due to COVID-19 (AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ). This means that, to travel from the Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ (or the other way around), you must detour all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then loop back North. This has turned what is normally a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive.
      For Grand Canyon South Rim, it is best to stay inside the park, or Tusayan, AZ, a small town ~7 miles outside the park. Grand Canyon hotels For Horseshoe Bend, the best place to stay is Page, AZ, ~5 miles North of Horseshoe Bend.
      As for a helicopter tour of the Grand Canyon, we absolutely can recommend it whole-heartedly! An air tour of any sort will get you up above areas of the Grand Canyon that are inaccessible to both vehicular and foot traffic, and give you a truer sense of how big the Grand Canyon is. The best time to fly is first thing in the morning for best light and lack of wind. Airplane tours of the Grand Canyon are also available and tend to be a more budget-friendly option, FYI.
      As for other places you might go, you should give strong consideration to Sedona, AZ. This is a stunning area with lots of things to see and do. You can easily spend 3-4 days there and feel as though you’ve only scratched the surface. It might also make for a nice stop last on your tour so you can chill and enjoy some spa services or other low-key activities.
      The one thing you need to be aware of at all times is weather. “White Christmases” are common at the Grand Canyon, and occasionally occur in Sedona and Page. While complete closures of local roads doesn’t occur often, you should still be prepared to change plans on the fly should the need arise. Start monitoring the weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. That will give you the best idea of what to expect.
      Hope that helps! Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  65. Hi I am going on a weekend trip to the horseshoe bend arriving on Saturday November 14th between 4-5pm. Is that an ideal time to get to the bend? Or should get there sooner? Before horseshoe bend I’m arriving at Bryce Canyon NP at 8am then making my way to horseshoe bend.
    I also wanted to see if you have any recommendations on if there’s any picnic areas near horseshoe bend? I carry my Coleman mini grill and like to cook my lunch. If you have suggestions that’d be great! Thank you.

    1. Hi Gaby,
      Between 4:00-5:00 PM is a perfectly fine time to arrive at Horseshoe Bend. Opinions differ on when the best time to get to Horseshoe Bend is; I personally am fond of the hours just after sunrise because early morning typically has smaller crowds.
      It will take you at least 3 hours to drive from Bryce Canyon to Page, AZ, possibly longer if weather is inclement. You might also take advantage of the opportunity to hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos, which is right on your way, near mile marker 19 on US89 between Kanab, UT, and Page, AZ.
      Cooking/campfires are not allowed at Horseshoe Bend, but you might enjoy cooking your lunch at the Page City Park or Golliard Park near the Page Municipal Airport. For a nice view of the lake (but no lake access), you might check out the newly opened Grandview Overlook Park. I’m not sure if they allow grilling there, but you might pack a cold lunch there and just enjoy the view. If you don’t mind paying the park entrance fee to Glen Canyon, you could go down by the Wahweap Swim Beach near the Lake Powell Resort. There are picnic tables and ramadas there, as well as a paved walking path. It does cost $30 per vehicle to access that area; the National Park Pass works, too.
      Hope that helps. Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

  66. Hi there,

    My family will be in Sedona the week of Thanksgiving! We are going to do some things around the Sedona area but were interested in making a trip to Grand Canyon for Horshoebend and Antelope Canyon. Seeing Antelope Canyon is closed, what is your recommendation on travel tips to Horshoe Bend? Could we knock out Horshoebend and Peek a boo/red canyon in one day?

    We are in Sedona from Monday-Saturday on Thanksgiving week. Any and all recommendations of must-see sights of Grand Canyon and if you know if any great gems in Sedona that would be awesome! We have some things on our list.

    Very active family and we move fast!

    1. Hi Gabby,
      If you’re staying in Sedona, AZ, the entire week and making day trips to various attractions, it won’t be realistic to visit Horseshoe Bend and Red/Peek-A-Boo Canyon in one day.
      It takes ~3 hours, one way, to drive from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ, where Horseshoe Bend is located. You then need to allot at least 90 minutes to 2 hours to visit Horseshoe Bend, including parking ($10 one-time fee), walking out to the rim (.7 miles 1 way), taking photos, and walking back to your vehicle. The drive to Kanab, UT, where Red Canyon/Peek-A-Boo is located, takes ~70 minutes. A guided tour of Peek-A-Boo Canyon would take ~4 hours. You would then be facing another 4-hour drive back to Sedona, AZ.
      The main thing working against you at the time of year you’re visiting is daylength, or more specifically, lack thereof: during Thanksgiving week, sunrise occurs at ~7:15 AM, and sunset takes place just after 5:00 PM. That gives you barely 10 hours of daylight to work with, which you’re already proposing to eat up 6 hours of driving in and out from Sedona. With 2 hours required for the Horseshoe Bend visit, 2 hours round-trip to drive to Kanab, then 4 hours to tour Red Canyon, hopefully you can already see that this puts you in a “daylight deficit.” If you’re wondering why I’m obsessing so much about daylength, it’s because nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. The main reasons are that local roads being very dimly lit, plus the possible presence of large wildlife such as deer and elk, as well as free range livestock such as cattle and even wild horses ratchets up your risk of an accident. You don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, possibly cold (nighttime temps are dipping down below freezing at that time of year), where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. The section of US89A from Flagstaff to Sedona through Oak Creek Canyon is very narrow and twisty, I’ve driven it at night before, and won’t do it again! In light (pardon the pun) of those considerations, if you have your heart set on visiting Red Canyon/Peek-A-Boo, your best bet is to spend the night in Page, AZ or Kanab, UT.
      As for “must-see” sights at the Grand Canyon, there’s no shortage of great views, some of which are open to private vehicles, others that require the use of a shuttle to get to. Again, you’re looking at ~2.5-3 hours one way to drive up from Sedona, so that by itself is going to limit your time if you want to make it back to base by sundown. My advice would be to park somewhere in Grand Canyon Village, walk the rim trail through the Historic District, maybe grab lunch at one of the rimside restaurants (be sure you get to your chosen place by 11:00 AM, before the Grand Canyon Railway arrives), then take the Hermit’s Rest Shuttle to some of the overlooks West of the Village. For more guidance on how to plan your visit, go to http://www.NPS.gov: Grand Canyon – Plan Your Visit
      Regarding Sedona, there’s no shortage of beauty to be found in that area, both natural and man-made! Weather will be the key factor in determining what you can/should do, as well as the physical fitness levels of your traveling party. I suggest setting aside one full day to stay around town and explore some of the beautiful buildings such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque Arts & Shopping Village, and the numerous art galleries and museums within easy access of the downtown area. For more suggestions of things to see and so in Sedona, AZ, check out http://www.VisitSedona.com
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

  67. Hello! My boyfriend & I will be traveling to Sedona Nov. 10-17! I am having a mildly difficult time doing research about the top things to do & see during our time there – we for sure want to make it up to the Grand Canyon & Horseshoe Bend. Unsure of which “rim” or hikes in the Grand Canyon to do? Are you aware of any waterfall hikes that we could do that we wouldn’t have to camp? Super interested in scenic hikes because we are from Florida & not use to all the Red Rocks! For sure plan on Devils Bridge but also open to any must sees in Sedona & surrounding areas! Thinking about Vermillion Cliff if open? I know Antelope Canyon isn’t. Really just looking for a solid “must see” list & some advice on the best ways to go about it all so we don’t waste our time (: Thank you so much in advance, truly appreciate you taking all the time to reply to everyone on here.

    1. Hi Carly,
      Using Sedona, AZ, as a “base” camp puts you in closest proximity to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. It takes about 3 hours, one way, to drive from Sedona, AZ, to Grand Canyon Village. Once there, park as close as possible to Bright Angel Lodge and catch the shuttles out to the Hermit’s Rest overlooks, or you can self-drive on the Desert View Drive as fas as Navajo Point.
      The main priority on all of your sightseeing days is to make sure you do any and all driving during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to the roads being very dimly lit, plus the possible presence of large wildlife such as deer and elk, as well as free range livestock such as cattle and even wild horses. You don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, possibly cold (nighttime temps in some areas can already dip down below freezing at that time of year), where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. In November, you’ll be up against days that are rapidly shortening. During he first week of November, sunrise occurs at 7:00 AM, and sunset takes place shortly after 5:00 PM. You’ll need to be sure you’re heading back to Sedona from Grand Canyon South Rim no later than 2:30 PM to ensure that you’re not driving US89A through Oak Creek Canyon in the dark. That section of the drive is very twisty and narrow and definitely not recommended to take on at night!
      For Horseshoe Bend, you’ll need to set aside a separate day to drive to Page, AZ. There again, you’re looking at ~ a 3-hour one way drive. You’ll then need to allot approximately 2 hours to park, walk to the rim (~1.5 miles round-trip), take photos, then walk back. There is a construction project taking place near Horseshoe Bend that may delay your arrival slightly. As for including the Vermilion Cliffs area into your day, it’s possible, but you’ll need to keep a close eye on the time so that you’re heading back to Sedona, again, no later than 2:30 PM. What you might do is get an early start on the day, drive directly up to Page, AZ, visit Horseshoe Bend, then pop down to Cliff Dweller’s Lodge (one of Northern AZ’s best kept “secret” restaurants!) for a late lunch/early dinner, then head back to Sedona. Map of trip
      As for “waterfall hikes,” November isn’t the best time of year for that type of activity, mainly because it’s too cold to swim (usually, anyway). Many waterfalls in Arizona are seasonal, so you may not find any water flowing at all at that time of year. The one that would probably be most easily accessible is Slide Rock State Park. That’s a natural waterslide that’s very popular in the summer months. Note that there is an entrance fee required here.
      For more suggestions on things to see and do during your stay in Sedona, go to http://www.VisitSedona.com or the Sedona, AZ, Forum of TripAdvisor
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you Alley – that is extremely helpful. I will defintely take into account not driving in the dark, very happy you mentioned that!! You’re the best (:

        1. Hi again Carly,
          Glad our advice helped. Hope you have a wonderful time. If you get a minute when you return home, write in again and let us know how it went!
          Happy Holidays,
          Alley 🙂

          1. Hello! I have a few follow up questions after doing some more research! (I will definitely write in after the trip and let everyone know how it went)

            After looking into the Hermits Rest overlooks as well as that shuttle from the Grand Canyon Village, I was wondering if you had any recommended hikes with scenic picture spots within this proximity (or other close access points from the South Rim)? Definitely want to get some hiking in but also do not want to overdo it and not be able to leave at 2:30!

            I was also wondering about any recommendations on clothing? I have seen how the temperatures are starting to drop in Arizona recently but do not want to pack things I will not need or forget something I will need! Specifically in regard to these two day trips to the South Rim and Horshoe Bend.

            Thank you so much in advance again, you’re so extremely helpful!

          2. Hi again, Carly!
            The easiest hike you can take from Grand Canyon Village would be the paved Rim Trail, which extends along the canyon rim for 13 miles between Hermit’s Rest and the South Kaibab Trail. From Grand Canyon Village Historic District, a popular acvitity is to start walking West on the Rim Trail, then catch the Hermit’s Rest Shuttle back to the Village when you’ve had enough of walking.
            If you want to get below the canyon rim without going too far down, the Bright Angel Trail can be accessed just behind Bright Angel Lodge. The first tunnel along the trail makes for a good “taste” of the inner canyon. If you want to venture further, just remember that you have to double your time hiking up that you took to hike down, therefore, 1 hour down = 2 hours out, etc. Food and water should be carried if you plan on spending longer than 1 hour or going further than 1 mile on either the rim trail or Bright Angel Trail.
            As for what clothing to pack, you are correct in that winter temperatures are beginning to establish dominance in the area, so at the very least, a jacket, gloves, hat or earmuffs, and warm socks should be carried. Remember that elevations between the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend differ by ~3,000′ ASL, so Horseshoe Bend is usually warmer than Grand Canyon South Rim by 15-30 degrees. Dress in light layers that you can easily remove and tie around your waist and/or stash in a day pack as you acclimate to the temperature and the day gets warmer.
            Have a great trip and a Happy Holiday season!
            Alley 🙂

          3. Hello again! Our trip to the Grand Canyon South Rim and Horseshoe Bend was amazing!! The Hermits Rest Shuttle was the perfect way for us to view the Grand Canyon while also remaining warm in the weather. Horseshoe Bend is beyond gorgeous as well. The driving advice was extremely helpful, we left Sedona around 7am for each day trip and had no problem getting back before sunset – even had time to squeeze in a hike before the sunset one of the days! Thank you so so much for all of your advice, it made our trip so much easier and worthwhile (:

          4. Carly,
            Thank you so much for the follow-up! Glad you had a good trip.
            Have a Happy Holiday Season and may 2021 be a better year for us all,
            Alley 🙂

  68. Hello, my family wanted to visit arizona around thanksgiving time and it will be our first time. We were looking forward to the antelope canyons but heard it is closed. But horseshoe bend also looks nice and grand canyon. Does this trip seem reasonable if we go for a few days? Also, what other hikes are similar to the caves of antelope canyons because we really wanted to see that! Would appreciate your feedback!

    1. Hi Susan,
      Sorry to hear that the closure of the Antelope Canyons has thrown a kink into your vacation plans, but all is not lost when it comes to slot canyons! More on that in a minute…
      If by “a few days” you mean at least 3-4, that’s workable, but better if you could set aside 4-5. Also, not knowing if you’re flying in or driving in, I’m going off the possibly incorrect assumption that you’ll be starting your trip off in Phoenix, AZ.
      The drive from Phoenix to Grand Canyon South Rim is approximately 5 hours, one way. Due to the distance, and the fact that days are relatively short during the Thanksgiving Holiday, you should plan on staying overnight in the immediate vicinity of Grand Canyon National Park, either in the park, or Tusayan, AZ, 7 miles outside the park.
      Horseshoe Bend is located just outside the town of Page, AZ. Normally, it is about a 3-hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, a critical component of this drive on Navajo Indian Tribal Land is closed. This necessitates a detour back down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back up North on US89 to Page, AZ. This has turned a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. If you book 2-3 nights in Page, AZ, this will enable you to devote one full day to making the short drive to Kanab, UT (~70 minutes) to visit Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. This short but memorable walk features scenery on par with the Antelope Canyons (which are closed), and a few that are unique to it. Although the slot canyon portion isn’t that difficult, the drive to get there is, which is why we recommend again taking a guided tour to this area. Tour companies that can get you to Peek-A-Boo in safety and comfort are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours ASAP; now would not be too soon to start making reservations!
      Also, be sure to time all drives so that they are done during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of large wildlife such as deer and elk, as well as free range livestock such as cattle and even wild horses. You don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, possibly cold (nighttime temps can dip down below freezing that time of year), where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  69. Hi Alley,

    I know this is a bit late to ask, but I was wondering if you had any suggestions for me. My friend and I came for a spontaneous 2 day trip to visit horseshoe bend and antelope canyon (without much planning). We arrived today and were able to go and see the beauty of horseshoe bend, but are a bit lost as to what to do tomorrow. We really want to see a few of the best bits of the Grand Canyon tomorrow before we have to head back. We loved the idea of rafting down with one of the tour companies but I want to have a plan B since their website doesn’t show if they have availabilties. Would appreciate any input you might have! We are fine hiking short distances from parking spots, however our car isn’t really made for long distances on gravel so unfortunately anything like that would be difficult for us.

