How to book a tour for Antelope Canyon

By Ryan / January 18, 2019

This post is also available in: zh-hans fr de it ja ko

Antelope Canyon has quickly risen to Top 5 status among the Page, Arizona area’s “must do” activities. An authorized tour guide is required to enter, and advance reservations are an absolute must!

Overview

To book a tour for Antelope Canyon, you must first decide whether you want to tour Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon.

Upper is an easy, flat 100 yard walk following a 2-mile safari truck ride from the Navajo Tribal Park Gate on US98 to the canyon’s entrance.
Lower is longer (~600 yards), requires some stair climbing and stepping over a few boulders, access to the canyon is directly from the Tribal Park Gate on US98. 

Time permitting, you might also consider visiting the waterside of Antelope Canyon by boat tour or kayak.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Introducing our new 2019 Bundle Deals!

We know you didn’t come all this way just to see one part of such a magnificent Canyon. In the past it has been difficult to book more than one canyon run at a time due to the hassles of having to book through different vendors. Well no more! We have done all the hard work so you can Book your bundle today and enjoy the natural wonders that are the Upper & Lower Canyons as well as by boat! Find out why these canyons are some of the most photographed canyons in the world!

Upper Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Boat

Upper Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Boat

Why go with Bundle Deals?

Benefits of a Bundle Deal…  
#1 – All inclusive booking price.  Don’t get caught with hidden fee’s!
#2 – When you purchase a boat tour combo your  Park Entry fees is reduced from $37.00 to $2.00! Just show your Vouchers.
#3 – Our service does all of the work finding any possible booking combination and times. Saving you valuable time.

#4 – Our bundle deals take into consideration how far you have to travel and how long you may have to wait to enter the Park or add time for lunches.
#5 – Many times bundle deals are available when stand alone Tours are not!

Lower Antelope Canyon

There are two companies operating tours to Lower Antelope Canyon. Their tours are virtually identical, right down to the footsteps, and the penny. They are:

• Ken’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours (928) 606-2168 http://lowerantelope.com/ and
• Dixie Ellis’ Antelope Lower Canyon Tours (928) 640-1761 http://antelopelowercanyon.com

Schedule for Ken’s:
SUMMER HOURS: First week in March – first week in November
Tours begin at 8:00 AM, leaving every 30 minutes, last tour leaving at 4:30 PM
WINTER HOURS: Second week in November – last week in February
Tours begin at 9:00 AM, departing every half hour; last tour leaves at 3 PM
For Dixie Ellis’:
SUMMER HOURS: Beginning of March through mid-November,
Tours begin at 7:45, departing every 30 minutes, last tour leaves at 4:15
WINTER HOURS: Late November through February
Tours begin 8:45 AM, leaving every 30 minutes until 2:45 PM when last tour departs
Prices: Adults (13+) $40 + $8 per person Navajo Nation Park Permit Fee
Children (8-12) $20 + $8 per person Navajo Nation Park Permit Fee
Children under 7 are free, but space must be reserved for them; parental discretion advised for parties with small children in Lower Antelope Canyon
All times are on Mountain Standard Time (the same as Page, Arizona)
(Schedules and prices for both operators are subject to change without notice at the discretion of the Navajo Tribe)

Upper Antelope Canyon

If you want to tour Upper Antelope Canyon, you must decide whether you want to do a traditional sightseeing tour (duration approximately 90 minutes) or a photographer’s tour (2-2.5 hours, only those with professional-grade photographic equipment such as a DSLR cameras and tripods are allowed to participate).

You must then decide whether you prefer to tour Upper Antelope Canyon with an outfitter that offers round-trip transportation from the town of Page, Arizona, or if you’d prefer to pick up your tour directly from the Tribal Park Entrance Gate on US98. The latter option would probably work best if you’re heading to Monument Valley, Four Corners, Mesa Verde and other points East of Page, AZ since it’s right on your way. Whichever way you choose to go (transportation from Page or direct from the Navajo Park Gate), the tours and prices are the same, so pick whoever has the time slot that works best for you and book it.  

The sole Upper Antelope Canyon tour company operating from the Tribal Park Entrance Gate on US98 is Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours. Their tour schedule is as follows:

  • Sightseeing tours: Tours depart daily on the top of the hour with the first tour starting at 8:45 am until 4:00 pm MST. (Doors open at 8:00 am and close at 4:00 pm.)
  • Photographer’s tours: Depart daily, running two hours from 11 AM to 1 PM.
  • Contact information: 928-698-3384  https://navajotours.com

There are 3 Upper Antelope Canyon tour companies operating from Page, Arizona. If all of the companies below are sold out, you can often times find seats to Upper Antelope Canyon on Antelope Canyon Now.

Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon Grand Expedition One Day Tour

Antelope Canyon Expedition

Experience Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in one convenient day from your Hotel in Las Vegas! Fly to Page and see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend!
Book Here

Pro Tip! If you cannot find openings for the dates you are looking for, check out bundle deals. Many times these are still available when general booking is full!!

Ryan

Antelope Canyon via Lake Powell

If you want to compliment your visit to Page, AZ with a waterside tour of Antelope Canyon, there are two companies that offer boat tours to Antelope Canyon on Lake Powell:

Antelope Point Marina – Antelope Canyon boat tours are offered daily from Antelope Point Marina. Aboard a 30′ pontoon boat, you’ll experience the intricacies of the waterside of Antelope Canyon in one hour’s time.

This is one of the easiest and most accessible ways to experience Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon Boat Tour

Tour schedule:

  • January 1 – March 4 / November 26 – December 31: 12:00 Noon, 1:00 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:45 PM
  • March 5 – May 13: 9:00 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:15 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:45 PM, 5:00 PM
  • May 14 – September 3: 9:00 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:15 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:45 PM, 5:00 PM, 6:15 PM
  • September 4 – October 14: 9:00 AM, 10:15 AM, 11:30 AM, 1:15 PM, 2:30 PM, 3:45 PM, 5:00 PM

Tour price includes bottled water; additional snack and beverage packages available for purchase

Wahweap Boat Tours –A 90-minute trip where you’ll tour approximately 4 miles of Antelope Canyon’s waterside before it transitions into land. In addition, you’ll glide past stunning towering Navajo Sandstone geologic formations and Glen Canyon Dam, the second largest concrete arch dam in the United States

Tour schedule:

  • April 1 – October 31: 10:30 am – 12:00 pm, 2:30 pm – 4:00 pm, 4:15 pm – 5:45 pm
  • June 1 – August 15: 6:15 pm – 7:45 pm
  • During the winter months, tours may operate contingent on a minimum of 15 passengers booked by 48 hours prior to departure

Complimentary coffee, water & lemonade are provided. You are welcome to bring reasonable amounts of your own snacks or beverages with you.  Schedules may vary depending on the water level of Lake Powell.

Antelope Canyon Kayak Tours
Hidden Canyon Kayak Tours will show you the waterside of Antelope Canyon on a more intimate and personal level than a tour boat can offer. Lasting 3-4 hours, no previous kayaking experience is required to take part in this unforgettable experience! Tours depart daily from Antelope Point Marina.

Tour schedule:
February 15th – April 30th  – 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM
May 1st – September 14th  – 6:30 AM, 7:30 AM, 1:00 PM
September 15th – October 31st  – 8:00 AM, 9:00 AM, 1:00 PM
Kayaks, paddles, life jackets, snacks, dry bags, and dry boxes are provided. All vehicles entering the Glen Canyon are subject to a $25 entrance fee. National Park Annual Passes are accepted.

Upper Antelope Schedule of Times

Lower Antelope Schedule of Times

About the author

Ryan

Ryan is an avid hiker and long time resident of Page, AZ. What he lacks in spelling and grammatical expertise he makes up for with extensive knowledge from a lifetime of questionable choices and the ability to ask for help from great editors

440comments
Jessica - April 20, 2019

Hi Ryan,

I need suggestions for our trip!
We are 3 friends and will spend 2 weeks in California, we’ve got an ambitious plan (I’m aware of that) but we want to get the best from our road trip!

24.07.19
Arriving in Los Angeles (evening)

25.07.19
Los Angeles

26.07.19
Leaving early morning and start Highway 1 to San Francisco. Stop one night along the Highway (we are thinking not to book any hotels as we don’t really know where we will stop)

27.07.19
Continuing the Highway and arriving in San Francisco in the afternoon/evening (??)

28.07.19
San Francisco

29.07.19
Leaving SF early morning to get to Yosemite NP. Spend the night to Yosemite.

30.07.19
From Yosemite, we will leave to get to Las Vegas (I know it will take something like 8 hours so we were thinking to stop by Death Valley for a quick view of the area).
Las Vegas by night.

