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!

You're So Close to this Instagram Classic

You're just 7 miles from Antelope Canyon! Take this opportunity to check it off your bucket list!

As you exit your vehicle in the newly-expanded Horseshoe Bend parking area just South of Page, Arizona, your will make your way around a newly paved walkway that avoids the original mildly steep incline that included sometimes unwieldy sand. 

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.

729 Responses

      1. Hi Alley. My husband and I are going to be visiting AZ in January 2022. We have about 3 days to work with (coming from Scottsdale 1/23). We are avid hikers and have previously been to Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce. Since we have more limited time I wanted to focus on the Page area. I’ve booked a tour for lower Antelope 1/24 in the morning and hope to book upper Antelope for that afternoon. I thought maybe we could devote a day to Horseshoe Bend and Cathedral Wash trails? Any thoughts/recommendations? We’ll also essentially have two half days, travelling to Page from Scottsdale, and then back to Phoenix to fly out. Open to suggestions for anything en-route. Thanks! Keri B. in PA

        1. Hey Keri!
          That sounds like a pretty fun weekend. If you do Lower Antelope Canyon, you may find Upper Antelope to be a bit of a snooze from a hiking standpoint. The scenery is still beautiful, don’t get me wrong on that, but it’s a pretty straightforward 100 yard walk through the canyon, then a short series of steps and walkways up and over a ridge back to the tour vehicles. The New Normal At Antelope Canyon If you tend to agree, you may hit Horseshoe Bend on your Lower Antelope tour day, then, as you suggest, utilize the following day to explore around the Lees Ferry/Cathedral Wash area.
          Note that the Lees Ferry/Marble Canyon area has a lot to offer in addition to Cathedral Wash that you might wish to explore, such as the Lonely Dell Ranch Historic District, the Blanche Russell Balanced Rock House , and the Navajo Bridge and adjacent interpretive center, where you might see some California Condors sunning themselves on the struts below the roadbed! When you get hungry, head over to the Cliff Dweller’s Restaurant for a delicious meal and a beautiful view. If you’re inclined to venture a little further West, the Jacob Lake Inn is world-famous for its scrumptious home-baked cookies. Grab a bag to enjoy on the way to Scottsdale the next day!
          On the drive back to Scottsdale, you have a few options for making the most of the trip. If you’re OK with saving your appetite for a late breakfast/brunch, the Navajo Tacos at the Cameron Trading Post are amazing! If not, it’s perfectly situated for a leg stretch/bathroom break, or a little souvenir shopping. Just North of Flagstaff, you have the opportunity to make a bit of a detour through Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments. Just doing the loop drive will add another 2 hours onto your drive. If you want to do some walking, that’s possible, too. Maybe ask one of the rangers if the lava tube is open.
          In Camp Verde, Montezuma Castle & Well National Monument are just a short hop off I-17. Further South, the Sunset Point Rest Stop is also worthwhile, nice view, public restrooms, etc. Of course, there is also the option to detour through Sedona, AZ, but I almost hesitate to suggest that because I can pretty much guarantee, it will leave you wanting! Sedona is an absolutely gorgeous area with lots to see and do. It deserves more than just a quickie “drive-by” viewing; 4-5 days would not be too long to spend there. Another time, perhaps… If you didn’t satisfy your sweet tooth in Jacob Lake, you have another chance to do so just North of Phoenix at the Rock Springs Café in New River. World famous, baked-from-scratch pies. ’nuff said LOL
          Whatever you decide to do with your days, just remember that in January, they’ll still be relatively short. Sunrise occurs at 7:30 am and sunrise takes place around 5:45 pm. Plan on doing the majority of your driving during daylight hours. Nighttime driving is generally discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit. The possible presence of deer, elk, other wildlife, and livestock animals can also elevate your risk of a collision. Trust me, that’s not something you want to encounter 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 you take me up on the suggestion to make a day of it in the Lees Ferry/Marble Canyon area, remember that it’s ~1 hour drive, each way, from Page, AZ (and back). Driving back to Scottsdale shouldn’t be as much of a concern since the Phoenix Metro Area has a sizeable light dome around it.
          I hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process. If you need further assistance, please contact me directly at [email protected]
          Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
          Alley 🙂
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  2. Hi there!
    We will be visiting antilope canyon on 10/30/21 with a tour at 12:25 pm
    After the tour we would love to visit horseshoe bend. Can you please recommend some great hikes? Can this site be visited without a tour or do we have to join a tour? Any recommendations would be appreciated! Do we need to buy a special pass?
    Thanks!
    Cristina

    1. Hi Cristina!
      To visit Horseshoe Bend does not require a tour, or a special pass. You simply go there at your convenience during normal operating hours of the parking lot, which are from sunrise to sunset. The cost to park is $10/vehicle for standard passenger cars, or $35/vehicle for light commercial vehicles. On October 30th, sunrise will occur at 6:47 am and sunset will take place at 5:30 pm.
      Other fun and easy hikes in the vicinity of Horseshoe Bend are the Hanging Garden Trail and the New Wave/Radio Tower Rock Loop.
      If you wish to enter the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area at any time, which includes the Lake Powell Resort, Antelope Point Marina, or Lone Rock Campground, you would need to pay a $30/vehicle entrance fee, which is good for one week’s time.
      Hope that helps! If you have further questions, please contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Alley, is it easy to carry a picnic basket? If you hike down 1/2 mike do you end up at the spot with all the water? Thank you in advance!

        1. Hi Courtney,
          Most people are able to carry a small picnic basket or backpack to the rim, which is a walk of ~.7 miles (one way) from the parking lot. You must be sure to pick up after yourselves and pack out any trash.
          As for “getting to the spot with all the water,” it is not possible to hike down to the river from Horseshoe Bend Overlook. There is no trail, and it’s a 700′ drop to the bottom of the canyon!
          If you were wanting to enjoy a picnic by the water, the Wahweap Swim Beach and picnic area, across from Lake Powell Campground would be the easiest place to do this. You would have to enter the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires that you pay a $30/vehicle entrance fee that is good for one week’s time. If you do not relish the idea of paying $30 just to have a picnic, you might hike a short distance down to The Chains, which is on the Eastern flank of the Glen Canyon Dam. You could also work off lunch with a hike to the nearby Hanging Gardens area.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

    2. We just did this today. Antelope Valley tour, then Horseshoe Bend to see the sunset. You do not need a tour. Just park in the parking lot, $10.00 per car, then walk 1/2 mile down a mild incline to the edge of the cliff. Look over and you will see a magnificent view. Be sure your camera batteries are full. Enjoy.

  3. Hi Alley,
    I will be flying out to vegas with a friend mid-november and we have a rough itinerary of the trip laid out. Nothing is booked yet (other than flights) so things can be changed, but would the following plans be do-able or are we way over our heads here?
    Day 1: Land in vegas around 10am, drive to Page, AZ to catch sunset at horseshoe bend, spend the night
    Day 2: Check out Antelope Canyon/surrounding area and drive to Bryce canyon that evening to spend the night
    Day 3: Explore Bryce. Drive to Monroe hot springs that evening and spend the night
    Day 4: Explore around hot springs/Monroe, Drive to Zion that evening and spend the night
    Day 5: Explore Zion, spend the night
    Day 6: Head to Vegas, stop by Valley of Fire on the way to vegas. Our flight leaves Vegas at 11pm

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Hey Caitlin,
      That sounds pretty fun, the only thing I can think of that might throw a wrench into your plans is weather. While most of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah will just be cold in mid-November, Bryce often sees snow that early in the season what with it being 8,000′ above sea level. Start looking at local weather about 2 weeks before you get ready to travel; that will give you the best idea of what to expect.
      Lodging in the immediate vicinity of Mystic Hot Springs is kinda slim pickings, you’ll probably end up staying in Richfield, UT, which is 15-20 minutes away.
      RE: Antelope Canyon, you can’t just go there and “check it out,” a guided tour by an authorized tour operator is required. For more information on these, visit our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ Advance reservations are a must since Antelope Canyon tour operators are required by law to operate at reduced capacity due to COVID-19. Also be aware that Upper Antelope Canyon now requires a bit more hiking than it did in years past.
      If you have further questions, please contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂
      Valley of Fire is gorgeous, and November is a great time to visit, it’s not so dang hot then!

  4. Hi,
    We will be arriving to Page on Oct 15, 2021 for the weekend. I keep reading mixed opinions on the best time to see Horseshoe Bend. Could you please advise what time of day is best to see it? If we were to see it at sunset, would we be able to get any good photos or will there be too many shadows? Also wanted to know what time of day would be best to see Glen Canyon Dam. Was thinking sunset would be good for photos but not sure?

    1. Hey MT,
      Honestly, I think you’re overthinking things.
      There is no such thing as a “bad” time to visit Horseshoe Bend. Every time of day has its pros and cons; at sunrise, the ‘bend is in shadow, but you’d have fewer people to compete with for the perfect photo op. Ditto for sunset – the river will be mostly in shadow – but then you have the opportunity of capturing the “starburst” effect as the sun dips over the horizon. For photos of Horseshoe Bend taken over the course of a full day, visit Horseshoe Bend Sunrise to Sunset Photo Series by Brian Klimowski
      As for Glen Canyon Dam, any time is good. If you want to do a guided tour down into the power plant, these are offered at certain times of the day, and advance reservations are recommended. At present, they are closed, but might reopen by the time you visit. For more information, visit the website of the Glen Canyon Conservancy. Should the tours not resume by October, it is still possible to walk across the steel arch bridge, which offers a great view of the dam. The White House Overlook is another good spot from which to photograph the dam.
      Please contact me directly if you have further questions at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  5. We will be arriving in Page on 09/04/2021. We want to visit the Horseshoe Bend that evening. Is it a good place to watch sunset and will it be safe to walk back to the vehicle after sunset? We have our 11 yrs old child with us and she is a master hiker but we still want to know about the safety. We will carry all essentials but is there anything in particular we need to remember to carry?
    Thank you for your help.

    1. Hi Neeta!
      Horseshoe Bend is a perfectly find place to watch sunset from. On the day of your visit, sunset occurs shortly before 7:00 PM. It’s a good idea to be at your chosen spot about 30 minutes prior to actual sunset to experience the most dramatic light changes.
      It is safe to walk back to your vehicle after sunset, but you may wish to carry a flashlight or headlamp just in case 😉 The trail is .7 miles in length, one way. It is graded, partially paved, and relatively even. At that time of year, you might also wish to carry a light jacket or long sleeve shirt as temperatures can drop rapidly after sunset, and it might get a little chilly. Water and appropriate walking shoes are a must, any time of year.
      If you have further questions, feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  6. Hello Alley,

    We are planning a trip to Grand Canyon driving from Las Vegas. We are planning to stop by the horseshoe bend and are interested in other small hikes/ area that are a must see around that area part of GC. What are some hikes, views you would recommend near horseshoe bend? Is the Navajo park near this area?
    After spending all day near that area we are then driving to Zion National park were we will spend the night, and wake up the next morning and explore zion. Would appreciate if you can suggest few places that are must see and stop in GC and Zion.
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Lora,
      Well, right off the bat, I’m getting a sense that you’re not 100% certain where Horseshoe Bend is actually located. It is not located in or near Grand Canyon National Park. Therefore, it’s not just a place you can “stop by” between Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Horseshoe Bend is located near the town of Page, AZ, which is ~140-150 miles from Grand Canyon’s North or South Rim. It’s approximately a 5-hour drive from Las Vegas, NV, to Grand Canyon South or North Rim. If you’re wanting to visit the Grand Canyon en route from Las Vegas, NV, to Zion National Park, then the North Rim would be the most logical side of the Grand Canyon to visit. Hopefully your trip is taking place sometime between now and October 15th as that’s when visitor facilities at the North Rim close. The drive from Grand Canyon North Rim to Zion National Park would then be ~2.5-3 hours. So, you’re proposing to do 7-8 hours driving already. The drive to Page, AZ, from either Zion or Grand Canyon North Rim would be, bare minimum, 2-2.5 hours, one way. See map
      You don’t have enough daylights hours to pull all that off. And if you’re thinking you’ll just drive back to Zion 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 their tendency to attract deer, elk, and other wildlife that can hike up your risk of a collision. 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.
      Assuming that you already have lodging reservations at Zion, you should take another day to visit Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell. Staying overnight in Page, AZ, is the best way to do that for optimal comfort and enjoyment!
      I hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process. If you have further questions, please write me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Jill,
      There’s no shortage of easy trails with beautiful views in Page, AZ!
      Some of the best ones include, but aren’t limited to:
      Page Rim View Trail
      Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
      Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
      Grand View Overlook Park
      The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
      For more suggestions, visit NPS: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Day Hikes or AllTrails.com: Page, Arizona
      Whichever one you choose to hike, be sure to carry plenty of water for all members of your traveling party, wear sun protection, and appropriate shoes for walking.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  7. Hi! This Thursday (June 22), about 3-4 PM, I’d want to go to this location (Horseshoe Bend, the photo I’m looking at here). I’m thinking about making a reservation to get into this area where people snap photographs. To get here, we’ll travel from Las Vegas. Can we just drive or walk here after parking?

    1. Hi Chris,
      First of all, no reservations are required (or taken) to visit Horseshoe Bend via the main parking lot run by the City of Page. You simply go when the parking lot is open, which is from sunrise to sunset. It costs $10/vehicle to park, then you should allot 90 minutes to 2 hours to park, walk to the rim, take photos, then walk back to your vehicle.
      Note that it takes ~5 hours to drive from Las Vegas, NV, to Page, AZ, where Horseshoe Bend is located. Also, the Antelope Canyons have reopened, so you should definitely take the opportunity to take a tour there! All told, it’s really not a “day trip” from Las Vegas. If at all possible, try to arrange it so you can spend the night in Page, AZ, and really enjoy the area.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

        1. Hey Ali,
          When we suggest allotting 90 minutes to 2 hours to visit Horseshoe Bend, that includes the time to hike to the rim and back. There’s no way to see Horseshoe Bend from the ground without doing the hike, which is .7 miles each way, and relatively flat.
          If for some reason you cannot do the hike to Horseshoe Bend, another way to see Horseshoe Bend is to fly over it in a fixed-wing airplane or helicopter.
          Another option, which would involve some walking, but less of it, would be to visit Horseshoe Bend with Horseshoe Bend Tours. They access the overlook via a private entrance on Navajo Indian Land, which reduces the walk to about 100 meters.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  8. Hi
    We have been using your incredible advice to plan our 2 week out west adventure late August early September. We like to hike, but not super difficult ones. One stop is Page AZ. We will have 1 1/2 days. We hope that Antelope Canyon will be open by then, but if not, do you have an itinerary that you could share for our time there. Your detail is incredible- thanks so much for taking time to do this.

    1. Hey Karen,
      So glad to hear our advice has helped so far!
      As for the status of Antelope Canyon, unfortunately, we don’t know what it will be even this far out. Best thing to do is monitor the Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation Dept website for current updates. Should the Antelope Canyon walking tours remain closed at the time of your visit, you’ll be glad to know there are other options! A popular one is to kayak into the waterside of the canyon on Lake Powell, then hike into the “pre-slot” portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal Land. You can either take a guided tour, or rent a kayak and paddle in on your own from Antelope Point Marina.
      If hiking is truly your preference, then Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch, ~1 hour from Page near the town of Paria, UT, make for a good half- to full-day’s walk, depending on your energy and physical fitness level. If you opt to take that hike, you can easily piggy-back Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch onto an exploration of the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos on the way up or back. Here is a video depicting a young family doing both hikes! The only caveat, is that the access road to the trailhead (the House Rock Valley Road) is unpaved. Most of the time it’s OK to drive, but if recent weather has been wet at all, it will turn into a red clay slip-n-slide. Late August/early September also tend to be within Arizona’s monsoon season, which also raises the possibility of flash floods, which may deter you from this hike.
      Whatever you decide, since that time of year is typically very warm, any labor-intensive activities should be done during the earlier morning hours. Kayaking in Antelope Canyon in particular should be done in the morning for lack of wind and large boat wakes.
      Other activities you might consider for rounding out your time 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 Indoor Shooting Range
      – Wahweap Overlook
      – 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 🙂

      1. Hi Alley,

        My husband and I are thinking to do a road trip out to Grand Canyon, horseshoe bend, and Zion in December. It will be our first time and any advice would be appreciated. One question in particular is- would horseshoe bend trail be open in the winter months? I know parts of Grand Canyon will be closed so just doing my research with the other parks as well. Thank you!

        1. Hey Rachel!
          December can be an amazing time to visit the Southwest U.S., as long as you’re prepared for the possibility of snow. Grand Canyon South Rim, which is open all year, is 7,000′ above sea level, and frequently sees “white Christmases” — I know, I spent a few of them there!
          Horseshoe Bend is also open all year, and though significant snowfall is rare in Page, AZ, you should still be prepared for cold weather. Ditto for Zion, though if it happens to be snowing at higher altitude, Zion may receive rain or sleet. Zion is also open year-round.
          Grand Canyon North Rim is closed at the time of year you’re visiting, but one way you can still see it, if so inclined, would be to fly over it out of Grand Canyon South Rim. Fixed wing airplanes and helicopters depart daily out of the Grand Canyon National Park Airport, weather permitting, and possibly contingent on a certain number of passengers flying. Mornings are typically the best time to fly for most dramatic light and lack of wind. Although neither aircraft would land at the North Rim (no airstrip there), you would still spend enough time over it to get a sense of how different it is from the South Rim!
          Whatever you decide be sure to book hotels and guided tours in advance. Everyone is operating at reduced capacity and staffing due to COVID-19.
          If you have further questions, feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  9. Alley,

    This information is all incredible! I have read through many of your responses, and I appreciate the up to date information about what is open, and how to travel the area during this time. My boyfriend and I will be renting an Escape Campervan, and driving through some great spots for a week-long Road trip to celebrate his 30th birthday. I have read many of your posts, and I have created a rough itinerary. We won’t be able to spend much time in each spot, but we plan to do at least one hike/experience before we move along to our next destination.

    May 25: Pick up Campervan near Vegas airport, stop to take photos at Seven Magic Mountains. Drive to Zion NP to camp for the night. Any recommended/preferred campgrounds close to Angels Landing? We don’t need electric hookups, just bathrooms on site.
    May 26: Hike Angels Landing in Zion NP. Visit The Narrows, not the hike, just the short paved walk up to it, either before or after our Angels Landing hike. Any recommendations on a better time of day for visiting the Narrows? In the evening, drive to Bryce Canyon and camp near the park (any preferred campsites?).
    May 27: Explore Bryce. Navajo Loop is a must for us, but any other recommendations? Drive to Page & camp near Horseshoe Bend. Any preferred camp sites?
    May 28: Horseshoe Bend sunrise. The goal was Antelope during the day, but it seems as though it will still be closed. We would love to kayak up to it like you mentioned. Is that something that you think we should reserve ahead of time? Later-Drive to Mather Campground (already reserved site) at Grand Canyon.
    May 29: Explore GC. I’ve been here a few times and just walked around the South Rim. It is stunning, but if there are any extra hikes or explorations you’d recommend, we are open to that. We also need a campsite this night (Mather was booked up) near GC.
    May 30: His 30th Birthday. Planning to skydive above the Grand Canyon around 8am. I still need to reserve this, but it seems the company is open and running still. Drive to Sedona and do an afternoon hike and camp there (hike and campsite recommendations?).
    May 31: Explore Sedona with another hike or two. Again, undecided here, so we are open to any suggestions. Debating driving to Verde Hot Springs so we can see those the next morning. Do you think they are worth the trip, or that we should spend more time in Sedona instead?
    June 1: Either driving from Sedona to Phoenix or Verde Hot Springs to Phoenix (depending on the decision the previous day). Dropping off the Campervan in Phoenix. Staying at a Hotel near the airport.
    June 2: Fly Home.