    1. Hi Henrik,
      Unfortunately, you are too late in the season for rafting.
      The drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim is normally ~3 hours, but due to the closure of an integral component of the normal travel route due to COVID-19, you’ll have to detour down through Flagstaff, then head back North via US180/AZ64 or I40/AZ64. This has turned what is usually a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. This is all via paved roads, by the way. Upon arrival at the South Rim, there are ample hiking opportunities both on the rim and in the inner canyon. For the best quality experience, it is best if you spend the night at Grand Canyon South Rim.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley, my husband and I are planning a trip from Prescott, Az to Page. I noticed Antelope Canyon is closed, but Horseshoe bend is not. However I noticed your comment about travel distance being longer. Will that impact our travel time, as well. I’m not real familiar with the northern region

        1. Hi Danielle,
          The trip from Prescott, AZ, to Page, AZ, takes approximately 4 hours. It is not affected by the closure of AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point. That primarily affects visitors traveling from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ as they now must detour through Flagstaff, which adds another 2 hours onto their drive time. But again, the normal travel route from Prescott, AZ, to Page, AZ, has not changed.
          You are correct in that the Antelope Canyons are closed. If seeing a slot canyon remains on your “wish list,” there are several alternatives not affected by the closure of Navajo Indian Lands. For more information on these, check out our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: “Help! My Tour Got Cancelled”
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  70. Hello Alley,
    My teenage boys (17 & 14 yrs. old) and I will be flying into Las Vegas on Sat 11/21- and leaving on Sat 11/28. We would like to visit the Grand Canyon (South Rim), Horseshoe Bend, Zion Nat’l Park, The Hoover Dam, and spend the last 2-3 nights in Vegas. Given this time of year, do you recommend visiting these places in any particular order? Is the Grand Canyon Railway day trip into the Canyon worth it? What time will it start getting dark while we’re there? I appreciate any insight you can provide.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Ashley,
      Assuming that 11/21 and 11/28 are travel days, and given your timeframe and parks on your “wish list,” here’s what I’d recommend:
      11/21 – Fly to Las Vegas, overnight in Las Vegas
      11/22 – Drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hour drive). The Hoover Dam visitor center and bridge walkway are unfortunately closed due to COVID-19, but you can still get a good view of it from the Pat Tillman/Mike O’Callaghan Memorial Bridge that passes above it. Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim
      11/23 – Drive to Page, AZ ***unfortunately, the closure of a section of the usual drive due to COVID-19 necessitates a detour through Flagstaff, AZ, then back North on US89; this has rendered what is normally a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour trip*** Visit Horseshoe Bend (or do it first thing the next morning) overnight in Page, AZ
      11/24 – Get up early, drive to Kanab, UT (~70 minutes from Page, AZ) to tour Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon (if desired), head to Zion National Park, overnight in Springdale, UT
      11/25 – 2nd day/night at Zion National Park, overnight in Springdale
      11/26 – Thanksgiving Day — drive to Las Vegas (~3 hours from Springdale), overnight in Las Vegas
      11/27 – 2nd day/night in Las Vegas
      11/28 – Fly home
      Trip map
      As you can see, the Grand Canyon Railway has not been included in this plan. Not because it isn’t fun, it’s just that in your case, it may not be the best use of your time, or money. The Grand Canyon Railway leaves from Williams, AZ, 60 miles due South of the park. This means that you won’t see the Grand Canyon from the train; you won’t see it until you get to the park and get off the train. Since it is pulled by antique diesel engines, the Grand Canyon Railway doesn’t break any speed records getting you to your destination: the train takes ~2.5 hours — each way, mind you — to make a trip that would only take you one hour by car. Upon arriving at the park, you then only have ~3.5 hours to explore before reboarding the train and heading back to Williams. You’ll be able to get the most out of your already limited time by self-driving. Here’s a video that discusses the train vs. drive debate in more detail. Note that the footage is a bit dated, but the core principles are evergreen.
      With two teenage boys in tow, I think the Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon Tour would be more enjoyable and more of an adventure for them. If you like hiking, but prefer more of a DIY approach, you might consider doing the Paria Rim Rocks/Toadstool Hoo-doo Trail. It’s a relatively easy hike to some cool rock formations, the trailhead is located between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, near mile marker 19 on US89.
      Regarding daylength, at the time of your visit, it will be short. In Arizona and Utah, sunrise takes place at around 7:15 AM, and sunset occurs just after 5:00 PM. Nevada will be one hour behind Arizona and Utah then. Once you leave Las Vegas, it’s important you do all driving during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of large wildlife such as deer and elk, as well as free range livestock such as cattle and even wild horses. You don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, possibly cold (nighttime temps can dip down below freezing that time of year), where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. On the back end of the trip (Springdale – LAS), it’s OK to do the latter part of the drive after dusk because between St. George, UT, Mesquite, NV, and Las Vegas, NV, you have a sizeable urban light dome and a relatively low risk of encountering any wildlife.
      Last but not least, the feasibility of all this will depend largely on hotel availability. Start by checking availability at Grand Canyon South Rim first. If need be, this itinerary can be reversed (Las Vegas-Zion-Kanab-Page-Grand Canyon-Las Vegas) if you have an easier time finding hotels that way.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hey Alley,

        Your trip suggestions are most helpful and very insightful. I agree about the train trip and it’s probably not the best use of our time; besides the boys may get bored with that. Lol. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading your responses to others questions. So happy I encountered this website.

        Keep up the great job and suggestions! 🙂
        Thank you so very much!
        Take care.

      2. Hi again, Alley,

        I’m thinking we’ll try to choose either Horseshoe Bend, Peek-A-Boo Canyon or Zion National Park, so we’re not trying to cram too much into one week and the boys get road weary from the long drives. I’m just not sure. With 2 teenage boys, what do you recommend? My older son is more active and would enjoy the hikes while my younger son may get tired of the hikes more quickly. Besides Vegas, the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam, the others are lagniappe but would definitely enjoy seeing one of them. I’ve read the Hoover Dam is partially open now.

        Thank you, again, for your insight!
        Ashley

        1. Hi again, Ashley,
          Thanks to you, I’ve learned something new: “lagniappe!” Meaning bonus, icing on the cake, etc., right?
          When you make the trip from Grand Canyon South Rim to Zion National Park, you pretty much have to pass through Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, anyway. Staying overnight in either place would be a good way to break up the drive since the detour through Flagstaff, AZ, basically tacks another 2 hours onto an already long trip.
          Whether you visit Horseshoe Bend or Peek-A-Boo Canyon, scenery-wise, it’s an apples to oranges comparison. If time is tight, Horseshoe Bend would probably win out in that contest. Horseshoe Bend takes approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours to park, hike to the rim, take photos, and walk back to your vehicles. The trail to the rim is ~.7 miles one way.
          By itself, Red Canyon/Peek-A-Boo Canyon is also ~.7 miles long (one way), but to visit by guided tour, which is what we recommend, takes ~4 hours.
          I know it’s a hard choice, but I don’t think you can go wrong either way!
          Take care and Happy Holidays,
          Alley 🙂

          1. Hi Alley,

            Yes indeed. Lol, come to Cajun land down South and we can teach you all sorts of new language! 🙂
            Okay, I’ve made our itinerary using your suggestions. We are getting excited about the trip and hope the weather cooperates for us.

            Thank you, again, for your assistance!
            Happy and Healthy Holidays to you also.
            Ashley

          2. Hi again, Ashley,
            Hope you have a wonderful time!
            If you get a minute when you get home, write back and tell us how it went.
            Take care,
            Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Tashfin,
      So sorry I didn’t see your inquiry sooner! Hopefully you found that Horseshoe Bend is open from sunrise to sunset, 7 days a week 🙂
      Alley

  71. I’m so glad I found this page! It gas given me lots of future ideas!! We are taking a short weekend trip to check out Horseshoe Bend. Is there anywhere else I. The general are that you’d recommend hiking?

    1. Hi Lindsay!
      Assuming that your trip is coming up soon, you’ll find no shortage of hiking opportunities in Page, AZ, in addition to Horseshoe Bend. Unfortunately, the Antelope Canyons are off the table due to COVID-19, but if a slot canyon is on your “wish list,” there are other options. More on that in a minute….
      Horseshoe Bend will take at least 2 hours of your time to park, walk out to the rim, take photos, then walk back. In the immediate vicinity of Page, AZ, other hikes you might enjoy include, but aren’t limited to:
      The “New” Wave – a small but interesting cluster of rock formations, some bearing a resemblance to The Wave, others not; Radio Tower Rock is a highlight of this area. If you’re in a 2WD vehicle, be very careful not to drive too far into the sand or anywhere you might have trouble turning around. The access road is not regularly maintained, but there is a small campground located nearby.
      – the Page Rim View Trail – a popular spot for locals to get their morning walk or jog in, visitors are welcome to use it, too. It’s 10 miles long, circumnavigates Manson Mesa, atop which the City of Page was built, but you aren’t locked into doing the entire 10 miles if you don’t want to! There are several spur trails that will get you back to “civilization” when you’ve had enough. Great view of Lake Powell, but no Lake access.
      – along the Page Rim View Trail, you’ll also find the newly opened Grandview Overlook Park. Great views of the lake, but no access to it, has a beautiful East-West perspective, so is a great spot to catch sunrise and/or sunset form
      – the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge and Hanging Garden Trail – park your vehicle on the Eastern flank of the Glen Canyon Dam, walk across the bridge, then come back to your vehicle and walk the short, easy Hanging Garden Trail; the springs for which the latter is named are probably dry, but it’s a nice little walk to an interesting spot
      – Wahweap Swim Beach (inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, so you’ll have to pay the entrance $30/vehicle entrance fee, which is good for one week’s time) – a short distance from the Lake Powell Resort complex, walk out to the waterline, acquire bragging rights to say you dipped your feet in Lake Powell
      – Lone Rock Beach (also inside GCNRA), popular camping spot, nice beach area with great views of the Lone Rock formation
      For more information about the above-referenced areas and more, check out LiveLaughRV.net: Adventures at the Arizona-Utah Border
      – Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch — takes some effort, both to get there, and to hike it, but you might find the scenic pay-off well worth it! Wire Pass Canyon is a photogenic two-part slot canyon that is short enough for intermediate-level hikers to enjoy, yet offers the option to delve further into Buckskin Gulch for those wanting more of a challenge. The walk to the entrance of the initial slot is via a typically dry streambed, which is typically full of deep sand. An 8-10’ drop a short distance into the slot canyon is another reason why Wire Pass Canyon may not be appropriate for those traveling with young children, the elderly, or individuals afraid of heights. As the canyon walls become higher and closer together, they suddenly open up as the second slot connects with the Buckskin Gulch. If you’ve had enough at this point, you can simply turn around and head back to your vehicle. If you’d like to explore further, you can easily make a half-day hike out of the immediate area around the confluence with the Buckskin. Look for some bighorn sheep petroglyphs dating back hundreds, maybe thousands of years! Access to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road. Hikers are required to pay a self-permitting fee at the kiosk by the trailhead. Fair warning: the House Rock Valley Road is unpaved! While it is accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Parties in rental cars should think twice about attempting this road since off-road driving is strictly prohibited by most rental car companies. A guided tour will get your family to Wire Pass Canyon and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT based companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
      – Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
      – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
      – Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
      As you can see, there’s no shortage of things to see and do around Page, AZ, even with the Antelope Canyons closed.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  72. Hi Alley,
    This site has a lot of great information! My family of 4 (my husband, myself and our 14 and 16 year olds) is traveling to Sedona and surrounding area Dec. 18- 29 (flying in and out of Phoenix). We are booked in Sedona for the week of 18th-25th and then are thinking of staying in Page two nights (12/25 and 26th) and then Scottsdale the 27th and 28th. We are very active and love to hike. We are thinking of doing a day trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon (South Rim) either on a helicopter/plane tour or just a hiking tour. From Page we would like to see Peek a Boo Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. From Sedona to Page on Xmas day, will anything be open, and what would be best to do that day? Also wondering about going to Zion National Park and whether we can fit that in. Then, I thought on the 27th we could do a day trip drive through the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest on our way to Scottsdale. Then spend Monday in Scottsdale and leave on Tues. However, I am wondering whether we should skip Scottsdale and spend more time in the Page and Zion area. Wondering if you have any tips on itinerary and routes? Thanks in advance.

    1. Hi Melissa, glad you found us!
      Your trip plan looks pretty fun, but there are a couple of areas in need of a “reality check.”
      First off, I wouldn’t recommend visiting the Grand Canyon from Sedona as a self-drive day trip. The main reason for this is because it’s ~a 3 hour drive, each way, from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim. At the time of year you’re visiting, you’re also dealing with days that are extremely short. Sunrise during Christmas week takes place at around 7:45 AM, and sunset occurs at approximately 5:15 PM. That’s not even 10 hours of daylight that you have to work with, and you’re proposing to eat up 6 of those hours driving. You then have to factor in finding a place to park and getting your bearings once you arrive at Grand Canyon South Rim, which could easily take up another hour. At some point, you’ll probably want to get lunch (unless you bring something with you). That doesn’t leave a lot of time for sightseeing. If you’re thinking at this point, “we’ll just drive back that night,” uh… no. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of large wildlife such as deer and elk, as well as free range livestock such as cattle and even wild horses. The stretch of US89A from Flagstaff to Sedona in particular is very dark and windy. You don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, possibly cold (nighttime temps can dip down below freezing that time of year), where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. Long story short, either arrange to spend the night at the Grand Canyon, or do an air/ground combination tour out of Sedona. Those are HUGE time-savers, and flying over the area will give you a deeper appreciation for the magnitude and complexity of the landscape!
      In Page, AZ, you won’t find much open on Christmas Day itself, save for hotels, but tour operators, restaurants, and other services should be back up and running the following day. The drive from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ, takes approximately 3 hours as well. Horseshoe Bend is something you can probably hit on your way into town, then the next day, plan on visiting Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. Although the hike in Peek-A-Boo is pretty easy, driving there is anything but. If you’re in a rental car, forget it. Therefore, we recommend taking a guided tour to that area with one of several reputable tour companies in Kanab, UT (~70 minutes from Page):
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Since a tour of Peek-A-Boo will take anywhere from 3-4 hours, that won’t give you much time do much sightseeing in Zion other than a quick “pop-in/pop-out” just to say you saw it. Here again, you don’t want to find yourself having to drive back to Page, AZ, at night. The stretch of US89 between Kanab, UT, and Page, AZ, in particular is a popular migratory route for elk, who are notorious for moving about at night. Trust me, I’ve had a couple of “too close for comfort” encounters myself! You could certainly consider spending the night in Kanab, UT, or Springdale, UT (on the Eastern and Western borders of Zion, respectively), but that would leave you having to make an extra-long haul back to Phoenix, anywhere from 7-8 hours to be exact. Here, you could certainly use the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert to break up the drive; the gateway community of Holbrook, AZ, is ~5-6 hours from Zion, and the drive back to Phoenix would be ~4 hours.
      Another option? Skip that part of the plan entirely, give the extra time to Zion, and fly out of Las Vegas. IMO Scottsdale/Phoenix is just another big city, and all that that implies. The desert scenery surrounding it may be somewhat novel for your family, and the cost of switching your plane tickets around may be too high at this point, but the in at PHX/out at LAS approach has been used by many travelers to the American Southwest to get the most out of their sightseeing time. If it’s not too expensive (the rental car drop-off fees tend to rule it out for many people), it certainly merits consideration.
      Hope that helps, I know it’s a hard choice! Feel free to write in again if you need to bounce more ideas off us.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  73. Hi Alley,

    Thanks so much for your quick responses — all this information is extremely helpful and informative. I am planning to travel to Sedona with my parents during the 1st week of November, for about 7-8 days. We are looking to definitely visit Phoenix, Scottsdale, Sedona, Flagstaff, Page / Horseshoe Bend, and the Grand Canyon (South Rim seems ideal) – but are open to any other suggestions you might have for what we could visit in this time. We know Antelope Canyon is unfortunately closed, but have read about other places like Glen Canyon, the Wave, White Pocket, Monument Valley, etc. that seem to be worth visiting if we have the time.

    Also, we are thinking of flying in and out of Phoenix, but again open to what you think would be best.

    We would really appreciate any advice or recommendations you have for us! Thanks!

    1. Hi Nihar!
      Well, let me get the bad news out of the way first: The Wave won’t happen. That’s a highly-coveted hike in an area where access is extremely limited: only 20 people per day are allowed to visit Coyote Buttes North, who must apply for an online permit lottery 4 months in advance, or by walk-in lottery the day prior to when they wish to hike. Also, I don’t recall seeing your parents’ age, physical fitness level, etc., mentioned, but the Wave is a 6-mile round-trip hike that not everyone is up for. For more information on permits, terrain, etc., visit our companion site, http://www.TheWaveAZ.com
      Another non-starter: Monument Valley. It’s on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, which are closed due to COVID-19. Even if you don’t go there, there might still be a way for your family to see it. More on that in a minute…
      You are correct in that the Antelope Canyons are closed. They are also on Navajo Indian Lands. However, if seeing a slot canyon remains on your “wish list,” there are some in the area not subject to the closure of Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. The most family-friendly (read: easiest to walk) is Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon in Kanab, UT. With twists and turns and classic slot canyon scenery comparable to the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk also offers some unique geological features. While a guided tour is not required to get there, we strongly recommend taking one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is not difficult, the drive to get there is. can be. Parties in rental cars are discouraged from attempting it as you will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. Reputable tour companies who go to Red Canyon are based in Kanab, UT:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      White Pocket is also a possibility as this area boasts stunning rock formations and easy hiking, and doesn’t require a permit to access (not yet, anyway, knock on wood). Here again, a guided tour is strongly recommended due to the difficult nature of the drive to this area. Most of the above-referenced tour companies can get you to White Pocket; one not mentioned but who we are personally familiar with is Paria Outpost & Outfitters, http://www.paria.com, 928-691-1047.
      You are also correct in that Grand Canyon South Rim would be best for you to visit at the time of year you’re traveling. If it would be your first visit, especially, the South Rim has more in the way of visitor services (hotels, restaurants, etc.). For maximum safety, comfort, and enjoyment, plan on spending one or two nights at the Grand Canyon, preferably in the park or Tusayan, AZ. Also, note that the drive between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ, is normally ~3 hours, but due to the closure of Navajo Indian Lands due to COVID-19, it is now necessary to detour through Flagstaff, AZ, to get from one place to the other. This has turned a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. Map
      Speaking of driving, any and all of it must be done during daylight hours in this part of the U.S. This is due to local roads being very dimly lit — a deliberate move in many cases to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky — and the possible presence of large animals such as deer, elk, free range cattle, even wild horses. You don’t want to risk a collision with one in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, possibly cold (nighttime temperatures are starting to dip down below freezing in some areas in November), where cell service is spotty to non-existent and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
      Long story short: in light of what you want to accomplish, and possible modifications to your plans due to some areas being closed, I’d recommend flying in and out of Las Vegas. You can still hit Sedona, AZ, with relative ease using LAS as your staging city, but would probably need to save Phoenix/Scottsdale for another visit.
      For a sample 7-day itinerary (pre COVID-19, so you’ll need to adjust accordingly), visit our companion site http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary in Northern Arizona & Southern Utah
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂
      P.S. Oops! Forgot to mention how you might still work Monument Valley into your trip without actually going there: fly over it! Fixed wing airplanes may be chartered out of the Page, AZ, Municipal Airport with Westwind Air Service. Flights over Monument Valley, Lake Powell, and the Glen Canyon Dam last 90 minutes and are spectacular!

