Horseshoe Bend is less than 5 miles from Antelope Canyon, and is a must do if you are in the area. If it free to visit, and is only a .75 mile hike to the overlook.
Horseshoe Bend is a meander in the Colorado River that forms a horseshoe shape. Just 7 miles upstream from the beginning of the Grand Canyon, it is a great way to see river. (It is also a great way to get a selfie with the Colorado River, which is almost impossible from the South Rim. )
Find out more at HorseshoeBend.com
Hi Alley. Considering a family trip and hoping to cover Zion, Bryce, and Antelope Canyon (with a stop at Horseshoe Bend along the way). Dates of travel are Saturday, August 26-Friday, Sept. 1 (depart as early as possible) and we’ll be flying into/out of Vegas from the East Coast. The kids (14 and 13) enjoy hiking, but aren’t the type of kids who want to do it all day. We’ll also want to reward them with a full day of lazy pool time in Vegas on the back end of our trip. What’s your reaction to the following itinerary?
Day 1 (Sat): Arrive Vegas, drive to Zion, Easy hiking in Zion. Overnight in Zion, considering Under Canvas Glamping or Springfield Suites, Springfield
Day 2 (Sun): Hike Zion AM, drive to Bryce, Hike Bryce PM. Overnight in Bryce.
Day 3 (Mon): Hike Bryce AM and depart for Page, AZ. Stop to see Horseshoe Bend on the way. Sleep in Page, AZ
Day 4 (Tue): Antelope Canyon. Sleep in Page, AZ again.
Day 5 (Wed): Antelope Canyon. Depart for Vegas. Hang out in Vegas late afternoon and maybe a show in the evening.
Day 6 (Thurs): Spend the day poolside/relaxing in Vegas
Day 7 (Fri): Depart as early as possible
Your trip plan looks pretty fun, and well-paced, but one place is somewhat conspicuously missing from your itinerary: the Grand Canyon. Have you guys been there before? If not, you should definitely make time for it, and the most logical place to do so would be between Page and Las Vegas. By dropping that 2nd night in Page, you could swing over to the South Rim, spend the night there, then head to Las Vegas on day 5 as you’ve planned. Another option would be to hang onto that 2nd night in Page, AZ, but make a day trip to the North Rim. It’s ~a 2.5 hour drive each way, but with an early start on the day and an eye on the clock towards the evening, it can be done. More on that in a minute.
At Zion, I’d recommend choosing your overnight accommodations in Springdale, UT. That’s the staging area for the Zion Canyon Shuttle, which goes to the main sightseeing area of the park, and its most popular hikes, such as the Narrows, Emerald Pools, Scout Lookout, etc. Under Canvas, which definitely looks like a nice place, is actually situated within easier access to the Kolob Canyons section of the park. That area is beautiful, too, but more remote and has less in the way of visitor facilities geared to families like yourselves.
On Day 3, where you propose to visit Horseshoe Bend en route to Page, AZ, that’s an OK plan, but I’d also recommend allotting time to take the easy and very scenic Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos hike. That’s between Kanab, UT, and Page, AZ. The trailhead is at mile marker 19 on US89. I’d actually recommend hitting Horseshoe Bend right at sunrise instead. At the time of year you’re visiting, daytime high temperatures are still pretty hot in Page, and visiting the overlook at dawn affords a second benefit: smaller crowds. At the time of year you’re visiting, sunrise in Page, AZ, takes place just before 6:00 AM and sunset occurs at around 7:00 PM.
You had mentioned touring Antelope Canyon on both day 4 and day 5; it’s not 100% necessary to tour more than one slot canyon in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page, AZ, so if you do end up dropping that 2nd day in Page in order to visit the Grand Canyon, you won’t be shortchanging yourself in any way. If you’ve already been to the Grand Canyon and want to hang onto that second day in Page, you might consider partaking of a water-based activity such as the Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip or Kayak Horseshoe Bend. Both take place on a completely smooth stretch of the Colorado River between the base of the Glen Canyon Dam and Lees Ferry. The raft trip is guided, so you would just sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery. The kayak trip is more DIY, but thousands of first-time kayakers have done this trip and had a blast!
Whatever you decide, as mentioned before, knowing when sunrise and particularly sunset occur will be very important for your safety and enjoyment of this trip. You want to make sure you’re at your final destination for the day by sundown. Driving after dark is strongly discouraged in this part of the US due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and livestock animals that can heighten your risk of an auto accident. Believe me, 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), where help will be a long time coming (not to mention VERY expensive) can be a major vacation buzzkill! If you were to take me up on the suggestion to visit Grand Canyon North Rim as a day trip, for example, you’d want to be “wheels up” out of the park by 4:30 PM at the latest. Another consideration: Utah will be operating on a different time zone, 1 hour “ahead” of Arizona, which means that sunrise in the Zion National Park area will occur at around 7:00 AM local time and sunset takes place just after 8:00 PM.
I hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process! If you have further questions, please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com
Good luck and safe travels,
Would loveee to get your opinion on this. We have 5 nights , flying into Vegas Sunday night and flying out of Vegas Friday morning. 2 adults and 3 kids (4-8 years old).
I was thinking of driving out to Springdale Tuesday and staying overnight, next morning wed around 7am visit Zion, then drive to Page before dark and stay there overnight. Next morning Thursday visit lower antelope around 10am and then right after visit horsebend ( do I need to make reservations ? Is it easy to park there any time of the day and visit ?) , and finally drive back to Vegas to sleep there Thursday night and head home Friday morning.
Are any of the places I mentioned not for young kids ?
Thanks so much for reading !
Well, the first question that jumps out at me is have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? If not, you should prioritize it over everything else! Fortunately, it would be relatively easy to include in your trip itinerary.
I would recommend making the following modifications:
Sunday – fly to Las Vegas, overnight in Las Vegas
Monday – drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim
Tuesday – drive to Page, AZ (~3-3.5 hours factoring in stops), hit Horseshoe Bend on the way into town, overnight in Page
Wednesday – tour Upper Antelope Canyon in the morning, then drive to Zion (~2 hours), overnight in Springdale
Thursday – sightseeing in Zion utilizing Zion Canyon Shuttle, drive to Las Vegas (~3 hours), overnight in Las Vegas
Friday – fly home
For Horseshoe Bend, reservations are not required, you simply go there at your leisure during normal operating hours of the parking lot, which are sunrise to sunset. The trail from the parking lot to the rim is .7 miles one-way. Your 4 YO should be able to manage it, you might end up carrying them toward the end of the walk, depending on their endurance. Be aware that there are some limitations for young children touring Antelope Canyon. Would recommend you read our article “Antelope Canyon FAQ: Bringing Kids” Whatever you decide, be sure to book your Antelope Canyon tour ASAP.
Hope that helps. If I can be of further assistance, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Good luck and safe travels,
I am planing to visit Antelope canyon, Horseshoe bend, Wave, Bryce canyon, Zion and Grand Canyon.
We are family of 5 – three kids (13,10, 8). I am thinking to fly to Las Vegas and go from there. The time line is March 21-25.
I am thinking to stay in Page and Springdale over night.
Do you think we can do it? And what kind of plan do we need?
Thank you so much!
Well, I’ll get the bad news out of the way first: it’s highly unlikely that you’re going to get to visit The Wave. This landmark is located in a Special Management Area of the Paria Canyon/Vermilion Cliffs National Monument known as Coyote Buttes North. An advance permit is required to access this area, which is dispensed by an online lottery, held 4 months in advance of one’s proposed hiking date. The application period for permits for the month of March was November, so, if you have not applied for and won a permit in this manner, your likelihood of getting one through the virtual walk-up lottery are very low, especially for a party of 5. How To Get A Wave Permit
As for the rest of the attractions on your wish list, you should be able to visit those in the timeframe you specify, although you won’t be able to give certain parks such as Zion the time they deserve. Also, using Page, AZ, and Springdale, UT, as “base camps” from which to visit these attractions is not the best idea due to driving distances and short daylength.
For the Grand Canyon, you should plan on staying either inside the park at the South Rim, or Tusayan, AZ, ~7 miles outside the park. For Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend, you’ll need 1 night in Page, AZ. For Bryce Canyon and Zion, Kanab, UT, would be a better place to stay since it’s located between the two parks, whereas Springdale, UT, is on the Western border of the park.
As to what kind of plan you need, that largely depends on when and where you can find hotel availability.
A popular itinerary would go something like this:
Day 1: Fly to Las Vegas, drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours), optional stop at Hoover Dam, overnight at Grand Canyon
Day 2: Drive to Page, AZ (~3-3.5 hours from Grand Canyon if you stop at the viewpoints between GC Village and Desert View), visit Horseshoe Bend on the way into town, overnight in Page
Day 3: Tour Antelope Canyon in the AM (advance reservations required), drive to Bryce Canyon (~3 hours), optional stop to hike Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail, take scenic rim drive in Bryce, maybe hike part of the Queen’s Garden/Navajo Loop Trail in the park, overnight in Bryce Canyon area or Kanab, UT.