    Thank you for any and all advice, suggestions, and recommendations. Our outline of our trip is pretty set in stone, but our campsites, hikes, and activities have a bit of wiggle room. I appreciate you and all of your help! Thank you SO much!! 🙂

    Aliza

    1. Hi Aliza,
      Thank you so much for your compliments!
      I hate to sound as though I’m being flippant, but it doesn’t matter one bit at this point what campgrounds/sites I’d “recommend.” This close to your trip, you need to make advance reservations, where you can find availability. Late May is the beginning of peak travel season in this part of the U.S., and since much of the country has been locked down due to COVID-19, people are chomping at the bit to get out and travel, especially in the National Parks. Be ready to find premium campgrounds and sites full.
      And since your campervan may not have electrical hook-ups or the capability to run power to a fan or AC system, you could find camping to be unpleasantly warm. Give that some thought before you commit 100% to this plan.
      The drive from Las Vegas, NV, to Zion National Park is ~3-4 hours. 7 Magic Mountains is located South of town, which is in the opposite direction of the way you want to travel on this day. If you’re looking for an interesting place to see on the way to Zion, ’86 the 7 Magic Mountains and instead go through Valley of Fire State Park, just Northeast of town. That’s a stunning (and natural) area, and from what you’ve told me, it sounds like you’d enjoy it a lot more. Again, campgrounds near Angel’s Landing are probably booked up, so look into the town of Springdale, UT, or Kanab, UT, for a place to camp. 7 Best Campgrounds in Zion National Park
      For hiking The Narrows, there’s no one “best” time of day. Each timeframe has its pros and cons. Earlier morning hours typically offer up fewer people to contend with, but you must deal with cooler air temperatures. While mid-day might be warmer, it’s also more crowded. Bear in mind, you may need/want to rent or bring special equipment to hike The Narrows. Whether you hike Angel’s Landing or The Narrows, you’ll need to utilize the Zion Canyon Shuttle, which requires advance ticket purchase.
      The drive to Bryce Canyon will take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2.5 hours depending on where you start from. Here again, book campsites wherever you can find availability. Inside the park may not be an option at this point, but there are several commercial campgrounds located within easy access just outside the park. All About Camping in Bryce Canyon Navajo Loop is a perfectly beautiful hike in Bryce, but certainly not the only trail. Queen’s Garden, Fairyland Loop, Peek-a-Boo Loop would be equally scenic and enjoyable. There’s no shortage of good options for hiking in Bryce. You’re bound to enjoy whichever one you pick!
      In Page, AZ, the nearest campground to Horseshoe Bend is the Page/Lake Powell Campground, ~10 minutes away. The next closest would be the Beehive Campground, a first-come/first-serve “dry” campground, then the Wahweap Campground inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which requires payment of the $30 park entrance fee, which is good for 1 week’s time. The National Park Pass is also good for this area. For Horseshoe Bend, a $10-$35 parking fee is required, which is assessed by the City of Page. If you wish to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon, you should do that first thing in the morning to minimize impact from wind and boat wakes, then visit Horseshoe Bend. And yes, you definitely want to reserve that activity ahead of time. All campsites or hotels, guided tours, etc., should be booked in advance of your arrival.
      At Grand Canyon South Rim, Cedar Ridge on the South Kaibab Trail might be a fun hike for you guys, that’s ~3 miles round-trip. If you want something more challenging, you might go as far as Skeleton Point, which is 6.5 miles (same trail). The only downside of any hiking on the South Kaibab Trail is that the trailhead parking lot is closed to private vehicles and you have to take a shuttle there. Also, there is no water on that trail whatsoever, so you’ll have to bring your own. Shade is also virtually non-existent, and the inner canyon is warmer than the rimside. Be prepared by wearing a wide-brimmed hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses. If the SK doesn’t appeal, you might consider hiking on the Bright Angel Trail instead. The BA Trail does have water piped in to resthouses every 1.5 miles on the top half of the trail, but you should still bring your own water, and take precautions for sun exposure, although the BA Trail has more shade to offer.
      Skydive Grand Canyon does indeed seem to be up and running. That’s one activity I’ve yet to partake of, so hope you enjoy that, sounds like a wonderful way to celebrate a milestone birthday!
      The drive to Sedona, AZ, from GC South Rim will take ~2.5 hours. As for camping, you have a few options between developed and commercial campgrounds, some that take reservations, and those that don’t. Personally, I would not risk first-come/first-serve campgrounds at the time of year you’re visiting, but that’s just me. 6 Best Campgrounds in Sedona Here again, no shortage of options for fun and memorable hikes in varying degrees of difficulty! I like the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon because you can splash in the water if you get too hot. Devil’s Bridge comes highly recommended, too, and rightfully so. Best Hikes in Sedona
      I have personally never been to the Verde Hot Springs, and I read mixed reviews about it. Getting there can be tricky from what I understand, also. If you’re a hot springs aficionado like me, you might consider opting for one of the commercial hot springs around the Phoenix area, such as the Castle Hot Springs or the El Dorado Hot Springs near Tonopah, AZ. The latter is much more rustic than the former, and is sometimes clothing optional.
      Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process! Feel free to write in again if you need further guidance.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  10. Hello!
    Thank you so much for this website and comments section. I’m amazed with all the detailed information you share here!

    I’m going on my first trip to AZ this Friday. I booked two first nights in Flagstaff area and two nights in Page area. I’ll be travelling from Los Angeles by car. On my way back, I would like to stop in Las Vegas and drive through Death Valley. This is my solo trip and I would love to hear your advice on what to see and how to plan it to get the best out of my trip, also given that I’ll be travelling solo 🙂 I know I can’t visit Antelope at this time. Though I would love to hike at Horseshoebend and see some scenic views at Grand Canion National Park. I would be grateful for any suggestions/ideas how to plan this trip. Thank you for your time!

    1. Hi Paulina!
      First of all, you may not feel as though you’re “traveling solo” for long as you’re proposing to visit several popular sites at the beginning of peak travel season (with the exception of Death Valley, late April is toward the end of its peak visitation period). Be ready to share the parks with a goodly number of like-minded travelers!
      Coming from LA to Flagstaff, hop on I-40 out of Barstow, CA. The drive will take ~8 hours. If you’re of a mind to take the scenic route, you might enjoy traveling on one of the few remaining intact sections of old Route 66 through Oatman, AZ. If you do this, stop and pet the free-roaming burros that wander through town. If you wish to continue driving somewhat “off the beaten path,” in Kingman, AZ, you can explore another section of old Route 66 traveling through Peach Springs, AZ, then rejoining I-40 in Seligman, AZ. Taking these short detours will extend your drive time, but definitely make it more memorable, and personal!
      Since the drive from LA to Flag (that’s what we call it around here) will take most of your first travel day, just plan on relaxing and getting a good night’s rest that evening, then get an early start on the following morning to make the most out of a day trip to Grand Canyon South Rim. I recommend grabbing some items you can eat in the car instead of going out for a sit-down breakfast so you can get on the road right away. Sunrise takes place at ~5:30 AM and sunset occurs at around 7:15 PM. Take the “long way around” to enter the park via the East Entrance; lines are a lot shorter there, plus the drive to Grand Canyon Village, the main commerce area, will take you past over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon, all with varying features and perspectives on the canyon. In the Village, park your vehicle as close as possible to the Historic District and walk the paved Rim Trail. If desired, take the shuttle on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive to some of those viewpoints as well. If you want to get lunch in the park, get to a restaurant by 11:00 AM. The reason for this is because the Grand Canyon Railway rolls in shortly after that, and once those passengers disembark, the restaurants get very crowded. Exit the park via the South entrance. The drive back to Flagstaff, AZ, takes ~90 minutes, be sure you do all of it during daylight hours. You want to avoid driving at night in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit and populated by deer, elk, and other nocturnal wildlife that can elevate your risk of an accident. Believe me, 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. Start the drive back to Flag no later than 6:00-6:15 PM if at all possible.
      The drive from Flag to Page, AZ, will take ~2.5 hours. Time/desire permitting, you might take a detour and travel the loop drive between Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments just North of Flagstaff. That will add a couple of hours onto your drive time, but give you the opportunity to explore a Sinaguan Ancestral Pueblo Complex and a dormant volcano respectively. Between there and Page, AZ, be prepared to drive straight through without stopping. That area is Navajo Indian Tribal Land and the tribe is discouraging contact between outsiders and reservation residents. Be sure your vehicle is fully fueled and that you have adequate water and snacks to tide you over until you get to Page, AZ. Hit Horseshoe Bend on the way into town, then relax and enjoy a good dinner that night.
      Although the Antelope Canyons are closed, there’s still no shortage of attractions you might visit, including, but 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 Indoor Shooting Range
      – Wahweap Overlook
      – 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)
      After leaving Page, you’ll cross into the state of Utah. Just over the state line in the town of Big Water, UT, is the Grand Staircase Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum, which is definitely worth a visit. If you’re up for a hike, the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail is located a short distance up the road from Big Water, UT, at mile marker 19 on US89. Not including time it takes to stop at the above areas, the drive from Page, AZ, to Las Vegas, NV, takes ~5 hours so hopefully you’re planning on stopping there for the night. Death Valley is best explored when it’s cooler out.
      The drive from Las Vegas to Death Valley National Park takes ~2 hours. If you’re planning on visiting en route from LAS to LA, you can see quite a bit in the course of a couple of hours. Death Valley Must See Spots The drive from Death Valley to LA will then take ~4 hours, so that will make for a long day, but a fulfilling end to your trip!
      Custom Trip Map
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  11. Hi
    We are planning to visit Page, AZ for one day on June 9th. We were planning to visit Lower Antelope Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend, but I realize that Antelope Canyon is still not open due to COVID-19. So what are other better options to do in Page, AZ other than Horse Shoe Bend? What is best way to explore Horse Shoe Bend?

    1. Hey Hetal!
      The best way to explore Horseshoe Bend is to visit at your leisure between the hours of sunrise and sunset. That’s when the parking lot is open. It’s a .7 mile walk, each way, to the rim. You should allot approximately 90 minutes to 2 hours to park, walk to the rim, take photos, then walk back to your vehicle. If for some reason you are unable or unwilling to make the walk, another great way to see Horseshoe Bend with minimal exertion is to fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters depart the Page Municipal Airport daily, weather permitting, and possibly contingent on a certain number of passengers traveling. Neither aircraft would land at the overlook, but would show you a ton of amazing scenery, in addition to Horseshoe Bend, in the space of just 30 minutes! Horseshoe Bend Air Tours
      As for other activities one can do in Page, AZ, even with the Antelope Canyons closed, there is no shortage of fun to be had!
      – 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 Overlook
      – 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)
      – Jeep Tours
      – eBike Tours
      If you have the time/inclination to venture a short distance over the border of Utah, you might also hit:
      – The Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      – Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  12. Hi, I am planning a surprise 30th anniversary trip to Sedona and sightseeing some of the beautiful surrounding sights. Your input would be greatly appreciated on time allowed, scenic drives, must see, etc!
    We will fly in to Phoenix early on
    Saturday morning and rent a vehicle for the week!. We plan to drive first to the south rim of the Grand Canyon and spend 2 nights at Under Canvas. Do you recommend touring ourselves or getting a guided tour? if so who do you recommend? We would love to experience a sunset at the Grand Canyon! Also, somewhere romantic to have an Anniversary dinner nearby?
    We will then head back to Sedona for the next 3 nights/4 days! I would then like to tour Horseshoe Bend and HOPEFULLY Antelope Canyon!
    Thanks in advance! Andrea

    1. Hi Andrea,
      What a wonderful surprise for your big anniversary! Fortunately, you can manage all of it without taking guided tours, with the exception of the Antelope Canyons. Unfortunately, they are still closed due to COVID-19 and we do not know when/if they will reopen by the time you visit. Should they remain closed in September, there are other slot canyons you can visit on your own in the vicinity of Kanab, UT. More on that in a minute 😉
      One thing I feel the need to point out is that Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon are in a separate area from the Grand Canyon, so hopefully you’ve allotted some time to go to Page, AZ, the nearest gateway community. If you wish to continue the glamping experience, you’ll be glad to know that an Under Canvas Lake Powell property opened up in the nearby town of Big Water, UT, this summer! Page, AZ, is ~a 3-hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim, but don’t be surprised if it takes you a bit longer. It’s a very scenic drive that takes you out the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the Grand Canyon, past half-a-dozen+ named viewpoints, all with different features and varying perspectives on the canyon.
      To visit the view points on the West Rim/Hermit’s Rest Road, use the free shuttle that goes out to these viewpoints every 10 minutes or so. It’s a hop-on/hop-off shuttle, so you can walk between viewpoints as desired, then hop back on the shuttle when you need a breather.
      As for a nice restaurant for dinner, the El Tovar Hotel is definitely the place to be, but don’t expect a Grand Canyon view. Only a few tables in the restaurant face the Grand Canyon, and even so, the hotel is set a ways back from the canyon rim so you might have trees, shrubs, a fence, and/or other obstacles blocking your view. Forward to the :30 mark on this Grand Canyon dining video to see what I mean (the footage is a little dated, but the core principles remain the same). You can always request a table facing the canyon, but they never guarantee them. Reservations are required, which can be made up to 30 days out by calling 928-638-2631 x6432. Should El Tovar be booked up, the Arizona Room, adjacent to the Bright Angel Lodge, is nice as well, and offers more of a steakhouse style menu. Seating there is on a first-come/first-served basis. There again, some tables have a canyon view, most don’t, but you shouldn’t let that be a “deal breaker” by any means!
      As for the best place to see sunset at the Grand Canyon, that’s anywhere on the rim, honestly. Hopi Point, on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive is one of the most popular, as is Yavapai Point, ~1 mile East of Grand Canyon Village. I am personally partial to Grandview Point, which is ~12 miles East of GC Village. Seeing as though it’s a bit “off the beaten path,” it typically sees fewer visitors, and has a great view of the Colorado River. Forward to the 1:08 mark on this Grand Canyon Sunset Tour video for a little sneak preview. Note the video promotes a tour, but you don’t need to take one in this case. Grandview Point is open to private vehicles.
      The trip to/from Under Canvas from Grand Canyon Village will take ~30 minutes each way, so be sure to plan for that, and be very careful driving back after sunset. Normally, that’s something we don’t recommend due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other nocturnal wildlife that like to congregate near the shoulder. Keep a sharp eye out for them at all times.
      Should the Antelope Canyons remain closed in September, a good alternative that’s not too difficult to hike (and also doesn’t require a guided tour) is Wire Pass Canyon. This is located ~1 hour from Page, AZ, and is a beautiful two-part slot canyon that joins with the longer Buckskin Gulch several miles in. While a guided tour is not required to explore Wire Pass Canyon, caution should be exercised since the House Rock Valley Road, the main access road to the trailhead, is unpaved. If weather in the days leading up to your visit has been wet at all, it will turn in to a red clay slip-n-slide where your car will get stuck. That will turn into a very expensive tow bill, and you’ll have a lot of explaining to do with your rental car company since off-road driving is technically prohibited. If you wish, you can visit our companion site http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ and be placed on a priority e-mail list to be notified the minute the Antelope Canyons reopen. When/if that happens, make guided tour reservations right away. People are chomping at the bit to get back into these legendary slot canyons!
      As for Sedona, AZ, you’ll find no shortage of fun things to see and do! Hiking the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon is easy and refreshing since it parallels a river. The Chapel of the Holy Cross and Tlaquepaque are a couple of the area’s more notable man-made features. If you wanted to splurge for something special, a sunrise hot air balloon ride would be unforgettable! Otherwise, there’s hundreds of miles of trails to hike, dozens of art galleries and museums to explore, wine tastings, world-class restaurants, spa services… just to name a few! 100 Things To Do In Sedona
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  13. Hi Alley!

    Thank you so much for all the amazing information! I will be visiting Las Vegas with my mother and my girlfriend May 20-25th, and I thought I could make a 24-29 hour trip to Page, AZ, to enjoy the majestic of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River. I was wondering if you could give me any advice on what places to visit or prioritize: (Full day on May 24th and up until 11am on May 25th). This will be my first time (as well as my mother and my girlfriend) at the Grand Canyon. We will coming from Las Vegas, NV, and have to go back there on May 25th.
    I thought going to the Horseshoe Bend is must, but after that, I am not sure what other place to prioritize considering any park closures or Covid-19 limitations, or even parks along my way there or back. Any ideas? Also do you think wearing shorts during those hikes is wise or if the sun too strong around the end of May already?

    Thank you for your suggestions and kind attention to this message!

    Rodolfo

    1. Hi Rodolfo!
      If 24-29 hours is all you can spare, I’m afraid it won’t be realistic or comfortable to try and squeeze the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend into that time frame. I get the distinct impression you’re not aware of the distances between these two places. Horseshoe Bend is located near the town of Page, AZ, which is ~a 5-hour drive from Las Vegas, and a 3+ hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim. Map Trying to visit both in what little time you have will require a lot of time in the car, and that doesn’t sound like my idea of a vacation.
      If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, I would recommend prioritizing it over everything else. Due to the long distance from Las Vegas to the South Rim, we recommend spending the night at the Grand Canyon, either inside the park, or in the town of Tusayan, AZ, just outside the park. At Grand Canyon Village, the main commerce area of the park, you can then hike the easy, paved Grand Canyon Rim Trail, and if desired, go a short ways into the Inner Canyon on the Bright Angel Trail. For the latter, remember that 1 hour down = 2 hours up. Food and water must be carried if you plan on spending any more than 1 hour’s time, or going further than 1 mile round-trip below the rim. As for what you wear, that’s entirely your call. Many Grand Canyon hikers wear shorts at the time of year you’re visiting, but others prefer to opt for lightweight long trousers for sun protection. Whatever you decide, a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and plenty of sunscreen are the 3 “must-have” items on the trail.
      As for COVID-19 limitations, some services at restaurants have been curtailed or reduced to carry-out only. For this reason, having a small cooler on hand and packing a picnic lunch might come in handy.
      I am sorry to be the bearer of somewhat bad news here, but in our opinion, vacations are for relaxing. We’d rather see people take a “quality over quantity” approach so they can truly enjoy their vacation and not feel like they’re on a race against the clock to get to their next destination.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you so much for your suggestions Alley! No bad news; on the contrary, I appreciate your suggestions and I understand your approach. I honestly mistakenly referred to the Horseshoe Bend as the Grand Canyon, but looking over your comments and seeing everything on the map, I understand the difference with the South Rim and why you certainly recommend prioritizing the latter over anything else. Since I have all day Monday and about 4 hours on Tuesday before heading back to Las Vegas, then that is what I will do.
        Again, thanks a lot for your reply, your kindness in replying, and your suggestions! 🙂

        Best regards,
        Rodolfo

  14. Hi!! I am loving reading all of your advice. You are incredibly helpful! My husband and I have a trip coming up, May 22nd – 29th. We are staying the 22nd-23rd in Scottsdale at a resort, 24th-25th in Sedona, 26th at canvas under the stars on the south rim and then heading to Vegas. I don’t know what all is closed and what obstacles we will have due to Covid. We are wanting to see as many things as possible during that time and possibly detour to Horseshoe bend. Do you have any recommendations for us? Also, any specifics about which places require tours would be super helpful! Or places you recommend that don’t require tours is even better! Thanks!

    1. Hi Amanda,
      First off, Horseshoe Bend is not that practical as a “detour” between point A and point B. It takes ~3 hours to drive from Sedona to Page, AZ (the nearest gateway community to Horseshoe Bend), and about the same to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. These figures are “wheels turning, no stops,” which rarely happens, since most drives in this part of the U.S. are very scenic, and you will be stopping to take photos more than you realize. Plus there’s the inevitable getting stuck behind a slow-moving RV or semi-truck, variable speed limits, etc. Long story short: you should plan for at least 1 overnight in Page, AZ. If you wish to continue with the glamping theme, you’ll be happy to know that an Under Canvas property just opened in the Lake Powell area! Page, AZ, also has a good selection of traditional hotels and motels.
      A guided tour is not required to visit Horseshoe Bend. You can visit at your convenience, anytime between sunrise and sunset. The only attraction where a guided tour is absolutely required are the Antelope Canyons. Unfortunately, these have been closed for over 1 year’s time due to COVID-19. Popular alternatives are kayaking (by rented kayak or guided tour) into Antelope Canyon’s waterside of the canyon on Lake Powell, then hiking into the pre-slot portion of the lower canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal land. This activity is best done in the morning for lack of wind and minimal chop from larger boat traffic, so an overnight in Page, AZ, would definitely come in handy if that interests you!
      If you take us up on this suggestion, the best place to squeeze in a stop in Page, AZ, would be after the South Rim. The drive back to Las Vegas, NV, would then be ~4.5 hours from Page, AZ, roughly the same as it would have been from the Grand Canyon.
      Custom Trip Map
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  15. Just came across this blog and it it amazing! My husband and I will be flying into Phoenix May 21st (Fri) at 9 am and fly out May 25th (Tues) in the AM. We want to see the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Sedona. We have one night booked for stargazing experience in Williams on Sunday. I have also looked into kayaking at Horseshoe Bend, possibly early Sat, if that is highly recommended. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!