  74. Hello Alley!

    I am so glad I found this website! I have been a little lost with planning my trip, especially with Covid. I’m from Texas, but my family and I have just bought an Airbnb in Kanab! We’ll be driving, and we will be staying in Kanab from December 25th – December 30th. I’ve been doing research, and I found a bit of information on Coyote Buttes South, Paria Canyon, some trails in Bryce Canyon, and a little bit about Buckskin Gulch. Since I’m from Texas, I don’t know where to go first or the best way to spend my time.
    Do you have any recommendations of other places my family and I can go to? I’m also going with my parents, so I’d like to go with safer options because it might be a bit icy.
    I’m also concerned about the permits because I have heard those are difficult to secure.
    Thanks so much!

    1. Hi Jessica!
      At the time of year you’re visiting, weather will be the primary determining factor on where you can go and what you can do.
      I’ll get the potentially bad news out of the way first: Coyote Buttes permits will be the most difficult to come by. Coyote Buttes North, where the world-famous “Wave” formation is located, is probably going to be a non-starter since only 20 people per day are allowed into that area. Coyote Buttes South, which many feel to be more beautiful than North, tends to be easier to acquire permits for, but the number of hikers is still quite limited into that area. The fact that you’re visiting during what is technically winter may be advantageous, but there are downsides to it, such as needing to be prepared for very cold weather, etc. For more information on how to apply for a permit, visit Recreation.gov: Coyote Buttes Permits
      Should you succeed at acquiring a permit, however, there is the matter of getting out there. Access to the Coyote Buttes area is via the Wire Pass Trail, located on the House Rock Valley Road off US89. This unpaved road, though regularly graded, is usually rendered impassable after a snow or rainstorm, and during the Christmas holidays, these tend to occur more often than not. If you’re in a standard passenger vehicle (2WD), I would strongly discourage you from attempting to drive on the HRVR. Even if you’re in a 4WD, if you’re not accustomed to driving in muddy conditions or through deep sand, you may wish to enlist the help of a licensed guide service to get you there and back in one piece. For more information about hiring a guide to Coyote Buttes and other scenic areas in the Kanab, UT, area, visit our companion site, http://www.TheWaveAZ.com: Hire A Guide Many of the other sights you’ve mentioned, such as Wire Pass Canyon, Buckskin Gulch, Paria Canyon, etc., must also be accessed via HRVR or other unpaved roads, so the aforementioned link will also help you in that situation.
      One thing that jumps out at me is that you say you are traveling with your parents. Not knowing their exact ages or physical fitness levels, or whether you are traveling with any young children, I still feel the need to forwarn you that the sights you have on your wish list are in very rugged terrain. Wire Pass Canyon, for example, has a 8-10′ vertical drop that tends to deter parties with the elderly, small children, or anyone afraid of heights. If your traveling party has any of these concerns, you might wish to opt instead to tour Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. This short but memorable walk features scenery on par with the Antelope Canyons (which are closed), and a few that are unique to it. Although the slot canyon portion isn’t that difficult, the drive to get there is, which is why we recommend again taking a guided tour to this area. Tour companies that can get you to Peek-A-Boo in safety and comfort are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Another area you might consider instead of Coyote Buttes is White Pocket. This is a stunning area chock-a-block with exquisite geological features, yet doesn’t require a permit (not yet anyway, knock on wood). Another plus? The “hiking” involved is very easy. The hard part — surprise, surprise — is the drive out there. Here again, hire a tour guide. You can find suggestions of companies in the link provided above from TheWaveAZ.com.
      If you do take us up on the suggestion to take a tour of Peek-A-Boo Canyon, ask your chosen tour company about dovetailing or packaging this area with the Coral Pink Sand Dunes or Best Friends Animal Sanctuary.
      Last but not least is Zion National Park. Located less than an hour’s drive from Kanab, UT, this is one of the most beautiful National Parks in the American Southwest, and rightfully on the list of Utah’s “Mighty 5.” There are all kinds of opportunities for hiking and exploring, from easy to hard and everything in between. You should definitely plan to spend at least one of your days there. Due to COVID-19, there are some limitations on services, and you have to purchase tickets for the park shuttle in advance of your arrival. Also, be warned: a day visit will leave you feeling as though you’d only “scratched the surface” of all that’s there. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be planning another visit when you can spend more time!
      Oh, almost forgot: another area within easy access by car, and one of the area’s “hidden gems” is Pipe Springs National Monument. A very educational and humbling glimpse into the area’s past, and how difficult it was for folks to eke out a life in this often inhospitable land.
      You might also set aside a day to make the short drive to Page, AZ (~70 minutes), and visit Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and the Glen Canyon Dam.
      As you can see, you’ll have no problem finding places to go and things to see and do using Kanab, UT, as your base camp! For more suggestions, go to http://www.VisitSouthernUtah.com
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley!

        Thank you so much for responding! Your response was so helpful. I had a few follow-up questions:

        1) I read about the Coral Pink Sand Dunes, but if I weren’t going to go with my tour company, would it be possible to go there on my own? If so, how does the parking/permit situation work?
        2) I’ve been looking for information on the Horseshoe Bend parking, but I’ve only found that the price for one vehicle, which I believe was $10. Do I need to pay in advance, if so, where?
        3) For Peek-a-Boo canyon, I found that TC Tours has the cheapest options (by almost $100). They also won’t answer my calls. Are you sure this is a reputable tour company?
        4) I’m still confused about the location of everything. I know I want to hit Grand Canyon, Zion Canyon, Bryce Canyon, and now probably Peek-a-Boo Canyon. If I’m only staying there for around 6 days, how can I get the best experience? Are there some canyons that are close to each other that I can hit while I’m around that area?

        1. Hi Jessica,
          So sorry for the delay in getting back to you, the format of the comments page tends to “bury” follow-up replies such as yours. But, better late than never, I always say!
          1) It is absolutely fine to visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes without a guided tour. The parking fee is $10/vehicle, it may be purchased in advance online if you wish, but that’s not mandatory. Without an ATV or equivalent off-road vehicle, you will be somewhat limited in where you can go, but you can still have an enjoyable time just hiking around and exploring.
          2) The parking fee for Horseshoe Bend is $10/standard passenger vehicle or $35/light commercial vehicle. The option to purchase tickets in advance is not yet available, you simply pay the fee upon arrival. The parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset.
          3) Wow, sorry to hear that TC Tours is not returning your calls. I’ve never used them personally, but to my knowledge, they are a reputable company that has been around for several years. Should they continue to dodge you, I’d simply take my business elsewhere. Dreamland Safaris is probably the most well-established tour company that goes to Peek-A-Boo, followed by Kanab Tour Company.
          4) Regarding the locations of the parks you wish to visit, here is a map of them. As to which order to visit to “get the best experience,” there is no “wrong” way to do it. Realistically, your route will be determined by hotel availability — or possibly lack thereof — in the various locations you are wanting to visit. For Zion, we recommend at least 2 days. Bryce can be explored fairly well in 1 day. Give Page, AZ, 2 days, then 1 for Grand Canyon South Rim.
          5) There are several slot canyons you can visit while you’re in the area between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT. Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo is one. If you’re wanting something more rugged, then Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch would fill the bill. Another slot canyon that’s kind of flown under the radar until now is the Cottonwood Wash Narrows. While not as “slotty” if that’s a proper word as Antelope or Wire Pass, the scenery around the area is still beautiful. In all cases, access to the canyons is via unpaved roads. If you’re in a rental car, or 2WD vehicle, we would strongly discourage you from attempting to get to them on your own. These are very remote areas where cell service will be spotty to non-existent, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive, if you get in trouble. For Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch, we recommend going with Paria Outpost & Outfitters, http://www.paria.com, 928-691-1047. For the Cottonwood Wash Narrows and other “hidden gems,” visit Big Orange Jeep Tours or phone 928-288-0685.
          Take care and have a safe trip,
          Alley 🙂

  75. Hi Alley – thank you SO much for spending all this time answering folk’s questions. Reading thru those is as educational as the main post itself. Quick one for you – i keep reading that the North Rim is closed and it’s impossible to get in, however, according to https://www.nps.gov/grca/learn/news/north-rim-begins-day-use-operations-2020.htm – AZ67 will remain open thru November 30 (pending snowstorms) which means that even though the VS is closed, one can still drive through and do day-hiking activities. Is this correct or am I missing something? TYSM for your help!

    1. Hi Lance,
      Nope, you’re not missing a thing! Although visitor services at Grand Canyon North Rim area closed, you can still get into the park as long as favorable weather holds. As you can imagine, that situation can change in a New York minute, so keep an eye on local weather for best guidance.
      Since the sole in-park hotel is closed for the season, along with the nearby Kaibab Lodge, the closest overnight accommodations to the North Rim would be the Jacob Lake Inn (~60 minutes away), seconded by Kanab, UT, the Marble Canyon/Lees Ferry area (both ~90 minutes from the North Rim), then Page, AZ (~2.5 hours from GC North).
      Should you book lodging nearby and visit the North Rim as a day trip, it can be very cool having the park virtually to yourself, but remember you won’t find any restaurants, gas stations, or other services open. Be sure that your vehicle is fully gassed up, and that you pack a picnic lunch and plenty of water.
      Should your plans on visiting the North Rim in person be thwarted by inclement weather, there is still a way you could at least see it, and that is to fly over it. Fixed wing airplanes can be chartered out of the Page Municipal Airport in Page, AZ, or you can hop on a scheduled airplane flight or helicopter tour from Grand Canyon South Rim. Neither flight would land at the North Rim (no airstrip or helipads).
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  76. Hi! Visiting Sedona with family in December. What do you recommend for a 4 night stay. I see some places are closed. Any advice is appreciated!

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Brittney,
      Sedona is a stunning area with lots to see and do! You could easily have a wonderful 4-day visit, yet feel as though you’d only “scratched the surface” of all Sedona has to offer.
      In December, you’re going to be dealing with short days; sunrise occurs at around 7:30, while sunset takes place just after 5:00 PM. Since all driving should be done during daylight hours, I would advise against making any day trips involving more than 2 hours — round-trip — behind the wheel. That would mean that if you fancied going to the Grand Canyon or Horseshoe Bend (Page, AZ), both of which require a 3-hour one way drive, you should set aside separate days for these and spend the night in the area.
      For 4 days in Sedona, here’s jus a small sampling of what you can do:
      – the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour — a fun 4WD tour into Sedona’s amazing backcountry with knowledgeable guides skilled at navigating rough terrain
      – touring the “man-made” wonders of Sedona, including the Chapel of the Holy Cross, shops and galleries in the downtown area, Tlaquepaque shopping complex, etc. For suggestions, check out this video: “Walking Tour of Downtown Sedona
      hot air balloon rides — these occur weather permitting, first thing in the morning
      – hiking: there are plenty of beautiful trails and opportunities for people of all fitness levels Best Hikes in Sedona
      Verde Canyon Scenic Railway – beautiful half-day excursion through a scenic river canyon, originating in Clarkdale, AZ (~30 minutes drive from Sedona)
      Wine tastings – there are several wineries in the Sedona area with tasting rooms for you to sample the fruits of their labors! DIY or take a guided tour
      Montezuma Castle & Montezuma’s Well/Tuzigoot National Monuments: explore ancient Native American dwellings set amongst beautiful scenery in an easy loop drive from Sedona, or you can hit Tuzigoot before or after the Verde Canyon Railway trip and visit Montezuma’s Castle on a separate day
      Out of Africa Wildlife Park – rated one of Arizona’s top zoos, located in Camp Verde, ~20 minutes from Sedona
      Again, this is just a small sampling of things to see and do. For more suggestions, visit the Arizona Forum of TripAdvisor and look for posts by a contributor called “RedRox.” He’s a long-time resident of Sedona who can give you practical and realistic advice on how best to enjoy this area.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  77. Hello,
    I am planning to visit Zion, Bryce, horse shoe bend, Grand canyon north rim, south rim & west in Nov first week. I will be spending around 8-9 days. I will flying to Vegas on 31st Oct and then driving in a loop and flying out of Vegas again on Nov 9th. I wanted to check whats the feasibility of covering all of these location and has COVID pandemic affected the entrances to any of the areas. I have a few questions regarding this trip. It would be really helpful if you could help me out.
    1) How safe is it to fly & stay in hotels around these areas considering COVID situation?
    2) Do you know if any of these locations are closed due to COVID?
    3) Will I be exhausting myself with all of these locations during a single trip within 9 days?

    It would be really helpful if you could provide me some advice regarding about questions and my trip.

    1. Hi Pranav,
      Well, let me get the potentially bad news out of the way first: there’s a 95% probability that you will not be visiting Grand Canyon North Rim. That has nothing to do with COVID-19, it’s because visitor services there close in mid-October, and the road into the park is usually not far behind. While you most likely won’t be able to visit the North Rim in person, however, there might still be a way for you to see it. More on that in a minute…
      In answer to your specific inquiries:
      1) How safe is it to fly and stay in hotels? Only you can make that determination for yourself. The hotels and airlines are all taking extra precautions to clean and sanitize facilities and take other preventative measures, such as reducing capacity and room inventory. Still, people do catch COVID-19 as a result of traveling in this area. Think about it: even with masks and social distancing, you’re liable to be around people from all over the country who may have unknowingly been exposed. With COVID-19’s long incubation period, it may be awhile before you are even aware you’ve been exposed. Should you fall ill while you’re traveling in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, another factor that could work against you is the relative remoteness of the area and the lack of medical facilities. You may end up traveling a very long distance (at potentially great expense) to find a hospital or clinic with the necessary facilities to care for you.
      2) Are any locations closed due to COVID-19? Yes – specifically, attractions on the Navajo Indian Reservation. These include the Antelope Canyons, Monument Valley, Four Corners, Canyon de Chelly Campground, some areas of Marble Canyon, and the Little Colorado River Overlook. Most significantly IMO, is the closure of AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point. This is an integral component of the travel route from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim. Because of this closure, it is now necessary for those traveling from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back North via US180/AZ64 or I40/AZ64 to the South Rim. This rather long detour has turned what was once a ~3 hour drive into a ~5 hour drive. You must be prepared for this by ensuring that your vehicle is fully fueled, and that you carry water and maybe a few snacks so you avoid stopping on Navajo Reservation Lands. Tribal residents wish to avoid any interraction with outsiders as they have been affected disproportionately hard by COVID-19.
      3) Will you be exhausting yourself by trying to hit all these locations? Taking the North Rim off the table helps. Depending on when your flights get into Las Vegas, and when you leave Las Vegas, you essentially have 8 full days to give to your trip.
      In light of these and other concerns, here’s what I’d recommend:
      October 31st: Fly to Las Vegas, overnight in Las Vegas
      November 1st: Drive to Zion National Park (~3.5 hours), overnight in Springdale, UT or Hurricane, UT
      November 2nd: 2nd day in Zion, overnight in Hurricane, UT
      November 3rd: Drive to Bryce Canyon (~2 hours from Hurricane, UT), overnight in Bryce Canyon area
      November 4th: Drive to Page, AZ (~3 hours from Bryce Canyon, UT) stop in Kanab, UT on the way to tour Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon (tour takes ~4 hours), overnight in Page, AZ
      November 5th: Get up early, visit Horseshoe Bend en route to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hour drive), overnight at Grand Canyon
      November 6th: 2nd day at Grand Canyon South Rim — remember how I said you might still be able to see the North Rim without actually going there? Here’s where that comes in! Get up early that morning, then take a flight over it in an airplane or helicopter. Neither flight will actually land at the North Rim (no airstrip or helipads), but will give you enough time over it to get a sense of how different it is from the South Rim. If possible, take the helicopter flight (they are allowed to fly lower than planes) and spring for the longer flight (40-45 minutes) in the Eco-Star helicopter. Grand Canyon helicopter tours If you’re on a tighter budget, you can take an airplane tour of comparable length and route; Grand Canyon airplane flights are required to fly ~1,000′ higher than helicopters, but offer a nice bird’s eye view of not only the Grand Canyon, but the surrounding landscape. Mornings are the best time to fly. Afterward, if desired, you might see the IMAX movie “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets.” 2nd night at Grand Canyon South Rim
      November 7th: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Grand Canyon West (~5 hour drive), tour Grand Canyon Skywalk, maybe take heli flight/boat ride to canyon floor , overnight in Kingman, AZ (~90 minutes from GC Skywalk), or at Grand Canyon Ranch (~30 minutes from Grand Canyon West)
      November 8th – Drive back to Las Vegas (~2.5 hours from Grand Canyon Ranch, ~90 minutes from Kingman), overnight in Las Vegas
      November 9th – fly home
      Map of trip
      If you can allot another day to your trip, you can choose to stay another day in Page, AZ, or Zion.
      One last thing regarding weather: at the time of year you’re visiting, it’s typically cold. In the higher elevations, such as Grand Canyon South Rim (7,000′ ASL) and Bryce Canyon (8,000′ ASL), you could encounter snow. Of course, it’s too soon to call, but start monitoring weather in the area about 2 weeks before you get set to travel (meaning, start checking now!). That will give you the best idea of what to expect.
      If you haven’t booked any hotels, or guided tours, do so ASAP. Those hotels and tour companies that are still operating may have reduced room inventory or seat capacity to facilitate social distancing.
      Hope that helps. Feel free to write in again if you need to bounce more ideas off us.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thanks a lot Alley. Your advice is really helpful and I will tweak the plan to substitute visiting to north rim with helicopter ride. This is an excellent forum and you are extremely helpful with timely advice. Thanks again.