Day 4: Drive to Zion (~1 hour from Kanab, UT, or 2 hours from Bryce), take Zion Canyon Shuttle from Springdale to the main sightseeing areas in the park, hike Riverside Walk or Emerald Pools trails, overnight in Springdale or Kanab
Day 5: Drive back to Las Vegas (~4 hours from Kanab, ~3 hours from Springdale), optional stop at Valley of Fire State Park, fly home
Again, hotel availability (or lack thereof) will ultimately tell the tale of which order you visit these attractions in. Be prepared to flip-flop this itinerary if necessary. The main thing is DON’T think you can wing it, reservations are necessary for all hotels and guided tours! Remember also that you’re traveling during the Spring Break holiday for many schools, so it will be busy.
A couple of other things to keep in mind: although the calendar says “spring,” weather might still be more “winter” like. Best case scenario, expect days that are sunny but brisk, worst case, you could encounter a snowstorm. Start monitoring local weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. Another thing: daylength. Knowing when sunrise and sunset occur is very important in this part of the U.S. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged due to local roads being very dimly lit and the possible presence of deer, elk, and even livestock animals that can elevate your risk of a collision. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (IF you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. At the time of year you’re visiting, sunrise in Arizona occurs at 6:20 am and sunset takes place at 6:40 pm. Utah will be one hour ahead. Plan to be at your final destination for the day well before dark for optimal safety.
Hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process! Please feel free to contact me directly at email@example.com if you have further questions.
Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
Alley, thank you so much for the great information!
Hi again, Lora,
You’re welcome! Hey, something that just popped into my mind re: The Wave. In the likely event you don’t get a hiking permit through the online or walk-up lottery, there’s another way you might still get to see it, by chartering an airplane or helicopter out of the Page Municipal Airport and flying over it. While this would be a pricey way to go (no beating around the bush about that!), also, your aircraft would not land at the Wave (no place for it), you and your family would get to see a ton of incredible scenery in addition to The Wave in this manner.
Just thought I’d throw that out there. TheWaveAZ.com: So You Didn’t Get A Permit – Now What?
Hi Alley. I have a few questions for you about our trip. Could I email you?
Absolutely, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Talk to you soon,
I have read many many of your replies and have learned a lot. Because of you I booked a Horseshoe Bend/ Secret Canyon tour. Thank you. We have three nights in Page. I have been unable to find an open tour for four people to the Upper Antelope Canyon, probably because my dates are Nov 21, 22, 23. What do you suggest if we would like to spend a day on Lake Powell?
If you’ve got the Horseshoe Bend & Secret Antelope Slot Canyon tour booked already, there’s no need to book an Upper Antelope Canyon tour. Because your travel dates are in the days leading up to Thanksgiving might have something to do with lack of seats, but Secret Antelope is very scenic, and less crowded than Upper. If you have your heart set on seeing Upper Antelope Canyon, which I wouldn’t blame you a bit for, then I’d recommend cancelling the Horseshoe Bend & Secret Tour; otherwise, you might get “slotted out.”
With three nights in Page, AZ, you can certainly accomplish a lot. If by “spending a day on Lake Powell,” you mean doing some kind of boat tour, these are being offered during the shoulder season as private charters, which must be booked by phone at 928.645.1027. Word of warning, it will be cold, so be sure you’re ready for that, as well as wind.
If being on the water isn’t necessary, you can still enjoy the views of Lake Powell from the shoreline, or further back if you don’t want to pay the $30/vehicle entrance fee for Glen Canyon. Inside the park, there’s a nice trail that extends from the Lake Powell Resort complex past a couple of beach areas. Or you could drive *almost* to the border of Utah and poke around the Lone Rock Beach area. If paying that entrance fee doesn’t appeal, you can get good views of Lake Powell from the Page Rim View Trail or Grandview Overlook Park.
Other activities you might enjoy include but certainly aren’t limited to:
– Glen Canyon Dam/Steel Arch Bridge
– Hanging Garden Trail & The Chains
– Glen Canyon Dam/White House Overlook
– The “New” Wave and Radio Tower Rock
– Gunfighter Canyon
– Wahweap Overlook
– Big Water Visitors Center & Dinosaur Museum
– Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail
– Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch
– Alstrom Point Tour
Hope that helps! Please feel free to contact me personally at email@example.com if you have further questions.
Good luck and safe travels,
All the comments here are so helpful! I’m planning a trip for spring break for our family (2 adults, 2 kids: 10 and 8) in early April 5-10, 2020. We have only 5 nights. I was considering the following and I’d love your input:
Day 1: arrive in Vegas 10 am, drive to Zion and explore, stay in Springdale
Day 2: drive to Bryce, explore Bryce and some of Zion, stay in Springdale
Day 3: Drive to Page, Explore Horseshoe Bend and area, stay in Page
Day 4: Antelope Canyon tour, drive to South Rim, explore, drive all the way to Vegas: Stay in Vegas
( I think I need some help with day 3-4 and what tours to take or what to see; should we do both Upper and Lower canyons?)