    1. Hi Shea!
      Thank you so much for your kind compliments.
      You shouldn’t have a problem ticking off all the items on your “wish list” in the time frame you have, but I have to warn you: one day in Sedona, AZ, will leave you wanting. Most visitors spend 3-4 days minimum in that area for a first-time visit, and even then report feeling as though they’d only “scratched the surface.” Be ready to start planning a future trip the minute you get a look at the spectacular beauty of Sedona.
      You have correctly assumed that kayaking Horseshoe Bend comes highly recommended and is an activity best enjoyed in the morning. Mornings offer cooler temperatures and less wind, among other plusses. If Saturday is the day you wish to do this, then your best bet is to head to Page, AZ, after collecting your rental car in Phoenix on Friday. The drive is ~4.5 hours. After an overnight stay in Page, AZ (and a possible stop at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook on the way into town), then get an early start on the drive to Lees Ferry the next morning (~45 minutes from Page), where you’d then pick up your rental kayak and get backhauled to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam. From there, you’d paddle freely through the 15 mile stretch of Glen Canyon through Horseshoe Bend back to Lees Ferry. There are several companies offering this service, but the one we’re most familiar with is Kayak Horseshoe Bend.
      From Lees Ferry, the trip to Grand Canyon South Rim is ~3 hours, or you could simply return to Page, AZ, for a 2nd night.
      Time your day in Sedona for just before you return to Phoenix, AZ, so you can relax and chill for a bit, then you’ll just have a 2 hour drive back to the airport.
      Custom Trip Map
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  16. Hi there! This website is amazing and your feedback is so helpful!

    I am planning a weekend trip for my mom’s 50th birthday May 14-17. As of now, nothing is booked–but the plan is to fly into Pheonix on Friday night. I definitely want to stop in Sedona–if I have one day for this, what are some must-see sights you would recommend that is doable also for a 50 yo and 58 yo 🙂
    And I am also planning to take my parents to Horseshoe bend which I think would be better off towards the end, since I will be driving north. Can you please recommend the most feasible way to plan this short trip? I really appreciate it!

    1. Hi Huda!
      Congrats on your mom’s big day 🙂
      First off, I think you’ll regret not giving Sedona, AZ, more than one day’s time. That’s a huge and stunning area with lots to see and do. 3-4 days minimum is typically recommended for a first-time visit, and even then, people report feeling as though they’d only scratched the surface of all the area had to offer! If one day is truly all you have, you can still have a good time, and enjoy some easy hikes while there. The West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon is gorgeous, and involves some water crossings, which is very refreshing! The Baldwin Trail and Bell Rock Trails also offer some beautiful scenery in exchange for minimal exertion. Best Easy Hikes in Sedona
      Sedona, AZ, is ~2 hours North of PHX. From Sedona, Horseshoe Bend and Page, AZ, are ~a 3-hour drive.
      One place that is conspicuously absent from your wish list, however, is the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never been, you should prioritize it over everything else! Flying into Phoenix, the South Rim would be the most convenient area to visit. It is ~4.5 hours’ drive from PHX. For optimal comfort and enjoyment, you should plan an overnight stay at GC South Rim, either inside the park, or in Tusayan, AZ, just outside the park.
      Custom Trip Map
      When you indicate you are “driving North from Page, AZ,” does that mean you’re flying out of SLC, or just taking a one-way flight to PHX? That aspect of your trip is rather vague, so if you need to bounce more ideas off me, feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  17. Hi Alley,
    I am planning a surprise 30th anniversary trip for my husband and need suggestions! We will fly into Phoenix in September, rent a vehicle and drive to Under Canvas and spend 2 nights. We plan on touring the South rim, Horseshoe bend, and hopefully Antelope Canyon. How do you recommend touring the Grand Canyon? On our own or paying for Guided tours? Also, recommendations on somewhere nice to eat dinner with a view? I was hoping you can recommend the best area to see the sunset over the Grand canyon?
    We will head back to Sedona and spend the next 3 nights at Sun Cliff. We will be hiking and touring Sedona. Any information, recommendations, suggestions, is greatly appreciated! Then drive back to Phoenix to fly home.Thanks, Ann

    1. Hi Ann,
      I am so sorry for the delay in response to your inquiry, it must have gotten buried, which is one of the few drawbacks to this format.
      What a wonderful surprise for your big anniversary! Fortunately, you can manage all of it without taking guided tours, with the exception of the Antelope Canyons. Unfortunately, they are still closed due to COVID-19 and we do not know when/if they will reopen by the time you visit. Should they remain closed in September, there are other slot canyons you can visit on your own in the vicinity of Kanab, UT. More on that in a minute 😉
      One thing I feel the need to point out is that Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon are in a separate area from the Grand Canyon, so hopefully you’ve allotted some time to go to Page, AZ, the nearest gateway community. If you wish to continue the glamping experience, you’ll be glad to know that an Under Canvas Lake Powell property opened up in the nearby town of Big Water, UT, this summer! Page, AZ, is ~a 3-hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim, but don’t be surprised if it takes you a bit longer. It’s a very scenic drive that takes you out the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the Grand Canyon, past half-a-dozen+ named viewpoints, all with different features and varying perspectives on the canyon.
      To visit the view points on the West Rim/Hermit’s Rest Road, use the free shuttle that goes out to these viewpoints every 10 minutes or so. It’s a hop-on/hop-off shuttle, so you can walk between viewpoints as desired, then hop back on the shuttle when you need a breather.
      As for a nice restaurant for dinner, the El Tovar Hotel is definitely the place to be, but don’t expect a Grand Canyon view. Only a few tables in the restaurant face the Grand Canyon, and even so, the hotel is set a ways back from the canyon rim so you might have trees, shrubs, a fence, and/or other obstacles blocking your view. Forward to the :30 mark on this Grand Canyon dining video to see what I mean (the footage is a little dated, but the core principles remain the same). You can always request a table facing the canyon, but they never guarantee them. Reservations are required, which can be made up to 30 days out by calling 928-638-2631 x6432. Should El Tovar be booked up, the Arizona Room, adjacent to the Bright Angel Lodge, is nice as well, and offers more of a steakhouse style menu. Seating there is on a first-come/first-served basis. There again, some tables have a canyon view, most don’t, but you shouldn’t let that be a “deal breaker” by any means!
      As for the best place to see sunset at the Grand Canyon, that’s anywhere on the rim, honestly. Hopi Point, on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive is one of the most popular, as is Yavapai Point, ~1 mile East of Grand Canyon Village. I am personally partial to Grandview Point, which is ~12 miles East of GC Village. Seeing as though it’s a bit “off the beaten path,” it typically sees fewer visitors, and has a great view of the Colorado River. Forward to the 1:08 mark on this Grand Canyon Sunset Tour video for a little sneak preview. Note the video promotes a tour, but you don’t need to take one in this case. Grandview Point is open to private vehicles.
      The trip to/from Under Canvas from Grand Canyon Village will take ~30 minutes each way, so be sure to plan for that, and be very careful driving back after sunset. Normally, that’s something we don’t recommend due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other nocturnal wildlife that like to congregate near the shoulder. Keep a sharp eye out for them at all times.
      Should the Antelope Canyons remain closed in September, a good alternative that’s not too difficult to hike (and also doesn’t require a guided tour) is Wire Pass Canyon. This is located ~1 hour from Page, AZ, and is a beautiful two-part slot canyon that joins with the longer Buckskin Gulch several miles in. While a guided tour is not required to explore Wire Pass Canyon, caution should be exercised since the House Rock Valley Road, the main access road to the trailhead, is unpaved. If weather in the days leading up to your visit has been wet at all, it will turn in to a red clay slip-n-slide where your car will get stuck. That will turn into a very expensive tow bill, and you’ll have a lot of explaining to do with your rental car company since off-road driving is technically prohibited. If you wish, you can visit our companion site http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ and be placed on a priority e-mail list to be notified the minute the Antelope Canyons reopen. When/if that happens, make guided tour reservations right away. People are chomping at the bit to get back into these legendary slot canyons!
      As for Sedona, AZ, you’ll find no shortage of fun things to see and do! Hiking the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon is easy and refreshing since it parallels a river. The Chapel of the Holy Cross and Tlaquepaque are a couple of the area’s more notable man-made features. If you wanted to splurge for something special, a sunrise hot air balloon ride would be unforgettable! Otherwise, there’s hundreds of miles of trails to hike, dozens of art galleries and museums to explore, wine tastings, world-class restaurants, spa services… just to name a few! 100 Things To Do In Sedona
      Hope that helps. Again, sorry my reply was late in coming, normally, that’s NOT how I roll. Thanks in advance for understanding.
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  18. Hi Alley!

    Thank you so much for all of the great information you provide! My mom and I will be staying in Phoenix at the end of April and I wanted to reach out and ask if you thought a day trip to Kayak Antelope Canyon and to see Horseshoe bend would be doable? If so, would any of the road closures mentioned above affect us?

    Thank you in advance! 🙂

    1. Hey Jaycee,
      I would not recommend attempting to do an Antelope Canyon kayak tour and visit to Horseshoe Bend as a day trip out of Phoenix. It takes ~4-4.5 hours, each way, to drive from PHX to Page, AZ. Antelope Canyon kayak tours take a minimum of 3 hours and are best done first thing in the morning for lack of wind and minimal chop from larger boat traffic since it’s in a wake zone. Visiting Horseshoe Bend takes anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours on average. Then you’d be facing a 5-hour drive back to Phoenix? No thanks. Spending the night in Page, AZ, would make for a much better experience!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    2. Hello…I’m trying to ask a question to Alley but can’t seem to find how to “post” anything. Can you please let me know how you started your question? Thank you! I’m clearly missing something… 🙂

  19. Hi,

    I’m planning a trip for july17-23/24? . I know the weather is hot then but unfortunately with scheduling that’s the only time I can come. We had to reschedule from last year due to covid. Plan is to land in Phoenix. I was wondering if you could provide some things to do in the following places and let me know if this is even do-able! Your help is greatly appreciated.
    1. Sedona – recommended activities / hotels and duration ? One thing I would to do is the nighttime tour
    2. Day trip to Grand Canyon
    3. Would like to work in a day trip to horsebend. I know antelope canyon is closed as of now ( minus the water access) but that’s not something do-able for my crew. Hotel recommendations
    4. Old Scottsdale- was planning on spending 2 nights staying at the W hotel ( hopefully). Any suggestions for activities?
    5. Go home out if Phoenix
    One thing I would like to surprise someone in my group with is horseback riding ? We are not experienced but definitely something they would love to do.

    1. Hey Jen,
      So sorry that your prior trip plans were derailed due to COVID-19 but glad you were able to reschedule!
      Let’s get to your questions:
      1. Sedona: 3-4 days minimum are recommended to fully enjoy and explore that area, but even if you can manage that, don’t be surprised if you feel like you barely scratched the surface of it! Must-do activities are generally regarded as: Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, Slide Rock State Park, sunrise hot air balloon rides, lots of opportunities for hiking in various degrees of difficulty, such as the Bell Rock Trail, Fay Canyon, West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon. Other highly recommended sites are the Chapel of the Holy Cross and Tlaquepaque. This would probably be a good place to get some horseback riding in, too. As for hotels, you can take your pick from basic motels to over-the-top spa resorts and everything in between. Find a place that looks good to you and book it ASAP!
      2. Day trip to the Grand Canyon: be prepared for the drive to take ~2.5 hours each way if you come and go through the South Entrance. Another option, contingent on AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, is to make a “loop” out of it by entering the park through the East Entrance, stopping at the viewpoints on the Desert View/East Rim Drive, exploring the Grand Canyon Village Historic District, then exiting the park out the Southern gate. Entering through the East gate would add another 60-90 minutes to your drive, but you would avoid potentially long waits at the South entrance. Whatever you decide, be sure to time your return drive to Sedona so that you arrive before nightfall. Nighttime driving should be avoided 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. 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.
      3. A day trip to Page, AZ, would entail a 3-hour drive, each way. Even if you don’t tour the Antelope Canyons, you should still plan on spending the night in Page, AZ, for a more comfortable experience. Hotel-wise, you have everything from Motel 6 to Marriott and everything in between in terms of price points and amenity classes. Other activities you may enjoy while there include, but aren’t 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 Indoor Shooting Range
      – Wahweap Overlook
      – 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)
      4. I am not all that familiar with Old Scottsdale, so can’t suggest activities based on first-hand experience. For recommendations, visit http://www.ExperienceScottsdale.com/Old-Town
      5. Go home out of Phoenix — if that’s your plan, you might want to save Sedona for the last stop on your tour. Having 3 days to wind down and chill is always nice at the end of a vacation! The drive to PHX would then only be ~2 hours.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi, Alley! (Not sure how to message you directly, so I had to “reply” to one of your posts…hope that’s ok…)
        I’m so glad I stumbled upon your blog, and learned of the road closures. I will be traveling with my son from May 12th-20th.
        Itinerary is:
        Fly into Las Vegas, drive directly to Zion. Two nights in Zion
        Drive to Bryce – one night in Bryce
        Drive to Page – one night in Page.
        Drive to Grand Canyon – South Rim – two nights
        Drive to Phoenix , with stop for lunch/hike in Sedona – two nights in Scottsdale

        My main question is: we did not plan on this detour to Flagstaff resulting in a 5 hour trip to the South Rim, from Page. What’s the best way to alter the trip? Skip Page and drive directly to the Grand Canyon from Bryce? Skip Bryce and head to Grand Canyon from Zion? (not sure that does anything). Or, is there any other route from Page to South Rim that would not take 5 hours? (I’m assuming not, but figured I’d ask!)

        Thanks so much…..we have so much driving involved with the trip that I really didn’t want to have a 5-hour trip in one day, if possible.
        Alison

        1. Hey Alison,
          Apologies for the delay in response to your itinerary — I was on an out-of-town work assignment over the weekend!
          I have good news for you: the road closure that resulted in people having to drive down to Flagstaff, AZ, to get from Page to the South Rim has been lifted! For now anyway… the Navajo Tribe, on whose land this stretch of road sits, is pushing for the closure to be reinstated due to COVID-19 variants making their way to the US. They understandably wish to err on the side of caution for the sake of protecting their most valuable and vulnerable citizens: their elders.
          In the event the closure gets reinstated (and we are praying it doesn’t!), there’s really no single best way to tweak your itinerary so that you’re not driving for 5 hours at some point.
          One flaw in your itinerary that jumps out at me, however, is that you don’t have enough time planned for Sedona. It’s a large and stunning area that really warrants more than just a “stop for lunch and a hike” between Grand Canyon South Rim and Scottsdale. If you were to modify your trip plan so that you hit Sedona for at least one night after leaving Page, AZ, the drive would be ~3 hours. Then you could go to Grand Canyon South Rim from there, which would be ~a 2.5 hour drive from Sedona. Unfortunately, that would leave you having to face a 4-5 hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Scottsdale, AZ.
          Another option should that road closure go back into effect is to drive from Page, AZ, down to Flagstaff, AZ (~2.5 hours) and visit Grand Canyon South Rim as a day trip. The drive would be ~90 minutes each way, and you’d want to get an early start on the day to avoid super-long lines at the South entrance. You would also need to time your return trip to Flagstaff, AZ, so that you arrive back to Flag (that’s what we call it around here) before dark. Driving after sunset is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and populated by deer, elk, and other wildlife that can ratchet up your risk of an auto 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.
          Another option? Skip driving to the Grand Canyon altogether and fly over it out of Page, AZ. Fixed-wing airplanes depart daily out of the Page Municipal Airport, weather permitting and possibly contingent on a certain number of passengers traveling. While Page-Grand Canyon Air Tours do not land at the South or North Rim, they still show you a ton of amazing scenery in addition to the Grand Canyon in the course of 90 minutes’ airtime!
          Again, hopefully AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point will remain open in time for your visit, and you won’t need to actually use this information, but keep it in the back of your mind for your convenience.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

          1. Thanks so much for this detailed reply! (And thanks for your email 🙂 )
            I was in Sedona 2 years ago for 3 days and absolutely fell in love with it. I would spend 1/2 my trip there, but my 23 year old son isn’t interested in staying overnight there. But I hear you! If the road closes again, then I will re-evaluate and push skipping the Grand Canyon and doing Sedona for a night or two instead.
            Thanks again!

  20. Alley,
    So glad to stumble across your blog! Such great info. I literally just booked a flight before stumbling onto your blog. What we know is this:

    – Family of 4, two teenage boys 18 & 15
    – Flying into Phoenix from Charlotte, NC – Sunday, July 4, 2021 and departing Monday, July 12, 2021
    – Renting a car from airport for the week
    – Booked a small house in Cornville, AZ so my crew can spread out and use as home base. ( my son has food allergies, so this makes bopping around every day extra hard in a place we aren’t familiar with)

    Wants on our list, using Cornville as base:
    -Day trip to Grand Canyon w/ stops along the way, or on the way back to home base.
    -Maybe Shoshone point access south rim, less crowded, nice access?
    ideas on pit stops?

    Day trip to Horseshoe Bend
    -hate the Antelope Canyons are closed but hopeful they might reopen by July
    – pit stops to and fro HS to home base ideas?

    – Day trip to Flagstaff
    Points of interest:
    -Walnut Canyon
    -Sunset Crater
    -What else?

    Day Trip(s) to Sedona:
    – Since this is close, maybe a guided tour of the ruins
    – Shopping, eating one day
    – Rest days in between to hang at pool

    I’ll be the first to say, I have no idea if this is doable. Definitely not trying to “do it all”, so we can cut something out. And we do want to relax as well, so I would rather go with the “pick and choose” smart route.

    Unsure if any of the road closures you mentioned might effect this plan. Would love your input. Feel free to be the “bearer of bad news” on anything else — I would rather know now.
    Thank you!

    1. Hey Caroline,
      Well for a change, I get to be the bearer of some good news: the East Entrance of the Grand Canyon is open now! But, the Antelope Canyons remain closed 🙁 As to whether they’ll reopen by the time you visit, we’re crossing fingers and toes. If you want to be notified the minute when/if that decision comes down hop over to our companion site, http://www.AntelopeCanyon.AZ, and ask to be placed our priority e-mail list.
      Cornville, AZ, is going to be a 3+ hour drive, one way, from pretty much everywhere you want to go, so be prepared to get an early start on your days. In July, sunrise occurs at approximately 5:15 AM and sunset takes place at around 7:45 PM. You want to be especially aware of when sunset occurs so you can time your return drive in order to ensure that you’re back to base by nightfall. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possibility of deer, elk, and other wildlife being around. You don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal 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. One advantage to staying in Cornville, however, is that it would be more practical for you to access it from the turn-off on I-17, which is more brightly illuminated than US89A through Oak Creek Canyon through Sedona.
      On your day that you’ve allotted to Flagstaff, AZ, plan on stopping by Wupatki National Monument as well as Sunset Crater. The two are very close together and connected via a nice little loop drive. If your boys are into ziplining, there’s a good one in Flagstaff you might check out, or ride the chairlift at the Snow Bowl.
      At the Grand Canyon, Shoshone Point is really nice, but it’s also a Special Use Permit Area, meaning that it’s popular for wedding parties, family reunions, corporate events, etc. If it is in use at the time of your visit, the party holding the permit has the right to ask you to leave. If that’s the case, don’t sweat it, there are plenty of other good viewpoints on the East Rim Drive of the Grand Canyon. I’m partial to Grandview Point as it has a nice view of the Colorado River. Forward to the 1:09 mark on this video to see what that looks like. Note that the video promotes a jeep tour, which you don’t have to take as this viewpoint is open to private vehicles.
      As to “pit stops” you might make en route to Horseshoe Bend, that pretty much depends on the status of the Navajo Reservation. At the present time, they are discouraging contact between outsiders and tribe members, meaning you should be prepared to drive straight through to Page, AZ. Be sure your vehicle is fully fueled and that you have adequate water and snacks to tide you over until you arrive in Page, AZ. Should the closure be lifted, you should plan on stopping at the Cameron Trading Post for a leg stretch and bathroom break at least. Time/inclination permitting, you might do a little souvenir shopping. There are also trading posts at The Gap and Bitter Springs. Upon turning off the highway at Bitter Springs and heading up “The Cut,” there’s a cool viewpoint you can stop at that overlooks the Colorado Plateau. Horseshoe Bend is just South of Page, AZ. Other sites you might visit while in town are:
      – 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 Overlook
      – 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)
      RE: your son’s dietary requirements, I’d recommend picking up an inexpensive cooler to bring along with you on your various day trips. Flagstaff, AZ, will have the best choices of grocery stores. They have a Wal-Mart and a Whole Foods. Page, AZ, also has a Wal-Mart. Grand Canyon Village has a pretty good-sized grocery store, but you will pay “park prices” there.
      Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process! If you need further guidance, please contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  21. Hello kind souls!
    We are visiting Page from April 20th to 21st (staying for one night)
    FWIW, we are coming in from South Rim and then heading towards Monument valley (I know it’s closed)

    We wanted to visit Antelope Canyon, but sadly that’s out of reach.

    I was dabbling with the idea of a boat charter for at lake Labrynith \ Navajo Canyon. But I am unsure if I want to tie myself to a tour. and i really want to at least see the Horsehoe bend… Is that an easy hike?