        1. You are welcome Pranav — hope you have a wonderful trip!
          If you get a minute when you return home, write in again and let us know how things went 😉
          Alley

  78. Hi Alley,

    My mom and I are planning a trip to Arizona at the end of October, first days of November (it was initially planned for Holy Week, but the COVID-19…).
    We arrive first at Sedona, where we spend more or less 4 days, after that we will be staying in Page, AZ.
    We just saw that the Antelope Canyon is closed!!!! 🙁 Do you know if it is for sure???
    We want to visit Horse Shoe Bend, and don’t really have an itinerary planned… we’ve only thought we would enjoy some trails, stargazing experiences, or ATV tours.
    Could you maybe give me some ideas or tips in order to better plan the trip and take advantage of all AZ has to offer?

    Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Ariadna,
      So sorry that COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into your trip plans, and that you’ve been dealt a double-whammy with the closure of the Antelope Canyons.
      Yes, it is certain that all attractions on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands are closed through the end of 2020. That includes the Antelope Canyons, Monument Valley, the Four Corners Monument, Canyon de Chelly Campground, the Little Colorado River Overlook and some areas of Marble Canyon. However, if seeing a slot canyon was high on your “must-do” list, there are still a couple of options for salvaging that part of your trip. More on that in a minute 😉
      That’s awesome that you’re spending ample time in Sedona, AZ. You’ll be glad you gave it the time it deserves! The drive from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ, will take you ~3 hours. Since a good chunk of that route goes through Navajo Indian Land, and they discourage outsiders from interracting with tribe members, be sure your vehicle is fully gassed and that you have plenty of water and a few snacks packed just in case you get hungry. Since Horseshoe Bend is located a short distance South of Page, AZ, you can hit it on your way into town, parking permitting. If for some reason you’re running late, or the parking lot is full, plan on hitting it first thing in the morning the next day. Whichever way you go, be sure to allow ~2 hours to park (a one-time $10/vehicle fee is collected upon entry), walk to the rim, take photos, then walk back.
      You mention that you are traveling with your mom and that you want to ‘enjoy some trails’; if your mom is relatively healthy, she should be able to manage the 1.4 mile round-trip walk to the rim of Horseshoe Bend and back. If for some reason that’s too much for her, you might consider flying over Horseshoe Bend in a fixed-wing airplane or helicopter. Horseshoe Bend flights
      As for some other trails you might do, the Hanging Gardens trail is relatively easy and takes you to an unexpected sight here in the desert. The springs are probably dry at this time of year, but it’s a nice walk. Since that trail is right near the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge, you can easily walk across it next. If you’d like to get down to the waterline of Lake Powell, you can do so at the Wahweap Swim Beach or Lone Rock Beach. Note that these areas are located within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, so you’d have to pay a $30/vehicle entrance fee, which is good for one week’s time. If you have a National Park Pass, that works, too.
      For ATV tours, one that might “kill two birds with one stone” for you is Big Orange Jeep Tours’ Cottonwood Slot Tour. As the name suggests, it does visit a slot canyon that is not affected by the closure of the Navajo Reservation. While it is not as “slotty” (if that’s a proper word LOL) as Antelope Canyon, you’ll enjoy a ton of beautiful scenery in a relatively short trip.
      If you prefer something with more “classic” slot canyon scenery, plan on making the short drive to Kanab, UT (~70 minutes) to take a tour of Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features picture-postcard slot canyon formations, as well as some unique features such as ancient “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. Tour companies that go to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      For stargazing, you’ll find no shortage of good vantage points in the area. The newly opened Grandview Overlook Park in town would be a good spot, but for best results, you should try to get outside Page, AZ’s surprisingly large light dome. Lone Rock Beach might be a good candidate for this (just don’t drive too far in the sand). If you’re OK with doing a short-ish drive off-road, you might venture as far as Big Water, UT (~20 minutes from Page, over the Utah border) and go to an area known affectionately as “the Moon.” If it has rained recently, though, avoid this area as the road can become a muddy, impassable mess when it’s wet. Inquire with a local if you’re even remotely interested in doing this if it’s feasible. If conditions are right, you might piggy-back this activity onto a visit to the Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      Hopefully, you’re feeling more reassured about visiting Page, AZ, because even with the Antelope Canyons being closed, there’s no shortage of things to see and do!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley,

        Thank you so much for your response, it has helped a great deal! I wanted to ask you something else, would yu recommend visiting Zion National Park? We’ll be arriving to Page on the 4th of November, and leaving on November 7. Or would you recommend us to better stay close by?

        Thank you!

        1. Hi again, Ariadna,
          Glad our advice has helped so far!
          I think in light of your existing plans, you might be better off skipping Zion this time around. Zion is a huge park and deserves at least 3-4 days of your time, at least, to fully enjoy. Another consideration is that due to COVID-19, capacity on the Zion Canyon Shuttle, which is mandatory for access to the main scenic area of the park, has been reduced. This has necessitated advance reservations for shuttle tickets, which is a huge pain in the tookus according to friends of mine who were recently there.
          Now, I don’t recall where you were flying out of, but if you happened to be flying out of Las Vegas, you could make a quick “drive-through” of Zion on the way from Page, AZ, to Vegas. That would add another 90 minutes onto an already long drive. Less than ideal, but at least would entitle you to bragging rights to having seen Zion.
          Hope that helps and that you have a happy Holiday season!
          Alley 🙂

  79. Hi Alley, Im so glad I found your page!
    Me, my Husband, & 3 kids (ages 8-14) are planning a trip towards Grand Canyon mid November 2020.
    We are driving from California & plan to spend a week exploring (can extend to 10 days). This is our first time visiting!
    Our wish list includes: Hikes in Sedona/ATV tour in Page /Lone rock beach/ “new” wave / Horeshoe bend/ Glen canyon bridge/ Grand Canyon south rim.
    Is this feasible? What route would you recommend & how much time would needed at each location?
    Nothing is set and we are willing to switch things around if you recommend an alternative or of there is a must see along the way that I’m missing.
    Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Hi Melissa, we’re glad you found us, too!
      It’s not often I say this, but you should be able to achieve everything on your wish list, and maybe a bit more, in the time that you have. Most people try to cram too many places into too short a time 😉
      The main thing to be aware of is that mid-November is in the transitional timeframe between autumn and winter, so you’re very likely to encounter days that range from sunny and brisk to raging snowstorms and everything in between! It’s too soon to call, of course, but I’d recommend monitoring Grand Canyon area weather about 2 weeks before travel to get the best idea of what to expect, and how to pack.
      I don’t recall seeing what part of California you’re traveling from, so I’m going to assume LA. Because the initial drive out and the final drive back could be on the long side (~8-10 hours), you might consider breaking up these legs of the trip in Las Vegas, NV, Laughlin, NV, or the Mojave Desert Area. Your kids would probably thank you LOL
      In light of these and other considerations, here’s what I would suggest:
      Day 1 – Drive from LA to Las Vegas (~5 hour drive), overnight in Las Vegas
      Day 2 – Drive from Las Vegas, NV, to Zion National Park (~3.5 hour drive), overnight in Springdale, UT
      Day 3 – Morning: sightseeing in Zion National Park – **note that you must use the Zion Canyon Shuttle to access the main part of the park, and since capacity has been reduced to promote social distancing, advance reservations are required. Zion Canyon Shuttle Tickets If you prefer not to mess with that, there are other areas accessible to cars, but hiking opportunities may be limited in these areas.** Drive to Page, AZ, in the afternoon (~2 hours), time permitting, visit Lone Rock Beach and Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge on the way into town, overnight in Page, AZ.
      Day 4 – Sightseeing in Page, AZ: ATV tour, “New Wave,” spend 2nd night in Page, AZ.
      Day 5 – Visit Horseshoe Bend on way to Grand Canyon South Rim. ***This drive normally takes ~3 hours, but due to COVID-19, the section of AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point has been closed per executive order of the Navajo Tribe. This means that you must drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then back North to the Grand Canyon. This detour has turned a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive.*** Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim
      Day 6 – See IMAX movie “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets” on the way to Sedona, AZ (~3 hours from Grand Canyon South), overnight in Sedona, AZ
      Day 7 – Hiking and sightseeing in Sedona, AZ, 2nd night in Sedona
      Day 8 – Begin trip back home, maybe break up drive in Mojave Desert area (~5 hours from Sedona), overnight in Needles, CA? Whatever you do, stay away from Baker, CA.
      Day 9 – Complete drive home
      Map of the trip
      If you are able to squeeze an extra day in somewhere, I’d recommend either Zion or Sedona. Both areas are stunning, big, and offer a lot to see and do!
      Hope that helps. Feel free to write in again if you need to bounce more ideas off us 🙂
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  80. Hey!
    My friends and I are planning a Road trip which may sound a little crazy but we will try our best to make every stop happen! We will plan to leave San Fransisco on the 13 of November early evening and have this route planned…
    SF – Joshua Tree NP – Salvation Mountains (picture) – Route 66 (Flagstaff + just want pictures) – Grand Canyon – Antelope Canyon (we know its closed) – Horseshoe Bend ( no big need of hikes) – drive ‘through’ Monument Valley (picture) – Arches NP – Salt Lake City – Bryce Canyon – Zion NP – drive by Seven Magic Mountains( picture) – Death Valley (no need to plan a big day just taking some pictures) – back to San Fransisco

    So the whole trip is planned through the 11/13-11/22/2020. Another question just adding too my previous question is if we need any reservation in advance for the parks I have listed above (we have the annual pass) If you guys have any suggestions of places to sleep or in general some advice we would really appreciate… we are three young girls in a car and are all used to road trips and we switch between the three of us with driving!

    Thank you in advance!

    1. Hey Marie,
      So, since your e-mail address has the .de suffix on it, I’m assuming that you’re coming over from Germany? If so, you’re going to be jetlagged when you arrive in the U.S., and may need an extra night in San Francisco to acclimate to local time.
      Also, it’s best if you avoid driving in the dark, especially in unfamiliar areas, and especially in the more remote areas of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Instead of leaving SF on November 13th, just spend the night there and hit the road first thing 11/14 when everyone is rested. In mid-November, sunrise in San Francisco, CA, occurs just before 7:00 AM, and sunset takes place at around 5:00 PM in California
      It’s good that you’re used to road trips and long drives, but still, IMO you’re going to need to rein in your ambitions. Otherwise, you’re looking at a trip that will resemble more of a death march than a vacation. For example, you’re looking to encounter a super-long haul right off the bat: it takes ~8 hours to drive from SF to Joshua Tree, then another 1.5-2 hours to get to Salvation Mountain. There isn’t much in the way of lodging nearby, so you’d probably end up having to go as far as El Centro, CA, to find a hotel room… more driving (oh, joy), and you’re already racing against a short daylength as it is. I’d recommend breaking up the drive somewhere like Sequoia National Park, which is ~5 hours from SF, then make the trip to Joshua Tree NP and Salvation Mountain the next day. Map of trip
      The drive from Joshua Tree to Flagstaff, AZ, via Route 66 will take anywhere from 7-8 hours factoring in stops, so plan on overnighting in Flagstaff, AZ, that night. In fact, you might want to book 2 nights in Flagstaff and just visit Grand Canyon South Rim as a day trip. The reason I recommend this is because normally, the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, takes ~3 hours. Due to COVID-19, the Navajo Indian Tribe has opted to close an integral component of the shortest travel route between the two areas (AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ). This means that you’d have to detour all the way back to Flagstaff, AZ, anyway, then proceed North on US89 to Page, AZ. This has turned a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. You might as well just stay in Flagstaff, AZ, the night before, then make a 3-hour drive to Page, AZ. Sunrise in Arizona in mid-November occurs shortly after 7:00 AM, sunset takes place after 5:00 PM. Again, make sure you are keeping an eye on the clock always so you are not doing any driving at night.
      In Page, AZ, Horseshoe Bend won’t be a problem — you need at least 2 hours to visit it — but the Antelope Canyons are a no-go. They are completely closed, and the nearest slot canyons open to tourism are located in Paria, UT (Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch) or Kanab, UT (Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon). You could visit either of these en route from Bryce Canyon to Zion. A guided tour is not technically required for either, but are strongly recommended due to the access roads being unpaved, which will void the insurance on your rental car. For more information on touring Wire Pass or Red Canyon, read this piece on our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Help! My Tour Got Cancelled
      In light of these concerns, here’s what I’d recommend:
      11/14 – Drive from SF to Sequoia National Park (~5-6 hours), overnight in Visalia, CA
      11/15 – Drive from Sequoia National Park to Joshua Tree & Salvation Mountain (6-8 hours), overnight in Brawley, CA, or El Centro, CA
      11/16 – Drive from Joshua Tree area to Flagstaff, AZ, via Route 66 (7-8 hours), overnight in Flagstaff, AZ (map of trip section from SF to Flagstaff)
      11/17 – Day trip to Grand Canyon South Rim (1.5 hour drive each way), 2nd night in Flagstaff, AZ
      11/18 – Drive from Flagstaff, AZ, to Page, AZ (~3 hour drive), visit Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page
      11/19 – Drive from Page, AZ, to Moab, UT (~6 hours), via Monument Valley, overnight in Moab, UT (Map of trip section from Flagstaff, AZ, to Moab, UT)
      11/20 – Drive from Moab, UT, to Bryce Canyon via Scenic Byway 12 (~6 hours, beautiful drive), overnight in Bryce Canyon area
      11/20 – Drive from Bryce Canyon to Kanab, UT (~1.5 hours), tour Red/Peek-A-Boo Canyon (tours last ~4 hours), then drive to Zion National Park (~1 hour from Kanab), overnight in Springdale, UT
      11/21 – Drive from Springdale, UT, to Seven Magic Mountains (~3.5 hours), then on to Death Valley NP, overnight in Barstow, CA (map of that leg of the trip)
      11/22 – Drive back to San Francisco (~7 hours from Barstow)
      11/23 – Fly home
      Notice I’ve taken Salt Lake City off the agenda. You don’t have time for it, it’s too far out of the way, and frankly, it’s just another big city. I know, I live 90 minutes from there.
      As for requiring advance reservations in the parks, the National Park Pass will take care of entrance fees, which don’t require advance reservations. At Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ, the parking lot is managed by the City of Page, so a one-time $10 per vehicle parking fee is required, whether you have the National Park Pass or not. In Zion, you must use a shuttle to access the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, which is generally considered the main sightseeing area of the park. Due to COVID-19, passenger capacity on the shuttles has been reduced to facilitate social distancing, so advance reservations are now required if you want to utilize this service. Zion Canyon Shuttle Tickets
      Other “general advice:” that time of year is usually cold, and you could encounter snow in the higher elevations, such as Grand Canyon South Rim (7,000′ ASL) and Bryce Canyon (8,000′ ASL). Be sure to check the weather in the areas you plan to travel about 2 weeks before you arrive to get the best idea of what kind of conditions you’ll encounter and what kind of clothes to pack.
      Whatever you decide, be sure that you reserve all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival. Now would not be too soon to start checking availability!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you very much for your quick response and we will definitely take your advices serious!
        Yes, you saw right that my email is foreign (Germany) but me and my friends live here in the states (them in Cali) and we have our own car so no need to worry to much about the rental car…
        I really appreciate your detailed response and I am looking forward to use your information!
        Best regards,
        Marie

        1. Hi again, Marie!
          Glad my advice has helped so far, and thanks for the clarification about where you’ll be coming from, and the fact that you’re driving a personal vehicle instead of a rental car.
          Even though you’ll be driving your own vehicle, we still recommend guided tours for attractions where the access roads are unpaved (Peek-A-Boo Canyon, Wire Pass Canyon, etc). Trust me, we hear a lot of horror stories about folks getting stuck in these areas, and they’re not fun (or inexpensive).
          Take care and have a wonderful trip. If you get a minute upon your return home, write in again and let us know how things went!
          Alley 🙂

  81. Hi,

    My family and I are going on a road trip and already planned on spending one day in Page, AZ on November 1st, before even checking the websites and learning that the canyons are closed for the remainder of 2020. I am thinking we visit Horseshoe Bend and then possibly cruise Lake Powell on a boat or kayaks. Anything other recommendations? We only have one day in Page and then heading home the next morning.