31.07.19
Half day to Las Vegas and then heading towards Page.

01.08.19
Page: Antelope Canyon, Powell Lake and Horseshoe
Night in Page

02.08.19
Leaving early morning to Grand Canyon. Visiting the Grand Canyon.
A night around the Grand Canyon.

03.08.19
the long trip to San Diego. Stop somewhere along the way.

04.08 – 06.08
San Diego

Any tip is more than welcome =)

Thanks in advance!

Jess

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 22, 2019

    Hi Jess,
    You are correct in that your plan is ambitious, and IMO overly so. You’ll need to make sure you and your group get an early start pretty much every morning in order to make it work, or, consider dropping a couple of stops off your itinerary so you’re not packing up and driving every single day of your trip.
    On the drive to San Francisco, by driving the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway, Highway 1), you extend what is normally a 6-hour drive to ~9 hours. Stopping halfway along the route is definitely a good idea, and at the time of year you’re visiting, you absolutely need reservations. I would recommend driving from LA to Morro Bay, CA, mostly via 101, so you can enjoy the Central Coast Wine Country (of “Sideways” movie fame) and maybe stop for a tasting or two. Morro Bay itself is absolutely gorgeous and has 50+ hotels in a wide range of price points and amenity classes. Morro Bay lodging guide
    The next day, your drive to San Francisco, CA, will be ~5 hours bare minimum, but a very scenic drive, so don’t be surprised if it takes a bit longer. Unfortunately, half a day or even a full day’s time really isn’t enough to do San Francisco justice. As much as I hate to say, here is where you might have to make a difficult choice: take SF off the table, or skip Yosemite, because 1 day isn’t sufficient to really enjoy that area to the fullest either. In general, 3 days in each location is the bare minimum that should be allotted. If you’re prepared to accept the fact that you’ll only get a cursory glimpse of each place, then your plan is doable, but I can guarantee you’ll wish you had more time. One Day in San Francisco One Day in Yosemite
    Going from Yosemite to Las Vegas, at the time of year you’re visiting, I would strongly recommend skipping Death Valley. It’s going to be SUPER hot there, and not very interesting to do as a “drive-by.” If you’re looking for a place to break up that particular drive, Sequoia National Park wouldn’t be too big a detour, and it will be a lot cooler. I know, I used to work there 😉
    The drive from Las Vegas to Page, AZ, normally takes ~5 hours, but this year, there is some construction taking place along a stretch of I-15 that could extend your drive time by 30-60 minutes. Be sure to factor this in when making Antelope Canyon tour reservations (reservations are an absolute must for this). With essentially half a day in Page, you won’t have time to get out on Lake Powell, but you can at least see it by taking the short drive from Page, AZ, to the Wahweap Overlook just a short distance from Page, AZ; it’s a good place to catch sunset from. Plan on hitting Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise on the drive down to the Grand Canyon (~3.5 hours). Be sure you have reservations for both Page, AZ, and Grand Canyon hotels.
    The drive from Grand Canyon Village to San Diego, CA, is ~8 hours, and I’ve actually made that drive in a day many times. So, if you wanted to open up a day for some “downtime,” consider spending a second night at the Grand Canyon South Rim before making the final run to cap off your trip.

    I hope that helps! I know it’s a hard choice of what to leave in and what to leave out.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Claire - April 19, 2019

Hi 🙂 great site! and the comments and replies are super informative.

I’m trying to plan for a trip (for our group of 5 adults 2 kids) to the antelope canyons on May 22. Will be coming from the Grand Canyon National Park where we’ll be staying. I’m in a bit of a dilemma.

1st – if I book the bundle for upper and lower, the upper antelope tour ends at 6pm and I read in the comments that it’s not advisable to travel back to the Grand Canyon National Park by then?

2nd – if the bundle isn’t possible, which tour would you suggest? Upper or Lower?

Thanks so much!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 22, 2019

    Hi Claire, and thank you for your compliments!
    You are correct that we strongly discourage driving at night in this part of Arizona. Grand Canyon is 2.5 hours from Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. If you would like to do the Antelope Canyon bundle ending at 6:00 PM, it would be best to change your plans and stay in Page, AZ. If your visit is planned for May, you should be able to cancel your room in Grand Canyon with little to no cancellation penalty.
    If you do opt to tour just to one of the Antelope Canyons, if you’re able to physically handle Lower, I’d recommend it. If you’re traveling with infants or toddlers, or anyone else in your party has limited mobility, then Upper is the way to go.
    Hope that helps. Good luck and have fun!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Camille - April 19, 2019

Hi,
Thanks for all your tips and hints. I’m hoping you can offer some insight to our plan. Flying to Phoenix on Thursday 8/29/19 arriving at 8:30am. Planning on driving to Page, AZ and booking an afternoon Antelope Canyon tour and stopping at Horseshoe Bend, staying overnight in Page. Leave early Friday morning and driving to Grand Canyon south rim, staying overnight in the area. Leave early Saturday morning, driving to Sedona, touring around Sedona, staying overnight. Leaving Sedona, Sunday 9/1/19 with a 5:30pm flight out of Phoenix. Would it be better to switch the order? Is this too ambitious of a plan? Are there any other must do items? I don’t think there will be enough time to see the Grand Canyon from the north rim. Also, not enough time to drive to Jerome and drive the switch-back road, or the Ghost Town.
Thanks for any advice!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 19, 2019

    Hi Camille,
    You are trying to cram a lot of sightseeing into a short period of time, so you won’t have time to add much of anything onto your itinerary, and that’s OK. On any vacation, there should be some “unstructured” time where you let your curiosity guide you, or where you — horrors! — find a good viewpoint and sit for awhile.
    Regarding the order in which you visit the sites on your “wish list,” that will largely depend on two things: 1. availability (or lack thereof) of lodging at the Grand Canyon and 2. availability (or lack thereof) of Antelope Canyon tours. Start by checking availability of Grand Canyon hotels. If you can find lodging there for your second night, and an Antelope Canyon tour for your first day, then do the trip in that order. But be prepared to flip-flop your itinerary in the event Grand Canyon hotels and/or Antelope Canyon tours are sold out, and do a Phoenix-Sedona-Grand Canyon-Page-Phoenix loop.
    As for seeing the Grand Canyon from the North Rim, it’s a 5-hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to the North Rim, so, no you don’t have enough time to see it that way. However, you might still be able to tick it off the to-do list by flying over it. Fixed wing airplanes and helicopters depart Grand Canyon National Park Airport daily, and their flight routes include a pass over the North Rim. Mornings are the best time to fly for best lighting and lack of wind.
    Jerome would not be too far a detour between Sedona and Phoenix, so you probably could work that in, just don’t plan on doing any extended sightseeing. Speaking of Sedona, one day isn’t nearly enough time in that area. The minimum recommendation on time is 3-4 days, and I still hear regularly from people who spend a week there and still felt as though they only scratched the surface! You might give some thought to leaving it out this time around, and spending 2 days either in the Grand Canyon or Page, and plan a trip to Sedona in the future when you can give it the time it really deserves.
    Hope that helps – good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Anurag D - April 16, 2019

Hello ,

Our trip schedule is 5/23 – 5/27.Need suggestion on below itinerary if it is good enough.

5/23 – Arrive in Las Vegas late evening.
5/24 – Leave early morning for death valley , stay near death valley EOD.
5/25 – Leave for Antelope Canyon , explore antelope canyon. Stay nearby EOD.
5/26 – Leave for Grand Canyon , explore grand canyon. Stay near grand canyon EOD.
5/27 – Back to Vegas.

Does this sound reasonable ?
Also could you suggest some good tours for lower and upper antelope canyon tours. I saw infor above but just not able to decide.