    Thoughts?

    1. Hi Rajiv,
      You are partially correct that the Antelope Canyons remain out of reach, but that’s only the land-side, which is on Navajo Tribal Land. It is possible to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon where it joins with Lake Powell, then hike into the pre-slot portion of the Lower canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal Land. That activity is best done in the earlier morning hours for lack of wind and minimal chop from larger boat traffic. You can either rent a kayak and do a self-guide, or take a guided tour for optimal safety and comfort. There are several companies offering these services, but the one we’re most familiar with is Lake Powell Hidden Canyon Kayak.
      Horseshoe Bend is open (it’s one of a few attractions that never closed through the pandemic) and can be visited anytime during normal operating hours of the parking lot, which are sunrise to sunset. The hike is 1.5 miles round-trip and is relatively flat. Still, since you’re in a desert environment, we advise that you bring plenty of water for yourself and all members of your traveling party.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  22. Hi Alley
    I see all the awesome feed back you are giving and I was hoping you could help me with planning our trip itinerary. Never done an itinerary for myself before or taking a lil road trip like this before and being that this will be our honeymoon I want it to be planned or somewhat organized. 🙂

    We will be flying to Vegas October 10th, 2021. We are thinking about possibly renting a RV through RV share but haven’t decided yet. May just rent a car. We want to stay there that night, catch a show then head out the next morning on the 11th. We currently have off through the 17th but we both can take some more time if needed. My thoughts were head to the Grand Canyon Skywalk, Grand Canyon National Park, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion Nation Park, and then Bryce Canyon. Then make our way back to Vegas.

    I have a lot written down to do for the Grand Canyon and Zion, so I know those two we’ll spend some time there.
    It’s just hard for me to see how much time is needed at these places or if this is even doable.

    Thanks ahead of time, Emily!

    1. Hey Emily,
      Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials! October is a great time to be here, and the timing of your visit means you can catch Grand Canyon North Rim before it closes for the season (October 15th).
      If you wanted to rent an RV, that’s cool, but be sure that you’re considering it for the right reasons: many commit to an RV rental thinking it will save them a lot of money on hotels, but in reality, any savings on hotels will be made up for in extra gas, plus, if you want to stay in developed RV parks, they can often be comparable cost-wise to hotels. I would advise staying at developed RV parks if you go that route because in some areas, particularly Grand Canyon and Bryce, nights are starting to get cold. You’ll want to have access to reliable heat for optimal comfort while sleeping.
      RE: the Grand Canyon Skywalk, you might want to cross it off the list. If you go to Grand Canyon National Park, it will be something of a let-down. In case you weren’t aware, the Grand Canyon Skywalk is not located anywhere near Grand Canyon National Park, it’s located at Grand Canyon West, which is a Native American Tribal Park about a 2.5 hour drive SouthEast of Las Vegas, NV. It costs quite a bit to get into the park, then you pay for a pretty pricey ticket to go on the Skywalk, where you aren’t allowed to carry your own camera, you have to buy a souvenir photo (another $$$ outlay). For more information on Grand Canyon West, visit http://www.GrandCanyonWest.com or http://www.CanyonSkywalk.com
      RE: Grand Canyon North Rim, I should tell you that lodging is very hard to come by there, so you’ll probably have to visit as a day trip from either Kanab, UT, or Page, AZ, but it is so much prettier than the South Rim. It takes ~90 minutes, each way, to drive to the North Rim from Kanab, UT. Be sure to stop at the Jacob Lake Inn to get a box of their world-famous home-made cookies! The key is to keep an eye on the time and be sure you leave the North Rim so that you’re assured of getting back to Kanab, UT, 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 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, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. At the time of year you’re visiting, sunrise occurs at ~6:30 AM, and sunset takes place just before 6:00PM, Arizona Time. Utah will be one hour ahead.
      In light of all that, here’s what I’d recommend:
      October 10th: fly to Las Vegas, overnight in Las Vegas
      October 11th: drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours), optional detour through stunning Valley of Fire State Park, overnight in Page, AZ
      October 12th: tour Antelope Canyon (hopefully will be open by then!), visit Horseshoe Bend, 2nd night in Page, AZ
      October 13th: drive to Bryce Canyon (~3 hours), optional stop to hike Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos, overnight in Bryce Canyon area or Kanab, UT
      October 14th: Day trip to Grand Canyon North Rim, overnight in Kanab, UT
      October 15th: Sightseeing in Zion Canyon on Zion Canyon Shuttle (advance ticket purchase required), stay in Kanab, UT, or Springdale, UT
      October 16th: More sightseeing in Zion, overnight in Kanab, UT, or Springdale, UT
      October 17th: Drive back to Las Vegas (3-4 hours, depending on where you stay the night before)
      If the prospect of going to the North Rim doesn’t appeal, then you could reorder the itinerary as follows:
      Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours from Las Vegas)
      Page, AZ (~3 hours from GC South Rim)
      Bryce (~3 hours from Page)
      Zion (~2 hours from Bryce)
      Las Vegas (3 hours from Springdale, 4 from Kanab)
      Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process. If you need to bounce more ideas off us, feel free to contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  23. Hello! My boyfriend and I are taking a trip Arizona from May 11-18th. We are staying in Las Vegas from May 11th-12th and again on May 17th-18th for airport purposes. We are thinking about doing day trips to Zion National Park, Page (Horsebend & the Wave), Grand Canyon, and Sedona (Angel’s Landing & maybe 1 other hike). We are wanting to stay close by to each of these parks from the evening of May 12th to the afternoon of May 17th. What are your suggestions & is this doable? Thanks!

    1. Hey Shelby!
      Well, first piece of bad news out of the way first: The Wave probably isn’t going to happen. That area is closely managed by the Bureau of Land Management, which only allows a certain number of hikers to enter on a daily basis via a highly competitive online permit lottery. A walk-in lottery is also held on a daily basis (the day prior to when you wish to hike) at the Kanab Center Gymnasium, but there again, you’ve got lots of people competing for just a handful of permits. Maybe try and apply for the Wave lottery in the future, in the meantime, think about alternative areas that are just as beautiful, but not as limited in access, such as White Pocket. For White Pocket, a permit is not required, but we strongly recommend taking a guided tour since the access road to this area is very tricky to navigate for those who are not highly experienced at 4WD terrain. There are several companies offering these, but the ones we are most familiar with are Paria Outpost & Outfitters and Dreamland Safari Tours.
      Also need to point out that Angel’s Landing is not in Sedona, AZ, but Zion. To access that trail, you’ll need to use the Zion Canyon Shuttle, which requires advance ticket purchase.
      So here’s what I’d recommend:
      May 12th: drive from Las Vegas to Zion, overnight in Springdale, UT or Hurricane, UT
      May 13th: hike Angel’s Landing and other trails as time permits
      May 14th: drive from Zion to Page, AZ (~2 hours), optional stop to hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos , overnight in Page
      May 15th: visit Horseshoe Bend first thing in AM, drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3-4 hours, depending on stops made), overnight at Grand Canyon
      May 16th: drive from GC South Rim to Sedona, AZ (~2.5 hours), overnight in Sedona
      May 17th: sightseeing in Sedona, AZ, until departure for Las Vegas that afternoon (~4.5 hour drive)
      Custom trip map (note this map reflects a closure between Page and GC that necessitates a detour through Flagstaff; this closure has since been lifted, but Google maps doesn’t reflect it yet — the shortest drive actually goes through Cameron, AZ)
      If you are able to free up another day for travel, give that to Sedona. That’s a huge area with lots to see and do, so an extra day would allow you to enjoy more of it!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  24. Hi Alley,

    My husband and Flying in and out of Las Vegas on June 12-17. The first night we are staying in Vegas, the rest of the night glamping near Fredonia, AZ. We would love to see the Horseshoe Bend, north rim of Grand Canyon, maybe try kayaking the Antelope canyon. Do you have any recommendations on how we should plan our trip and other things to see? Thank you!

    1. Hi Lyuba,
      To visit Horseshoe Bend and kayaking Antelope Canyon, you need to plan one day to visit Page, AZ. The drive from Fredonia, AZ, takes approximately 90 minutes, one way. Kayaking in Antelope Canyon is best done in the earlier morning hours for lack of wind and smoother water. Horseshoe Bend can be visited at your leisure anytime between sunrise and sunset. Time/inclination permitting, you might also stop to hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail; the trailhead is at mile marker 19 between Kanab, UT, and Page, AZ. Another option would be to make it a “loop” drive by returning to Fredonia, AZ, via Lees Ferry and Marble Canyon. There, you can explore the Lonely Dell Ranch Historic District and walk across Navajo Bridge. Cliff Dweller’s Restaurant would make a great stop for dinner, their food is amazing, so is the view.
      You’ll then need to plan a separate day to visit Grand Canyon North Rim. That will also be ~a 90-minute drive from Fredonia, AZ. If desired, you could make a short detour to see Pipe Springs National Monument. Like Lees Ferry, this is a very illuminating glimpse of early pioneer life on the Kaibab Plateau. Be sure to stop at the Jacob Lake Inn to pick up a bag of their delish home-made cookies from their bakery!
      However you decide to do it, be sure that you time your return trip to Fredonia so that you’re “back to base” by sundown. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in the more rural areas of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah due to local roads being very dimly lit, and situated in areas populated by deer, elk, and other wildlife that could elevate your risk of an auto accident. A collision with a large animal is not something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, where nights are still cold, 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-June, sunrise occurs at 5:05 am and sunset takes place around 7:46 pm, Arizona time. Utah is one hour ahead of AZ.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  25. Hi Alley,
    We are vacationing in AZ from April 27-May 4. We are flying into Phoenix and I was planning to stay in Sedona the whole week and drive to our destinations but am starting to think we should stay a few different places to minimize drive time. Can you give advice on the best way to enjoy the areas we want to see, which are Sedona, the Grand Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon? Our flight gets in at 8am, so I thought maybe we should go right to Lake Powell that first day and then spend a couple nights there, then go to Sedona, but maybe we should stay a night by the Grand Canyon as well, versus driving there from Sedona? Any advice you have would be great. Thanks!!

    1. Hi Kristal,
      If you’re not locked into those hotel reservations in Sedona, AZ, then you definitely should rethink your approach! One thing that might complicate matters, however, is the closure of a critical component of the shortest travel route from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim (AZ64 East from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point) due to COVID-19: this necessitates a rather long detour through Flagstaff, AZ, to get from one place to the other, turning what used to be about a 3-hour drive into more along the lines of 5 hours. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on that front, but I’d hate for you to be unpleasantly surprised by that.
      Another piece of bad news: walking tours of the Antelope Canyons have yet to be reopened by the Navajo Tribe, and it’s not looking good for them to do so by the time you arrive. This means that the only way you’re likely to see Antelope Canyon is by kayaking into the waterside of it from Antelope Point Marina, which includes some hiking into the area where the lower slot meets the shoreline on Federal and not Tribal land. Kayak tours are best done during the earlier morning hours for lack of wind and chop from larger boat traffic.
      In light of those concerns, here’s what I would suggest:
      April 27: Arrive in Phoenix, drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours), hit Horseshoe Bend on way into town, overnight in Page
      April 28: Antelope Canyon Kayak tour, other hiking and sightseeing in the area, 2nd night in Page, AZ
      April 29: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon
      April 30: 2nd day/night at Grand Canyon
      May 1: Drive to Sedona, AZ (~3 hours), overnight in Sedona
      May 2-4: Sedona
      If you have trouble finding accommodations at the South Rim, you might simply drive down to Sedona, AZ, and make a day trip from there. The drive would be ~2.5 hours each way, so, less than ideal, but doable if you keep an eye on the time and make sure you start the drive back so that you arrive in Sedona, AZ, by nightfall, which occurs at around 7:15 PM at the time of year you’re visiting.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hello Alley,

        First of all, thank you for the wonderful information you share here! I appreciate you reading my email. I have been reading and checking out the suggestions. I see a lot of people are planning trips this Spring, but not many in the summer. My family of 4 was supposed to visit AZ in March of 2020; Covid cancelled it though. We are now planning on visiting July 30-Aug 7; With 16 & 19 year old daughters this is the only time that both can go due to school, activities and work, so we are going to try and make the best of it (we know it will probably be sooo hot!). We are arriving in PHX around 8:30 am on Friday, July 30 and leave from PHX at 10:30 on Sat, Aug 7. I am trying to figure out how to make the best use of our time. We are wanting to go to Sedona and the Grand Canyon and probably have some pool time at a nice resort before we leave. How many days should we plan each place?

        Would you suggest trying to go to Horse Shoe bend also or Antelope Canyon (if open then)?
        How many days in Sedona?
        Should we plan any time in Scottsdale?
        What are the must do things in these areas?

        Thank you so much!

        1. Hey Kimberly,
          So sorry you had to cancel your trip to the Southwest U.S. last spring. You were by no means alone in that predicament, ditto for being limited to a summer trip because of kids, work, etc. IMO, you’re seeing more springtime travel planning what with all these lockdowns getting on peoples’ nerves, those who are able to travel in spring are taking advantage of the opportunity to do so, and believe me, they’re chomping at the bit big-time.
          IMO Scottsdale, AZ, is just another big city, so I wouldn’t spend a whole lot of time there. If pool time at a nice resort is what you’re craving toward the end of your trip, the place to get that would be Sedona!
          As for Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, you would need to build 1-2 nights in Page, AZ, for that. While the walking tours of Antelope Canyon are currently on suspension, it is possible to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon from Antelope Point Marina and hike into the pre-slot portion of the canyon on the shoreline of Lake Powell, which is on Federal and not Tribal Land. Kayaking is best done first thing in the morning to take advantage of conditions with less wind and less chop from large boat traffic. Whether the land-side of the canyons will reopen by the time you visit, no one knows. But judging by the number of sold out days for the kayak tours, people enjoyed them thoroughly.
          In light of these issues, here’s what I’d recommend:
          July 30th: arrive in Phoenix, get rental car, overnight in Scottsdale
          July 31st: drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours), overnight in Page
          August 1st: first thing AM, kayak tour of Antelope Canyon, visit Horseshoe Bend, 2nd night at Page, AZ
          August 2nd: drive to Grand Canyon South Rim via Desert View/East Rim Drive of park (~3-4 hours depending on how many stops made), overnight at Grand Canyon
          August 3rd: 2nd day/night at Grand Canyon, more sightseeing on Hermit’s Rest/West Rim drive, possibly hike on Rim View Trail or short distance below the rim on the Bright Angel Trail
          August 4th: drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Sedona, AZ (~2.5 hours), overnight in Sedona
          August 5th: 2nd day/night in Sedona, possible activities Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, hike Cathedral, Bell Rock, of West Fork of Oak Creek Trail, swimming at Slide Rock State Park, art galleries, museums, Tlaquepaque 100 Things To Do In Sedona, AZ
          August 6th: 3rd day/night in Sedona – chill time
          August 7th: return to Phoenix (~2 hours), fly home
          Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  26. Hi Alley,

    I was wondering if you had any advice on a 2 day trip from Las Vegas with an overnight stay in Page, AZ?

    I was thinking we could hit the South Rim on the way to Page, and if we had time, do the Horseshoe Bend (is it worth it to see this close to the evening?). The next day I was thinking of either heading straight to Angel’s Landing in Zion very early, OR, kayaking in Antelope Canyon, skipping Zion, but seeing a few hikes on the way back to Vegas.

    What do you recommend if we only have 2 days? Does this seem doable?

    Thanks,
    Patrick

    1. Hey Patrick,
      Sorry, man, this won’t work. You just don’t have enough time, plus there’s a COVID-19 road closure that has thrown a major wrench into the works for folks wanting to travel from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. AZ64 East, a critical component of the shortest travel route from GC South Rim to Page, AZ, is closed to all through traffic at the present time by order of the Navajo Indian Tribe, on whose land it sits. This means that to get from GC South Rim to Page, AZ, you must drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North on US89 to Page. This has turned what used to be a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. This on top of the already 5-hour drive from Las Vegas, NV? Even under normal circumstances, it’s too long a drive for one day. No thanks.
      You don’t have enough time to do Zion justice either. That’s a huge park, and a beautiful one, that really warrants 4-5 days to fully enjoy and explore. Push comes to shove, you could drive through it on the way from Page, AZ, back to Las Vegas, NV. That will add another couple of hours onto an already long drive, as well.
      Long story short: if you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, prioritize it over everything else. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site that deserves a place on everyone’s bucket list! If possible, stay overnight at the Grand Canyon, or the community of Tusayan, AZ, just outside the park. Grand Canyon hotels
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  27. Hi Alley,

    My family and I are planning a visit to Page the end of June. We are planning on staying 2 nights. We were thinking of renting jet-skis on Lake powell 1 day. With Antelope Canyon being closed, what else should we plan to do or see while there? I am actualy from Arizona, but no longer live there. We have been to Sedona and the Grand Canyon, but all the years I lived in Arizona I have never been to Lake Powell or Antelope Canyon. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

    1. Hi Kim,
      If the Antelope Canyons remain closed by the time your visit rolls around, you can still see it, just from another angle: on the water! Right now, it is still possible to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell, then hike into the “pre-slot” portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal land. You can rent a kayak and take the DIY approach, or take a guided tour for a more educational experience. There are several companies offering both services, but the one we’re most familiar with is Hidden Canyon Kayak Tours.
      As for other sites you can hit in Page, AZ, even with the Antelope Canyons closed, there’s still no shortage of fun to be had! Areas that remain open include:
      – 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
      Gunfighter Canyon Indoor Shooting Range
      Wahweap Overlook
      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)
      If you have the time and/or inclination to venture a short ways into Utah, you might also visit:
      Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  28. Hi Alley!

    My sister and I are planning a road trip from Texas at the end of May. We currently have our nights in Zion and Bryce booked, but are wondering if you might help us navigate the bookends of our trip? We will be driving in from Santa Fe on the way there, and are going towards Colorado on our way out. We were thinking of exploring Page, AZ along the way and going into Moab and then to Colorado afterwards. I am concerned that with the Navajo Nation closures, we may be unable to get from Santa Fe into Page. Do you know how the roads are looking at the moment? Additionally, how would suggest navigating all of the sights to see in Arizona along the way? We are wanting to take a few days to drive up, but don’t want to start our camping trip exhausted from the way there. Any and all advice would be so much appreciated!