    1. Hi Marlene,
      Sorry to hear that your vacation plans have been unexpectedly affected by COVID-19. The Antelope Canyons are indeed closed indefinitely, but there are other slot canyons in the area that are still open to tourism. The one we recommend most is Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon, located near Kanab, UT, approximately 90 minutes from Page, AZ. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery (including the occasional light beams in the summertime), as well as some unique features such as ancient “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you consider taking one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there definitely is; lots of people get stuck out there, even those with prior experience with 4WD-ing. Tour companies that go to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Water-based activities may not be realistic at the time of year you’re visiting since most of them go on seasonal hiatus in mid-October. Besides, it’s starting to get cold in November; not the type of weather conducive to boating or kayaking. Still, you can explore Lake Powell from the shoreline, or one of several viewpoints (without lake access) in Page, AZ. Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  82. Hi,

    Working on plans to travel to Page, AZ Nov 13-14 with 3 and 5yo. They are good hikers (and can be carried if necessary!). Any activities you would recommend? Also, do the highway closures mentioned above affect the drives from Sedona to Page and then Page to Williams?

    Thank you!
    Meredith

    1. Hi Meredith!
      At the time of year you’re visiting, water-based activities on Lake Powell are pretty much on seasonal hiatus, so that takes boat tours, kayak tours, etc. off the table. Still, it is possible to visit the lake and walk around the shoreline. Since it is within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a $30/vehicle entrance fee is required, which is good for 1 week’s time. If this feels like a lot to spend for a quick visit, you’ll be glad to know that views of Lake Powell (but no actual lake access) can be enjoyed from several areas not subject to the entrance fee, such as the Wahweap Overlook, the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge, the Chains/Hanging Garden Area, and the brand new Grandview Overlook Park.
      Horseshoe Bend is a definite must; the parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset, and a one-time $10/vehicle parking fee is collected upon entry. The trail is ~.7 miles one way and mostly flat. If your kiddos are good hikers, they should be able to manage it, but be sure to keep an eye on them near the rim: the majority of it is unfenced, and it’s a 700′ drop to the river. If you would feel better behind a fence, there is a small viewing platform with a safety railing available. Whatever you decide, be sure to wear appropriate walking shoes, and bring enough water for yourself and all members of your hiking party.
      If you were wanting to tour a slot canyon while in the area, unfortunately the Antelope Canyons are closed for the remainder of 2020, but Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon would be appropriate for your family (it’s open to all ages). This slot canyon is located near Kanab, UT, approximately 90 minutes from Page, AZ. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery (including the occasional light beams in the summertime), as well as some unique features such as ancient “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you consider taking one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there definitely is; lots of people get stuck out there, even those with prior experience with 4WD-ing. Tour companies that go to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Regarding your travel routes and drive times, you shouldn’t encounter any issues with highway closures if you stick to the most direct routes between the cities you have specified. From Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ, is about a 3-hour drive; ditto for Page, AZ, to Williams, AZ. However, if you were wanting to visit Grand Canyon South Rim at any point, that could throw a kink in your travel plans, particularly between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ. A critical component of the most logical travel route — AZ64 between Desert View Point and Cameron, AZ — has been closed per order of the Navajo Indian Tribe. This means that you have to travel all the way back to Flagstaff, then proceed North on US89 to Page, AZ. This means that what is normally a ~3 hour drive has turned into a 5-hour drive.
      Hope that clarifies things sufficiently.
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley,

        We are planning an Arizona trip October 29th- November 2nd. We land at 1pm Thursday and leave early that Monday morning. We have Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Havasu Falls, and Montezuma on our list. What are you recommendations for this trip? We are willing to add/drop certain things. Neither of us have been before so welcome to ALL suggestions and tips. There will be only two of us and want to get the most out of the trip. Thanks for your help!

        1. Hi Ranzi,
          Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your trip plans are in need of a reality check.
          Havasu Falls, first of all, is not going to happen. This area is closed to tourism until further notice by the Havasupai Indian Tribe due to COVID-19. Even if that weren’t the case, it still wouldn’t be feasible for you to get there in the limited time you have. I also have a distinct feeling that you’re not familiar with what it actually takes to get there. It’s a 10-mile hike in — one way — in an extremely remote area, and advance reservations for either accommodations at the Supai Lodge or Havasu Falls Campground are 100% essential. This is something you’ll need to plan for a future trip, fully cognizant of the sometimes complicated logistics, and physical challenges of the terrain. For more information, visit http://www.HavasupaiReservations.com or read this article on AZCentral: Hiking to Havasupai
          Antelope Canyon is also a no-go. Here again, these attractions have been closed to tourism indefinitely per the Navajo Indian Tribe, on whose lands they are situated. If seeing a slot canyon is still high on your list, you might still be able to salvage this component of your vacation. More on that in a minute.
          Provided your flight, which I assume is into Phoenix, lands on time, you’ll still have another ~2 hours in the airport collecting your luggage and rental car. Best case scenario, it would probably be ~3:00 PM when you’re actually able to get on the road. Another thing potentially working against you at the time of year you’re visiting is daylength, or lack thereof: sunrise occurs just before 7:00 AM in late October, sunset takes place just after 5:00 PM. You’ll need to get up early to make the most of your sightseeing days. You also want to avoid driving after sunset in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit (a deliberate move to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky), and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could raise your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s NOT something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold (nighttime temperatures are dipping down into the 30’s at that time of year in the higher elevations), where cell service is spotty, and help may be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive.
          In light of these factors, here’s what I suggest:
          Thursday – Fly into Phoenix, head for Flagstaff, AZ, (~2 hours from Phoenix, AZ), stay overnight (book 2 nights).
          Friday – Get up early, drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~1.5 hours from Flagstaff, AZ) for the day, return to Flagstaff, stay overnight
          Saturday – Get up early, drive to Page, AZ (~3 hours from Flagstaff), check into Page, AZ, hotel, drive to Paria, UT, area (~40 minutes from Page) to hike Wire Pass Canyon, return to Page to stay overnight
          Sunday – Get up early, visit Horseshoe Bend. Drive from Page, AZ, to Phoenix, AZ, with stop at Montezuma Castle (~6-7 hours), overnight in Phoenix
          Monday – Fly home
          Trip map
          Regarding Wire Pass Canyon, it is a moderately strenuous hike, with an 8-10′ drop a short ways into the slot canyon. This may be a deterrent to inexperienced hikers, or individuals afraid of heights. Another consideration: the trailhead to Wire Pass Canyon is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road, an unpaved road. While it is regularly graded and accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Parties in rental cars should think twice about attempting this road since off-road driving is strictly prohibited by most rental car companies. We strongly recommend looking into a guided tour that can get you to there and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Reputable companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
          – Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
          – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
          – Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
          Whatever you decide, be sure that you have all hotels and guided tours booked in advance of your trip.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

          1. Thanks for your help! This is a last minute trip and as well as one we plan to do again with more time and better planning. Just in need of a weekend get away now. Very interested in the Wire Pass Canyon. I also saw you mention Red Canyon in another response that I was interested in.
            Also, interested in Sedona as well. What would you recommend in that area? Like I said, open to all recommendations on things we should add or skip.

            Thanks again,

            Ranzi

          2. Hi again, Ranzi!
            Not surprised to see that Sedona, AZ, has piqued your curiosity, it’s a stunning area with lots to see and do. It’s good that you’re planning to visit in the future when you have more time, because you’ll need it in Sedona. People report staying there 4-5 days and still feeling as though they’ve only “scratched the surface.” In your situation, with the limitations you already have on your time, you’d probably be best off either a. visiting as a “drive-by” on your way back to Phoenix, AZ; be prepared to add another 2 hours onto your trip time, at least or b. drop a destination in order to stay overnight… more on that in a minute.
            Regarding Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo, it is actually situated near Kanab, UT, about 60-70 minutes West of Page, AZ, on US89. If you’d stayed overnight in Flagstaff, AZ, the night before, that would extend your one-way drive time to ~3.5-4 hours. Guided tours of Peek-A-Boo last ~4 hours as well. Guided tours are not required, but they are strongly recommended due to the access road to the slot canyon being very sandy, and not recommended for parties in rental cars. Lots of people get stuck out there, even those with prior experience with 4WD-ing. Tour companies that go to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
            – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
            – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
            – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
            – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
            – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
            In light of your time constraints, and the fact that the Antelope Canyons in Page, AZ, are closed, as much as I really hate to say it, you might be best off dropping Page, AZ, from your itinerary and giving that night to Sedona instead. If need be, you could simply book 3 nights in Flagstaff, AZ, and use it as a “base” from which to explore the Grand Canyon and Sedona. Sedona is ~1 hour from Flagstaff (one way). If you take me up on that suggestion, one of the more popular activities in that area is the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour. No matter what you decide, do remember what I had advised about driving at night, or not doing so.
            Good luck, I know it’s a hard choice.
            Alley 🙂

  83. Hello. My husband and I are planning on a 5 to 6 day AZ trip the week of Thanksgiving. Based on my limited knowledge of the area, we were planning on starting in Phoenix Saturday morning with local attractions and then making our way to Sedona by the evening to catch the sunset. Spend Sunday in Sedona and then slowly make our way out to the Horseshoe Bend on Monday to make it there by late afternoon (assuming the best views are during sunset). Stay in the area Monday night and drive to the Grand Canyon Skywalk Tuesday morning and then cover the Grand Canyon. Spend the night in the area and drive out to Vegas on Wednesday and fly out Thursday from Vegas. The map indicated some partially restricted roads. I’m not at all familiar with the area especially with the current circumstances so I was hoping for your expert opinion. The 6 location I mentioned are the key spots we want to hit. Please let me know if there is a better way to approach this trip, the plan is feasible/logical, or if I’m making any grave mistakes. Also wondering about the partially restricted roads and what they mean for travel by car. Thank you so much in advance!

    1. Hi Kavya,
      First off, you’re not giving Sedona enough time. It’s a stunning area with a lot to see and do. People report spending 4-5 days there and feeling as though they’d only scratched the surface. A one day visit is sure to leave you wanting. If you can, try to at least set aside another day to spend in that area. I promise you won’t regret it!
      Another thing that’s jumping out at me is that you’re putting the Grand Canyon Skywalk and Grand Canyon National Park in the wrong order. Grand Canyon West, where the Grand Canyon Skywalk is located, is closer to Las Vegas than Grand Canyon South Rim, which is the only side of the National Park that’s open over Thanksgiving.
      You have correctly assumed that some roads are closed, most notably, AZ64 between Cameron, AZ, and Desert View Point. This stretch of highway, an integral part of the normal travel route between Horseshoe Bend and the Grand Canyon, is necessitated a detour through Flagstaff for those traveling between Page, AZ, and the South Rim. This means that what is typically a 3-hour drive, has turned into a 5-hour drive.
      Speaking of long drives, which are a fact of life in this part of the U.S., it takes ~4.5 hours to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to the Grand Canyon Skywalk; it would then take another 2.5 hours to drive from the Skywalk to Las Vegas. IMO, you really don’t have enough time to do all that, meaning you’ll have to sacrifice one attraction, and it should be the Skywalk. Not that it isn’t a cool attraction, but Grand Canyon South Rim is the “true” Grand Canyon, where the picture postcard views can be experienced from.
      Another consideration at that time of year is daylength, or lack thereof as the case may be. All driving must be done during daylight hours since many roads in Northern Arizona are very dimly lit (a deliberate move to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky), plus deer, elk, and other wildlife pose a safety hazard after dark. During Thanksgiving week, sunrise occurs at around 7:15 AM, sunset takes place shortly after 5:00 PM.
      Here is a map of the trip for reference. Be sure that you book all hotel reservations and any guided tours you might like to take well in advance. Even with COVID-19 restrictions, many areas remain fairly busy.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for your quick response Alley! It’s very helpful, especially the map! I do have a few more questions. We are flexible in reversing the order as well, meaning starting in Vegas and ending in Phoenix. The main goals for our trip are to ride a hot air balloon in Phoenix, hike/relax in Sedona, see the Horseshoe Bend and the Southern Rim, and then the Skywalk (It’s something my husband would really like to do). In your expert opinion, what is the best way to achieve as many of these things as possible without feeling like we missed out? We are, of course, willing to drop locations (like the Skywalk) if it’ll make our time elsewhere much more worthwhile. We will land Friday night and leave Thursday morning, and like I said, order can be reversed. Vegas is also not a must; just added it because it was closer to fly out from there than Phoenix on our initial plan. We are not familiar with the area or the current situation there with COVID. We certainly do no want to get stranded on the roads/get lost, etc (thank you for the tip on driving during the day by the way!). I’m also aware that it is the holiday week and attractions may be closed on weekends and weekdays. Bearing all these factors in mind, how do you suggest we go about this? Hope I communicated clearly and am looking forward to your response!

        1. Hi again, Kavya!
          If the Grand Canyon Skywalk remains high on your husband’s wish list, then visiting Las Vegas, NV, is prett much a given since that’s the city it’s closest to.
          The order in which you visit these attractions will depend largely on hotel availability, also. Grand Canyon South Rim tends to be the “lynchpin” around which most peoples’ trip plans tend to revolve, and evolve, so check Grand Canyon lodging first, then build the rest of your trip around that.
          Landing on a Friday night, then departing on Thursday morning, gives you five full days to work with for this trip. That may sound like a lot of time, but it really isn’t in light of the driving distances you have to contend with. Assuming that your plan to land in Phoenix and depart out of Las Vegas remains as is, you could do this:
          Friday night: land in Phoenix, overnight in Phoenix
          Saturday: hot air balloon ride in Phoenix (these typically occur first thing in the morning, weather permitting), then drive to Sedona, AZ (~2 hour drive), overnight in Sedona
          Sunday: Drive to Page, AZ (~3 hour drive), overnight in Page
          Monday: Visit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hour drive due to required detour through Flagstaff), overnight at Grand Canyon
          Tuesday: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Las Vegas (~5 hours), overnight in Las Vegas
          Wednesday: Self-drive day trip to Grand Canyon Skywalk (~5 hour round-trip drive, not including time at the Skywalk), or package Grand Canyon West tour out of Las Vegas, spend 2nd night in Las Vegas
          Thursday: Fly home
          As you can see, this itinerary pretty much as you packing up and driving every day of the trip, except one. If the prospect of that doesn’t appeal, you’ll need to drop a destination, and as much as I hate to say it, Page, AZ, might be the one that has to go. Not that it isn’t beautiful, but just in light of the fact that the drive has turned into a long-distance run-around due to the closure of AZ64, saving it for another trip might be the wisest choice.
          Good luck, I know it’s a hard choice!
          Alley 🙂

  84. Hello,

    I am traveling to the South Rim Oct 10-15th and wanted to make a day out of visiting Page. Could you advise me as to what there is to do there at this time that isn’t currently closed. I see that the Antelope Canyon tours are not operating however was wondering if any of the other slot canyons in the area perhaps were? (Secret, Cardiac, canyon X, Mountain Sheep, Rattlesnake?). Also wanted to make sure that Horseshoe Bend was still accessible for us to visit on our own. Additionally I was hoping to do something on the river or in the water. I noticed the 1/2 day and full day rafting trips I’ve seen are also all cancelled but was wondering if you knew of a guided tour of any kind either by boat or kayak that would still be taking place.