Day 5: drive to Hoover Dam, explore Vegas
Day 6: explore Vegas, fly home at night.
Thank you, Nitsa
Your plan looks good, until you get to day 4: there, you’re proposing to cram in too much driving into one day.
It takes approximately 3.5-4 hours to drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim. I know that Google maps gives the drive time as 2.5 hours, but that’s wheels turning, no stops. That rarely happens because the drive is very scenic and you will want to stop frequently to take pictures, especially between Desert View Point and Grand Canyon Village. There are over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon along this portion of the trip, all with different distinguishing features and perspectives on the canyon. After that, you’re facing at a 4.5-hour drive from Grand Canyon Village to Las Vegas? No thanks.
A better plan would be to tour Antelope Canyon in the afternoon on Day 3, hit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning on Day 4, stay overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim, then continue on to Las Vegas, stopping at Hoover Dam, on Day 5.
Trust me, your kids will thank you for not subjecting them to 9-10 hours in the car!
Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
Planning on visiting southwest in April. Would like to visit Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Bryce and Zion. Coming from NJ. Was thinking of landing in Flagstaff, AZ to start the tour. Rent a car to drive the rest. Then fly back from Vegas to NJ. Or vice verse. But it seems it might be easier from Vegas. I believe Page,AZ is an option to land. Looking to trip out there from April 9-18. I would like to include Grand Canyon as well if possible. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
In general, Las Vegas, NV, and Phoenix, AZ, tend to be the most popular “staging cities” for an American Southwest vacation. While you are correct in that there are smaller commuter airports located closer to the main attractions you wish to see, flying into them may not be all that convenient, or cost-effective. In my years of experience helping tourists plan trips out here, I’ve found that people who do opt to fly into secondary airports such as Flagstaff, AZ, Page, AZ, or St. George, UT, end up in hindsight wishing they’d “bitten the bullet” and taken the longer drive out of the major airport. Here’s a video that explains things in further detail – the footage is a bit dated, but the core principles remain the same: GrandCanyon.com: Which Airport is the Closest to Grand Canyon National Park?
What you might look into doing is flying into Phoenix and out of Las Vegas (or vice versa). That would allow you to include Sedona in your trip plans, which is an incredibly scenic area that you would love!
Given your time frame, you could do something like this:
April 9: Land in Phoenix, drive to Sedona (~2.5 hours), overnight in Sedona
April 10: Take Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, spend rest of the day enjoying hiking, exploring, shopping, wine tasting, spend 2nd night in Sedona
April 11: Drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon
April 12: Drive from Grand Canyon to Monument Valley (~4-5 hours factoring in possible stops on East Rim/Desert View Drive, Cameron Trading Post, Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks, etc.), backcountry tour in afternoon, overnight in Monument Valley
April 13: Drive from Monument Valley to Page, AZ (~2.5 hour drive), tour Antelope Canyon, overnight in Page
April 14: First thing in AM, visit Horseshoe Bend, take Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip, 2nd night in Page
April 15: Drive from Page, AZ to Bryce Canyon (~3 hours), stop at Glen Canyon Dam, Big Water Visitors Center, Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos en route if desired, overnight in Bryce Canyon area
April 16: Take Bryce Canyon scenic rim drive in AM, drive to Springdale, UT in PM, overnight in Springdale
April 17: Use free hop-on/hop-off shuttles to visit Zion Canyon area, 2nd night in Springdale
April 18: Drive back to Las Vegas (~3.5-4.5 hours depending on progress of construction on I-15), optional detour to Valley of Fire State Park, fly home
Before you commit to that plan, check rental car drop-off fees. Some outlets charge a pretty hefty price for dropping vehicles off in different cities from where you pick them up. If you find this to be the case, you could always fly in and out of Las Vegas and still include Sedona in your trip plan, you’d just be looking at a longer drive on the front end of your trip.
Start looking into lodging and Antelope Canyon tour availability right away. Don’t be surprised to find in-park lodging to be sold out already. You’ll probably find that to be the case in Monument Valley, where there aren’t many hotels to work with as it is. If you find that the area is already booked, you could simply visit Monument Valley as a day trip out of Page, AZ, and spend a 3rd night there. It’s ~4 hours round trip to drive from Page to Monument Valley, but with a well-planned day and an eye on the clock, it’s doable. Bear in mind that Monument Valley is in a different time zone than Page, AZ, at that time of year (they’re 1 hour ahead), and be sure that you avoid driving back to Page, AZ, after sunset. Once the sun goes down, it gets really dark, and deer, elk, free range sheep and cattle, and even wild horses tend to move about at night, which raises the risk of a collision. On Page, AZ, time, sunrise occurs just before 6:00 AM and sunset takes place at around 7:00 PM at the time of year you’re visiting; move that up 1 hour for MV time (7:00 AM and 8:00 PM respectively).
Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year!
First off Happy New Year and thank you very much for the information. Any experience with Yavapai Lodge? That’s the only one available for Grand Canyon.
Hi Antonio, and Happy New Year to you!
In fact, I do have some first-hand experience with Yavapai Lodge, but admittedly, awhile back in the past. It has since been acquired by Delaware North Corporation and upgraded to include both conventional 2 queen rooms, as well as rooms designed for families with a combination of queen and bunk beds.
However, none of that really matters in the scheme of things. The most important thing is that if you book Yavapai Lodge, you will be inside the park, which always the best place to be. Yavapai Lodge is situated approximately 1 mile from the canyon rim, and conveniently located to souvenir and grocery shopping, with a food and beverage outlet and tour desk on-site.
In the time it takes to debate whether this Grand Canyon hotel will be suitable for your family, though, rooms could get booked up. I know, I used to work in their reservations office (back when it was Fred Harvey/AMFAC, and yes, that dates me) and saw it happen more times than I could count!
Good luck and safe travels,
Thanks a lot for providing great insights. We are unfortunately planning our trip haphazardly. We’re flying into Las Vegas on the morning of November 22nd and checking out on the 24th. Thereafter, getting a rental car to head towards Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon and staying at Yavapai Lodge on the night of 24th, then we’re planning or hoping to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe, but all tours seem to be booked, except Guided 1.5 Hour Antelope Canyon X Dual Canyons Hiking Tour. We are then planning on driving out to Sedona that evening and staying at Sedona Real Inn and Suites from 25th and checking out on 27th and then driving to Phoenix. We have a 8:45 pm flight out from there to back home to Houston. Please indulge me with your suggestions and reviews, I am all ears… Highly appreciated!
If I’m interpreting your inquiry correctly, you may want to forget about doing an Antelope Canyon of any sort tour this time around.
So, I’m inferring that you are staying at Yavapai Lodge at Grand Canyon South Rim on November 24th (the day before Thanksgiving), checking out of Yavapai on 11/25, then heading down to Sedona to stay on November 25th.
If so, here’s the problem: the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, where the Antelope Canyons are situated, is ~3-3.5 hours. Whilst in the Page, AZ, area, you should also take the opportunity to visit Horseshoe Bend, allotting 90 minutes to 2 hours to do this. Your Antelope Canyon X tour, factoring in advance check-in, orientation, etc., will realistically take ~2-2.5 hours after all’s said and done. So, that’s ~4.5-5 hours of sightseeing in Page, AZ, not counting any time you might take for lunch or a snack. You’re then looking at ~a 3-hour drive from Page, AZ, to Sedona. Trip map
Adding that all up (driving and sightseeing), that’s 3 + 5 + 3 = 11 hours, bare minimum, on a day when you barely have 10 hours of daylight to work with. At time time of year you’re traveling, sunrise occurs at 7:13 and sunset takes place at 5:12 pm. Now if you’re thinking that you’ll just do the drive to Sedona at night, think again. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit and the possible presence of deer, elk, and even livestock animals that can elevate your risk of a collision. That’s not something you want to chance in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (IF you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. The drive into Sedona on US89A through Oak Creek Canyon is very twisty, dark, and dangerous. I’ve driven that stretch of road myself after sunset, and will never do it again if I can possibly help it.
If you really have your heart set on seeing Antelope Canyon, try to free up another night that you can spend in Page, AZ. Otherwise, concentrate on giving Sedona, AZ, what time you have. I’m confident you’ll discover that 2 days is not nearly enough time to do that area justice!
Sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news, but we’d rather see you enjoy your time here rather than make it a race against the clock to get to your next destination.
Hope that helps! Please feel free to contact me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have further questions.