    1. Hey Julia,
      Your trip sounds pretty fun! Not sure how long you’ve got for it, but hope you have at least 2 weeks, preferably more, to make it all happen.
      The area where you’re most likely to be affected by a road and/or park closures is between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ, and I don’t see Grand Canyon South Rim at all on your itinerary. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, you should definitely set aside time to see it, but since you’re traveling at the end of May, you can visit the prettier and quieter North Rim instead of the hot, crowded South Rim. More on that in a minute 😉
      The drive from TX (assuming DFW as your starting point) to Santa Fe, NM, will take ~10 hours, so you might want to break up the drive in Amarillo, TX. The drive from Santa Fe, NM, to Page, AZ, is also a bit on the long side, ~8-9 hours. Now, be aware that Google maps would automatically route you through Navajo Indian Land, which Tribal leadership wants outsiders to avoid, so go through Flagstaff, AZ, on I-40, just to be on the safe side. If you’re inclined to break up that leg of the drive, stop by Petrified Forest National Park, and overnight in Winslow, AZ. That way you can claim your bragging rights to taking a selfie whilst “Standin’ On A Corner in Winslow, Arizona.” Maybe grab breakfast at the historic La Posada Hotel before taking off, maybe stopping at Meteor Crater, then hitting Horseshoe Bend on the way into Page, AZ.
      Since the land-side tours of Antelope Canyon are closed until further notice, the best way to see Antelope Canyon at the present time is to kayak into the waterside from Antelope Point Marina, then hike into the pre-slot portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal Land. While the scenery isn’t the “picture postcard” slot canyon scenery folks are expecting to see, it’s still beautiful, and judging by the number of sold out dates for that tour last year, people weren’t complaining. The Antelope Canyon kayak tours take ~4 hours and should be done first thing in the morning for lack of wind and chop from large tour boats.
      Remember where I talked about visiting Grand Canyon North Rim instead of the South Rim? Here is where that would come in: you could visit as a day trip from Kanab, UT, which is ~a 90-minute drive each way, or Page, AZ, which is ~2.5 hours each way. The reason I’m suggesting it as a day trip is because it’s darn near impossible to find lodging at the North Rim just because there’s not much to work with in the first place. The key is to keep an eye on the time and be sure that you’re heading back to your lodging location well before sunset. You don’t want to drive after dark around here as a general rule because roads are very dimly lit, and deer, elk, and other wildlife could be hanging around that love to jump out in front of cars. 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. In late May, sunrise occurs just after 5:00 AM, and sunset takes place at around 7:30 PM; that’s ARIZONA time, Utah will be 1 hour ahead.
      If you’re not keen on all that driving and calculations, another option would be to fly over the Grand Canyon. Fixed wing airplanes depart daily out of the Page Municipal Airport, weather permitting, and possibly contingent on a certain number of passengers flying. While airplane tours do not land at the Grand Canyon, they make for an excellent way to see the Grand Canyon, and a ton of other beautiful scenery.
      The trip from Page, AZ, to Zion takes ~2 hours, and here is where you might make a fun little stop to hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail. FYI, you’ll have to use the Zion Canyon Shuttle to access the most popular viewpoints if you’re not staying inside the park. Advance ticket purchase is required as well, which can be a pain. If you’d rather not deal with that, there are plenty of trails you can access via the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (UT9).
      The drive from Zion to Bryce is also ~2 hours, then the drive from Bryce to Moab, UT, is ~6 hours. Be sure you make the first half of the drive from Bryce to Torrey, UT, on Scenic Byway 12, that’s a stunning drive that you’ll love! If possible, set aside an extra night to stay in the Capitol Reef National Park area, or at least visit as a “pop-by” between Bryce and Moab. In Moab, UT, hope you have at least 3 days to fully explore and enjoy that area!
      If the back half of your trip is taking you through Colorado, try to hit Mesa Verde National Park. You definitely wouldn’t regret it! The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Trip is fun, too. Sure you can’t spend a month out here? LOL
      Custom trip map
      Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to digest! If you need to bounce more ideas off us, please contact us directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  29. Hi Alley,

    My family and I are planning a visit to Page the end of June. We are planning on staying 2 nights. We were thinking of renting jet-skis on Lake powell 1 day. With Antelope Canyon being closed, what else should we plan to do or see while there?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Kim,
      If the Antelope Canyons remain closed by the time your visit rolls around, you can still see it, just from another angle: on the water! Right now, it is still possible to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell, then hike into the “pre-slot” portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal land. You can rent a kayak and take the DIY approach, or take a guided tour for a more educational experience. There are several companies offering both services, but the one we’re most familiar with is Hidden Canyon Kayak Tours.
      As for other sites you can hit in Page, AZ, even with the Antelope Canyons closed, there’s still no shortage of fun to be had! Areas that remain open include:
      – 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
      – Gunfighter Canyon Indoor Shooting Range
      – Wahweap Overlook
      – 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)
      If you have the time and/or inclination to venture a short ways into Utah, you might also visit:
      – Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      – Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  30. Hi Alley,

    We are going on a mini trip from Las Vegas to Salt Lake City from May 12 to May 14; I would appreciate your recommendations and comments:

    Day 1 Arrive at LV stay at hotel
    Day 2 Drive to Hoover dam, skywalk, south rim spend the night there
    Day 3 Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Zion national park spend the night there
    Day 4 Zion national park, drive to SLC

    I know it is tight, let me know what you think

    1. Hi Hussam,
      Sorry, but I cannot endorse this trip plan. It’s too tight, as you seem to already be aware, and I don’t think you fully realize how much driving this is going to entail.
      For one, the trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon Skywalk takes ~2.5 hours. The drive from the Grand Canyon Skywalk to Grand Canyon South Rim will then take ~4 hours. The Grand Canyon Skywalk is not located at Grand Canyon National Park, but at Grand Canyon West, a totally separate area.
      The trip from Grand Canyon South Rim to Horseshoe Bend normally takes ~3 hours, then the drive to Zion takes ~2 hours, but these are not normal circumstances. Due to COVID-19 a critical component of the shortest travel route from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, is closed, necessitating a rather long detour through Flagstaff, AZ, which is ~90 minutes from Grand Canyon South Rim. Page, AZ, and Horseshoe Bend would then be a further 2.5-3 hours from Flagstaff. This means that a 3-hour drive has turned into more along the lines of a 4.5-5 hour drive, then you propose to drive another 2 hours to Zion? Not my idea of a vacation.
      Another piece of bad news: the Antelope Canyons are closed, also due to COVID-19. But it is possible to kayak to the waterside of Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell, then hike as far as the pre-slot portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal land. That activity is best done first thing in the morning for lack of wind and minimal “chop” from large tour boat traffic.
      The drive from Page, AZ, to Zion, again, is ~2 hours, then the drive from Zion to SLC Airport is another 5-hour haul. So unless you want to spend this whole trip driving, you’ll need to leave something out, and IMO it makes the most sense to nix Grand Canyon Skywalk and the South Rim. I know that sounds crazy! That’s not to say you can’t still see the Grand Canyon. You’ll just need to get a little creative (and spend a little $$) to do so.
      A revised plan would look like this:
      Day 1 Arrive at LV stay at hotel
      Day 2 Drive to Page, AZ (~5 hours from Las Vegas), visit Horseshoe Bend
      Day 3 Take Antelope Canyon kayak tour, fly over Grand Canyon in fixed-wing airplane, drive to Zion, overnight in Springdale, UT, or Hurricane, UT
      Day 4 Sightseeing in Zion, drive from Zion to SLC (~5 hours)
      Revised trip map
      If possible, try to change your departure city to Las Vegas. That would make for a shorter drive back, ~3 hours instead of 5.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you so much, you actually made me change my whole plan, the new plan I hope it gets your approval lol,

        Day 1 Land in Salt Lake City travel to Yellowstone
        Day 2 spend the day in Yellowstone
        Day 3 Drive to Rocky mountain
        Day 4 Rocky mountain drive to Denver
        Day 5 Denver
        Day 6 Garden of the gods, great sand dunes, continue driving to Santa Fe
        Day 7 Santa Fe, 4 corners, monument valley, Arches national park
        Day 9 drive to SLC

        1. Hi again, Hussam,
          Sorry, friend, I can’t sign off on this plan either. 🙁
          Again, you’re drastically underestimating how long it takes to get from place to place.
          SLC to Yellowstone, for example, will be ~an 8-hour drive (at least), and one day is nowhere near enough time to do Yellowstone justice. You could spend a week there and still feel as though you’d only scratched the surface of the place. I know, I live in Wyoming! And then there’s the Grand Tetons, which you haven’t even factored in.
          From Yellowstone to Rocky Mountain National Park (Estes Park, CO) is also ~9-10 hours.
          From Denver to Garden of the Gods isn’t too bad a drive, ~3 hours, but you’ll need another 5-6 hours to get to Santa Fe, so there you have another day spent on the road.
          From Santa Fe to Moab, UT, via 4 Corners and Monument Valley, another 8+ hour drive. Plus Monument Valley and 4 Corners, like all Navajo Indian Tribal Parks, are currently closed due to COVID-19. Going direct from Santa Fe, NM, to Moab, UT is ~a 7-hour drive.
          I would advise either taking Yellowstone off the table, or ’86ing Santa Fe, NM. Again, you just don’t have enough time for both.
          Since the drive from SLC to Rocky Mountain NP is on the long side, ~10 hours, you could break up that drive in Grand Junction, CO.
          IMO Denver, CO, is just another big city, so I don’t advise spending any more time there than you absolutely have to. Moab, UT, warrants at least 3-4 days; Arches National Park isn’t the only game in town! You need an extra day for Canyonlands National Park, which is just up the road from Arches NP near Moab, UT, and another day for other attractions in the area, such as Dead Horse Point State Park and the Castle Valley area.
          Day 1 Land in SLC, drive to Grand Junction, CO (~5 hours), overnight in Grand Junction
          Day 2 Drive to Rocky Mountain NP (Estes Park, CO – ~5 hours), overnight in Estes Park or other gateway community
          Day 3 2nd day/night in Rocky Mountain NP
          Day 4 Rocky Mountain NP to Garden of the Gods, overnight in Colorado Springs, CO, or vicinity
          Day 5 Drive from Colorado Springs to Ouray, CO, overnight in Ouray
          Day 6 Drive from Ouray, CO, to Moab, UT (~4-5 hours), overnight in Moab, UT
          Day 7 2nd day/night in Moab
          Day 8 3rd day/night in Moab
          Day 9 Drive from Moab, UT, to SLC (~4 hours), fly home
          Revised trip map
          If you’re coming from overseas, I can understand the temptation to try and cram as much sightseeing into what vacation time you were able to get, but a vacation should also allow for some leisure time to discover and explore. Your current plan to hit Yellowstone, Rocky Mountains, Santa Fe, and Moab, has precious little of that.
          Have a good one,
          Alley 🙂

  31. Hi Alley!
    I’ve booked a trip to AZ May 29-June 5. Will you make sure I’m not overlooking anything in my itinerary as far as closures go? Also, I’d love any suggestions!
    Day 1: Land in PHX, visit Dessert Botanical Garden. Drive from PHX to Scottsdale, explore Old Town Scottsdale. Stay in Scottsdale overnight.
    Day 2: Drive to Sedona. Hike Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, Birthing Caves, Munds Wagon Trail, and Bell Rock. Drive to Flagstaff.
    Day 3: Hike Humphreys Peak, Drive to Page
    Day 4: Hike Slot Canyons near Antelope Canyon via kayak from Lake Powell Antelope Marina
    Day 5: Explore Glen Canyon (Horseshoe Bend), drive to Kanab, UT
    Day 6: Explore Kanab (any suggestions?), drive to PHX
    Day 7: Hot air balloon ride, explore PHX
    Day 8: Fly out of PHX

    1. Hey Kelsey, thank you for visiting us.
      Here’s what you’re overlooking: the Grand Canyon! Unless you’ve already been there, you should definitely set aside time to see it. The South Rim is where most visitors go, but since your visit is taking place after May 15th, and the drive from the South Rim to Page, AZ, has been complicated by a COID-19 closure, the North Rim is definitely an option for a day trip out of Kanab, UT, or a flyover out of Page, AZ.
      Another observation is that drive times take a lot longer than Google Maps says they will, and you don’t have enough time in Sedona to do all that you want to do. Sedona, AZ, is a huge area, that really warrants 3-4 days to fully explore and enjoy. That said, I would recommend:
      a. taking it off the table and saving it for another trip
      b. resign yourself to the fact that you won’t accomplish everything on your wish list and just be glad you got the chance to see it
      c. taking Kanab, UT, off the itinerary and scooting Sedona, AZ, to the back end of your trip
      Hike Mount Humphreys, then drive to Page, AZ? Again, too ambitious. Although I’ve personally never hiked Mt. Humphreys, reliable sources indicate it’s “not your typical day hike” and it takes you to elevations high enough to cause altitude sickness. Instead, drive the Wupatki/Sunset Crater Scenic Loop Drive just North of Flagstaff, AZ, on your way to Page, AZ, maybe hike around the ruins at Wupatki, then hit Horseshoe Bend on your way into town. Do the kayak trip into the waterside of Antelope Canyon first thing the next morning for lack of wind and minimal “chop” from large tour boat traffic.
      While Kanab, UT, has a lot to offer, and you certainly wouldn’t have any problem filling up a day or two there, I’m going to suggest taking it off the trip plan so you can give the last couple of days of your precious vacation time to Sedona. Besides, if you wanted to take a hot air balloon ride, you should definitely do it out of Sedona instead of Phoenix!
      So in light of all that, here’s what I’d recommend:
      Day 1: Land in PHX, visit Dessert Botanical Garden. Drive from PHX to Scottsdale, explore Old Town Scottsdale. Stay in Scottsdale overnight.
      Day 2: Drive to Flagstaff, AZ (~3 hours from Scottsdale) , visit Walnut Canyon National Monument, Fatman’s Loop Trail, or other fairly easy local hikes. Overnight in Flagstaff.
      Day 3: Drive from Flagstaff, AZ, to Page, AZ (~2.5 hours), optional detour via Wupatki/Sunset Crater Loop (which will add another couple of hours onto your trip time), visit Horseshoe Bend,
      overnight in Page, AZ
      Day 4: Take kayak tour or kayak rental into waterside of Antelope Canyon, hike shoreline portion of Lower canyon on Federal not Tribal land. 2nd day/night in Page, AZ
      Day 5: First thing in AM, take flight over Grand Canyon from Page Municipal Airport, then drive to Sedona, AZ (~3 hours), overnight in Sedona
      Day 6: Hiking in Sedona as time permits 2nd night in Sedona
      Day 7: First thing in AM, hot air balloon ride, hike to areas not covered day prior, 3rd night in Sedona
      Day 8: Drive back to PHX (~2 hours), fly home
      Custom trip map
      Hope that makes more sense! Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  32. Hi Alley,

    I am planning a trip in Mid May from 11th to 19th, can you help me validating this trip and suggesting

    Day 1: Fly to Vegas at midnight
    Day 2 & 3: Need suggestion to visit places at Vegas
    Day 4: Leave from Las Vegas around 10 and reach Grand Canyon (take Hermits Rest route)
    Day 5: Visit other points at Grand Canyon, Desert view, etc and reach Horseshoe bend via Dinosaur Tracks
    Day 6: Antelope canyon tour, Monument Valley and drive to Moab and visit Delicate Arch
    Day 7: Visit other spots at Arches national park
    Day 8: Canyonlands park and drive back to Vegas
    Day 9: Vegas and fly back

    1. Hi Devang,
      Sorry, friend, but I cannot “validate” or endorse this trip plan.
      For one, it appears as though you’re underestimating the drive times from place to place. You pretty much need to pad Google Maps’ estimates by ~20%. Why? Because most of the highways you’ll be traveling are two-lane roads, where you’ll invariably get stuck behind slow-moving RV’s, have to adhere to slower speed limits, and stop to take pictures more often than you realize.
      Another thing: Navajo Tribal Lands remain closed to outsiders, which means the quickest travel route from Grand Canyon South Rim to Horseshoe Bend is not an option. You have to detour through Flagstaff, AZ, which is South of the park, then proceed North on US89 to Horseshoe Bend. You won’t be able to stop at Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks as they are closed. Using the shortest travel route from GC South to Page (AZ64 East to US89), the drive would take you roughly 3 hours. With the detour through Flagstaff, AZ, you can realistically expect it will take you ~5 hours. Sorry.
      Monument Valley, though technically closed, can be seen as a “drive-through” en route to Moab, UT. Just avoid stopping between Page, AZ, and at least Bluff, UT, as that is all Navajo Indian land, and they are not keen on outsiders interacting with reservation residents at all. Make sure your vehicle is fully fueled when you leave Page, AZ, and that you have enough water and snacks to tide you over for what will be a long drive, ~6 hours total. After that, you’ll probably be in no mood to hike to Delicate Arch, which will take ~2-3 hours, depending on your physical fitness and other factors. Probably better to save that for the following morning, especially at the time of year you’re visiting. Mid-May in Arches National Park is already starting to get hot, so morning is the best time for any labor-intensive activities to avoid the peak afternoon heat. The drive from Moab, UT, back to Las Vegas, NV, will be another long haul, ~7 hours.
      All that said, I would recommend taking Moab, UT, off the table. Not that it isn’t beautiful, but it’s a long swing out of your way, and has you missing a couple of key attractions closer to Las Vegas: Zion and Bryce.
      So, in light of these considerations, I’d suggest modifying your itinerary as follows:
      Day 1: Fly to Vegas at midnight
      Day 2: Visit sights in Las Vegas, concentrating on the Strip , overnight in Las Vegas
      Day 3: Leave Las Vegas for Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hour drive), optional stop at Hoover Dam, overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim
      Day 4: 2nd day/night at Grand Canyon South Rim, take Hermit’s Rest Shuttle, see viewpoints on Desert View
      Day 5: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Horseshoe Bend (~5 hours due to detour through Flag), overnight in Page, AZ
      Day 6: Antelope Canyon Kayak tour first thing in the morning, drive to Bryce Canyon in afternoon (~3 hours), optional stop at Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos, overnight in Bryce Canyon area
      Day 7: Sightseeing in Bryce Canyon, drive to Zion in afternoon (~2 hours), overnight Springdale, UT
      Day 8: Sightseeing in Zion National Park, using Zion Canyon Shuttle or via trailheads accessible on the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (UT9), 2nd night in Springdale
      Day 9: Drive back to Vegas (~3 hours from Springdale), optional detour through Valley of Fire State Park, fly back
      Custom trip map
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  33. Hi Alley!
    My family of three has already booked our trip to the Southwest. Starting May 25th we planned to visit Petrified Nat’l Forest and Monument Valley and spending the night in Chinle Az.
    Day 2 Horse Shoe Bend, Antelope Point Canyon and Lake Powell spending the night in Page Az.
    Day 3 Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park and possibly Grand Stair Case spending the night in Springdale UT.
    Day 4 Sand Hollow State Park, Coral Pink Sand Dunes and possibly Snow Canyon State Park spending the night in Kanab UT.
    Day 5 Grand Canyon spending the night in Flagstaff AZ.
    Day 6 Sedona and Cottonwood spending the night in Cottonwood.

    Can you please take a look at the itinerary and make suggestions on alternative attractions due to COVID closures and how we can make the best of our time there.

    1. Hey Bernie,
      Sorry to start off with bad news, but you might have to take Monument Valley and Chinle, AZ, off the table. Both of these areas are on Navajo Indian Tribal Land, and their leadership is discouraging visitation by outsiders.
      That consideration notwithstanding, you’re proposing to do way too much driving. If by some miracle the Navajo Tribe decided to reopen attractions on their lands, you’d be looking at a 4-hour drive from Petrified Forest to Monument Valley, then another 2 hours backtracking back to Chinle, AZ. Map Should the reservation reopen, I would maybe visit Canyon de Chelly as a “pop-by” on your way to Monument Valley. At the moment Goulding’s Lodge is the only property that’s open right now, offering limited services due to COVID-19. Should the closure of Navajo Tribal Parks remain in effect, I would recommend respecting their wishes and not visiting this time around. The Navajo Tribe was hit pretty hard by the pandemic, and understandably, wants to protect their most vulnerable and valuable citizens, their elders.
      Should Monument Valley and Navajo lands be open, the drive from MV to Page, AZ, is ~2 hours, so that’s not too bad. Not sure if the Antelope Canyon walking tours will be open, but a popular alternative last year was to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon and hike up the pre-slot portion of the canyon on the shoreline, which is Federal and not Tribal Land.
      On Day 3, again, you’re trying to cram too much sightseeing into one day’s time. It typically takes ~3 hours to drive from Page, AZ, to Bryce Canyon. Along the way, you have the opportunity to take a fun little hike on the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail (mile marker 19 of US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT). The drive from Bryce to Zion/Springdale would then take ~2 hours, and if you devote the next day to seeing Snow Canyon, Sand Hollow, and Coral Pink, you’re missing out on the opportunity to spend time in Zion, which really warrants at least 2-3 days of your time.
      When you say “Grand Canyon,” do you mean the North Rim? If so, that’s ~90 minutes from Kanab, UT, which isn’t so bad, but then the drive down to Flagstaff, AZ, would be ~4 hours. That doesn’t give you much time in the park. It’s not much better for the South Rim, especially in light of the current closure of AZ64 East from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View. It forces you to detour all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed back North to the park via US180/AZ64N or I40/AZ64N. That stupid detour turns the drive from Kanab, UT, into a 5-6 hour slog. Even if the East entrance to the park were to reopen, you’d still be looking at ~a 4-hour drive from Kanab to the park, then 90 minutes down to Flagstaff.
      Then we come to Sedona, AZ, where again, you haven’t given it enough time. Sedona, AZ, is a huge and breath-taking area where visitors have no trouble filling a 4-5 day vacation and still come away feeling as though they’d only scratched the surface of all the area had to offer.
      Assuming you’re flying into and out of Phoenix, much as I hate to say it, I recommend taking Bryce and Zion off the table this time around, unless you can change your flight reservations to Las Vegas, NV. If not, then I recommend taking a “quality over quantity approach.”
      May 25th: Visit Petrified Forest (~4.5 hour drive from Phoenix, through the Tonto and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests, which is gorgeous), change your hotel reservations to Winslow or Holbrook, AZ
      May 26th: Drive to Page, AZ (~4.5 hours), if desired, stop at Meteor Crater, Standin’ On A Corner in Winslow, AZ, Park, Historic La Posada Hotel (also in Winslow), overnight in Page, AZ
      May 27th: 2nd day/night in Page, AZ — possible activities: Antelope Canyon kayak tour, Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge, Hanging Garden Trail, swimming in Lake Powell ($30/vehicle entrance fee required)
      May 28th: Visit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning, drive down to Sedona, AZ (~3 hours) — possible activities, Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, Bell or Cathedral Rock Trails, overnight in Sedona, AZ
      May 29th: 2nd day/night in Sedona — do activities you missed the day before
      May 30th: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hours), walk Rim Trail and/or take Hermit’s Rest shuttle to overlooks West of Grand Canyon Village, overnight in Grand Canyon
      May 31st: Drive back to Phoenix (~4.5 hours), fly home
      Custom trip map
      Not saying you shouldn’t attempt your original plan, but again, it’s going to largely depend on whether the Navajo Tribe resumes welcoming tourists to their lands by then. Thus far, they have erred firmly on the side of caution. But even if they were to reopen, the pace of this itinerary is going to feel more like a death march than a vacation, IMO.
      Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process. If you need to bounce more ideas off us, please contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  34. Hello!! Ia have been reading some of the information here and it has been VERY useful for my upcoming trip. My boyfriend and I are planning to fly to Phoenix and then drive towards Sedona, Grand Canyon, Horseshoe bend and probably Zion or Bryce. However, we are not sure how much time we will actually need to see as much as we can. We are planning to be there on May 15th until May 20th. Do you have any reccomendation for us? I am not from this country so I would love to do and explore as much as possible. I hope you see this and can reply. Thanks n advance 🙂