    Any advice sure does help!
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Vanessa,
      Unfortunately, all the slot canyons you list are on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, which are closed to outsiders at least through the end of this year.
      The good news is that many other attractions, such as Horseshoe Bend, remain open. However, you won’t have enough time to do a water-based activity, either on the Colorado River or Lake Powell, if you visit Page, AZ, as a day trip. The main reason for this is because you have to take a rather long detour through Flagstaff, AZ, to get from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. Again, this is due to the closure of Navajo Indian Tribal Lands due to COVID-19, which has taken an integral component of the shortest travel route between the two places out of circulation. This means that what normally is ~a 3-hour drive (one way) has turned into a 5-hour drive; again, that’s one way. For this reason alone, you should rethink your travel plans so you can stay overnight in Page, AZ. That way, you’ll have enough time to do a kayak tour.
      Popular kayak alternatives in this area are Hidden Canyon Kayak’s tour of the waterside of Antelope Canyon. From what I’ve heard, the current water level is low enough to allow a bit of hiking into the beginning of the slot portion of Lower Antelope Canyon, which is within the boundaries of Federal land. Another popular option is to kayak the 15-mile stretch of Glen Canyon through Horseshoe Bend to Lees Ferry. For this, you’d have to drive down to Lees Ferry, rent a kayak, get backhauled to the base of the Dam, then paddle unguided back to the Ferry. For more information on this trip, visit http://www.KayakHorseshoeBend.com
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  85. Need idea where to start, traveling end of the month to UT and AZ for 3 days. road trip. leaving from either vegas or phx – where should we start
    is it required to do tours or we can hike ourselves ? do we need to register anywhere . with covid and everything, we want to make sure we do everything before hand. thanks in advance

    1. Hi again, NemSar,
      Thank you for clarifying your trip length.
      With 3 days to work with, I’d recommend flying into Las Vegas and spending 2 nights at Grand Canyon South Rim, and 1 night in Page, AZ. You can do it in that order, or reverse it depending on hotel availability.
      It takes approximately 5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim. It also takes that long to drive from Las Vegas to Page, AZ, so check hotel availability in both places Grand Canyon hotels Page, Arizona hotels and plan your trip around that.
      The biggest kink that COVID-19 will throw into these plans is the trip between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ. Normally, that is a 3-hour drive along the East Rim/Desert View Drive, through the Navajo Reservation, then North on US89. Due to COVID-19, the Navajo Indian Tribe has closed an integral component of the most logical travel route between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ — AZ64 from Desert View to Cameron, AZ. That means that, upon leaving Grand Canyon South Rim, you’re going to have to drive all the way back to Flagstaff before heading North on US89 to Page, AZ, and Horseshoe Bend. This very long detour has basically turned the ~3 hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ (or the other way around), into a 4.5-5 hour drive.
      In Page, AZ, plan to visit Horseshoe Bend, which you can do at your leisure in your own vehicle between sunrise and sunset. In your other inquiry, you mentioned wanting to visit kid-friendly sites, but I don’t recall seeing how old your kids were. If your kids are relatively young, and you still wish to visit a slot canyon, Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon in Kanab, UT. Kanab, UT, is ~1 hour drive from Page, AZ. It is a family-friendly canyon, and a relatively easy walk. The hard part about getting there is the access road in, which a lot of people get stuck on, therefore, a guided tour is strongly recommended. Reputable tour companies who can get you to Peek-A-Boo are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      If you take us up on the suggestion to tour Peek-A-Boo Canyon, you might want to shift the number of nights you allot to each place, in other words, spend 2 nights in Page, Arizona, and 1 night at Grand Canyon South Rim.
      As for “registering” anywhere, you must make reservations for guided tours, such as Peek-A-Boo Canyon, in advance, along with all hotels.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  86. Looking to travel to UT and Az first week of November. Flying to Vegas and that way. What suggestion on places to visit thy is open and kid friendly to see sunsets

    1. Hi Nemsar,
      If I’m understanding you correctly, you were wanting to spend approximately 1 week’s time traveling in our area? If that’s the case, check out this piece on our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: The Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary in Northern Arizona & Southern Utah
      On that itinerary, you will find two key places closed due to COVID-19: Monument Valley and the Antelope Canyons. Another important consideration, if you do decide to go to the Grand Canyon, is that an integral component of the most logical travel route between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ — AZ64 from Desert View to Cameron, AZ — is closed due to COVID-19. That means that, upon leaving Grand Canyon South Rim, you’re going to have to drive all the way back to Flagstaff before heading North on US89 to Page, AZ, and Horseshoe Bend. This very long detour has basically turned the ~3 hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, into a 4.5-5 hour drive.
      If you still wish to visit a slot canyon while you’re here, you’ll be happy to know that there are alternatives not affected by the closure of Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. The most “family-friendly” of these is Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon in Kanab, UT. Kanab, UT, is ~1 hour drive from Page, AZ, and Red Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon, and an easy walk. The hard part about getting there is the access road in, which a lot of people get stuck on, therefore, a guided tour is strongly recommended. Reputable tour companies who can get you to Peek-A-Boo are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      As for good places to see sunsets, we’ve got loads of them — no such thing as a bad place to see sunset from around here 😉 One neat spot that has opened up recently is the Grandview Overlook Park in the town of Page, AZ. The cool thing about it is because it’s oriented East-West, it makes for a good spot from which to watch sunrise AND sunset!
      One last thing: weather in November can be cold, so make sure you are prepared to pack warmer clothing such as jackets, gloves, etc., especially for higher altitude areas like Grand Canyon South Rim (7,000′ above sea level) and Bryce Canyon (8,000′ ASL).
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  87. Hi, my boyfriend and I are traveling to Horseshoe Bend next month. Can you give me some more information about the park and what to expect if hiking?

    1. Hi Sash!
      Well, first of all Horseshoe Bend is open, contrary to what you might have heard. It is one of the few attractions in Northern Arizona that never closed during COVID-19. The parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset. The parking fee is $10 for standard passenger vehicles and motorhomes.
      The trail from the parking lot to the canyon rim is .7 miles in length, one way. The trail is partially paved, and partially graded. You can take an advance look at it on this Facebook video by Finley Holiday Films. Appropriate footwear for walking should be worn, as should sun protection such as a hat, sunblock, possibly long sleeve shirt and long pants. Also, be sure to bring enough water for yourself and all members of your traveling party.
      Weatherwise, you can expect everything from sunny and comfortable to cold and blustery. Start monitoring Page, AZ, weather about 2 weeks before you travel. That will give you the best idea of what to expect.
      One last thing: there is a construction project taking place near Horseshoe Bend that will very likely affect your visit. They’re building a dedicated turn lane to Horseshoe Bend on the Northbound side of the highway. Traffic in both directions will be regulated either by flagmen or automated traffic control devices, which means that delays of 15-30 minutes, in either direction, may occur.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  88. Hello!
    I’m planning on getting married at Horseshoe Bend on October 31st. I understand it’s a tourist destination, but I was wondering about just how popular it is at the end of October. I also wasn’t sure if we would be able to book any private tours with covid happening. It’s also my understanding that the “hike” up there has been made a little more accessible. Wedding dress accessible??

    1. Hi Kasey, and congratulations on your upcoming nuptials!
      You are correct that Horseshoe Bend is a popular tourist destination, and weddings there are still happening in spite of COVID-19. In years past, things used to quiet down quite a bit around Halloween, but that’s not the case these days. It will still be busy, and you might have to be prepared to deal with colder weather. However, you’d still be able to have a beautiful wedding, and appear in your photos as though you had the overlook all to yourselves, by working with the right people. We recommend you contact Monumental Arizona Weddings. They are owned and operated by a longtime Page, AZ, local, with all the right connections to ensure that you have the proper permits, and that other contingencies are anticipated. For more information, call 480-980-8121 or visit http://www.HorseshoeBendWedding.com
      As for how the trail is these days, it has been partially paved and graded on the other half, so it should be an easier walk with a wedding dress on! To see how it looks these days, check out this video on Facebook by Finley Holiday Films
      One thing I should mention: there is a construction project taking place near Horseshoe Bend (a long-overdue, much needed dedicated turn lane) that will probably extend through next month, and will very likely result in delays in travel. Be sure you pad your drive times by 15-30 minutes to account for this.
      Good luck, safe travels, and have a lovely wedding! If you get a minute after returning from your honeymoon, write in again and let us know how it went.
      Alley 🙂

  89. Hello! I am visiting Arizona the first week of November for the first time. I am flying into Phoenix and will be taking roughly a 5 day vacation. I am hoping to stop by scottsdale, Sedona (cathedral rock, devils bridge, bell rock) Grand Canyon and page (horseshoe bend, antelope canyon, kayak or boat lake powell, the wave)!! Any recommendations on how I should plan all of these different locations? or suggestions if something is closed due to Covid 19. I was thinking about driving straight to Page when I land in Phoenix and then traveling my way back.. what do you suggest? thank you so much for your help. This page has been so helpful

    1. Hi Brittany,
      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but your plans are overly ambitious.
      Let’s start with The Wave: it’s highly unlikely you’re going to be able to include it in your itinerary. The Wave is one of the most coveted hikes in the American Southwest. Since it is in such a unique and potentially fragile area, only 20 people per day are allowed to hike in, and must do so by obtaining a permit. 10 permits are given out by advance online lottery 4 months in advance (so, November permits were given out in July), then another 10 by walk-in lottery the day prior to when you wish to hike. Since early November is prime time for hiking The Wave, competition for the remaining 10 walk-in permits is going to be fierce, and besides, you just don’t have time to work it in. Long story short, take The Wave off the table. For more information about getting there in the future, read this piece on our companion site, AntelopeCanyon.AZ: How To Get A Wave Permit
      Next up: the Antelope Canyons. Due to COVID-19, they are closed until further notice. Whether they will open in November remains to be seen, but hopes are not running very high for that right now. You can be placed on a priority e-mail list to be notified when/if they do, again, on our AntelopeCanyon.AZ site. Should the closure remain in effect at the time of your visit, a good alternative would be Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon in Kanab, UT. Kanab, UT, is ~1 hour drive from Page, AZ, and Red Canyon is a beautiful, user-friendly slot canyon. The only hard part about getting there is the access road in, which a lot of people get stuck on, therefore, a guided tour is strongly recommended. Reputable tour companies who can get you to Peek-A-Boo are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Let’s talk about Lake Powell — sorry to be a “Debbie Downer” again, but November is not the best time to do any water-based activities due to the fact that it’s starting to get really cold. Many kayak tour/rental outfitters close up for the season in October. Boat tours are also on hiatus until further notice due to COVID-19. If you’re wanting to enjoy Lake Powell, probably best to plan on doing it from the shoreline. Fortunately, there are ample opportunities for this type of exploration, including The Chains, Wahweap Swim Beach , and Lone Rock Beach.
      Hope it doesn’t sound as though Northern Arizona will be rolling up the sidewalks at the time of your visit; that’s far from the case! That said, I’d recommend planning for 2 nights in Sedona, 1 night at Grand Canyon South Rim, and 2 nights in Page, AZ. How you position these in relation to when you land or fly out of Phoenix will largely depend upon hotel availability. Since Grand Canyon South Rim and Page are both ~5 hours from Phoenix, you might look at hitting Page, AZ, first to visit Horseshoe Bend and maybe tour Peek-A-Boo, then move on to Grand Canyon South Rim.
      Now, normally, the drive from Page, AZ, to GC South Rim takes ~3 hours; due to COVID-19, the Navajo Nation has opted to close an integral portion of the shortest travel route between the two places, necessitating a detour through Flagstaff, then traveling back North again via US180. This has essentially turned a 3-hour drive into more of a 5-hour drive. Overnight at the Grand Canyon, then conclude your trip with a couple days of chill time in Sedona, AZ, ~3 hours from Grand Canyon South Rim. Your drive back to Phoenix would then be ~2.5 hours. Map
      One last suggestion: if you can possibly free up another night or two so you can spend more time in Sedona, you won’t regret doing so. A lot of people report staying 4-5 days in Sedona and only feeling as though they’d “scratched the surface.” There’s a lot to see and do there!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  90. Hi, I’m thinking of bringing a friend to Horseshoe Bend when she visits next month. Are dogs allowed in the park and on the trail?

    1. Hi Brittney,
      Yes, dogs are allowed at Horseshoe Bend as long as they are on a leash and the owner picks up after them. Be sure to bring enough water, not only for your “human” hiking party, but for your dog as well.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  91. Hi–

    Myself and a group of about ~10 others are looking to hike the Grand Canyon (is the South rim entrance open now?), Lake Powell (potentially Horseshoe Bend as well in the same day), and Sedona. Would we need to prepare to purchase any permits prior to making this endeavor/would all of these locations be open for us to hike and explore? Any insight here would be helpful, thank you! This page is great.

    1. Hi Eric and thanks for your compliments!
      Grand Canyon South Rim is open, with some limitations on services due to COVID-19.
      You do not need to purchase or reserve any kind of permit for the trip you were planning to take, unless you were wanting to camp below the rim of the Grand Canyon, in which case, you’d need to reserve a backcountry permit. These are reserved several months in advance, however, so if you don’t have one already, you’ll be limited to day hiking, which can be just as fulfilling as an overnight Grand Canyon hike! Check out this list of popular Grand Canyon day hikes
      The biggest problem I’m seeing here is your plan to hike in the Grand Canyon and visit Horseshoe Bend in the same day. Even under ideal circumstances, this is neither practical nor desirable. Under normal circumstances, the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Horseshoe Bend takes ~3 hours. Unfortunately, an integral component of the normal travel route is on Navajo Indian Reservation land, and the tribe has opted to close it due to COVID-19. This means that you’re going to have to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim back to Flagstaff, AZ, then continue up US89 North to Page, AZ, and Horseshoe Bend. This effectively turns a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. Trust me, that’s not something you’ll want to deal with after a potentially rigorous hike in the Grand Canyon! You really need to plan for an extra day and overnight stay in Page, AZ, to comfortably include Horseshoe Bend in your trip plans.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley–

        Thank you for the insight! We were planning on doing a day-trip to the Grand Canyon so that works out nicely. Sounds like we may opt to stay in Lake Powell for the day then rather than make the hike to Horseshoe Bend thereafter! Are there any specific sites or activities within the Lake Powell area that you would recommend checking out? Thank you again!