Thanks,
Anurag

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 16, 2019

    Hi Anurag,
    Your plan sounds fairly reasonable, except for when you get to the part where you drive from Death Valley to Page, AZ. That’s a 7+ hour drive (drive time estimates are longer than normal due to construction taking place on a stretch of I-15 along that route). By the time you get to Page, you won’t have time to do much of anything, much less tour Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Then you’re proposing to drive to the Grand Canyon the next day, which is given on Google Maps as being a 2.5 hour drive, but in reality, it ends up being more like 3.5-4 hours because the drive is very scenic and you’ll no doubt be stopping to take pictures. If you stick with that plan, you’ll only have time for one Antelope Canyon tour, if you’re lucky, then maybe a sunrise pop-in to Horseshoe Bend on the way down to the Grand Canyon.
    Instead of overnighting in Death Valley that 2nd day, you might consider making that a day trip (4.5-hour round-trip drive), and return to Las Vegas that night. Then get an early start to Page, AZ, the next morning so you can get a good tour time at Antelope Canyon (provided there are still seats available). Even so, IMO you’ll still be hard pressed to tour both Upper and Lower unless you tour one branch of the canyon on your arrival day, then another on the morning you head for the South Rim. Honestly, you needn’t tour more than one slot canyon in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page, AZ. Physically, if you’re able to manage Lower Antelope Canyon, I recommend sticking with it.
    No matter what you decide, be sure to book all of your lodging and your Antelope Canyon tours in advance of your arrival. Start by checking availability of Grand Canyon lodging, then Antelope Canyon tours, then build the rest of your trip plan around that. You may need to flip-flop your itinerary and visit Grand Canyon first, then Page, prior to returning to Las Vegas.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Melissa - April 15, 2019

We are 9 days arriving in Las Vegas on June 5 spending 2 days there and visiting Hoover dam.
On June 7 we plane to see horseshoe bend and grand staircase Escalante stay the night there.
June 8 drive to Zion national park and tour it spend night there.
June 9 drive to Bryce Canyon tour and and drive half way between Bryce Canyon and arches national park and spend night there.
June 10 drive to arches national park tour and then drive to Durango spend night there.
June 11 tour Durango railroad and Mesa verde
June 12 drive to monument valley and tour spend night there.
June 12 drive to antelop and tour there drive to Grand Canyon.
June 13 tour Grand Canyon and spend the night
June 14. Spend part of the day touring Grand Canyon more and drive to Sedona.
Do you think this is durable? We have 4 kids traveling with us ages 8,13,16,19? Where should we do tours and which ones? We have never been to this area before.
Thanks for your help!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 16, 2019

    Hi Melissa and thank you for visiting.
    With all due respect here, you need to SLOOOOOOOOOOOW DOWN, and also to take a good hard look at a map. You’re trying to cram far too much sightseeing into a very limited time frame, and I don’t think you’re fully comprehending the distances you’ll have to endure. Not to mention some of your itinerary involves some unnecessary backtracking, and in general, just too much driving, and no downtime.
    On June 7th, for example, where you say you’re going to “see Horseshoe Bend and Grand Staircase Escalante,” but on June 8th, “drive to Zion and spend the night.” Zion is actually closer to Las Vegas than Grand Staircase, so it would make more sense to put it first. Horseshoe Bend is also located in Page, AZ, near Antelope Canyon, so you’d want to include that in your sightseeing on that leg of your tour.
    Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a HUGE area, some of which you can actually see around Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, as well as between Bryce and Torry, UT. Geographically, it makes more sense to visit it on your way out of Bryce Canyon, UT, as a “drive-by” on your way to Arches instead of as an overnight. Capitol Reef is a park that deserves some attention, doesn’t take long to tour, and is right on the way to Arches. Another consideration re: Arches and Zion is that both of these parks really require 2-3 days minimum to do justice. You’re hardly going to have any time to do any in-depth exploring unless you take a destination or two off the table. More on that in a minute…
    The drive from Moab, UT, to Durango, CO, at ~3 hours, is not too long, but depending on which train tour you’re interested in taking, you might have to get quite an early start out of Moab, UT, in order to make it on time. Frankly, I’d recommend taking the Durango/Silverton train off the agenda, so you can spend more time at Mesa Verde, which IMO is more interesting. If you do that, you could drive on to Bluff, UT (~2.5 hours from Mesa Verde, CO), to stay overnight, then hit Monument Valley on the way to Page, AZ.
    You have June 12th listed on your inquiry twice, so I’m assuming you actually mean June 13th. The drive from Bluff, UT to Page, AZ (for Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend) is ~ 2.5 hours (without stops), but one thing you have to factor in is that Monument Valley DOES observe Daylight Savings Time, whereas Page, AZ, does NOT. Therefore, you will “gain” an hour as you travel from Monument Valley to Page, AZ, which is a plus. Antelope Canyon requires a guided tour to see; Horseshoe Bend does not, in theory, anyway. Parking can be congested during the mid-day hours and at sunset, plus, in June it’s going to be HOT. So, instead of trying to beat the clock to get to the Grand Canyon, I recommend overnighting in Page, AZ, so you can visit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, then take a leisurely drive to the Grand Canyon, which will take ~3.5-4 hours, then overnight at the South Rim.
    Where you get to the part where you want to go to Sedona, here again, this is a destination that needs at least 3-4 days — not hours, DAYS — in order to have a fulfilling visit. You’ll have already seen and done so much by the time you get to this part that you’re probably going to be burnt out on driving. But then again, Sedona makes for a nice, relaxing environment in which to have a final “chill out” before you have to fly home. If you have your heart set on going there, IMO, the best way to accommodate it properly would be to sacrifice Arches, Mesa Verde, and perhaps Monument Valley.
    Assuming that you want to keep Arches and Mesa Verde, a revised itinerary would look something like this:
    June 7th: Drive from Las Vegas to Zion (3.5-4 hour drive due to construction in area), overnight in Springdale, UT.
    June 8th: More touring in Zion, spend 2nd night in Springdale, UT.
    June 9th: Drive from Springdale, UT, to Capitol Reef, with stopover in Bryce Canyon (~5 hour drive total), overnight in Torrey, UT.
    June 10th: Drive from Torrey to Moab, UT (~3 hour drive), explore Arches NP, overnight in Moab, UT
    June 11th: Explore Canyonlands NP, 2nd night in Moab, UT

    June 12th: Get up early and drive from Moab, UT, to Mesa Verde National Park, CO (~3 hour drive), overnight at Bluff, UT (~2 hour drive)
    June 13th: Drive from Bluff, UT, to Page, AZ (~3 hours [direct]), tour Antelope Canyon, overnight in Page, AZ
    June 14th: Drive from Page, AZ to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3.5-4 hours), overnight at the South Rim
    June 15th: Back to Vegas (~5 hour drive), fly home

    Whatever you decide, be sure to book ALL lodging along your route in advance. Antelope Canyon tours must also be pre-booked. If you do opt to do the Durango/Silverton train, reserve that ahead of time as well.
    Good luck, I know it’s these are some hard choices to make. Best wishes for safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Melissa - April 17, 2019

      alley,
      We are actually spending a full week in Sedona after touring the above destinations to rest and enjoy. We are flying home from Mesa. So do you still suggest the same itenrary? Thanks so much for your help we just don’t know what is possible to accomplish and what’s not. You input is greatly appreciated
      Melissa

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - April 17, 2019

        Hey again, Melissa,
        A week in Sedona? PERFECT!
        So, yeah, even in light of that, I recommend going about your itinerary in the same order. Trust me, I understand wanting to see as much as possible in the time you have, but the reason that rarely materializes is because drive times are on the long side, and you have to pad them by ~30% because most are very scenic and you inevitably stop to take pictures more often than you’d think.
        One thing I don’t recall if I’d mentioned was to avoid driving at night in this part of the U.S. Ambient lighting is scarce to non-existent on many roads, and deer, elk, free range cattle, and sometimes even wild horses pose a collision hazard after sunset. Each day of your travels, be sure you are at your final destination for the day well before dusk. Sunrise occurs at about 5:00 AM, sunset at about 7:45 PM (Mountain STANDARD Time, push it ahead one hour for Mountain Daylight zones).
        Have fun,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
Iveth Major - April 13, 2019

Hi Ryan, – Trip 5/2019—

We are arriving to SLC to tour South Utah/Arizona arriving on Sat 5/25.and have 8 full days to tour.
Need your feedback and also need to book tours in Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon and HorseShoe Bend.

We leave from SLC to Zion on Sun 5/26 at 5 am.
Stay in Zion- Sun and Mon night- visit from there Bryce. We will have Sun since noon all Monday and 1/2 day Tuesday 5/28.
Drive to Capitol Reef spend day and go to Paige and stay 2 nights 5/28 and 5/29 leaving 5/30. From there see Lake Powell, Antelope and HorseShoe Bend.
On May 30 drive to Moab and stay there two nights to see Arches and Canyonlands. Then drive to SlC late Sunday 6/1.
We are new and do NOT plan to take long hikes. We also have 3 kids ages 12, 11 and 7.
What tours could we take at Lake Powell/Page to see Antelope and Horseshoe bend.
Your opinion and feedback please? Doable?
I would like to book tours ASAP. Thanks!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 15, 2019

    Hi Iveth,
    If I’m interpreting you correctly, you are wanting to visit Bryce as a day trip from Zion, then also visit Capitol Reef as a day trip en route to Page, AZ? If that’s the case, I can’t endorse your plan. It simply would have you doing too much driving, as well as backtracking.
    If you’re not locked into your lodging already, I’d recommend modifying the front half of your plan as follows:
    Sunday, May 26th: Drive from SLC to Capitol Reef (~4 hours), spend the night in Torrey, Escalante, or Boulder, UT.
    Monday, May 27th: Get up early, drive from Capitol Reef to Zion by way of Bryce Canyon (total drive time ~5 hours), overnight in Zion/Springdale, UT.
    Tuesday, May 28th: More sightseeing in Zion (there are lots of easy but scenic hikes available in Zion), 2nd night in Springdale, UT.
    Wednesday, May 29th: Drive from Zion to Page, AZ (drive time ~2-2.5 hours), tour Upper Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell/Antelope Canyon waterside, overnight in Page, AZ.
    Thursday, May 30th: Visit Horseshoe Bend at sunrise, then drive on to Moab, UT (drive time: ~5), optional stopover at Monument Valley en route. Spend next 2 nights in Moab, UT.
    Friday, June 1st: Drive back to SLC (~4 hours).
    Map of your trip itinerary with the modifications I proposed.