Good luck and safe travels,
All the comments here are so helpful! I’m planning a trip for next spring break for myself and my 3 kids (14, 12, and 10) in early April 2020. We may have only 5 nights. I was considering the following and I’d love your input:
Day 1 – Fly into Phoenix (maybe catch a Diamondbacks game if we’re lucky. Schedules not out yet!). Phoenix hotel for 1 night
Day 2 – Drive to Grand Canyon, maybe a Pink Jeep tour? (I’ve done one in Sedona, not sure if it’s great for Grand Canyon, though). Grand Canyon lodge for 1 night
Day 3 – Ranger-guided hike at South Rim. Drive to Page, AZ. Night 1 in Page
Day 4 – Upper Antelope Canyon early morning tour. Would also like to do the rafting on the Colorado River around Horseshoe bend — I’m not clear if that’s included in the boat tour I’m seeing on this site? Also — is it worth checking out the Lower Canyon also? Night 2 in Page
Day 5 – Drive to Zion. Take a guided family-friendly canyoneering tour. Drive back to Page for our final night.
Day 6 – Drive all the way back to Phoenix and fly home.
Too ambitious? Other options I haven’t considered? I’d appreciate any input you may have. Thank you in advance!
Hi Lori, and thank you for visiting our site! Kudos as well for doing your trip planning well in advance.
Your tentative itinerary looks pretty fun, still, I’d recommend making a couple of modifications for the sake of convenience.
First off, you mention that you’ve been to Sedona before, so I assume that’s why you’re leaving it out this time around.
I did some research and it appears that the Arizona Diamondbacks 2020 season opener is scheduled for April 5th, vs. the Boston Red Sox.
At the Grand Canyon, it is not necessary to take a guided tour. The South Rim is a very easy area to self-tour, and a good chunk of your sightseeing of the Grand Canyon will actually occur on the drive to Page (or from Page… more on that in a minute). Most of the overlooks are open to private vehicles, except for the ones on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive, which are served by a free hop-on/hop-off shuttle line. If possible, book your Grand Canyon lodging inside the park, or Tusayan, just 7 miles South of the park so you can easily enjoy sunset and/or sunrise on the rim of the Grand Canyon!
For the Page, AZ, leg of your trip, the boat tour on this particular site isn’t the one that goes through Horseshoe Bend. The trip you’re looking for is the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. During the month of April, the 1/2-Day Float Trip departs once daily at 11:00 AM with a 10:00 AM check-in, and concludes at 3:30 PM. As to whether you should tour both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, they are both beautiful, you would just need to be sure that neither slot canyon tour overlaps with the float trip on either side of it. Upper + Lower Antelope Canyon “bundle” If you opt to tour just one slot canyon, and your family is physically fit enough to handle Lower Antelope, I’d recommend going with that. Full Video Walk-Through of Lower Antelope Canyon
On Day 5, where you propose to visit Zion as a day trip from Page, AZ, that’s doable, but you must keep a close eye on the clock. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the country due to lack of artificial lighting on local roads, and the possibility of colliding with a deer, elk, free range cow, or even a wild horse. It typically takes ~2 hours to drive from Page, AZ, to Zion, but that’s wheels turning, no stops. That rarely happens, since it’s a very scenic drive, and you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves along the way, such as the Big Water Visitors Center, Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos trail, and Moqui Cave, just to name a few. So a 2-hour drive could easily turn into 3.5 or even 4 hours, unless you resist all temptations to stop. Another thing to keep in mind is that while Utah DOES observe Daylight Savings Time, Arizona DOES NOT. So, you’ll “lose” an hour traveling between Arizona and Utah, but “regain” it as you travel back to Arizona. Sunrise in AZ occurs at ~6:00 AM in early April; sunset takes place around 6:45 PM. Taking all that into consideration, that wouldn’t give you much time to work with in Zion, which is an amazing park that really deserves 3-4 days time to fully enjoy.
If you’re open to making some changes, you might consider flying into Las Vegas instead of Phoenix. Las Vegas occasionally hosts some Spring Training games, if catching a baseball game is a non-negotiable element of this trip. If not, you’d probably find Las Vegas to be better poised to make this itinerary work. Your schedule would look something like this:
Day 1 – Fly into Las Vegas, catch a spring training game, overnight in Las Vegas
Day 2 – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours), overnight at the Grand Canyon
Day 3 – Ranger-guided hike at South Rim. Drive to Page, AZ (~3-3.5 hours factoring in stops), night 1 in Page
Day 4 – Antelope Canyon early morning tour, 1/2-day Glen Canyon Float Trip, either spend 2nd night in Page, AZ, or drive to Zion and overnight in Springdale, UT.
Day 5 – Early AM drive from Page to Zion, or get early start out of Springdale, UT, for Zion National Park tour.
Day 6 – Drive back to Las Vegas (~3.5 hours), fly home
If you prefer to keep Phoenix as your staging city, and depending on your tolerance for making a longish drive at the beginning of your tour, you could do something like this:
Day 1 – Fly into Phoenix, catch baseball game, overnight in Phoenix
Day 2 – Drive from Phoenix to Kanab, UT (~6 hours), overnight in Kanab.