        Best,
        Eric

        1. Hi again, Eric!
          I think you’ve made a good call to stay overnight in Page, AZ. Contrary to what you might have heard, you’ll find no shortage of things to see and do. Unfortunately, the Antelope Canyons are closed, but you won’t have any problem occupying your time. Attractions and activities that remain open and accessible right now include:
          – Grandview Overlook Park
          – Wahweap Marina
          – Antelope Point Marina
          – The Chains & Hanging Garden Trail
          – Lone Rock Beach
          – Page Rim View Trail
          – The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
          – Wahweap Overlook
          – Glen Canyon Dam Overlook
          – Alstrom Point
          – Skylight Arch
          – White Pocket
          – Wire Pass/Buckskin Gulch
          – Lees Ferry & Lonely Dell Ranch
          – Navajo Bridge & Interpretive Center
          – Glen Canyon Conservancy Flagship Store
          – Kayak Tours on Lake Powell & the Colorado River
          – Private Boat Charters
          – Airplane & Helicopter Tours
          – Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge
          – Jeep/ATV Tours
          – Electric Mountain Bike Tours
          – Big Water Visitors Center (Big Water, Utah)
          – “The Moon” (Big Water, Utah)
          – Gunfighter Canyon Indoor Shooting Range
          For more suggestions on how to make the most of a day in Page, AZ, visit “24 Hours in Page, Arizona
          Hope you have a wonderful time! If you get a minute when you get home, drop us a line and let us know how it went 🙂
          Alley

          1. I see that you have recommended White Pocket. Are you aware of any companies that rent high clearance 4×4 vehicles? Thanks

          2. Hi John!
            This is a great question — there are indeed several companies that rent high clearance jeeps and other 4×4 vehicles that could get you to White Pocket.
            They include, but aren’t necessarily limited to:
            – Powell Adventure Rentals, http://www.powelladventurerentals.com, 928-645-0208
            – Carl’s Marine & Jeep Rentals, http://www.carlsadventurerentals.com, 928-660-0548
            – Lake Powell Jeep Rentals, http://www.lakepowelljeeprentals.com, 928-660-1395
            – Lake Powell Vacations, http://www.lakepowellvacations.com, (928) 614-8573
            Before you commit to a self-guided tour to White Pocket, I must warn you that the access route to get there should only be attempted by those with previous 4×4 experience. Even individuals who regularly drive off-road have gotten stuck out there, requiring a VERY expensive towing bill. If you have never driven a jeep in deep sand, rutted roads, or over rocky terrain, I’d skip the rental and go with a guided tour. These companies have experienced drivers and vehicles with beefy enough suspensions to handle the terrain! Authorized tour companies for this area are:
            – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
            – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
            – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
            – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
            – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
            – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
            Good luck and safe travels!
            Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Richard,
      If you are referring to Horseshoe Bend, yes, it is one of a few attractions in Northern Arizona that never closed. Glen Canyon National Recreation (Lake Powell) is also open, albeit with some facilities closed. The most significant component of most peoples’ Page, AZ, vacations that remains up in the air are the Antelope Canyons. They are currently closed due to COVID-19. When they will reopen is uncertain, but you can get on a priority e-mail list to be notified when the closure is lifted. AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Closure Alert E-mail List
      One thing to bear in mind, whatever you decide to do, is that December is winter, therefore, it will be cold in most places you go. It’s rare for the Page, AZ, area to see enough snow to warrant closing Horseshoe Bend, but you’ll at least need to pack jackets, gloves, etc.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    2. Hi There! I’ve been wanting to plan a tip to Arizona to explore the national parks and sites for a long time. I heard that most places you need to apply for a permit? Like Antelope Canyon and Havasu Falls. Does Horseshoe Bend need one too? Can you let me know all the places that require a permit or reservation? And provide me with a link to the site to do so? Thank you so much for any information 🙂
      -Julie

      1. Hi Julie!
        Contrary to what you might have heard, only a few “Arizona Bucket List” places actually require a permit to visit.
        Havasu Falls is one of them. Unfortunately, that area is closed indefinitely due to COVID-19. When they do reopen, you’ll want to bookmark http://www.HavasupaiReservations.com to apply for a camping permit.
        The Antelope Canyons are also closed until further notice due to COVID-19 unfortunately 🙁 Visiting that area doesn’t require a permit, per se, you just have to go with a guided tour. When/if the Antelope Canyons reopen, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: How To Book A Tour For Antelope Canyon Should they remain closed at the time of your visit, our companion site also has guidance on how to deal with that situation: “Help! My Tour Got Cancelled
        As for other permit-required sites, The Wave is perhaps the most highly coveted one of all! Due to the unique nature of the terrain, and the fragility of the rock formations, only 20 people per day are allowed to visit this area, which is part of the Coyote Buttes Special Management Area of the Vermilion Cliffs/Paria Canyon Wilderness Area. 10 permits per day are distributed via an online lottery, which must be applied for 4 months in advance. The other 10 permits are given out in a walk-in lottery held in Kanab, UT, the day prior to when you wish to hike. For more information on Wave permits, visit our other companion site, http://www.TheWaveAZ.com
        Good luck and safe travels,
        Alley 🙂

  92. I would definitely NOT recommend this as being “wheelchair accessible” despite what is claimed. I took my wife there today who is in a wheelchair. The walkway to the Horseshoe is NOT smooth. The path is full of rocks and sand and is very uneven. We nearly broke the wheels on the wheelchair several times due to the rocks, holes and sand on the trail. I nearly dumped my poor wife numerous times! The hill is also quite steep both on the way TO the Horseshoe and on the way back to the parking lot. I don’t think I would have made it were it not for another man helping me. I’m in decent shape, so it’s not that I am so weak that I could not make the hills. Anyhow, I hope they improve this for wheelchair access. The view was spectacular, but we barely made it back!

    1. Dear David,
      I am terribly sorry that you found the trail to Horseshoe Bend less than accommodating for your wife’s wheelchair!
      Since the City of Page, AZ, is in charge of maintaining the trail and parking lot (and touting the trail as being ADA compliant), I would strongly recommend that you share these observations with someone there. The Economic Development/Tourism department would probably be a good place to start. They can be reached by phone at (928) 645-4310.
      Despite how things went this time around, I hope you get a chance to return to the area someday, perhaps at a time when the trail to Horseshoe Bend has been fully paved.
      Take care and have a good rest of your summer,
      Alley 🙂

      1. My husband and I are planning a trip to the area in late January/early February and thought we’d like to take a look at Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon (if it’s opened at that time). We’re hikers (having previously traversed down to Phantom Ranch) and I’m wondering how long (in time and distance( the hike is at Horseshoe Bend) and if it is just around the rim or if you actually descend into the canyon-and if so, how far. Also, how cold is this area in mid-winter?

        1. Hi Debbie!
          If you’ve been to Phantom Ranch, Horseshoe Bend will be a cakewalk. The out-and-back trail is only .7 miles in length (one way), is mostly flat, and extends from the parking lot to the canyon rim. No part of the trail actually goes down into the canyon itself.
          As for what Page, AZ, is like in mid-winter, you’ll encounter days that are sunny but brisk mostly, but we do get the occasional wind or snowstorm passing through. Bring a jacket and gloves in any case.
          As for the Antelope Canyons, we are crossing fingers and toes that they’ll be reopened by the time you get here. If they aren’t, you might want to start looking at some alternate activities. If touring a slot canyon is on your wish list, you’d probably enjoy Wire Pass Canyon. This photogenic two-part slot canyon is short enough for intermediate-level hikers to enjoy, yet offers the option to delve further into Buckskin Gulch for those wanting more of a challenge. The walk to the entrance of the initial slot is via a typically dry streambed, which may require traversing deep sand if recent weather has been dry. An 8-10’ drop a short distance into the slot canyon is one reason why Wire Pass Canyon may not be appropriate for those traveling with young children, the elderly, or individuals afraid of heights. As the canyon walls become higher and closer together, they suddenly open up as the second slot connects with the Buckskin Gulch. If you’ve had enough at this point, you can simply turn around and head back to your vehicle. If you’d like to explore further, you can easily make a half-day hike out of the immediate area around the confluence with the Buckskin. Look for some bighorn sheep petroglyphs dating back hundreds, maybe thousands of years! Access to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road. Hikers are required to pay a self-permitting fee at the kiosk by the trailhead. Fair warning: the House Rock Valley Road is unpaved! While it is accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Parties in rental cars should think twice about attempting this road since off-road driving is strictly prohibited by most rental car companies. A guided tour will get your family to Wire Pass Canyon and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT based companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
          – Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
          – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
          – Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
          To be placed on a priority e-mail list notifying people when/if the Antelope Canyons do open, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Closure Alert
          Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  93. Hi! My family and I are planning to visit Horseshoe Bend and, on your recommendation in some of the comments, Peek A Boo Canyon, since Antelope Valley is still closed. Could you recommend other sights to see appropriate for a 7 year old in between those 2 locations? Also, where would you say would be the best location to stay that is most accessible to all the sights? We’re planning to stay end of Sept for about 3 nights (9/25-9/28). Thank you for all your help!

    1. Hi Nina,
      This is a great question! For optimal convenience visiting Horseshoe Bend and Peek-A-Boo Canyon, the best place to look for hotels would be Page, AZ, or Kanab, UT. As for sights in between the two towns that would appeal to a 7-year-old, you’ll have no shortage of fun! ~15 minutes from Page, AZ, on US89, you’ll find the town of Big Water, UT, which has a wonderful visitors center featuring paleontology displays and dinosaur bones excavated locally. Almost smack dead center between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, at mile marker 19 on the Utah side of US89, is the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstools Hoodoos Trail. This hike, rated easy to moderate, offers up cool rock formations and classic desert scenery. If you’re wanting to take a swim, The Chains area on the Eastern flank of the Glen Canyon Dam is a good area, although it’s a bit of a hike to get back up to the parking lot from the water line. If that doesn’t appeal, Lone Rock Beach on the Arizona/Utah border is nice, just don’t drive your vehicle too far onto the sand — believe me, you don’t want to get stuck there! Another cool hike near the Glen Canyon Dam is the “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock. It’s a relatively short, easy trail that leads to a small but interesting cluster of rock formations. It also happens to be near a small campground, so be sure you don’t impede on anyone’s privacy (or sleep!) while exploring this area. Also, watch how far you drive in so you don’t get stuck in the sand.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

        1. Hey Courtney!
          The trail to Horseshoe Bend is now more accommodating for those with wheelchairs and strollers, but a testimonial from a recent visitor indicates that it’s not all smooth sailing. He reports:

          I would definitely NOT recommend this as being “wheelchair accessible” despite what is claimed. I took my wife there today who is in a wheelchair. The walkway to the Horseshoe is NOT smooth. The path is full of rocks and sand and is very uneven. We nearly broke the wheels on the wheelchair several times due to the rocks, holes and sand on the trail. I nearly dumped my poor wife numerous times! The hill is also quite steep both on the way TO the Horseshoe and on the way back to the parking lot. I don’t think I would have made it were it not for another man helping me. I’m in decent shape, so it’s not that I am so weak that I could not make the hills. Anyhow, I hope they improve this for wheelchair access. The view was spectacular, but we barely made it back!

          So, feel free to bring your stroller, but be very aware of the terrain you’re on, and be prepared to carry your kiddo, or have him/her walk part of the way. If you get a minute after your visit, report back and let us know how things went for you!
          Alley 🙂

  94. Hi,

    We are super excited to visit horseshoe bend, lower antelope, grand staircase, and Vermilion Cliff in the end of September.
    We will be heading that way from Arches national park, can you please provide the address that we can put on the GPS?
    Which parking lot can we park? And with the whole pandemic, its there anything we should be prepare for? Its all the park are open now?
    We are hoping to do stand up paddle board or kayaking if that is open.

    Looking forward to your suggestion.
    Thank you

    1. Hi Sasikarn,
      The GPS coordinates for Horseshoe Bend are 36.8792° N, 111.5104° W, but frankly, you don’t need these to find it. The overlook is very clearly signed and easy to find, on US89 about 5 miles South of Page, AZ. The parking lot is also very large and easily found. The parking fee is $10 per vehicle for standard passenger cars and motorhomes. Social distancing and personal hygiene protocols should be followed as normal.
      Some of the National Parks in the American Southwest have had to modify some operations due to COVID-19, such as Zion National Park now taking reservations for the Zion Canyon Shuttle. The best way to get current information on what facilities may be open (or closed) at the parks you wish to visit is to go to http://www.NPS.gov, which is the official website of the National Park Service. You can then search for a particular park from there. Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is administered by the Bureau of Land Management, as is the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument.
      One piece of potentially bad news that I do have for you is that by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe, the Antelope Canyons are closed and are expected to remain closed for quite awhile. You should start thinking alternatives for slot canyon tours, and the most easily accessible slot canyon that is not subject to the closure of the Navajo Indian Reservation is Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, Utah, ~90 minutes from Page, AZ. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery (including the occasional light beams in the summertime), as well as some unique features such as ancient “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we recommend that you take one anyway. While the hike through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. Even then, people still get stuck. If you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. To explore Peek-A-Boo in safety and comfort, contact any one of these reputable tour companies to choose from in Kanab, UT:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      For stand-up paddleboarding or kayaking, you have several options. The first decision to make is whether you want to do this activity on Lake Powell or the Colorado River. If Lake Powell is where you’d like to explore, visit http://www.LakePowellPaddleboards.com If you’d prefer to kayak or SUP on the Colorado River, contact http://www.KayakHorseshoeBend.com
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  95. We are looking to hike near Horseshoe Bend in October. We were wanting to do some slot hikes as well. I know that Antelope Canyon is closed. Are Rattlesnake Canyon and Mountain Sheep Canyon closed as well? Or is there any other slot canyons available for hiking at this time?

    1. Hi Kevin,
      That’s a really good question! Rattlesnake Canyon and Mountain Sheep Canyon are part of the Antelope Canyon drainage. Therefore, if the Antelope Canyons remain closed in October, so will Mountain Sheep and Rattlesnake.
      The good news is there are other slot canyons in the semi-immediate vicinity of Page, AZ, that are not beholden to the restrictions on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. For most visitors, we recommend Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT, ~90 minutes from Page. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery (including the occasional light beams in the summertime), as well as some unique features such as ancient “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we recommend that you take one anyway. While the hike through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. Even then, people still get stuck. If you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. To explore Peek-A-Boo in safety and comfort, contact any one of these reputable tour companies to choose from in Kanab, UT:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      If you’re looking for something a little more rugged, try Wire Pass Canyon. Wire Pass Canyon is a photogenic two-part slot canyon that is short enough for intermediate-level hikers to enjoy, yet offers the option to delve further into Buckskin Gulch for those wanting more of a challenge. The walk to the entrance of the initial slot is via a typically dry streambed, which may feature deep sand. An 8-10’ drop a short distance into the slot canyon is one reason why Wire Pass Canyon may not be appropriate for those traveling with young children, the elderly, or individuals afraid of heights. As the canyon walls become higher and closer together, they suddenly open up as the second slot connects with the Buckskin Gulch. If you’ve had enough at this point, you can simply turn around and head back to your vehicle. If you’d like to explore further, you can easily make a half-day hike out of the immediate area around the confluence with the Buckskin. Look for some bighorn sheep petroglyphs dating back hundreds, maybe thousands of years! Access to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road. Hikers are required to pay a self-permitting fee at the kiosk by the trailhead. Fair warning: the House Rock Valley Road is unpaved! While it is accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Parties in rental cars should think twice about attempting this road since off-road driving is strictly prohibited by most rental car companies. A guided tour will get your family to Wire Pass Canyon and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT based companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
      – Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
      – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
      – Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  96. I’m planning on going to Horseshoe Bend in an RV with my dogs. Are dogs allowed? What are the nearest RV parks?

    1. Hi Gabriela,
      Dogs are welcome at Horseshoe Bend as long as they are leashed at all times. Also, since it’s a desert environment, be sure to bring adequate water for yourself, your pet, and all members of your traveling party.
      If you are visiting during the summer months, remember that sugar sand can get VERY hot. Therefore, we recommend investing in a set of protective booties to keep your dog’s paws nice and cool.
      Regarding RV parks located near Horseshoe Bend, the closest one is Page/Lake Powell Campground, ~7 miles from Horseshoe Bend, in the town of Page, AZ. Another RV park worth considering is the Wahweap Campground, ~20 minutes from Horseshoe Bend, in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (entrance fees apply, not included in RV park rate). The afore-mentioned are developed campgrounds and have amenities such as full hook-ups, etc. There are other areas where people in RV’s can camp, but you may not have access to electrical hook-ups, which IMO you’d definitely want to have if traveling during the heat of summer, or dead of winter. If you agree, and prefer to stay in an RV park with hook-ups, advance reservations are strongly recommended. If you’re OK with more primitive/undeveloped areas, there’s no shortage of these either.
      For more information on the full range of possibilities, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: Camping & RV Options
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  97. Hello,

    I have a trip scheduled to Arizona and was pretty upset that the antelope canyon is closed. From reading previous comments I’ve seen that the horseshoe bend is open, correct? If so, would you happen to know the address to the horseshoe bend where we can park the car and hike up to it? If you could let me know please. Thank you!