    One thing that does kind of stick out like a sore thumb, though, is the absence of the Grand Canyon from your itinerary. Have you already been there, or did you inadvertently leave it off? If you were willing to sacrifice a night at Zion, you might visit the North Rim as a stopover en route to Page, AZ, or stay at one of the North Rim hotels IF you can find availability.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Deepu - April 8, 2019

First of all , I want to thank you for spoon feeding the tour planning and giving an excellent write up !

Need your inputs on our tour –

Apr 8 – coming from Scottsdale to grand canyon, starting at 2 PM ~ 5 plus hours. approx 7-8 PM at grand canyon hotel and plan for whole next day for grand canyon.
Apr 9- after covering grand canyon for whole day, drive towards Page,AZ for lower anetlope , horshow bend and lake powell visit.
Apr 10- cover up Page,AZ for lower anetlope , horshow bend and lake powell visit. and head back to Scottsdale in the evening or next day morning.

If we find sometime in the evening on third day , we are planning to stop by sedona for couple of hours. please suggest if you want us to plan something diff. We came to visit our friends at Scottsdale from midwest for few days and we are with toddler.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 9, 2019

    Hi Deepu,
    So are you doing this trip next year, or are you in Arizona right now? If the latter is the case, then I probably can’t help you much, but, future travelers to the area might benefit from our feedback, so here goes.
    On Day 1, you’re cutting it a little too close for comfort to sunset. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to the lack of artificial/supplemental lighting on local roads, and the possibility you might encounter deer, elk, free range cattle, or even wild horses unexpectedly. You should be at your final destination well before sunset on each day of your trip. Sunrise occurs at around 5:45 AM, sunset shortly before 7:00 PM. Hopefully, you booked Grand Canyon lodging well in advance, or you’re going to have a rough time finding rooms.
    On your 2nd day, you’ll want to start making your way to Page, AZ, at around noon. I know that Google Maps gives the drive time as ~2.5 hours, but that’s wheels turning, no stops, which rarely happens. The drive is very scenic and you will be stopping to take pictures at the half-a-dozen or so named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View Point, then other photo ops in the Navajo Reservation such as the Little Colorado River Overlook, the Cameron Trading Post, Chinle formation views, the Cut Overlook, and Horseshoe Bend (parking permitting). Factoring in all that, your drive time is more likely to shake out at 3.5-4 hours.
    On that 3rd day, you won’t have time for much of a Lake Powell visit as you’ll need to start making your way to Scottsdale at 2:00 PM at the absolute latest. A quick pop-in to Antelope Point Marina would probably be most practical, but that’s in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, meaning you’ll have to pay a $30/vehicle entrance fee for a relatively short visit. Probably best to take in the views of the lake from the Wahweap Overlook on US89 just a few miles South of the Utah border. If you were unable to hit Horseshoe Bend on your way into town the previous night, try to hit it just after sunrise (~6:00 AM) so you don’t have to mess with the parking lot closure and shuttle requirements (in place for April 2019 only), then do your Antelope Canyon tour soon after. Here again, I do hope you have reservations for an Antelope Canyon tour, or you could have a difficult time finding space. You’ll need to plan on touring Upper Antelope with a toddler in tow.
    I would take Sedona off the agenda, as a quickie “drive by” really won’t do it justice and will just leave you longing for more. If you can, try to plan a return trip to Arizona when you can spend at least 3-5 days in Sedona.
    Hope that helps and that you had a good trip,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Terry Ansel - April 15, 2019

      Is this too aggressive? Great website. Need suggestions.

      Itinerary for AZ/UT trip 5/19 to 5/25

      5/19 arrive in Las Vegas around midnight
      5/20 Head to Grand Canyon (South Rim) Explore Canyon
      5/21 Explore Grand Canyon then head to Antelope Canyon
      5/22 Explore Antelope Canyon. Do the Upper Antelope & Boat Tour.
      5/23 Head to Bryce Canyon & explore
      5/24 Head to Zion & explore. Drive to Vegas late afternoon.
      5/25 Fly out of Vegas at night

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - April 15, 2019

        Hi Terry,
        Your plan looks pretty fun and well-paced, except for the last two days.
        Visiting Zion as a “drive-by” between Bryce and Las Vegas, one, will not be satisfying at all, and two, will probably be too much driving for a day. It takes ~2 hours to drive from Bryce to Zion, then another 3-4 hours to drive to Las Vegas. Another consideration is that the drive from Zion to Las Vegas will be longer than normal because of some extensive, long-term construction taking place on a stretch of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge. That will add another hour onto your time at least. If you can possibly swing it, plan on spending the night in Springdale, UT, on the Western border of Zion on that last night before flying out of Las Vegas. You’ll have a much better experience, and be able to have some quality time there, although most people recommend 3-4 days in Zion to really do it justice!
        Be sure that you have all of your lodging, particularly Grand Canyon lodging, and guided tours well in advance, especially the Upper Antelope Canyon & Boat Tour. Be sure to hit Horseshoe Bend at some point during your time in Page, AZ, as well, maybe just after sunrise before you head up toward Bryce Canyon.
        Good luck and safe travels!
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
      Wendy - April 15, 2019

      Alley,
      First off, thank you so much for taking the time and having the patience to answer all of these questions, your comments are so very helpful for planning a trip to this area.
      I have a dilemma for visiting Antelope on April 28. The only tours that I could find for Upper and/or Lower Canyon are at the end of the day: 4:00 for the Upper and 4:45 for the Lower. Might it be better for us to do Canyon X during the middle of the day instead? I’m wondering about the light at the end of the day.

      I tried joining the forum on another page…but can’t now find it. Darn it. So would you please respond here? I’ll try not to lose this page.
      Thanks so much.

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - April 15, 2019

        Oh hey, Wendy, I thought this inquiry looked familiar! LOL
        Although mid-day is generally regarded as prime time for touring Antelope Canyon, since that’s when the interior of the canyon is most brightly illuminated, there’s no such thing as a bad time to go. Those later afternoon departures will offer colors in the canyon that are deeper and richer than at mid-day, while still having enough light to see and take photos by. If you have your heart set on seeing the canyon in its best light, and possibly the world-famous sunbeams (which are never guaranteed!), plus all of your family members are in reasonably good health, you might choose Antelope Canyon X. It bears enough of a resemblance to Lower Antelope Canyon both cosmetically and in terms of physicality, only it’s divided into two slots instead of one long, continuous slot. The only person I’d have concerns about is your 72 year old, but, seniors hike Antelope X every day and enjoy it. To judge for yourself, check out photos and videos on the official website of Taadidiin Tours, the exclusive provider of tours to Antelope Canyon X. There are a ton of videos of Antelope X on YouTube as well.
        Good luck and safe travels!
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
          Wendy - April 16, 2019

          Thanks for your thoughtful reply. After watching a video of the Lower Canyon, I was wondering if it might be a bit much for the elders in the group, with the ladders, etc. And you think Canyon X might be as rugged? Another, more pricy option is a different slot canyon over at Horseshoe Bend/Secret Canyon tours run by a Navajo woman. Any thoughts on that? Though it IS more than twice the price. 😳

          Reply
          Alley Keosheyan - April 16, 2019

          Hey again, Wendy!
          If anyone in your party has doubts about managing Lower Antelope Canyon, then Canyon X should be ruled out as well.
          Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon is beautiful, and one distinct advantage to it is NO STAIRS. It is about the same length as Lower Antelope, and yes, tours there are a little pricier, namely because they keep their group sizes smaller. Another advantage to going with Horseshoe Bend Tours is that you can add a visit to Horseshoe Bend Overlook to your slot canyon tour with relative ease.
          Hope that answers your question adequately.
          Alley 🙂