Day 3 – Drive from Kanab to Zion Ponderosa Ranch (~1 hour drive), take canyoneering tour, spend 2nd night in Kanab.
Day 4 – Drive to Page, AZ (~60-90 minutes), check in 10:00 AM for 11:00 AM float trip, take afternoon tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, overnight in Page.
Day 5 – Drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3.5-4 hours factoring in stops), overnight at South Rim.
Day 6 – Drive back to Phoenix, fly home.
Sorry to ramble on for so long, but hope that’s given you some things to think about. Please don’t hesitate to hit us up again if you need further guidance!
Good luck and safe travels,
We’re planning to make a short trip to AZ October 19-14. I have a 12 yr old daughter & a senior mom. We haven’t been to AZ before but my husband is a photographer by heart. Can you recommend best sites to see (including the antelope canyon) for this short a time, please? We’re flying from chicago to Phoenix & Planning to do an Airbnb for our stay. Thanks much!!
Unfortunately, your query has a typo in it: “October 19-14.” If you meant October 19th-24th, assuming that the 19th and 24th are travel days, you could do something like this:
October 20th – Drive from Phoenix to Page, AZ (~5-6 hours), tour Antelope Canyon, overnight in Page.
October 21st – Visit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hours), overnight at Grand Canyon
October 22nd – Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Sedona (~2.5 hours), overnight in Sedona
October 23rd – 2nd day/night in Sedona
October 24th – Drive back to Phoenix (~2.5 hours)
If I’m mistaken about your trip plan, please let me know ASAP.
Opps, sorry. I meant oct 9-14.
Is it easier to fly into another airport from Ohare then Alley? So, we can go to antelope canyon with less time to drive? Tnx!
Hi again, Theresa,
Thank you for the clarification of your plans.
The typical flight from Chicago to Phoenix takes a little under 4 hours. Ditto for Chicago to Las Vegas. There are other airports you can fly into that would put you closer to Antelope Canyon, namely, Page, AZ (PGA). Contour Airlines runs flights from Phoenix and Las Vegas to Page, which is just minutes away from Antelope Canyon. Upon landing in Page, AZ, you could rent a car with Avis (they are the only on-field rental car outlet). Contour Airlines’ rates are surprisingly competitive, but there are possible disadvantages to going this route. For one, at present, Contour does not have any downline baggage agreements with other airlines, so, assuming you flew into Phoenix, you would have to claim your bags off your flight form O’Hare, then transfer them to the Contour Airlines counter for re-checking. Another possible disadvantage is scheduling, as Contour typically offers only two daily flights to Page, AZ, from Phoenix or Las Vegas.
Assuming that October 9th and 14th will be travel days, that leaves you with four full days to work with for your trip. If you were to fly into Phoenix, you could spend 1 day in Page, 1 day at Grand Canyon South Rim, and 2 days in Sedona.
Hope that helps. Feel free to hit us up again if we can be of further help!
We’re signed up for a package tour of the Upper, Lower, and Boat tours of Antelope Cyn in late June. We were planning on wearing shorts but I saw in the video that a lot of people were wearing jeans. Perhaps it’s cooler in the canyon due to shadow? In any case, I was wondering what your recommendation on clothing was. Also, on the boat tour do you have the option to do any swimming or is it all in the boat?
Thanks for your help & info
Hi Grant, and thank you for this excellent question!
The videos you most likely saw were filmed in early spring, hence the majority of people are wearing warmer clothing. In late June, plenty of people tour Antelope Canyon in shorts and are perfectly comfortable doing so. The interiors of both the slot canyon, and the waterside canyon tend to be cooler than the outside air, which is a welcome change, but you should still be comfortable wearing shorts. If in doubt, you might want to purchase a pair of convertible cargo pants before heading out on your trip. These long pants easily turn into shorts, and back again. That way, you can be prepared for virtually any weather condition, and adjust for your personal comfort level.
RE: swimming on the boat tour, conditions in the Antelope Canyon arm of Lake Powell usually aren’t conducive to it. Ultimately that’s at the discretion of your boat captain.
Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
Hi Ryan! This might be an ambitious question to ask, but I saw all your great suggestions regarding itineraries. My husband and I are planning on a trip in late Sept.-we can spend up to 2 weeks. We will probably fly into PHX and would like to hit Sedona, antelope Canyon and a boat trip on the lake, and whatever else we should see in that area,North Rim of the Grand Canyon-we have been to the south rim and then going to the national parks in Utah. Zion, Bryce, Arches, Canyon lands and Capital Reef. Do you have a suggestion for the order of our stops. Because of the huge cost difference in returning a car at a different location, we will have to make a loop. We will do some hiking in the parks, but not too ambitious-we are in our late 60s-70’s. Maybe about 5-6 miles a day. Thanks for your thoughts! Beth
Dear Beth and Bob,
Hello and thank you for visiting our site!