    1. Hi Victoria, and thank you for visiting our site!
      I am so sorry to be the bearer of bad news here, especially seeing as though you’re coming from overseas, but 5 days is not enough time to accomplish everything you wish to see and do. I also get the distinct impression that you don’t fully comprehend the distances between them.
      For one thing, Sedona really deserves at least 3 days of your time. It’s a huge and beautiful area with a lot to see and do. Even those who spend a week or more report feeling as though they’d only “scratched the surface” of all the area had to offer. Things to do in Sedona, AZ
      Zion is another area that warrants more time, 2-3 days minimum. Another consideration: using Phoenix, AZ, as a staging city means that you’ll be very far away from Zion and Bryce anyway, so you’d have to choose whether you wanted to get the longer drive out of the way first or save it for last. Preference notwithstanding, if you haven’t booked rooms yet, you might have trouble finding accommodations.
      Considering this trip may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for you, here’s how you could pull it off:
      May 15th: early flight into Phoenix, drive to Bryce Canyon (~7 hours), overnight in Bryce Canyon area
      May 16th: drive from Bryce Canyon to Zion (~2 hours), take short hikes accessible via Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway, overnight in Kanab, UT
      May 17th: drive from Zion to Page, AZ, optional stop at Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail (mile marker 19, US89 between Kanab, UT, and Page, AZ), overnight in Page, AZ
      May 18th: visit Horseshoe Bend, drive to Sedona, AZ (~3 hours), possible activities, Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, Cathedral or Bell Rock Trail, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, overnight in Sedona
      May 19th: drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~2.5 hours from Sedona), hike on Rim Trail or take Hermit’s Rest shuttle to canyon overlooks, overnight in Grand Canyon
      May 20th: drive back to Phoenix (~4.5 hours from GC South Rim), fly home
      Custom trip map
      As you can see, this itinerary pretty much has you packing up and moving every. single. day. If you’re not keen on that, which I wouldn’t blame you for in the least, you might make it a more relaxing visit by spending 2-3 days in Sedona and 2-3 at Grand Canyon South Rim, and save Zion and Bryce for another visit when you can use Las Vegas, NV, as your staging city.
      I hope this helps, I know it’s a lot to process! If you have further questions, please contact me directly at [email protected]
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  35. Hi Alley,

    Hope you are well. I came across this page and found your advice to be super knowledgable and helpful! My friends and I will be arriving early morning in Las Vegas on April 24th and will drive down to Page where we will be staying till check out on May 1st. We’ve just started planning an itinerary and could really use some help please! There seems to be so many things to cover that we’re not sure what are some things we can’t miss and some difficulties we’ll encounter with restrictions and idealistic timing. Any chance you could please help provide some guidance? We definitely want to check out Zion, Lake Powell (will it be warm enough to kayak and swim then?), Sedona, and Horseshoe Bend – might you have additional recommendations? Really appreciate your help in advance! Thank you.

    Sincerely,
    IC

    1. Hi Isabelle,
      I am very well, thanks for asking!
      So, I’m not sure if I’m interpreting your inquiry correctly, but are you proposing to drive from Las Vegas NV, to Page, AZ, spend that entire week and make day trips to the various parks and attractions? If so, I would not recommend doing that since it can be a very long drive from Page, AZ, to a lot of popular parks, so it would make for a more comfortable experience for you to overnight at the places on your “wish list.”
      Speaking of your “wish list,” I notice one place that is conspicuously absent from it: the Grand Canyon. If you’ve never been there before, you should definitely prioritize it over everything else! The South Rim is the side of the park that will be open at the time of year you’re visiting. Depending on room availability, or lack thereof, you might want to hit it first, or last. More on that in a minute.
      Given your time frame, here’s what I’d recommend:
      April 24th: Arrive in Las Vegas, drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours), optional stop at Hoover Dam, Seligman or Williams, AZ (the latter two towns are Route 66 mainstays), overnight at the Grand Canyon
      April 25th: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Sedona, AZ (~2.5 hours), possible activities: Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, hike Oak Creek Canyon , overnight in Sedona (1st of 2)
      April 26th: 2nd day/night in Sedona, possible activities: Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, hike Bell Rock or Cathedral Rock Trail, Palatki Heritage Site, art galleries, museums, etc.
      April 27th: Drive to Page, AZ (~3 hours), visit Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon Bridge, Hanging Garden Trail, overnight in Page, AZ
      April 28th: Antelope Canyon Kayak Tour first thing in AM, then drive to Bryce (~2.5 hours), overnight in Bryce Canyon area
      April 29th: Drive to Zion National Park ~2 hours from Bryce, overnight in Springdale, UT ***Note: to access the main sightseeing area of the park, Zion Canyon, requires use of a shuttle, which recommends an advance ticket purchase***
      April 30th: 2nd day/night in Zion, possible activities – hike Angel’s Landing, The Narrows, or other trails accessible on the Zion-Mt. Carmel highway , overnight in Springdale, UT
      May 1st: check out of Springdale, UT, drive back to Las Vegas, NV, optional detour through Valley of Fire State Park, fly home (or overnight in Vegas)
      Custom trip map
      At the time of year you’re visiting, Lake Powell should be warming up nicely for swimming and kayaking! For kayaking, best to do this activity first thing in the morning for lack of wind and less chop from large boat traffic.
      As stated before, room availability in the specific locations on this list will be the prime determining factor of feasibility. You might need to be prepared to flip-flop this itinerary if need be. The key is to plan your trip so that you’re NOT having to drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. The present closure of AZ64 East from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, is necessitating a rather long detour through Flagstaff AZ, which has turned what used to be ~a 3-hour drive into a 5-hour drive. Having Sedona, AZ, be an intermediary stop between the Grand Canyon and Page eliminates the need for it, or at least the perception of the need.
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance. Also, plan to 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 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, 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 your visit, sunrise takes place just after 5:30 AM, and sunset occurs at around 7:15 PM. That’s Arizona time, by the way; Utah will be one hour ahead of Arizona.
      I hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process! Feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] if you need to bounce other ideas off us.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley,

        I had sent you an email but wasn’t sure which would be easier/quicker for you so I’m reiterating my note here:

        Firstly, I would like to start off by thanking you for the detailed information you provided, it was extremely helpful. However, I did not mention in my initial comment that we will be working remotely for some of the time. Due to this combined with all the things you listed, we have decided to stay an extra week. In light of this extension, could you please help provide some additional guidance? At the moment, we have the following as a rough itinerary:

        April 24th: Land in Vegas at 11am and drive down to Page, AZ. We have already booked an Airbnb till the 30th.
        April 25th: Horseshoe bend, Glen Canyon Bridge, Hanging Garden Trail – will we be able to cover all of this in a day?
        April 26th: working remotely
        April 27th: working remotely
        April 28th: working remotely
        April 29th: Antelope Canyon Kayak Tour first thing in AM
        April 30th: Check out of Page, AZ Airbnb

        May 8th: Drive back to Las Vegas

        This is all we have at the moment and could really use your advise please! Our only caveat is that we will be working remotely on May 3rd and May 4th. We were thinking we would stay in Sedona during this time so we may explore the town in the afternoon. Moreover, we would like to visit Zion (toadstool hike) and the Grand Canyon. However, we’re not sure what would make the most logistical sense as you highlighted many road closures.

        Again, your advise has been extremely helpful and I can’t thank you enough. Without it, my friends and I would be completely lost and would not be able to fully experience what the state has to offer. I look forward to your response.

        Sincerely,
        Isabelle

        1. Hi again, Isabelle!
          First off, if you want to visit Zion, the most logical place to schedule that is between Las Vegas and Page, AZ. If you can revise your Air B&B reservations so that you hit that first, then Page, then Sedona, then Grand Canyon South Rim, that would make the most sense. The Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos trail is not in Zion National Park, it is between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on US89 mile marker 19, so you could do that hike on the way from Zion to Page. 
          In light of those concerns, here’s what I’d recommend:
          April 24th: Land in Vegas at 11am and drive to Zion National Park (~3 hours), with optional detour through Valley of Fire State Park, book Air B & B in Springdale, UT, or Hurricane, UT
          April 25th: Explore Zion National Park – possibly hike The Narrows or Angel’s Landing — note that to access Zion Canyon, the main sightseeing area, you’ll need to purchase shuttle tickets in advance, otherwise, you’ll be limited to what you can see on the Mt. Carmel Highway (UT9) that traverses the park from West to East 
          April 26th: working remotely
          April 27th: working remotely
          April 28th: working remotely, drive to Page, AZ (~2 hours from Zion) afterward, overnight in Page, AZ
          April 29th: Antelope Canyon Kayak Tour first thing in AM
          April 30th: Horseshoe bend, Glen Canyon Bridge, Hanging Garden Trail – yes, you will we be able to cover all of this in a day
          May 1st: Check out of Page, AZ Airbnb, drive to Sedona, AZ (~3 hours from Page, AZ), optional detour through Wupatki/Sunset Crater Scenic Loop Drive North of Flagstaff, AZ, overnight in Sedona
          May 2nd: Sightseeing in Sedona, AZ – Chapel of the Holy Cross, Cathedral Rock, West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon, Tlaquepaque, etc.
          May 3rd: working remotely
          May 4th: working remotely
          May 5th: more sightseeing in Sedona
          May 6th: drive from Sedona, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim (~2.5 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon
          May 7th: 2nd day/night at Grand CAnyon
          May 8th: Drive back to Las Vegas (~4.5 hours from GC South Rim)
          The only place where a road closure would affect you is if for some reason you wanted to drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim, then down to Sedona. In that case, you’d have to drive all the way down from Page, AZ, to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North via US180/AZ64 North or I-40/AZ64N. The reason for this is the closure of AZ64 East from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point by the Navajo Tribe, on whose land that stretch of road is situated. This has turned what used to be ~a 3-hour drive into more like 5 hours. I know Google maps gives the drive time estimate as ~4 hours, but that’s not factoring in variable speed limits, getting stuck behind slow-moving RV’s, bathroom breaks, photo stops, etc. By traveling from Page, AZ, to Sedona, AZ, then from Sedona, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim, you would avoid these delays. 
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  36. Hi Alley!

    Me and my boyfriend are planning a trip in May across a portion of the South West. I’ve been wanting to do this for years and it his gift to me for my 25th birthday! We will be traveling from Texas to Los Angeles, spending time in Sedona, the south rim of the Grand Canyon, and Las Vegas along the way. We will be staying at the Maswick lodge when at the grand Canyon. We love to hike and be active and would love any suggestions you have for trails, shopping, food, Horseshoe Bend area, or anything else you may recommend to make this trip special.

    Thank you greatly in advance!
    Megan

    1. Hi Megan,
      Best wishes in advance for your birthday!
      You’ll find ample opportunities for hiking at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and Sedona, but let’s put those on hold for a minute and talk about Horseshoe Bend: Horseshoe Bend is located near the town of Page, AZ. It is not ideal as a day trip from Sedona, and totally unrealistic as a day trip from Grand Canyon South Rim right now.
      It takes approximately 3 hours, one way to drive from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ. You should allot approximately 2 hours to visit Horseshoe Bend, including the time it takes to park, pay the entrance fee ($10/standard passenger vehicles), walk to the rim, take photos, then walk back to your vehicle. You might then have time to walk across the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge and visit the Hanging Garden area, stop at the Wahweap Overlook, and grab lunch in town. The important thing is to make sure you’re on the road back to Sedona, AZ, to ensure that you’re back in town by sundown. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in the more rural parts of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah because roads in these areas are very dimly lit, plus they are populated by deer, elk, and other wildlife that can elevate your risk of a collision. That’s definitely not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, where cell service is going to be spotty (if you can get any bars at all) and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. In mid-May, sunrise occurs at about 5:15 AM and sunset takes place just before 7:30 PM.
      From Grand Canyon South Rim, it is presently necessary to detour back down through Flagstaff, then proceed North on US89 to get to Page, AZ. This is due to the COVID-19 related closure of a critical component of the shortest travel route (AZ64 East from Desert View to Cameron, AZ), which is on Navajo Indian Tribal Land. This has turned what used to be ~a 3-hour drive into more along the lines of 4.5-5 hours. So, 10 hours behind the wheel just to visit one point of interest doesn’t sound like much fun.
      Long story short, if at all possible, set aside a full day and an overnight in Page, AZ, so you can really enjoy Horseshoe Bend, AZ, and all that Page, AZ, has to offer. Even though the walking tours of Antelope Canyon remain closed (also due to COVID-19 on Navajo Indian land), it is still possible to kayak into the waterside of Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell, then hike into the pre-slot portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal Land. Since this activity is best enjoyed first thing in the morning, you’d definitely need an overnight in Page, AZ.
      For shopping, Sedona offers Tlaquepaque, which will take you on a trip back in time along with your “retail therapy.” Sedona also offers a huge variety of hiking opportunities in various degrees of difficulty. A visit to Slide Rock State Park, a natural waterslide, is a ton of fun during the warmer months of Spring and Summer! Sedona will also offer the best restaurants of any stop on your trip, so plan on indulging your inner foodie in Sedona.
      At the Grand Canyon, the paved Rim Trail, 1/4 mile from Maswik Lodge, extends 10 miles along the canyon rim from Yavapai Point to Hermit’s Rest. You’re by no means obligated to commit to the full 10 miles, though. You can hop on the Hermit’s Rest shuttle when you need a break, then hop off when you’re ready to resume walking. For inner canyon hiking, the Bright Angel Trail will also be easiest to access from Maswik Lodge. You can hike to the 1.5 mile or 3 mile resthouse, or, depending on your physical fitness level, all the way to Indian Gardens (4.5 miles one way) and back. While water is piped into the resthouses on the trail, you must still bring your own with you, along with high-energy, slightly salty snacks to keep your energy and electrolytes up. Grand Canyon day hiking
      For a special dinner treat, consider dining at least once at the El Tovar Hotel. This is generally and rightfully regarded as the best restaurant in the park. Reservations are required for dinner and are taken 30 days in advance for guests of other hotels. Call 928-638-2631 and ask for x6432 to make El Tovar dinner reservations. At the present time, food services inside the park are somewhat limited due to COVID-19, so you might be prepared to pick up an inexpensive cooler somewhere in your travels and maybe stop at a grocery store in Flagstaff, AZ, to pick up sandwich or salad fixings. IIRC, Maswik Lodge has mini-fridges, but no microwaves.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley!

        I am planning a road trip from Texas at the end of May. My current plan is to go to Santa Fe, then to Page to explore Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell before heading up to Zion. But, seeing that the road and park closures are unlikely to change by then, I’m wondering if we should re-route? From Zion we go to Bryce, Moab then into Colorado. Any insight would be greatly appreciated — thank you! All we have booked is the camp sights in Zion and Bryce, and am trying to build the trip around that.

        1. Hey Julia,
          Your trip sounds pretty fun! Not sure how long you’ve got for it, but hope you have at least 2 weeks, preferably more, to make it all happen.
          The area where you’re most likely to be affected by a road and/or park closures is between Grand Canyon South Rim and Page, AZ, and I don’t see Grand Canyon South Rim at all on your itinerary. If you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, you should definitely set aside time to see it, but since you’re traveling at the end of May, you can visit the prettier and quieter North Rim instead of the hot, crowded South Rim. More on that in a minute 😉
          The drive from TX (assuming DFW as your starting point) to Santa Fe, NM, will take ~10 hours, so you might want to break up the drive in Amarillo, TX. The drive from Santa Fe, NM, to Page, AZ, is also a bit on the long side, ~8-9 hours. Now, be aware that Google maps would automatically route you through Navajo Indian Land, which Tribal leadership wants outsiders to avoid, so go through Flagstaff, AZ, on I-40, just to be on the safe side. If you’re inclined to break up that leg of the drive, stop by Petrified Forest National Park, and overnight in Winslow, AZ. That way you can claim your bragging rights to taking a selfie whilst “Standin’ On A Corner in Winslow, Arizona.” Maybe grab breakfast at the historic La Posada Hotel before taking off, maybe stopping at Meteor Crater, then hitting Horseshoe Bend on the way into Page, AZ. Since the land-side tours of Antelope Canyon are closed until further notice, the best way to see Antelope Canyon at the present time is to kayak into the waterside from Antelope Point Marina, then hike into the pre-slot portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal Land. While the scenery isn’t the “picture postcard” slot canyon scenery folks are expecting to see, it’s still beautiful, and judging by the number of sold out dates for that tour last year, people weren’t complaining. The Antelope Canyon kayak tours take ~4 hours and should be done first thing in the morning for lack of wind and chop from large tour boats.
          Remember where I talked about visiting Grand Canyon North Rim instead of the South Rim? Here is where that would come in: you could visit as a day trip from Kanab, UT, which is ~a 90-minute drive each way, or Page, AZ, which is ~2.5 hours each way. The reason I’m suggesting it as a day trip is because it’s darn near impossible to find lodging at the North Rim just because there’s not much to work with in the first place. The key is to keep an eye on the time and be sure that you’re heading back to your lodging location well before sunset. You don’t want to drive after dark around here as a general rule because roads are very dimly lit, and deer, elk, and other wildlife could be hanging around that love to jump out in front of cars. 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. In late May, sunrise occurs just after 5:00 AM, and sunset takes place at around 7:30 PM; that’s ARIZONA time, Utah will be 1 hour ahead.
          If you’re not keen on all that driving and calculations, another option would be to fly over the Grand Canyon. Fixed wing airplanes depart daily out of the Page Municipal Airport, weather permitting, and possibly contingent on a certain number of passengers flying. While airplane tours do not land at the Grand Canyon, they make for an excellent way to see the Grand Canyon, and a ton of other beautiful scenery.
          The trip from Page, AZ, to Zion takes ~2 hours, and here is where you might make a fun little stop to hike the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail. FYI, you’ll have to use the Zion Canyon Shuttle to access the most popular viewpoints if you’re not staying inside the park. Advance ticket purchase is required as well, which can be a pain. If you’d rather not deal with that, there are plenty of trails you can access via the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway (UT9).
          The drive from Zion to Bryce is also ~2 hours, then the drive from Bryce to Moab, UT, is ~6 hours. Be sure you make the first half of the drive from Bryce to Torrey, UT, on Scenic Byway 12, that’s a stunning drive that you’ll love! If possible, set aside an extra night to stay in the Capitol Reef National Park area, or at least visit as a “pop-by” between Bryce and Moab. In Moab, UT, hope you have at least 3 days to fully explore and enjoy that area!
          If the back half of your trip is taking you through Colorado, try to hit Mesa Verde National Park. You definitely wouldn’t regret it! The Durango-Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad Trip is fun, too. Sure you can’t spend a month out here? LOL
          Custom trip map
          Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to digest! If you need to bounce more ideas off us, please contact us directly at [email protected]
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  37. Hi Alley!

    Would love to get your thoughts and input on a tentative schedule we have planned. Would also love suggestions for hikes in Sedona and the Grand Canyon. Also anything dog friendly!