          Reply
Lauren Dait - April 7, 2019

Hello!
I love your website and suggestions and I would love some help. We will be traveling to the area. We will arrive later in the day on October 28th. We will be celebrating my husband’s 50th while here. There will be 2 children ages 10 and 13 and the two of us. This is what I am thinking and I would love your feedback/suggestions/modifications! Our trip is from September 28th to October 5th or 6th.
28th arrive to Phoenix later in day – drive to Grand Canyon
29th Grand Canyon – sunrise/sunset and tour area. Spend another night I think.
30th – wake up and head to Page. Tour Antelope Canyon. Not sure if upper or lower is better for us. Should we add a boat trip? Is there a hot air balloon I can do for his 50th?
1st – hang out around page? Should we go to Monument Valley? Bryce? or skip them?
2nd travel to Sedona . What are the must do activities in Sedona?
3rd – sedona
4th – sedona
5th – sedona and heading home this evening or the 6th.
I really appreicate any help you can provide with our itinerary. I’m so looking forward to our trip! Thank you! Lauren

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 9, 2019

    Hi Lauren,
    First off, good call on planning your vacation for the fall. That’s a great time to be here weather-wise, and crowds tend to be slightly thinner as well.
    Your trip looks pretty well-planned, but, I’d still recommend making a couple of small modifications for maximum safety and enjoyment.
    On the 28th, when you say you’re arriving in Phoenix “later in the day,” how much later? The reason I ask is because it takes ~4.5 hours to make the drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. That’s not even factoring in the time it will take to collect your rental car and make your way out of the city. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in Northern Arizona anywhere North of Flagstaff due to the lack of ambient lighting on the roads, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range cattle, and even wild horses, poses another hazard. You might want to simply stay that night in Phoenix to “decompress” from your flight, or perhaps plan on driving as far as Flagstaff to settle in for the night. At the time of year you’re visiting, sunrise occurs at ~6:30 AM and sunset takes place at around 6:15 PM.
    On the 29th, if you take us up on the suggestion to overnight in Flagstaff the night before, you’re then looking at only ~ a 90 minute drive to the Grand Canyon. Hopefully you have your lodging booked there already. If not, get that taken care of pronto as Grand Canyon hotels tend to book up 6-12 months in advance.
    On the 30th, when you get ready to tour Antelope Canyon, if all of your party members are relatively fit, you should have no problem with touring Lower Antelope. It requires navigating a few ladders and stepping over some small boulders. If anyone in your party has mobility issues, however, then Upper would be the way to go as it’s short and the trail through it is relatively flat. If you opt to tour Lower Antelope Canyon, you can add a boat tour to your experience quite easily by taking a tour of the “waterside” of Antelope Canyon from Antelope Point Marina. For optimal convenience, book both tours as a “bundle” deal so you don’t have to trudge through multiple tour company websites and coordinate two different reservations. Lower Antelope Canyon + Antelope Canyon Waterside Boat If you’re looking for a change of scenery in a water-based activity, the Glen Canyon Float Trip would be a good option. As the name suggests, it does not go through any rapids, but the scenery and history keep interesting. The kids would even get a chance to swim in the river!
    As for hot air balloon rides in Page, AZ, that sort of thing isn’t offered as of yet, but you might consider taking a fixed-wing airplane flight or helicopter tour from the Page Municipal Airport. The Tower Butte Landing & Horseshoe Bend helicopter tour would be a blast for your family, and a great birthday present for your husband!
    As for that 2nd day in Page, a day trip to Monument Valley would be doable with an early enough start. It is a 2-hour drive one-way, however. You might also consider making a day trip to Zion, which is a bit closer, ~90 minutes one way, but then again, you’ll wish you had more time there!
    You’ve made a good call by allowing some downtime in Sedona. If you’re really into the prospect of a hot air balloon ride, this is where you’d be able to do one. There are several licensed balloon companies who could take you up, usually first thing in the morning. As for other things to do, you’ll find no shortage of ways to enjoy the town and its surroundings! There are lots of beautiful hikes in varying degrees of difficulty. Slide Rock State Park is a definite must, weather permitting. The Pink Jeep Broken Arrow tour is a popular activity, as is visiting the Chapel of the Holy Cross and Tlaquepaque. For more information, click on VisitSedona.com: Things To Do In Sedona
    Thank you again for visiting, and wish your husband a happy birthday from all of us!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
George - April 5, 2019

Hi Ryan,

love the website, very informative. If possible could you give me any insights to our proposed itinerary in Mid June? It sounds ambitious even to me but we would like to see as much as possible. Thanks for any advice. George

Day 1——drive from Vegas to South rim of Grand Canyon and explore; stay close by
Day 2—Drive to Antelope Canyon and do an upper canyon tour and drive towards Bryce
Day 3 —-Bryce Canyon—-spend day there
Day 4—drive to Zion—-spend day there

Day 5 through 7—–go to California [Sequoia National or Yosemite—-guess both is out of the question]

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 7, 2019

    Hi George,
    Whooooooooooaaaaaaaah, slow down there, pardner, you’re trying to go about this trip WAY too fast!
    Your plan for Day 1 is OK, it takes approximately 5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim. If you wish, you might make a stopover at Hoover Dam. Stay inside the park if possible, but it’s probably already booked up, in which case Tusayan, AZ, just 7 miles outside the park is your next best option. Grand Canyon Lodging
    On Day 2 is where things start to go somewhat awry. The drive time to Page, AZ, from Grand Canyon South Rim is given as 2.5 hours on Google maps, but that rarely materializes in real life. The drive is very scenic and I can promise that you will be stopping to take pictures frequently. The drive from Grand Canyon Village to Desert View, for example, offers the chance to stop at over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon. Upon exiting the park at Desert View, you are then on Navajo Tribal Lands, where there are even more photo ops, including the Little Colorado River Overlook, Chief Yellowhorse’s souvenir stands, the Cameron Trading Post (good brunch/lunch stop), Chinle formation views, The Cut overlook, and Horseshoe Bend. In light of all that, the drive is more likely to take you along the lines of 3.5-4 hours. Then, you’re looking at at least 2-2.5 (factoring in check-in, and other logistics) to tour Upper Antelope Canyon. Afterwards, you’re facing a ~3 hour drive to Bryce Canyon. Not my idea of a vacation. You’d be better off just overnighting in Page, AZ, then doing the drive t Bryce the following morning. Bryce Canyon is a relatively small park, so you can explore it quite fully in just half a day’s time. On the way, you might take a break to do the very interesting and fairly easy Paria Rim Rocks/Toadstools hike.
    The drive from Bryce to Zion is ~2 hours. The best place for lodging is Springdale, UT, on the Western border of the park.
    Day 5 through 7 is where your plan really gets unrealistic. It takes at least 9 hours, ONE WAY, to drive from Springdale, UT, to Sequoia National Park. For Yosemite, the figure is ~11 hours. So, you are correct, seeing both parks probably won’t happen. In terms of proximity, Sequoia is the closer of the two California parks, but still, I don’t know if your family will relish the prospect of a 9+ hour drive to get there from Zion. Best to break up the drive with a stopover in Las Vegas on Day 5. With an early enough start, you might make a detour through Valley of Fire State Park. Just avoid going there during the mid-day hours. It will be VERY hot at that time. Overnight in Vegas, or perhaps Primm, NV, or Barstow, CA, then go on to Sequoia the next day. Best places for Sequoia National Park lodging will probably be Three Rivers, CA, or Visalia, CA.
    Then on Day 7, head back to Las Vegas.
    Another option? Take the California parks off the table entirely and spend those last couple of days in Zion National Park. It’s a huge area with a lot to see and do. Most visitors recommend 3-4 days minimum in that area to do it justice. As it stands, you have very little in the way of downtime built into your vacation, and Zion IMO would be the perfect opportunity to do so.
    Hope that helps, I know it’s a hard choice.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      George - April 8, 2019

      Thanks Alley for the advice and great details of options for our trip. I’ll certainly take some time to rethink how to best make our trip a “vacation”! Take care, George

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - April 8, 2019

        You too,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
liza - April 4, 2019

omg you are amazing – very helpful and such good insight. i tried reading through all of your responses so i wouldn’t make you repeat yourself, but here i am asking anyway 🙂

we’re travelling as a family of 5 (kids 12, 10 and 10)

I have very rough outline for trip. am totally flexible, just need to start in mesa and end up in salt lake a week later!

sat: pick up RV in mesa then head to sedona
sun: morning in sedona then head north to flagstaff, spend the night closer to grand canyon
mon: grand canyon in morning then head to page
tue: antelope canyon, horseshoe bend –> monument valley
wed: monument valley –> moab
thu: moab
friday: moab to SLC
sat: return RV and depart SLC
fri:

wanted to squeeze bryce in but wonder if it’s too much. where do you recommended spending the most time?

also, do you have to have a tourguide to enter antelope canyon? all the tours are booked and we’re travelling in a little over a week 🙁 oops.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 4, 2019