With 2 full weeks, you should be able to hit all the sites on your “wish list” fairly easily. Ultimate 14-Day American Southwest Itinerary
As to the order in which you make the stops, availability of lodging at Grand Canyon North Rim will by the “lynchpin” around which the rest of your plans revolve, and evolve. Since the North Rim only has a few lodging options, you’ll need to get on that ASAP. If you can’t find availability inside the park at the sole hotel, Grand Canyon Lodge, your next best options will be the Kaibab Lodge and Jacob Lake Inn respectively in order of proximity to the park. If those are full — and it’s quite likely they are — you might have to stay further away, such as in Kanab, UT or Page, AZ, and visit the North Rim as a “day trip.” Grand Canyon North Rim Lodging
Using Phoenix, AZ as your “staging” city, you could do:
3 days – Sedona, AZ
2 days – Page, AZ (Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon Float Trip and/or Lake Powell Boat Tour)
3 days – Moab, UT (Arches/Canyonlands)
1 day – Torrey, UT (Capitol Reef)
1 day – Bryce Canyon
2 days – Zion National Park (lodging in Springdale, UT)
1 day – Grand Canyon North Rim
1 day – Flagstaff, AZ
Or, you might reverse the order of these in order to get the longer drives out of the way early on. Again, the availability (or lack thereof) of North Rim lodging will probably be the most significant determining factor in how you plan your trip.
Hope that helps! For more trip planning information, visit our sister site, HorseshoeBend.com
Best wishes for safe travels!
I so badly want to see so much of the southwest, i was fixed on the grand cayon or arches NP,but the more i look,the more interesting things i see and want to do.I live in PA, not sure if i would drive or fly.But defenitely need lodging for 2 adults,2 children,8 and 16. Id love to see Antelope,Lake Powell and possibly anything else close to that area.Should i work with a travel agent?
First off, travel agents are not as easy to find as they were in years past. Even if you do manage to find one, chances are they have not travelled to the area themselves, and may unwittingly give you incorrect information. I’ve been in this business a long time, and can tell you my share of horror stories!
Fortunately, it is very easy to plan a trip to the American Southwest by doing research online. I recommend the Travel Forums of Trip Advisor to start with. I myself am a contributor to these, and you’ll find lots of helpful, experienced folks very willing to share their insight and expertise! There are also numerous groups on Facebook where you are welcome to bounce ideas off people.
Coming from PA, you’ll probably want to fly to Las Vegas. Otherwise, you’re looking at a 3-5 day drive, each way, which can be fun for those with the time and inclination to take on such a trip, but not so much for those unprepared for long days on the road.
If you want to see Arches, Canyonlands, and the “Utah Mighty 5” as well as Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend, you’ll want to allot at least 2 weeks out here. Ultimate 14-Day Grand Circle Itinerary
Phoenix can also be used as your “staging city” if you wanted to add Sedona to your itinerary; another option would be to fly into Phoenix, then out of Las Vegas, or vice versa. Before you commit to that, however, make sure one-way rental car drop-off fees won’t be prohibitively high.
Hope that helps. Please feel free to ask further questions if/when you feel the need to!
Good luck and safe travels,
I am planning to visit las vegas, Grand canyon,Antelope canyon, zion & Bryce national parks with my wife.
I will be reaching las vegas on oct 14Th and retrning on Oct 19Th.
Note: I can’t drive and so i am completely depending on bus/shuttle transportation between the visiting sites.
Can you help me with any suggestions of transportation and how can i plan my trip to go good.
I just thought your previous responses to others were helpful and posting my comment.
Thanks & Regards,
Not being able to self-drive will limit the options you have for visiting the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Zion, and Bryce. Guided tours are out there, but remember that you will be at the mercy of their schedule, and there will be very little room for “doing your own thing.”
Viator consistently has a good selection of tours that cover most if not all of the attractions on your wish list, like this 5-Day/10-Canyon tour. You may need to take two separate tours in order to accommodate them all. MaxTour has a well-rated 2-day tour from Las Vegas that covers Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon.
According to recent customer reviews, two companies you might wish to steer clear of are TakeTours and Tours4Fun. I have personally never worked with these companies, but consistently negative feedback tells me that your hard-earned money would be better spent elsewhere.
Hope that helps you get started in your planning. Good luck and safe travels. If you choose either one of these guided tours, or something else entirely, please let us know how it went so we can advise future travelers to the area on what works and what to avoid!