    1. Hi Manassa,
      You are correct in that the Antelope Canyons are closed at this time. Trust us, we feel your pain on that issue! They are expected to reopen “soon,” but when exactly that will be remains uncertain.
      The good news is that Horseshoe Bend is one of a few attractions in the area that never closed. The address is Mile Marker 545 of US89, Page, Arizona, 86040. Frankly, you don’t really need an address or GPS coordinates because the parking lot is quite large and very clearly signed. You literally can’t miss it!
      If Antelope Canyon happens to remain closed at the time of your visit, there are alternative slot canyons in the semi-immediate vicinity of Page, AZ, that are not subject to the closure of Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. For more information, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: “Help! My Antelope Canyon Tour Got Cancelled”
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  98. Hey Alley,
    I have a question about Horseshoe Bend, do you need a tour to see it, or can you go on your own? Also how far is it from the parking lot/ is it easy to find? Thanks so much 🙂

    Also, I see Antelope Canyon is closed 🙁 do you have any other suggestions besides Horseshoe bend for us to see while we are out in Page? Thank you!!!
    -Justine

    1. Hi Justine!
      Horseshoe Bend does not not require a guided tour to visit, you may simply go at your convenience while the parking lot is open (from sunrise to sunset). Parking is $10 for most passenger vehicles. It is very easy to find, very clearly signed near mile marker 545 of US89, about 5 miles South of the town of Page, Arizona.
      You are correct in that the Antelope Canyons are closed right now. Fortunately, there are plenty of other wonderful sightseeing opportunities in the semi-immediate vicinity of Page, AZ, that you can enjoy.
      After visiting Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures and smaller crowds, you can walk across the steel arch bridge at the Glen Canyon Dam (the visitors center is closed due to COVID-19). If you’d like to take a refreshing dip in the water, head down to The Chains. It is a bit of a hike to get back up from the waterline, but if you’re in decent health, you can probably manage it. If you’re feeling peppy after a swim at the Chains, you might also take a short hike to the Hanging Gardens area. The springs are probably dry right now, but this is a neat little area, very unexpected to find in the desert.
      A short distance away, across the Glen Canyon Dam bridge, the “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock is a small but interesting cluster of rock formations, some of which resemble the Wave, but don’t require a permit to visit. Just bear in mind that there is also a campground in this area, so be sure that you don’t accidentally impede on someone’s space or privacy.
      If a slot canyon tour is still on the “must-do” list, take the short drive up US89 to Kanab, UT, and tour Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon. It’s a beautiful slot canyon that, like Upper Antelope Canyon, is easy walking, and features twists and turns on par with its more famous counterpart in Page, AZ. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. If you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. There are several reputable companies to choose from in Kanab, UT, including:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Ally,
        This was super helpful as we plan a family trip done their to page this weekend. It is a true bummer that Antelope Canyon is currently closed. I was wondering about Lake Powell. Is there a beach access down to the lake, where we can sort of relax, picnic etc. I heard about Lone Rock campground but is that the only access? If so, is there a fee or reservation that I must do? Any advise would be greatly appreciated!!

        1. Hi Omar,
          There are several areas on Lake Powell where you can, as you put, relax, picnic, etc.!
          The easiest one to access is The Chains, on the Eastern flank of the Glen Canyon Dam. It is a bit of a hike to get down to the waterline, and even more of a hike to get back up to the parking area, but if your family are all relatively healthy, you should be able to manage it. There are no picnic tables in this area, so you’d have to improvise a bit on that front, but lots of folks do, plus there’s a neat little hike you can piggy-back onto a visit here called the Hanging Gardens. The springs are probably dry, but it’s still an unexpected find in the desert! The nice thing about this area, too, is that you don’t have to pay an entrance fee to get in.
          Another area you might consider visiting is the Wahweap Swim Beach. This area is within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, so you would have to pay the entrance fee (which is good for 1 week), but it has a developed picnic area with tables, grills, and shade canopies, which is nice to have access to on a hot day! Here again, it’s a bit of a walk to the waterline, but in this case, mostly flat. Lone Rock Beach is another good option, but it tends to be quite crowded with campers, boaters, etc. Lone Rock is also within the Glen Canyon NRA, so an entrance fee is required. If you decide to visit both it and the Wahweap Swim Beach, simply keep your entrance fee receipt as it is good for 7 days.
          Hope that helps!
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

      1. Is floating open? Is horseshoe bend the wave and antelope canyon open? What’s the cost to park and go in to these? Also for floating? If not open, when will they open?

        1. Hi Stephanie,
          Thank you for your clear, concise inquiry!
          The Horseshoe Bend Rafting Trip is unfortunately cancelled for the remainder of the season due to COVID-19 🙁 If your visit to the Page, AZ, area is scheduled for sometime in 2020, a good alternative would be to drive to Lees Ferry, rent a kayak, get backhauled to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam, and paddle the 15 mile stretch of the Colorado River back to Lees Ferry. There are several companies that offer this alternative tour, but the one we’re most familiar with is Kayak Horseshoe Bend. Visit that website for more information about cost, schedules, etc.
          Horseshoe Bend, we are happy to report, is one of the few attractions that never closed through all this. It may be visited at one’s leisure, between sunrise and sunset. The parking fee for standard passenger cars is $10. We recommend visiting just after sunrise to enjoy cooler temperatures and smaller crowds.
          Antelope Canyon, unfortunately, remains closed for the time being. When it will reopen, is anybody’s guess. To be placed on a priority e-mail list to be notified of when it reopens, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ. Should the Antelope Canyons remain closed at the time of your visit, a good alternative would be Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon, near Kanab, UT. With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery (including the occasional light beams in the summertime), as well as some unique features such as ancient “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one. While the hike through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. Even then, people still get stuck, and if you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. Reputable tour companies in Kanab, UT, are:
          – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
          – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
          – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
          – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
          – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
          Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  99. Hi Alley!
    You seem to be very knowledgeable about all things AZ, so Im hoping you can help me out!
    My friends and I are venturing out to Arizona and Utah this Wednesday! I am curious to know if there have been any changes such as new openings or closing. We are really interested in Monument Valley, the Four Corners, and Antelope Canyon. Even if you could direct me to a website as to which attractions are open to visitors I would greatly appreciate it (:

    1. Hey Morgan,
      Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but Navajo Nation Tribal Parks are slated to remain closed, optimistically, through the end of August, pesimistically, “until further notice.”
      A site to monitor for any change in status would be http://www.NavajoNationParks.org A couple of “saving graces,” if you can call it that, is that highway US163 from Kayenta through Monument Valley remains open since it is a pretty important shipping corridor. You can still get good views of Monument Valley on a “drive-by” basis, plus historic Goulding’s Lodge has managed to remain open with modified services. If you do visit this area, be sure to wear a mask and practice personal hygiene measures as prescribed by the CDC and WHO.
      As for the Antelope Canyons and Four Corners, they’re a no go 🙁 Fortunately, however, there are several beautiful slot canyons in the semi-immediate vicinity of Antelope Canyon that are not subject to the closure of Navajo Indian Tribal Parks. We recommend Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon, near Kanab, UT, if you’re looking for a family-friendly experience. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. If you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. There are several reputable companies to choose from in Kanab, UT, including:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      If you’re wanting something more adventurous, Wire Pass Canyon is a photogenic two-part slot canyon that is short enough for intermediate-level hikers to enjoy, yet offers the option to delve further into Buckskin Gulch for those wanting more of a challenge. The walk to the entrance of the initial slot is via a typically dry streambed, which may feature deep sand. An 8-10’ drop a short distance into the slot canyon is one reason why Wire Pass Canyon may not be appropriate for those traveling with young children, the elderly, or individuals afraid of heights. As the canyon walls become higher and closer together, they suddenly open up as the second slot connects with the Buckskin Gulch. If you’ve had enough at this point, you can simply turn around and head back to your vehicle. If you’d like to explore further, you can easily make a half-day hike out of the immediate area around the confluence with the Buckskin. Look for some bighorn sheep petroglyphs dating back hundreds, maybe thousands of years! Access to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road. Hikers are required to pay a self-permitting fee at the kiosk by the trailhead. Fair warning: the House Rock Valley Road is unpaved! While it is accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Parties in rental cars should think twice about attempting this road since off-road driving is strictly prohibited by most rental car companies. A guided tour will get your family to Wire Pass Canyon and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT based companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
      – Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
      – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
      – Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
      Hope that helps! To get notified immediately if/when the Antelope Canyons reopen, visit our companion site to get on a priority e-mail list at http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  100. Hi Alley

    I am planning on bringing my wife and kids (16 and 14) on trip to Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Las Vegas, The Narrows and the Grand Canyon in March of 2021.
    I was wonder if you can give as much info as possible? I will be at Horseshoe Bend and Antelope for 2 days of our trip. How is the weather normally, where should I stay for the 2 nights, what time of the day should we go, what tour guide should we use for the Antelope Canyon tour? And of course any other info would be greatly appreciative. How intense or how far is the hike?

    1. Hey Chris,
      Visiting in March, you should be aware that this is in the transitional period between winter and spring. You could encounter days that are sunny and brisk, or you could run into a blizzard, it just depends! Of course, it’s too soon to call, but the main point is to be prepared for anything weather-wise. Start monitoring the weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. That will give you the best idea of what kind of clothing to pack.
      Due to the high probability of cold weather, The Narrows in Zion may not happen for you seeing as though that trip has you walking through water. If that’s the case, don’t fret too much over it; there are plenty of good hikes to enjoy in Zion. If your family is relatively fit, which it sounds as though you are, you might look at Angel’s Landing. Along with The Narrows, it is considered the “holy grail” of Zion hikes.
      As for your time at Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, Page, AZ, is where you should stay for that leg of your trip; that’s the gateway community for both attractions, as well as Lake Powell. Regarding which tour company to go with, all advertised guide services are well-rated and licensed by the Navajo Indian Tribe. Tours are virtually identical, right down to the footstep, and comparable in price. For more information, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ: How To Book A Tour For Antelope Canyon Difficulty and/or intensity of the hike depends on which branch of the canyon you tour. Upper Antelope is an easy, flat 100 yard out-and-back walk. Lower Antelope is ~1 mile and involves navigating some stairs, ladders, and small boulders. Alternate sections of the Antelope Canyon are usually comparable to Lower Antelope, or slightly more difficult. Mid-day is generally regarded as the best time to tour Antelope Canyon for lighting and photography, but other times of day offer their own advantages. Long story short, there’s no such thing as a bad time to go; simply book a tour at a time that works for you!
      When you go to the Grand Canyon, you should try to stay inside the park at Grand Canyon Village if possible. If that area is already sold out (which is a very real possibility at this point), then Tusayan, AZ, 7 miles outside the park, is your next best alternative. Grand Canyon hotels
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  101. Any ETA on the reopening of Antelope Canyon. We are visiting September 14 for 3 days and I am officially sad, when I discovered they are closed.

    1. Hey Lisa,
      We, too, are sad that the Antelope Canyons will remain closed for the rest of the summer 🙁
      As to whether they will reopen by the time you get here, that remains uncertain. If they are still closed at the time of your vacation, the good news is that there are other slot canyons in the area that are not subject to the closure of the Navajo Nation.
      We recommend Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon, near Kanab, UT, if you’re looking for a family-friendly experience. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate potentially deep sand. If you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. There are several reputable companies to choose from in Kanab, UT, including:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
      If you’re wanting something more adventurous, Wire Pass Canyon is a photogenic two-part slot canyon that is short enough for intermediate-level hikers to enjoy, yet offers the option to delve further into Buckskin Gulch for those wanting more of a challenge. The walk to the entrance of the initial slot is via a typically dry streambed, which may feature deep sand. An 8-10’ drop a short distance into the slot canyon is one reason why Wire Pass Canyon may not be appropriate for those traveling with young children, the elderly, or individuals afraid of heights. As the canyon walls become higher and closer together, they suddenly open up as the second slot connects with the Buckskin Gulch. If you’ve had enough at this point, you can simply turn around and head back to your vehicle. If you’d like to explore further, you can easily make a half-day hike out of the immediate area around the confluence with the Buckskin. Look for some bighorn sheep petroglyphs dating back hundreds, maybe thousands of years! Access to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road. Hikers are required to pay a self-permitting fee at the kiosk by the trailhead. Fair warning: the House Rock Valley Road is unpaved! While it is accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Parties in rental cars should think twice about attempting this road since off-road driving is strictly prohibited by most rental car companies. A guided tour will get your family to Wire Pass Canyon and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT based companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
      – Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
      – Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
      – Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
      Hope that helps! To get notified immediately if/when the Antelope Canyons reopen, visit our companion site to get on a priority e-mail list at http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  102. Is there clear signage on the road leading you to horshoebend in case I lose service and will my sedan be okay or do I need a 4WD car? Also are there any free campsites accessible in the area? Also can I access Lake Powell through a walk near horseshoe bend? Or rent a kayak?

    1. Hi Zee!
      The Horseshoe Bend Overlook is extremely easy to find, approximately 5 miles south of the town of Page, AZ, on US Highway 89 North. Signage is very clear and prominent, and the main access road into the parking lot is paved, so no need for a 4WD vehicle. The pedestrian trail to the canyon rim is ~.7 miles one-way and mostly flat, but it is almost completely exposed, so during the summer months, it will be very hot. Be sure to wear/bring adequate sun protection and water, and wear appropriate shoes for walking.
      There is no access to Lake Powell or the Colorado River from Horseshoe Bend. To get to Lake Powell, you would have to drive ~10 minutes from Horseshoe Bend to either Wahweap Marina or Antelope Point Marina. Kayaks can be rented from several outlets in Page, AZ, or you can take a guided tour if you prefer. To kayak through Horseshoe Bend, you’d have to drive down to Lees Ferry, rent a kayak, get backhauled to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam, then paddle back to Lees Ferry. For more information on this activity, visit http://www.KayakHorseshoeBend.com
      As for free camping, there is none in the immediate area of Horseshoe Bend or Page, AZ. Prices for tent or RV camping sites in Page, AZ, vary from place to place, but one word of caution re: tent camping at this time of year — it’s HOT. Nighttime low temperatures aren’t getting too far below 75 degrees at this time of year, which can make tent camping VERY uncomfortable. Best to spring for an RV site with electrical hook-ups or a hotel room in Page, AZ, so you can have access to reliable air conditioning!
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Gregg, and thanks for your compliments!
      Whether to visit Horseshoe Bend at sunrise or sunset is one of those 6-of-one/half-a-dozen-of-another conundrums. Both timeframes have their pros and cons. Just after sunrise, for example, the Colorado River will be in shadow the sun gets higher overhead until mid-morning. At sunset, you have the sun in your eyes since the overlook faces due West, but that’s when you can potentially capture the elusive “starburst” that occurs just before the sun disappears over the horizon.
      Honestly, though, I’m the worst photographer ever, so you shouldn’t take my word as gospel. A few years ago, a photographer named Brian Klimowski took the time to photograph Horseshoe Bend from sunrise to sunset and every time in between! To see the results of his work, and his patience, check out our “Horseshoe Bend Sunrise to Sunset Photo Series
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  103. My wife and I are planning to visit horseshoe bend next weekend. Is there a cost to bike riders at the Horseshoe bend parking lot? Are there bike racks where we can lock them? Can we take them on the trail?
    Thanks for being a great resource,
    Scott

    1. Hi Scott, and thank you for this excellent question!
      Bikes are subject to a $5/person parking fee. There are no bike racks on-site, but you can probably find a parking pole or something similar to lock your bikes down to. Bikes are not allowed on the trail, only wheelchairs.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  104. Hi Alley,

    You’ve got a very helpful website, thanks for that! We plan to visit Horseshoe Bend with an RV and a dog. Is there a special RV parking space and is it possible to hike from there (with the dog) to the Horseshoe Bend? Also, how early should you get there to get a spot, what would you recommend? We will probably arrive in the afternoon and think about trying to get directly to the Horseshoe Bend before checking in at a nearby campground.

    Thanks you in advance!
    Elena

    1. Hi Elena,
      The new Horseshoe Bend Parking Lot does have special spaces designated for RV’s, and you are welcome to visit with dogs as long as they are leashed at all times. You should also bring enough water for yourself and your pet, and if you’re visiting during the summer months, we strongly recommend outfitting him/her with a set of protective booties so they don’t burn their paws on the hot sand.
      We actually recommend visiting Horseshoe Bend in the hours just after sunrise so you can take advantage of cooler temperatures and smaller crowds. In August, sunrise takes place at around 5:45 AM.
      Hope that helps, and that you have reservations for your chosen campground.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hey Alley, I am wondering if you could help me find the GPS Coordinates to Horseshoe Bend? I’m having a hard time finding it based on no real address. I was married here and we are trying to get the GPS coordinates printed. Could you help?

      2. Alley,

        Do you know of a kayak tour or boat tour you can take to see Antelope Canyons? Which would you recommend?

        Thanks
        JD

        1. Hi JD,
          There are several companies that offer Antelope Canyon boat tours or kayak tours of Antelope Canyon. All are authorized by the National Park Service and have excellent safety and service records, so you really can’t go wrong with any one of them.
          For kayak tours:
          – Hidden Canyon Kayak (928) 660-1836 http://www.lakepowellhiddencanyonkayak.com/
          – Kayak Lake Powell (928) 660-0778 http://www.kayakpowell.com/
          – Lake Powell Paddleboards & Kayaks (928) 645-4017 http://www.lakepowellpaddleboards.com/
          – Lake Powell Adventure Company (928) 660-9683 https://www.lakepowelladventure.com/
          For boat tours:
          – Lake Powell Resort & Marina (888) 896-3829 https://www.lakepowell.com/marinas/boat-tours/
          – Antelope Point Marina (928) 645-5900 https://grandcanyon.com/tours/east-tours/antelope-canyon-boat-tours/
          Of course, you should be sure to verify that the above-referenced businesses are even open or operating at reduced capacity due to COVID-19.
          Good luck and safe travels!
          Alley 🙂

  105. Hello Alley,

    We are planning a last minute trip to Horseshoe bend this weekend. I would like to take my two dogs. Do you recommend it? i see that the weather will be at mid 90&#