    Hey Liza, and thank you for visiting!
    No need to worry about repetition, it’s part of the job. If I make it sound like I’m not repeating myself, then I’m doing good 😉
    Your itinerary looks pretty fun, but I’d still recommend a couple of modifications.
    On that first day, I’d suggest leaving Sedona out of the equation. Not that it isn’t beautiful — it is, amazingly so — but visiting it as a quickie overnight en route to the Grand Canyon won’t be very satisfying at all. Sedona is a place that needs at least 3 days at the very least to do it justice, but you can spend a week there and still feel as though you’ve only scratched the surface. I’d recommend saving Sedona for another trip when you can spend more time, then going directly to the Grand Canyon that first day (it’s ~a 5 hour drive) if you can find reservations at the Trailer Village RV Park, which is inside Grand Canyon National Park, or Grand Canyon Camper Village, which is in Tusayan, AZ, just outside the park. IMO, you’ll want to have access to electrical hook-ups in Grand Canyon since nighttime temperatures are still dipping down below freezing. Grand Canyon weather
    I’d also consider dropping Monument Valley off the list as an overnight since it doesn’t really have that much appeal for kids. That’s what I’ve heard anyway. Instead, I’d recommend staying a second night in Page, AZ, so your family can take part in the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. As the name suggests, the trip doesn’t go through any rapids, but it’s a good family activity that includes a lot of beautiful scenery and interesting history.
    From Page, AZ, the trip to Moab, UT, would take ~4.5 hours, and you would pass through Monument Valley anyway, so you could make a quick stopover there if you wished to. If the prospect of doing a float trip in Page, didn’t appeal, there are some good single day white water raft trips available in the Cataract Canyon of the Colorado River. I’d recommend hanging onto those 2 nights in Moab, UT, as you need at least 1 day to explore Arches, and then another to do Canyonlands.
    As for squeezing Bryce Canyon in, you’ll be hard-pressed to do it unless you can free up another night somewhere. Taking Sedona off the table that first night would certainly help matters. It takes ~4.5 hours to drive from Moab to Bryce, and it would be a shame to miss Capitol Reef along the way. The drive from Bryce to SLC would then take another 4.5 hours or so.
    RE: Antelope Canyon, yes, you do have to have a tour guide to enter it and other slot canyons in the area since they are on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. If you’ve found Antelope Canyon tours to be sold out, you might consider visiting one of several alternate slot canyons near Page, AZ, such as Canyon X, Waterholes Canyon, Cathedral Canyon, or Wind Pebble Canyon.
    I hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Irina - April 3, 2019

Hi!
I am looking for a private guide that could accompany a group of 5 adults, take them around and show them the Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell (we plan to rent a boat), Horseshoe Bend, Bryce Canyon, maybe also Zyon Canyon. Dates concerned are April 20 – April 21. I would be very much grateful if you could recommend someone.
Kind regards,
Irina

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 3, 2019

    Hi Irina,
    Unfortunately, we don’t have any connections to anyone like that, you might try posting on a site like CraigsList, or perhaps the Facebook group, “Page, Arizona Community Bulletin Board.” I do have to tell you, though, that with only 2 days to work with, you’re not going to be able to see everything you have on your wish list. You need at least 5 days to successfully pull off a trip of that scale, unless you want to be driving constantly.
    Sorry we couldn’t be of more help. Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley

    Reply
Mark - April 3, 2019

Good Morning. We are planning on coming to visit June 1st or 2nd. We will be staying in Marble Canyon, and want to see the whole Antelope Canyon the best we can. Would like to hike Upper and Lower and also boat trip to see it from that perspective. If we allocate a full day, is that enough, and what would you recommend as an itinerary. Thank you,

Mark

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 3, 2019

    Hi Mark, and good afternoon!
    If you’re staying in Marble Canyon, which is beautiful, be sure to allow 60-90 minutes, each way, to make the drive to Page, AZ. Also, be sure that you time your tours so you can start the drive back to Marble Canyon before sunset. Driving in the dark is not recommended due to the lack of artificial lighting on area roads, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range cattle, and even wild horses. You don’t want to have a nighttime collision with any one of them, that’s for sure! At the time of year you’re visiting, sunrise occurs at about 5:00 AM, and sunset takes place at around 7:45 PM.
    Another exercise in frustration you don’t want to even contemplate is trying to coordinate three different tours from up to ten different websites. The good news is that you can now book Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon tours, plus the waterside boat tour, as a package, taking place over the course of a day. Recommend doing that ASAP, as that option has been in demand for quite some time, and people are jumping on it, big-time!
    Have a wonderful time, good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Karryn - April 1, 2019

Hi Ryan,
I love your website and have found it very helpful. We will be travelling at the end of June this year as 2 adults and 2 children (aged 15 & 13 yrs) in an RV. We have a total of 5 nights from Las Vegas and back to Las Vegas. We will pick the RV up at 10.30am on the first day and are hoping to do the following:

Day 1 – Collect RV and drive to South Rim – 1 night Mather Campground. Afternoon exploring Grand Canyon.
Day 2 – Drive to Desert View exit and through to Antelope Canyon for an afternoon tour. What’s the best tour and best time to do this given how far we have to drive but still want to see the Canyon at its best. 1 night Wahweap RV & Campground. Not sure if we can maybe get to see Horseshoe Bend this day. Do we have enough time?
Day 3 – Drive to Bryce Canyon. Afternoon exploring Bryce Canyon. 1 night Ruby’s Inn Campground.
Day 4 – Morning exploring Bryce Canyon. Drive to Zion Canyon. Afternoon exploring Zion Canyon. 2 nights Zion Canyon & RV Resort
Day 5 – Day exploring Zion.
Day 6 – Drive to Las Vegas for 1 night in a hotel.

We have struggled a bit to work out our days because originally we had 2 nights in Grand Canyon which would then mean we have to drive Grand Canyon to Page to Bryce in one day or Page to Bryce to Zion in one day. If we kept it as 2 nights in the Canyon which option do you think works better given we have 2 children?

We know the trip is a bit rushed but it’s the most time we could allocate for this area. Would we be better to leave something out?

I’d love to hear your feedback as your knowledge is amazing.
Karryn

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 1, 2019

    Hi Karryn and thanks for your compliments!
    Given your limited time, I’d recommend keeping your Grand Canyon stay at just one night. Crazy as that sounds, you can actually have a fulfilling visit there because you’ll do a good chunk of your Grand Canyon sightseeing on the Desert View Drive en route to Page, AZ. There are over half a dozen named viewpoints along this route, some of the best in the park IMO, that you can stop at. Upon exiting the park at Desert View, there is even more to see on the Navajo Reservation, including the Little Colorado River Overlook, Chief Yellowhorse’s souvenir stands, the Cameron Trading Post (good stop for brunch/lunch!), Chinle formation views and the “Cut” overlook. Parking permitting, you could stop at Horseshoe Bend on your way into town. If you have trouble with that, you could visit just after sunrise the following morning, which would be nicer anyway, because it’s cooler and you won’t have as many people to contend with.
    As for the “best” time of day to tour Antelope Canyon, honestly, if you don’t have reservations right now, you probably won’t be able to get a spot for the peak hour tours, which occur between 10:30 AM – 1:00 PM. Pick whatever time slot is available. There’s really no such thing as a bad time to see it.
    For the Zion leg of your trip, be sure to check the status of the Zion Mt. Carmel Tunnel, which is the main traffic artery from the Eastern entrance. The park had a lot of rain this year, which resulted in rockslides, leading to the closure and/or restriction of the road to RV’s and oversize vehicles. Hopefully that should all be sorted out by June, but still, keep an eye on it, and be prepared to use an alternate route to the park in case there is any more trouble with weather or stability of the cliff face near the road.
    If you were to make any changes, I’d vote for trimming 1 night off your Zion visit and allocating it to Page, AZ, so you and your family can take part in the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. As the name suggests, it’s a raft trip that doesn’t traverse any rapids, but is nonetheless a wonderful family activity with lots of beautiful scenery and fascinating history. In June, you should take the morning departure for more comfortable temperatures. But if this doesn’t appeal to you, then by all means, keep that 2nd night in Zion. With an early enough start on that 6th day, you might make a detour to the Valley of Fire State Park. It’s a stunning area, but VERY hot in the summertime, therefore, you’d want to get there early to avoid the mid-day heat.
    Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
janssen - April 1, 2019

Hi
i just wanna ask. I already booked our trip in Las Vegas from April 22 – 26. We are planning to look for a 1 day tour to antelope canyon horseshoe bend and back to Las Vegas. rest and tour Las vegas on the third day. And then 4th day we plan to go to grand canyon but this time we’ll be driving going there. is this plan ok or do you have anymore suggestion that we can go and look around.
Very much needed help here. thanks in advance for answering.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 1, 2019

    Hi Mr. Janssen,
    Your plan isn’t bad, but if you really want to see as much as possible, I recommend self-driving, both to Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend. It would take two days minimum to accomplish this.
    On day 1, you’d drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, with an optional stop at Hoover Dam. It’s about a 5-hour drive. Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim.
    Day 2, drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, for Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. From Grand Canyon to Page, AZ, Google maps gives the drive time as 2.5 hours, but in reality, it’s more like 3.5-4 hours. It’s a very scenic drive with ample photo opportunities that will compel you to stop. On the way into town stop at Horseshoe Bend (parking permitting), then tour Antelope Canyon (book your tour in advance!), overnight in Page, AZ.
    Day 3, drive back to Las Vegas, which is ~4.5 hours drive going direct, or you can take a detour through Zion National Park, which will extend the trip to 6-7 hours.
    Hopefully you’re not locked into your lodging reservations in Las Vegas so you can cancel a couple of room nights to spend at the Grand Canyon and Page, AZ.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Jo - March 30, 2019

Hi there, thank you for your brilliant site. I hope you won’t get too annoyed if I post another “What do you think of my schedule?”, would love your advice. The start and end in PS & LV are non-negotiable as it’s work.