    Thursday 4/29 (Santa Fe → Sedona):
    Check out of Santa Fe Airbnb @ 11am
    Drive ~6hrs to Sedona
    Arrive to Sedona Airbnb, check in at 4pm(Stay 4/29-5/2)

    Friday 4/30 (Sedona):
    Hike

    Saturday 5/1 (Sedona)
    Hike

    Sunday 5/2 (Sedona → Page, AZ):
    Check out of Sedona Airbnb
    Possible short hike in Sedona
    Drive ~2hrs 45min hrs to Page
    Check into Page Airbnb (Stay 5/2- 5/4)
    Catch sunset at Horseshoe Bend

    Monday 5/3 (Page, AZ):
    Antelope canyon kayaking

    Tuesday 5/4 (Page → Grand Canyon):
    Drive 3hrs and 40min to Grand Canyon
    Check into Grand Canyon Airbnb (Stay 5/4-5/6)

    Wednesday 5/5 (Grand Canyon):
    Hike

    Thursday 5/6 (Grand Canyon)
    Hike

    Thanks!
    Melissa

    1. Hey Melissa,
      This trip plan looks pretty fun, but still warrants a few reality checks.
      First off, any drive time figure you get off Google Maps? Pad it by 20-30%. Not because Google Maps is wrong, per se, it’s just that the figures they give tend to be direct drives, meaning wheels turning, no stops. That rarely happens in this part of the country, one, because you run the risk of getting stuck behind a slow moving RV anytime, and mainly, most drives are very scenic and you’ll be stopping to take pictures more often than you realize! The trip from Santa Fe, NM, to Sedona, AZ, for example is more likely to take ~8 hours vs. 6. Another consideration is that you’ll be passing by Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert, which are quite nice in late April/early May. Instead of driving all the way to Sedona, AZ, that first day, you might consider going as far as Holbrook, AZ, that first day, which is more along the lines of 5.5 hours from Santa Fe.
      The next day, get an early start so you can have pop into Winslow, AZ, and take a selfie at “Standin’ On A Corner Park.” Maybe stop at Meteor Crater, then do the rest of the drive to Sedona, ~90 minutes from Winslow. I understand that Meteor Crater’s Pet Ramada is currently closed, but if you have a crate or kennel with you, they can accommodate them. Check on this first before you go if interested.
      The drive from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ, tends to take more along the lines of 3-3.5 hours. Should the closure of Navajo Indian Tribal Lands remain in effect at the time of your visit, you’ll need to drive from Flagstaff, AZ, to Page, AZ, without stopping or interacting with reservation residents, so make sure your vehicle is fully fueled and that you have enough water and snacks to tide you and your dog over until you arrive.
      Dogs are not allowed on Antelope Canyon kayak tours, so you’ll need to board your pet while partaking in this activity and other guided tours. Pampered Pets of Page is highly rated. Back when I lived in Page, AZ, I used the Page Animal Hospital without a problem. Paws & All Pet Grooming is another facility that offers boarding, though I’m not personally familiar with them. If you utilize any boarding facilities on your vacation, you’ll need to have your dog’s vaccination records with you.
      The drive time to Grand Canyon South Rim will also depend on the status of roads on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. At the present time, it’s necessary to detour all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed North via US180/AZ64 North or I-40/AZ64N to the South Rim. This has turned what is normally a 3-hour drive into more along the lines of 4.5-5 hours. The closure necessitating this detour is very likely to remain in effect at the time of your visit. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on that front 🙁
      One more thing before closing: in most National Parks, Grand Canyon included, dogs (leashed) are allowed only on paved trails. This means you’ll be limited to hiking the Rim Trail at the Grand Canyon. Animals are strictly prohibited on inner canyon trails. At Glen Canyon/Lake Powell, dogs are allowed a bit more freedom, but they must still remain leashed at all times, especially at Horseshoe Bend and on public beaches and around swim areas. For this reason, you might wish to allow more time at Page, AZ, than the Grand Canyon.
      Oops, sorry, one more thing: there are no Air B & B’s inside the park at the Grand Canyon. The closest you’ll find is going to be a 30-minute drive away. If you don’t wish to endure that inconvenience every day, you might consider staying at Yavapai Lodge inside the park, or the Red Feather Lodge in the town of Tusayan, just outside the park. Those are the only pet-friendly properties in the immediate vicinity of the Grand Canyon.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  38. Hi Alley, first thank you for taking the time to answer questions! I will be in Williams Arizona from April 7 through the 11th and my husband and I are looking for things to do in the area. We have a jeep so we can go pretty much anywhere and are looking for mostly day trips from Williams. On April 10 I have reserved the Grand Canyon Railway so unless we need to go back to the Grand Canyon for something more specific, we will have seen some of the canyon on the rail road trip. We are retired military and have the free access into the national parks, not sure what other must see must-must do items are in the area? We are both physically fit enough to do light hiking of at least a few hours.
    Thank you
    Amy

    1. Hi Amy, and thank you both for your service to our country!
      One thing I must point out straight away is that when you say “we will have seen some of the canyon on the rail road trip,” that’s not entirely true. Williams, AZ, is 60 miles due South of Grand Canyon South Rim. Therefore, you will not actually see the Grand Canyon from the train. You don’t see it until you get to the park and get off the train. Another couple of things to consider: the Grand Canyon Railway is pulled by an antique diesel engine, which doesn’t exactly break any speed records getting to the park. It takes ~2 hours and change — that’s one way — to make a trip that would only take you an hour to make by car. Once the train arrives at the park (~11:15), you only have a little more than 3 hours to sightsee, in which time you can explore the Grand Canyon Village Historic District and maybe take the free shuttles out to a couple of viewpoints on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive. Certainly not enough time to do any inner canyon hiking. Then you have to reboard the train at around 3:00 PM, and take the 2+ hour trip back to Williams, AZ.
      If this all sounds like I’m trying to convince you to avoid the Grand Canyon Railway like the plague, that’s not the case at all, I’ve actually ridden it several times and enjoyed it. But in the course of my work, I often encounter folks who are under the impression that the Grand Canyon Railway is a “train tour of the Grand Canyon,” when in fact, it’s an alternate means of getting there, with some Old West/Historic aspects thrown in. Here’s a video that explains the “train vs. car to visit the Grand Canyon” issue in more detail. The footage is somewhat dated, but the core principles remain the same. Long story short, The last thing we’d want to see is anyone being disappointed in their vacation, especially in this day and age! If you’re cool with all that, then by all means, enjoy the Train, and if budget is not a concern, consider riding the Observation Dome up and the Luxury Parlor Car down. I did that once with some friends (all adults, kids aren’t allowed on the higher classes of service) and we had a ball!
      As for other things you might do while in the Williams, AZ, area, Bearizona and the Grand Canyon Deer Park are popular attractions in the immediate area. Williams, AZ, itself is a Route 66 mainstay, as is nearby Seligman, AZ, ~45 minutes West of Williams on I-40. The latter was the partial inspiration for the fictional town of Radiator Springs from the “Cars” movies. If you take us up on the suggestion to visit Seligman, be sure to stop at Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Drive-In for a burger and a laugh.
      Other good day trip options from Williams, AZ, would be Sedona, AZ, which is about a 90 minute drive away. There, you might take the opportunity to hike the Cathedral or Bell Rock Trails, or visit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, or the Palatki Heritage Site. One Day Itinerary in Sedona AZ One caveat, though: one day in Sedona, AZ, is likely to leave you wanting. This is a huge and beautiful area with much to see and do. 3-4 days, bare minimum, is needed to fully enjoy and explore this area. Even then, visitors report back that they felt like 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 visit, which isn’t such a bad thing 😉
      Another fun day trip option, which would be great at the time of year you’re visiting seeing as though it’s cooler, would be to the Painted Desert and Petrified Forest. It’s ~2 hours East of Williams, AZ, and along the way you could stop at Meteor Crater, and Winslow AZ (so you can claim your bragging rights to “Standin’ On A Corner in Winslow, Arizona“). In Winslow, you should also take a walk through the lovely and historic La Posada Hotel, maybe have lunch at the Turquoise Room.
      If you do end up with an extra day to return to the Grand Canyon, you might hike to Ooh Aah Point or Cedar Ridge on the South Kaibab Trail. The trailhead is located at Yaki Point, which is inaccessible to private vehicles, but a free shuttle goes out there from the visitors center until sunset. If you prefer not to mess with that, then plan on hiking as far as 1.5 mile or 3 mile resthouse on the Bright Angel Trail. Any of these hikes tend to run between 2-3 hours round-trip. The South Kaibab Shuttle has no water on it. The Bright Angel Trail has water piped in to the resthouses, but still, you should carry your own water, plus some high-energy slightly salty snacks, whichever one you choose to hike on. The 26-mile Desert View/East Rim Drive is open between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View Point, but you’d have to drive back to the Village the same way due to the closure of AZ64 East between Desert View and Cameron, AZ, on the Navajo Indian Reservation (COVID-19 thing).
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  39. Hey Alley,

    I’m planning on visiting horseshoe bend around the third week of May. I will be going to Zion for the first three days and then heading towards Page, AZ and I was wondering if the kayaking in Lake Powell is still open? and are there any tours being given for the antelope canyon? If not what other attractions do you recommend seeing? Also, how busy does horseshoe bend get around sunset time?

    1. Hi Dron,
      You will be happy to know that kayak and SUP tours on Lake Powell kicked off for the season a couple of weeks ago, so barring anything unforeseen, they will be operating in May! A paddle tour into the waterside of Antelope Canyon, which includes hiking into the pre-slot portion of the Lower Canyon on Federal and not Tribal land, was a popular alternative to cancelled land-based Antelope Canyon tours last year, and promises to be popular again with the closure of the Antelope Canyons on Tribal land expected to continue indefinitely.
      As for other activities and sightseeing you might consider partaking of during your time in Page, AZ, locations that are still open 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
      – Gunfighter Canyon Indoor Shooting Range
      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)
      If you have the time and/or inclination to venture a short ways into Utah, you might also visit:
      – Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
      – Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
      As for how busy Horseshoe Bend gets around sunset, it can be pretty crowded. In May, you might consider visiting just after sunrise to enjoy a view that’s just as scenic, along with cooler temperatures and smaller crowds.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley, hope you see this

        Im coming to AZ on April 8 to the 11th, Ill be staying in Flagstaff

        On the 9th around noon, have an airplane tour from grand canyon, and was thinking to maybe do a hike at the grand canyon after, do you have any hikes you recommend? Also i saw somewhere you can buy your pass for grandcanyon online, however Im military so should i still buy online, does that avoid traffic?

        on the 10th, i wanted to go either see horseshoe bend, I saw you said the roads were close and it would take longer, is this still the case? If it is i was thinking maybe do other things, in sedona etc, any recommendations?

        1. Hi Manar,
          First off, thank you for your service. As a member of the military, you qualify for a complimentary America the Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass by showing your military ID. Since your visit is coming up relatively soon, you’d probably be best off just picking it up at the first National Park, National Monument, or Federal Fee area you visit on your trip. Having the pass won’t help you avoid the traffic, per se, but once you have the pass, you can go through the pre-paid line, which tends to go past the entrance gate a bit quicker.
          As for hikes you might do at the Grand Canyon, that depends largely on your physical fitness level, but consideration should be given to who you’re traveling with (young kids? seniors? anyone disabled?). The Rim Trail is an easy, paved walk that extends along the rim of the Grand Canyon from Yavapai Geological Museum to Hermit’s Rest, with beautiful canyon views along its distance of ~10-11 miles. Does that mean you have to walk the whole thing? Not at all. You can hop on and off the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim shuttle as often as you wish, then walk from point to point as you desire. If you want to venture a ways below the canyon rim, the Bright Angel Trail is the most readily available. Anytime you do any inner Grand Canyon hiking, remember that 1 hour down = 2 hours back up, and food and water must be carried if you plan on spending any more than one hour’s time or going further than a mile round-trip.
          Traveling from Flagstaff, AZ, to Horseshoe Bend, you won’t encounter any road closures. You simply proceed North on US89 and follow the signs. The road closure I was referring to affects those traveling from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, as they have to detour down through Flagstaff, AZ, then back North via US89 to Page, AZ. That detour has turned what used to be ~a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. In your case, the drive will take ~2.5-3 hours.
          If you wanted to visit Sedona, AZ, at some point, Flagstaff, AZ, is only ~1 hour away. The Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour is generally regarded as a “must-do” activity, along with visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, the Palatki Heritage site, and hiking to Cathedral Rock, just to name a few. I can pretty much guarantee you, though, that one day in Sedona is going to leave you wanting. Many visitors report having spent 4-5 days in that area and still feeling as though they’d only “scratched the surface.” You will be planning a return visit when you can spend more time, which is not necessarily a bad thing 😉
          If you prefer to do some sightseeing that doesn’t leave you with a tinge of regret, you might take that extra day to visit Petrified Forest National Park and the Painted Desert, as well as Meteor Crater. Meteor Crater is ~1 hour East of Flag (that’s what we call it around here) on I-40; PF/PD is another hour away. If you take me up on that suggestions, you might also include a stop in Winslow, AZ, to claim bragging rights to having been “Standing On A Corner in Winslow Arizona,” and maybe to enjoy a meal at the lovely and historic La Posada Hotel.
          Whatever you decide, make sure you do all your driving during daylight hours. You want to be very careful about driving at night, especially in the more rural areas of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Roads in these areas are very dimly lit, plus they are populated by deer, elk, and other wildlife that can elevate your risk of a collision. That’s definitely not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, where cell service is going to be spotty (if you can get any bars at all) and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. The week you’re visiting, sunrise takes place just before 6:00 AM and sunset occurs at around 7:00 PM.
          Good luck and safe travels!
          Alley 🙂

          1. Hi Alley! Thanks so much for answering. Its just two people and were both pretty fit,

            Also I wanted to ask you do arizona near flagstaff have any winerys that are worth going to?

          2. Hey again, Manar,
            Wow, what a great question! Flagstaff, AZ, is actually gaining a reputation as a microbrewery town, meaning, many varieties of beers are hand-crafted and brewed locally. If your taste leans toward wine, however, you’ll be glad to know that you don’t have to go far to sample some locally-made varietals. You’ll find a number of cellars and tasting rooms in Sedona, AZ, ~1 hour’s drive away. For more information on wine tasting by self-touring or guided tour, check out VisitSedona.com: Wineries & Wine Tastings
            If your travels may take you to the Southern part of our state (down around Tucson, AZ), you’ll also find several opportunities there to sample local vintages! For a more complete look at Arizona’s burgeoning wine scene, download this brochure
            Have great trip,
            Alley 🙂

  40. Hi Alley,
    We are planning a trip the third week in April with 3 kids (ages 7-14). We are flying into Phoenix and planned to drive straight up to Page for 2 days, then to the Grand Canyon for 2 days and ending in Sedona for 2 days. Do you think this is manageable? We were going to make sure to go to Horseshoe Bend and thought of hiking the Bright Angel trail at the Grand Canyon. Any other must see attractions or suggestions on how to get the most out of this trip? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Greg,
      That trip plan looks pretty fun, and well-paced. One thing I need to forewarn you about is that the drive from Page, AZ, to the Grand Canyon will take longer than you may be aware of: due to the closure of a critical component of the shortest travel route, which is on Navajo Indian land, it is necessary to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, then proceed Northwest to the park via US180/AZ64 or I-40/AZ64. This has turned what is normally ~a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news on that front.
      In Page, AZ, you might use one of your full days to take the short drive to Paria, UT (~45 minutes) and hike part of Wire Pass Canyon and/or the Toadstool Hoodoos Trail. Here’s a video depicting a young family doing both of these activities: Look Who’s Blogging | Wire Pass Canyon | Paria Toadstool Hoodoos If you prefer to stay closer to Page, AZ, the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge and the Hanging Gardens Trail can easily be dove-tailed onto your visit to Horseshoe Bend. Video of the same family doing just that
      RE: when you say “hike the Bright Angel Trail,” I hope you’re not under the impression that you’ll be going all the way to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, because that’s not a day hike, by any means! You can, however, simply hike as much (or as little) as you fee like, going by your watch, remembering that 1 hour down = 2 hours back up. With a 7YO, you should probably only go as far as 1.5 mile resthouse and back, which is about a 3-hour hike for most people. But again, if you don’t feel like you can or should go down that far, there’s no obligation to. If you’re thinking at this point that Inner Canyon hiking may not be the best way to enjoy the canyon this time around, the Rim Trail is beautiful, easy, and paved. It extends from Hermit’s Rest to Yavapai Museum (~10 miles), and can be enjoyed in small “chunks” by utilizing the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Shuttle when/where you get tired of walking.
      In Sedona, the Pink Jeep/Broken Arrow Tour is generally regarded as the “quintessential” Sedona tour! Other sights that come highly recommended are Cathedral Rock, Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, Verde Canyon Railway, Jerome AZ (ghost town turned artist colony), Montezuma Castle, Tuzigoot… just to name a few! 100 Things To Do in Sedona, AZ
      Hope that gives you some ideas of how to make the most of your time! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  41. Hi there! I am planning a Spring Break trip (April 4-8) to flagstaff with some friends and it seems you have a lot of insight on how much time each attraction in the area takes! I have a few questions if you could answer at your earliest convenience 🙂

    Currently we are planning on arriving in Flagstaff on the night of the 4th. We will visit the Grand Canyon all day on the 5th. On the 6th we are planning on visiting Horseshoe Bend and then having a picnic near lake Powell – either Wahweap or Lone Rock beach – then driving back to flagstaff, and still having time to do something in the evening once we get back. Does that sound reasonable? Also, I am specifically curious about the hike from the horseshoe bend parking lot to the overlook. I use a wheelchair – however I’m very active/strong and do a lot of “off-roading” in it independently + I have special equipment that makes it easier to get through sand. I’m fairly certain I’d be able to do it especially with help from my friends but was wondering if you had any insight. I noticed in another comment you said that there is another parking lot that has a shorter trail to the overlook, but that it’s currently closed. Any thoughts on what the status will be in April? The last day, we are planning on driving down to Sedona and seeing Red Rocks state park.

    Does it sound like we will be able to fit all of this in? I really appreciate any answers you have for me regarding these questions.

    1. Hi Emmi,
      It sounds like you are quite well-prepared to drive your wheelchair through most anything you might encounter on local trails. Seeing as though you’ll have traveling companions, that’s just an added safety net you should be prepared to use.
      According to what we’ve heard in the last few days, it’s now looking like an April re-open of Native American Tribal Parks won’t happen, so you shouldn’t count on being able to use that shorter trail to Horseshoe Bend when you visit.
      Using Flagstaff, AZ, as a base from which to explore Sedona and the Grand Canyon is doable at the time of year you’re visiting, but you might want to modify your plans a bit when it comes to Page, AZ. While Sedona is ~1 hour’s drive, one way, from Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon is a 90 minute drive, Page, AZ, is more along the lines of ~2.5 hours, each way. That means you’ll basically eat up about half of your available daylight behind the wheel of your car (sunrise occurs at about 6:00 AM and sunset takes place just before 7:00 AM). You might consider spending the night in Page, AZ, so you don’t risk driving back to Flagstaff, AZ, at night. Nighttime driving is not a good idea in this part of the U.S. due to area highways being very dimly lit (a deliberate move in Flagstaff, AZ’s case as they are a certified “Dark Sky” community), and the surrounding area is populated by deer, elk, and other wildlife that can raise your risk of a collision. That can be a major vacay buzzkill in an area that’s pitch black, possibly 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 🙂

  42. Hi Alley –

    We are coming in from April 3-10th, flying into Vegas. We want to see Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, then head over to Petrified Forest.

    I can’t decide if driving 89A through Vermillion Cliffs would also be worth it, or Lee’s Ferry? We want to make sure to hit Horseshoe Bend at sunrise one of the days.

    We want to avoid crowds, obviously stay out of the Navajo Nation, but what else should we think about seeing?

    Vegas – Grand Canyon – Page Area – Petrified Forest – Vegas

    Thanks in advance

    1. Hi Emma,
      The drive on US89A through Lees Ferry, Marble Canyon, and Vermilion Cliffs is absolutely worth it! At Lees Ferry, you can actually drive down relatively close to the bank of the Colorado River, and dip your feet in it, should you be inclined (it’ll be a short dip – water’s cold). There, you also have the opportunity to explore the historic Lonely Dell Ranch, one of the area’s earliest settlements. Driving past the Vermilion Cliffs, you’ll see all kinds of gravity-defying balanced rock formations, including one that provided the foundation for a house. Cliff Dweller’s Lodge is a great place to stop for lunch, the food there is amazing, and so is the view!
      One place you should consider setting aside time to visit is Zion National Park. Traveling from Page, AZ, to Las Vegas, NV, you’re pretty much passing right by it, and it’s a beautiful area with lots to see and do, so you should plan on spending at least 2 days there. The best place to stay would be Springdale, UT, or Hurricane, UT, just outside the park’s Western border.
      On the way back to Las Vegas, take the short detour through the stunning Valley of Fire State Park, just North of town!
      Also, plan on staying overnight somewhere near the Petrified Forest/Painted Desert. I would recommend Winslow, AZ, so you can take a picture of yourself “Standin’ On A Corner in Winslow, Arizona” (it’s a City Park), and maybe enjoy a meal or a walk-through of the beautiful La Posada hotel.
      Just so you know, the drive between Flagstaff, AZ, and Page, AZ, will take you through the Navajo Indian Reservation. There’s no way around that, and the road is open, but make sure your vehicle is fully fueled and that you are carrying snacks and water to tide you over until you get to Page, AZ. The Navajo Tribe discourages outsiders from stopping on reservation lands or interacting with residents.
      Sorry for bouncing around your itinerary. Here is a map of your trip, more logically arranged.
      Whatever you decide, be sure to reserve all hotels and guided tours in advance of your trip.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  43. Alley! Thanks for the great write-up. So helpful! My girlfriend and I are interested in seeing Antelope Canyon tomorrow, but it’s closed indefinitely as I’m sure you know. I wonder if Horseshoe Bend offers a similar aesthetic? Does part of the hike go through the bottom of a canyon with the tight walls, or is there a place you know of nearby that does? Thanks I’m advance!