Day 1: Drive from Palm Springs along route 66 to Seligman, stay over
Day 2: Grand Canyon Ooh Ah Point trail then drive to Cottonwood, stay over
Day 3: Explore and swim Sedona (Any recommendations for less crowded swim spots?), night 2 in Cottonwood
Day 4: Drive Highway 89 to Monument Valley, then head to Page, stay over
Day 5: Horseshoe Bend before 9am, Lake Powell (if time) & Antelope Canyon – This is the bit I feel we need help with. We want to Kayak Antelope Canyon, get up close and see it from below. night 2 in Page
Day 6: Drive to Zion Park then on to Las Vegas

Thoughts?
Main questions are around Day 5 – If this is the only time we will ever go to Antelope Canyon, is a kayak tour sufficient? Will we miss anything? And can we do all this in a day?
And can we buy a Parks Pass at Grand Canyon? Will it serve us well for the rest f the trip?
Specific help on who / where to book Antelope Canyon kayak tour and whether we can purchase a parks pass at Grand Canyon (we’re in the UK so no time to order online).

Many thank you.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 30, 2019

    Hi Jo, thank you for your visit.
    FYI, you had posted twice, so I copied some parts of one into the other in order to answer your queries more thoroughly.
    On Day 1, I take it by “staying over,” you mean in Seligman? I assume you’re going there because you’re into Route 66? If that’s the case, then you might consider traveling through Oatman, AZ, and Peach Springs, AZ, as well. That will increase your drive time to ~6.5 hours, but it will give you the opportunity to experience a couple of the last remaining intact sections of the original road.
    On Day 2, hiking to Ooh Aah Point might be a little more trouble than it’s worth. No private vehicles are allowed at Yaki Point, where the trailhead is located. You’d have to take the Kaibab Rim Route shuttle to get there. The shuttle is free and runs fairly often, but that and the hike to Ooh Aah would eat up time that IMO would be better spent sightseeing along the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the Grand Canyon. On this route, you’ll find over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon, each with different perspectives. At Grandview Point, you’ll find the Grandview Trail, which is an unmaintained trail, so it’s a “use at your own risk” proposition, but at least you don’t have to deal with the hassles of getting to the South Kaibab trail. Just go down a short distance and you’ll get a sense of how different things look and feel below the rim. Remember to double your time hiking down for hiking out, so 30 minutes down = 1 hour up, etc. Stop at the Cameron Trading Post for lunch, then, time permitting, make the loop drive through Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments before heading down to Cottonwood. This will extend your drive time to ~5 hours. Seligman-Cottonwood via East Rim Drive Map
    As for lesser-known swimming areas in the Verde Valley area, I’m afraid I don’t have enough experience to offer any guidance on that, but this site might help: SedonaVerdeValley.org: Our Favorite Swimming Holes
    On Day 4 where you’re proposing to drive from Cottonwood to Page, with a stopover in Monument Valley, here again, you’re looking at a long drive (~6 hours), but it can be done with an early enough start and an eye on the clock. PLUS remember that Monument Valley is on Navajo Tribal Lands, where they DO observe Daylight Savings Time, whereas Page, AZ, and the rest of Arizona does not. Therefore, you’ll “lose” an hour traveling from Cottonwood to MV, then “regain” it as you travel to Page, AZ. Be sure that you’re at your final destination before sunset. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to lack of ambient lighting on local roads, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range cattle, wild horses, and other animals. I don’t recall seeing when your visit was, but in April, sunrise occurs at about 6:00 AM and sunset at around 7:00 PM in Page, AZ. It the prospect of doing all this driving is starting to wear on you, you might consider skipping it and using one of your mornings in Page, AZ, to fly over it. Westwind Air Service offers 90-minute overflights from the Page, AZ, Municipal Airport. First thing in the morning is generally regarded as the best time to fly.
    Regarding Antelope Canyon, a kayak tour will certainly be fun for you, and there are several fine tour companies in Page, AZ, that can help you set one up (we like Hidden Canyon Kayak). However, you won’t see that iconic “slot canyon” scenery on a waterside tour. For that, you need to do a walking tour, of Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, or Antelope Canyon X. In the event you find Antelope Canyon tours sold out, there are other slot canyons in the area that are not part of the Antelope Canyons, but are still beautiful, such as Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon, Lucky Canyon, Cathedral Canyon, Ram’s Head, Wind Pebble, and Waterholes. Availability permitting, you can do Horseshoe Bend, an Antelope Canyon kayak tour, and a land-side slot canyon tour in one day’s time.
    Yes, you can purchase a National Park Pass at the Grand Canyon. There are also several places you can purchase them prior to arriving at the park:
    – Williams, AZ – Williams Visitor Center
    – Valle, AZ – Chevron Travel Stop
    IN TUSAYAN, AZ
    – Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn
    – Grand Canyon Trading Post
    – R.P.’s Stage Stop
    – Red Feather Lodge
    – Canyon Plaza Resort
    – National Geographic Visitor Center(IMAX)
    Purchasing the pass before you get to the entrance gate will save you a ton of time by allowing you to proceed to the express entry lane! The National Park Pass won’t work in Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, or State Parks (Sedona, AZ, is full of them), but it will still be worth having on the trip you’re proposing to take.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Jo - March 31, 2019

      Wow, thanks so much Alley. I’m floored that a person would take a chunk of time to write such a considered response.

      We will definitely take your advice on the parks pass and the Grand Canyon, thank you.

      Regarding slot canyons, we are definitely keen to avoid crowds and have as “authentic” an experience as possible so those alternatives look great. I’m guessing there are no similar canyons you can explore without booking a tour?

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - March 31, 2019

        Hi again, Jo!
        All Page, AZ, slot canyons pretty much require a guided tour nowadays. This is for safety reasons, plus there was a problem in the past with people visiting without a Navajo permit, so the requirement for a tour guide closes that loophole.
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
          Jo - April 11, 2019

          Thanks so much. You’re advice re Grand Canyon was perfect, so much nicer driving and stopping at much quieter spots and small trailheads. We had a wonderful day. In Page now and about to do Horseshoe bend and canyon tour. Anyone reading who is going to Sedona, I highly recommend avoiding the crowded Cathedral Rock trail and instead doing the trails on the other side, same rock, different vista and hardly any other hikers. Park at Baldwin Trail head at the end of Verde Valley School Rd and do Baldwin and Templeton trails until you hit the crowds. Loved it.

          Reply
          Alley Keosheyan - April 11, 2019

          Hey Jo,
          Thanks for the follow-up visit and sharing your observations re: Cathedral Rock. It is sure to come in handy for future visitors to Sedona! Feel free to pop back and let us know how you fared at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
          Take care,
          Alley 🙂
          P.S. We took care of the auto-correct issues on our end!