    1. Hi Greg,
      Seeing as though you’ve already traveled, I hope you were able to find your way around OK.
      Unfortunately, there is no trail or other area near Horseshoe Bend that offers comparable scenery to the Antelope Canyons. Right now, the best alternatives are to take a kayak tour into the waterside of Antelope Canyon from Antelope Point Marina, which also includes some hiking into the pre-slot portion of the Lower canyon, which is on Federal and not Tribal land. Other popular alternatives (land-based) are Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch near Paria, UT (~45 minutes from Page, AZ) or Red Canyon aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT (~70 minutes from Page).
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hey Alley!

        Can’t figure out on here where I can ask a question but figured I’d hit reply and see if I can get an answer that way! My boyfriend and I will be staying in Sedona Arizona from May 22 to May 28, 2021 we will be flying in and out of Phoenix Arizona so I already know that’s about a 2 Hour drive to Sedona but the rest of the days we wanna make the most of our time and see as many sites as we can. I read that you’re hoping antelope Canyon will be open sometime in April hopefully it will! I would love to add that to the list. I was wondering if you had any suggestions as to where else we could see/pricing or planning tips. Obviously planning to see the Grand Canyon an horseshoe bend but anywhere else?

        1. Hi Gabrielle,
          Your inquiry posted perfectly, I’m sorry it took so long to respond on my end. I was on an out of town work assignment over the weekend.
          Unfortunately, have to start things off with potentially bad news, it’s looking like that April reopening date of the Antelope Canyons was a bit of wishful thinking on the part of local tour operators. A popular alternative, however, is to take a kayak tour into the waterside of Antelope Canyon, which includes some hiking into the pre-slot portion of the Lower Canyon, which is on Federal Land and not Tribal Land. The best time for this activity is in the morning, when there is typically no wind. Afternoon tours are often cancelled due to choppy waters caused by wind and large boat traffic. Therefore, it’s better to spend the night in Page, AZ, rather than attempt to visit Horseshoe Bend and local sites as a day trip.
          Otherwise, it’s ~a 3-hour drive, one way, from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ. Grand Canyon South Rim is ~2.5 hours from Sedona. Other popular sites to visit from that area include, but are by no means limited to, Montezuma Castle National Monument, Tuzigoot National Monument, the ghost town turned artist colony of Jerome, AZ, the Verde Canyon Railway, Petrified Forest/Painted Desert, Meteor Crater, Standin’ on the Corner in Winslow, AZ, Park, just to name a few. For more suggestions check out VisitSedona.com: Day Trips & Itineraries from Sedona, AZ
          If you do opt to visit surrounding sites as day trips from Sedona, AZ, be sure you plan to do any and 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 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, 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 visiting, sunrise takes place just after 5:00 AM and sunset occurs at around 7:45 PM.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

  44. Hi alley,

    My friend and i are planning to go to antelope and horseshoe bend around 2nd week of MAY. We are going to checked in at arizona hotels around the area and planning to get a rent a car. Is the antelope and horsehoe bend needs a tour or any entrance fee permit? Do we also need a parking fee for those?

    1. Hi Begz,
      First off, there’s a distinct possibility that the Antelope Canyons may not be open to tourism at the time of your visit. These do require a guided tour to visit, and unfortunately they were all suspended last season due to COVID-19. When they may reopen is at the discretion of the Navajo Tribal Council, and they have so far given no indication of when that might be. Should the Antelope Canyons remain closed at the time of your trip, there are alternatives, such as kayak tours into the waterside of Antelope Canyon, which include some hiking into the pre-slot portion of the Lower canyon, which is on Federal land. Land-based alternatives include Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch near Paria, UT, and Red Canyon/aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT.
      Horseshoe Bend does not require a guided tour. It can be visited at your leisure in your own vehicle during normal operating hours of the parking lot, which are sunrise to sunset. There is a one-time parking fee of $10 for standard passenger vehicles, or $35 for light commercial vehicles.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  45. Hi Alley,

    I’m thinking about visting page,az driving from the grand canyon sometime this summer. I’ll be going with a senior so I’m wanting to do fun activities that doesn’t require alot of hiking or walking.

    I’ve seen few tours of a horsebend by raft (not whitewater) and boat that looks to be inclusive to all ages.

    What would you recommend that? If so boat or raft ?

    How long are the boat and raft trips? What other activists would you recommend ?

    Planning on staying for 1 or 2 nights (about 2 full days).

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Mike,
      You are correct that the Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip is appropriate for most ages (4 and up) and physical fitness levels. It does not traverse any rapids, nor does it require any paddling or other extreme exertion on the part of passengers, so it is a very popular and family-friendly activity. Probably the most difficult aspect of this trip is the walk to a panel of petroglyphs, which is about 1/4 mile on mostly flat ground, though the trail might be sandy if recent conditions have been dry. Another thing to keep in mind is that it was suspended last season and part of this season due to COVID-19. It is expected to resume running this year on May 28th, 2021. The duration of the Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip out of Page, AZ, is ~4 hours.
      If you suspect that the senior member of your party would not be able to handle the walk to Horseshoe Bend Overlook, another less labor-intensive way of seeing it is to fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters depart out of the Page Municipal Airport daily, weather permitting, and contingent on a certain number of passengers traveling. An aerial sightseeing tour may also be a better alternative for seeing Rainbow Bridge, which is only accessible by boat, but requires a 2-3 mile round-trip walk to actually see the bridge due to low water levels. Otherwise, Lake Powell boat tours range in duration from 2-8 hours. These were also suspended last season due to COVID-19, and we’re not sure when they will resume running.
      Ditto for Antelope Canyon tours. In the event they are able to resume running by summertime, Upper Antelope Canyon would be the best segment of the canyon to tour since the walk is relatively short (100 yards, out and back) on flat terrain. Reservations for Antelope Canyon tours will not be taken until the Navajo Tribe gives the green light for tribal parks to reopen.
      Hope that helps. Please feel free to contact me directly at [email protected] if you have further questions.
      Alley 🙂

  46. Hey, Alley!

    My husband and I are traveling to AZ in April and are planning to start our vacation in Page. Currently, we are hoping to visit Horseshoe bend the morning of the 12th, go kayaking on the 13th, and then drive to Sedona afterwards to stay at a resort. Do you have any recommendations to maximize our trip? Any pointers would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!!

    1. Hi Briana,
      That plan sound pretty fun, and relaxing, which is nice! We are also hoping and praying that land-side tours of Antelope Canyon will reopen by mid-April, too, so that might be a possible add-on to your existing plans.
      Time and desire permitting, other activities you might enjoy include, but aren’t necessarily 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)
      If you have the time and/or inclination to venture a short distance into Utah, some other good additions to your itinerary might be:
      Big Water, UT, Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum (~20 minutes from Page, AZ)
      Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail (~1 hour from Page)
      On the drive down to Sedona, AZ, which typically takes ~3 hours, you might take advantage of the opportunity to do the Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monument Loop Drive. Highlights of this are an Ancestral Puebloan dwelling complex (quite a sophisticated one at that), and a dormant volcano. That will add another couple of hours onto your drive time, but you might find it time well spent!
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hey Alley,

        You have so much value to add, and I’m wondering if you have any tips to offer on whether it’s worth driving to horse shoe bend from Sedona on a day trip. We will be in Sedona 3-4 days, and it seems so close to horse show bend to miss it. We will be flying into Flagstaff airport, and will rent a car. Any insight is so greatly appreciated!

        Also, if you have any excursion or sight seeing or dining recommendations in Sedona I’d love that too!

        1. Hi Stephanie!
          The feasibility of visiting Horseshoe Bend as a day trip from Sedona largely depends on when you are traveling. Since the drive from Sedona, AZ, to Page, AZ (the nearest town) takes 2.5-3 hours each way, that basically consumes half or more of your available daylight if you were traveling during the winter or early spring months. If you were traveling in June or July, you have a little more leeway since days are 14-15 hours long.
          Why the obsession with daylength? Because 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 increase your risk of a collision. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that pitch black, possibly 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 you can possibly spare one night to spend in Page, AZ, that would make for a better quality experience where you could take things at a more relaxed pace. If you are locked into your room reservations in Sedona, it is possible to visit Horseshoe Bend as a day trip, as long as you know when sunset is, keep an eye on the time, and be sure you start your return trip to Sedona, AZ, so that you are certain to arrive back at your hotel by nightfall.
          As for sightseeing recommendations in Sedona, the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour is generally regarded as the “quintessential” Sedona activity! Other popular highlights include, but are not limited to, the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, hot air balloon rides, wine tastings, the Verde Canyon train, Cathedral Rock, Airport Mesa, and much more. 100 Things To Do In Sedona On dining recommendations, that’s where my knowledge is very limited as it’s been a few years since I’ve been to Sedona and restaurants tend to open, close, and change hands quite frequently. For suggestions of good restaurants, visit TripAdvisor, Yelp, or your own preferred consumer review site.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Geny,
        If you’re referring to Horseshoe Bend, a one-time parking fee of $10 for standard passenger vehicles and $35 for light commercial vehicles is required to visit.
        The parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset 7 days a week.
        Good luck and safe travels,
        Alley 🙂

  47. We will be Flying into Phoenix early June 6 and leave on the afternoon do 9. What are your thoughts of going to Hoover dam first driving up through Zion national Park and ending up in page Arizona?

    1. Hey Char,
      My thoughts on your trip plan? It requires too much driving, that you honestly don’t have time for.
      It would take ~5 hours to drive from PHX to Hoover Dam, you would then want to overnight in Las Vegas. The drive to Zion the next day would be ~3-4 hours, depending on where you opt to overnight (Springdale, UT, and Kanab, UT, tend to be the most popular lodging locations for Zion). And I’ll warn you right now that 1 day is nowhere near enough time to explore and enjoy Zion fully! The trip to Page, AZ, would be ~2 hours from Zion, then your drive back to Phoenix would take ~4.5 hours.
      The thing that really jumps out at me, though, is that the Grand Canyon is conspicuously absent from your itinerary. If you’ve never been there before, you should prioritize it over everything else! The drive from Phoenix or Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim would be ~4.5 hours. For best quality experience, it is best to stay either inside the park or in the small community of Tusayan, AZ, ~7 miles from the park entrance. If your flight gets into Phoenix “early,” as you say, you could drive straight to the Grand Canyon, stay that night and the following day/night. The the following morning (6/8), drive to Page, AZ (~3-4 hours if the normal travel route is open; right now Google maps is routing you down a detour through Flagstaff, necessitated by the closure of AZ64 East due to COVID-19, which tacks another 1-2 hours onto your travel time) and tour Antelope Canyon (again, if it’s open; we’re hoping that it is by June). Overnight in Page, then on the morning of June 9th, visit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning (~5:15 AM), then head back to Phoenix (~4.5 hour drive). Notice I’ve taken Zion out of the equation. Not because it isn’t beautiful, it definitely is, but you just don’t have the time to do it justice if you’re going to visit the Grand Canyon.
      Another option: switch your arrival and/or departure city to Las Vegas, NV. This will put you closer to Hoover Dam. You can easily stop by there on your way to Grand Canyon South Rim, which is ~a 5-hour drive from LAS. After overnighting in the Grand Canyon, drive to Page, AZ. If you make the trip via the shortest route possible, you’ll do a large chunk of your sightseeing of the Grand Canyon on the drive to Page because you’ll be traveling past half a dozen opportunities to view the Grand Canyon from different viewpoints. Visit Horseshoe Bend on your way into town, overnight in Page, then tour Antelope Canyon first thing the following morning. From Page, AZ, you could stop in Zion on your way back to Las Vegas, but again, that’s nowhere near enough time to really enjoy it. But I understand that a quick stop is better than not seeing it at all.
      So, a revised plan would look like this:
      June 6th: Arrive in Las Vegas, NV in AM, drive to Grand Canyon South Rim with stop at Hoover Dam (~5 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim
      June 7th: Drive to Page, AZ, along East Rim Drive of Grand Canyon to Cameron, AZ, North on US89, stop at Horseshoe Bend before arriving in town, overnight in Page, AZ
      June 8th: AM Antelope Canyon tour, then drive to Zion National Park, overnight in Springdale, UT
      June 9th: Drive back to Las Vegas (~3 hours from Springdale), afternoon flight home
      Custom trip map
      Again, if you’d prefer not to feel rushed on this trip, and you haven’t yet been to the Grand Canyon, take Zion off the table and save it for a future trip when you can give it 3-5 days. It’s a huge and beautiful park where you’ll have no trouble occupying a longer timeframe!
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  48. Hi Alley!
    I want to go explore the Grand Canyon and the Horseshoe bend in a couple of weeks, and I had a couple of questions.
    I will be staying at Page, AZ where I want to check out the Horseshoe Bend along with some other attractions. I read that Monument Valley is closed, but I was wondering if you could still drive through Highway 163 to see the landscape.
    After that, I will be driving to Grand Canyon South Rim. In your previous reply, I think I understood that you said it takes about 5 hours to get there from Page, AZ, but on Google Maps it’s showing as only about 3 1/2 hours. I was wondering if there is some other road closure I wasn’t aware of.
    Thank you so much! 🙂

    1. Hi Ana!
      Here’s the deal about Google maps figures: the drives time estimates they reflect are “wheels turning, no stops.” That rarely happens in this part of the U.S. due to the fact that the drives are very scenic and people invariably stop to take pictures (although at the present time, the Navajo Reservation is discouraging this to avoid contact between reservation residents and outsiders), plus there’s the possibility of getting stuck behind a slow-moving RV. Most optimistically, and speaking from personal experience, the drive from the Grand Canyon to Page, AZ, with the detour through Flagstaff, AZ, would take you ~4 hours. We advise tacking on extra time just to be on the safe side. Since most the trip from Flagstaff, AZ, to Page, AZ, takes place on Navajo land, it’s a good idea to ensure that your vehicle is fully fueled and that you have enough water and snacks in your vehicle to tide you over until you get to Page.
      As for visiting Monument Valley, you are not prohibited from driving through there on US163, but again, the tribe asks that outsiders avoid stopping due to COVID-19. The notable exception is Goulding’s Lodge, which has remained open, with limited services and reduced capacity in restaurants, on tour vehicles, etc. If you would prefer not to chance driving in this area, a way you can still see Monument Valley would be to fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes depart out of the Page Municipal Airport, weather permitting, and contingent on a certain number of passengers traveling. Mornings are the best time to fly for best lighting and lack of wind. Monument Valley Air Tours
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hello Alley! You’re super knowledgeable and I’d appreciate some assistance with plans for a 2 day stay! We’re looking at being there the 14th checking out the 16th. What’s open/closed? Do we dress warm (AZ natives that freeze under 70°s LOL) Any advice is greatly appreciated!

        1. Hi Ambar!
          Next weekend in Page, AZ, you can expect mostly sunny days with daytime high temperatures that are pleasantly brisk, ranging from the high 50’s to low ’70’s. Nighttime temperatures are still dipping down around freezing, so bring warmer clothing if you happen to be out and about after sunset (although all driving should be done during daylight hours). Page, AZ, weather
          Although the Antelope Canyons are still closed, there is still plenty to see and do in Page, AZ, right now! Visiting the Horseshoe Bend Overlook is a definite must, allow approximately 2 hours to park your vehicle ($10/vehicle), walk out to the rim, take photos, and walk back to the parking lot. Other activities you might enjoy include, but aren’t necessarily 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)
          If you have the time and/or inclination to venture a short distance into Utah, some other good additions to your itinerary might be:
          Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
          Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
          For more suggestions, visit the Page/Lake Powell Tourism Hub upon arrival in Page, AZ. If you see Gordon, tell him Alley said “hi.” 🙂
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

          1. Hi Alley!
            I’m moving across country and planning on staying in Page for 2 nights. I will have a uhaul attached to the back of my pickup truck though, will that be a problem with entering to park to hike Horseshoe Bend? Thank you so much!

          2. Hi Chrissy,
            Pulling a trailer, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty parking at Horseshoe Bend. However, I will advise that you time your visit for the earlier hours of the morning, so you have fewer people to contend with, and can avoid having to back up your trailer in order to make your way out. I used to work for U-Haul myself and backing up a trailer is no easy feat for the inexperienced!
            Good luck and safe travels,
            Alley 🙂

  49. Hello!

    We plan to drive from PHX Arizona airport on March 27th and heard there was a 1.5 mile hike? Would that be possible to do starting around the afternoon off that day?

    Thank you,

    1. Hi Kay,
      If you’re referring to Horseshoe Bend, the round-trip hike to the overlook is ~1.5 miles. The parking lot is open from sunrise to sunset, which, on your day of travel will be 6:16 AM and 6:44 PM respectively.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  50. Hi Alley! Cool site you guys got here! I am very glad I found this website. My wife and I plus 2 kids (13 and 7) will be in Flagstaff – Sedona on March 31 – where’s the best place to see stars? Also, from April 1 to 4, we booked a stay at Lake Powell Resort. We really intend to go to Horse Shoe bend and many more. Unfortunately, Antelope Canyon is close, some boat tours are close — can you recommend things to do with the kids? We are no expert in trekking, but we would love to start and just enjoy the Spring break of the kids…….. Thanks

    1. Hey Aaron,
      OMG, I’m so sorry it took so long to respond to your inquiry 🙁 This format sometimes results in questions getting buried, and unfortunately, yours was one of them.
      First off, I’d recommend allotting another day to Sedona, AZ. That’s a large, stunning area, with lots to see and do, including family-friendly activities. You’ll also find no shortage of places conducive to stargazing. If you prefer to do your night sky viewing in Flagstaff, AZ, the Lowell Observatory is the ultimate spot for that!
      Plan to hit Horseshoe Bend on your way into Page, AZ, or first thing the following morning. With the Antelope Canyons and many Lake Powell Boat Tours are closed, you might be thinking that your visit to Page, AZ, will be a bust, but that’s hardly the case. Other options include, but aren’t limited to, kayaking into the waterside of Antelope Canyon from Antelope Point Marina, then hiking into the “pre-slot” section of Antelope Canyon on the shoreline of Lake Powell, which is on Federal land. While the scenery in this part of the canyon is not the “classic” slot canyon scenery depicted in the hiking tours, judging from the number of sold out dates, for these tours, people didn’t seem to mind a bit!
      If you determine that activity might not be appropriate for your family (both air and water temperatures could still be on the cold side this time of year), another fun and family-friendly slot canyon that remains open for exploration is Wire Pass Canyon, which is located ~1 hour from the Lake Powell Resort. Time/desire permitting, you could also take the opportunity to do the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail nearby. Take a look at this video depicting a young family exploring both of these areas using Page, AZ, as a base: Wire Pass Canyon to Buckskin Gulch | Toadstool Hoodoos Trail, Utah
      Whatever you decide, just be sure you’re back to the hotel 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 could jack up your risk of a car accident. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, cold, where cell service is spotty, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. Sunrise on March 31st occurs at 6:10 AM, and sunset takes place just after 6:45 PM (Arizona time).
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  51. 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 🙂

  52. 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 🙂

  53. 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 🙂

  54. 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!

      2. 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!

        1. Hi again, John,
          In light of the fact that your flight departs at 10:00 AM on Sunday, that means you’d have to check in ~8-9 AM, correct? If so, I would recommend going down to Phoenix on Saturday, but taking the scenic route through Happy Jack, Pine, and Payson, AZ. That’s a beautiful drive through the mountains, and last I was there, was still relatively uncrowded. Things to do in Payson, AZ Wheels turning, no stops, the drive would take ~5-5.5 hours.
          Another option: leave Grand Canyon South Rim via AZ64 East if it’s open again by the time you visit (they’re hoping to reopen it by May 21st), stop at the Cameron Trading Post for brunch, then head South on US89 and take the Wupatki/Sunset Crater Loop Drive just North of Flagstaff. Driving direct, the trip would also be ~5-5.5 hours, but this is also a drive you’d want to take time to really enjoy!
          Have a great trip, and if you get a minute when you return home, write in again to let us know how it went!
          Alley 🙂

  55. 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 🙂

  56. 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 🙂

  57. 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 🙂

  58. 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 🙂

  59. 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 🙂

  60. 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.