          Reply
Amelia - March 29, 2019

I would like to know whether it is possible to visit Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend all in one day?
I was thinking of starting, for example, with a sunrise tour at Monument Valley and spend the afternoon at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. I don’t know if I need to book the tours with different operators and how to make it fit in a tight schedule.
We are planning to rent a car and find accommodation in Page, Arizona.
I would really appreciate if you could please send me all relevant information on this subject.
Best,
Amelia

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 29, 2019

    Hi Amelia,
    It kind of depends on the time of year you’re traveling. If your trip is coming up within the next few weeks, you’re working with a relatively short daylength: sunrise occurs at ~6:00 AM, sunset at about 7:00 PM. But another factor working in your favor is that Monument Valley is on Mountain DAYLIGHT Time, whereas Page, AZ (Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend) is on Mountain STANDARD Time, therefore, Monument Valley is 1 hour ahead of Page, AZ. You will “gain” an hour passing from Monument Valley, to Page, AZ.
    So, assuming you’ll already be in Monument Valley, try to schedule a tour as soon after sunrise (local time) as you can. Sunrise in Monument Valley occurs at ~7:00 AM in April. Assuming that your Monument Valley Tour ends at 10:00 AM local time, you then need ~2-2.5 hours to drive from MV to Page, AZ. You’d arrive at about 12:30 PM Monument Valley Time, which is 11:30 AM Page, AZ, time. If you can find availability for an Antelope Canyon Tour for mid-day or early afternoon, book it, then either visit Horseshoe Bend for sunset, or sunrise the following morning. Here again, if you’re visiting within the next few weeks, construction is taking place at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook requiring the closure of the parking lot between the hours of 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM. During that timeframe, a shuttle runs to the overlook that costs $5/person to use. Before 10:00 AM and after 6:00 PM, the lot is open as normal. The project should be completed by the end of April, fingers and toes crossed.
    Hope that helps — good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Joanna Bidani - March 26, 2019

Hi Ryan,
First just wanted to say how amazed I am at your website and all the info, and so happy I found it! Thank you!
I’m planning a one-week trip for mid-April with my husband, and I’ll be 7 months pregnant. Flying in and out of Vegas, but want to rent a car and focus on the Arizona sites – was thinking of Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend, to Grand Canyon to Sedona, and then back to Vegas just for a night. Would love to get your take on an itinerary, and any other advice/suggestions! There’s so many things to see, hard to narrow it down…trying to find a good balance between hiking/sightseeing and just relaxing. Open to any suggestions!
Thank you,
Joanna

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 27, 2019

    Hi Joanna and thank you for your compliments.
    Being so far along in your pregnancy will no doubt have an effect on where you can/should go and what you can/should do. For example, Grand Canyon South Rim is 7,000′ above sea level. That means less oxygen (albeit slightly) than at sea level. Many women in the last trimester of pregnancy report being affected by altitude sickness moreso than if they weren’t pregnant (I know, I used to work there). That’s something you might want to run by your OB/GYN before traveling.
    If he/she gives you the green light to take your trip, a good one-week itinerary using Las Vegas as a staging city would be something like this:
    Day 1 – Las Vegas, NV, to Sedona, AZ (~4.5 hour drive), optional stop at Hoover Dam, overnight in Sedona
    Day 2 – Enjoy some easy hiking in Sedona, such as the Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, maybe take a spa day, spend 2nd night in Sedona (Things To Do In Sedona, AZ)
    Day 3 – Drive from Sedona to Grand Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hour drive), overnight at Grand Canyon
    Day 4 – Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, stop at Grand Canyon Viewpoints and points of interest on Navajo Reservation as desired (~3.5-4 hour drive), overnight in Page.
    Day 5 – Visit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, tour Upper Antelope Canyon* (*Upper Antelope Canyon is recommended for pregnant women because it’s an easy walk; be sure to request to sit up front with the guide on the buckboard truck ride from the highway to the mouth of the canyon to minimize bumps), maybe tour the Glen Canyon Dam or visit the John Wesley Powell Museum. Spend 2nd night in Page, AZ.
    Day 6 – Drive from Page, AZ, to Zion National Park (~2 hour drive), overnight in Springdale, UT
    Day 7 – Drive back to Las Vegas (~3 hour drive from Springdale, UT)
    The above itinerary can be reversed if you have issues finding lodging at any of the stops on the tour, which you might run up against at this point in time if you don’t already have reservations.
    Good luck, safe travels, and congratulations on your impending bundle of joy!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Crystal - March 26, 2019

Hi Alley!

I’ve been reading a lot of your responses & have learned so much already! My question for you is can we (myself, husband, 12 & 9 year old boys) do both the lower antelope canyon tour & the glen canyon river float trip on the same day? We will be driving from Mesa to Page the morning of Friday 9/27 & have lodging in Page for 2 nights. Would it be ideal to book both tours on Saturday 9/28 & if so which one should we do first? The only other thing we for sure want to do is visit Horseshoe bend but can fit that either Friday when we arrive or Sunday when we leave for the Grand Canyon. Or should we book the antelope canyon tour for Friday afternoon or Sunday morning? Thoughts or suggestions? Thanks so much!!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 27, 2019

    Hi Crystal,
    First of all, you’ve chosen a great time to be here. The weather is nice, pleasantly warm during the day, and slightly cool at night. Usually, anyway 😉
    You can, in theory, tour both Lower Antelope Canyon and do the Glen Canyon Float Trip the same day. Whether you take the morning or afternoon departure of the Glen Canyon Float Trip depends on you and how early your family likes to get up. The morning trip requires a 6:00 AM check-in for a 7:00 AM departure; the afternoon trip checks in at 12:00 N for a 1:00 PM departure. The primary deciding factor, however, is bound to be availability, or lack thereof, of Antelope Canyon tours. I would look into that first, see when you can book a tour, then schedule your float trip and other activities around that.
    As for when you visit Horseshoe Bend, here again, that depends on how receptive your family is to early mornings! The parking lot at Horseshoe Bend tends to get super-crowded between the hours of 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM. If you can possibly pop in there just after sunrise, which occurs at about 6:15 AM in September, you’ll have fewer people to contend with, which is always a good thing. Allow 60-90 minutes to walk out to the overlook, hang out and take pictures, then walk back. The drive to Grand Canyon will take ~3.5 hours, maybe longer, because of the numerous photo ops you’ll encounter on the way, especially once you turn off onto AZ64 from Cameron, AZ (maybe stop at the Cameron Trading Post for brunch/lunch?) and make your way to Grand Canyon Village.
    Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Annie - March 22, 2019

Hi. I am planning to do some road trip with my mother and 2 kids (9 and almost 11) in late June. What do you think about my schedule? My kids wanted to do the mule ride but I find only 3 hr ride in South Rim. 1 hr ride is available only in North Rim? Do you think I can squeeze it in? Is it worth the 3-4 hrs to North Rim from Horseshoe Bend?

Day 1: Arrive at LAS (9pm)
Day 2: Death valley – Maybe??? Do you recommend rental car or group tour?
Day 3: Vegas to GC Skywalk. Then to Yavapai Lodge.
Day 4: Hiking. View points at South Rim.
Day 5: Watch Tower. Mule ride. Drive to Monument Valley.
Day 6: Horseshoe Ben and Antelope Canyon tour. Then drive to Zion park.
Day 7: Zion park and then drive to Vegas.
Day 8: Departure at 5pm.

I am not sure what activities to do yet. Any recommendations?

Thank you so much. This site is very informative and helpful, and I feel fortunate.

Annie
Day 7:

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 22, 2019

    Hi Annie,
    Your itinerary looks pretty fun, but still warrants a couple of “reality checks.” I also think you’re trying to cram too many destinations into a limited amount of time.
    In June, Death Valley and Grand Canyon West (where the Skywalk is) are going to be scorching hot. I don’t know how well you can tolerate heat, but if I were you, I’d skip these areas this time around. Another consideration is that visiting the Grand Canyon Skywalk en route to Grand Canyon South Rim really isn’t practical. It takes ~2.5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon West. It then takes ~4.5 hours to drive from GC West to Grand Canyon South Rim.

    That’s at least 7 hours of driving in one day, which is not bound to sit well with 2 kids. If you really have your heart set on the GC Skywalk, you might use that 2nd day where you proposed going to Death Valley to take a tour there, particularly an airplane flight or helicopter tour that departs early in the morning to take advantage of cooler temperatures. Or self-drive, starting first thing in the morning.
    On Day 5 where you indicate you’d go to the Desert View Watchtower, do the Canyon Vista mule ride, then drive to Monument Valley, you’ll need to rethink that. The drive to Monument Valley will naturally take you along the East Rim/Desert View Drive anyway, so no need to visit those viewpoints prior to going to Monument Valley, you’ll just be backtracking. In Monument Valley, plan on doing a back-country tour of some kind.
    On Day 6, are you proposing to drive from Monument Valley to Page, tour Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, then drive on to Zion? If so, I advise against it. It takes 2 hours to drive from Monument Valley to Page, AZ. It then takes at least 2 hours to tour Antelope Canyon, then 60-90 minutes to visit Horseshoe Bend. You’re then facing a 2-hour drive to Zion. If you haven’t already made Antelope Canyon tour reservations, you’re going to have a hard time finding availability at your desired time. Another thing to keep in mind is that Monument Valley is on Daylight Savings Time, but Antelope Canyon is on Mountain STANDARD Time, so you’ll “lose” an hour traveling from Grand Canyon to Monument Valley, then “regain” it as you travel from MV to Page. It would be better to spend the night in Page, AZ, go to Zion on Day 7, spend the night in Springdale, UT, then drive back to Las Vegas on Day 8. Here again, you have differences in time zones, with Arizona being 1 hour behind Utah, then Nevada being 1 hour behind Utah as well (Arizona is on the same time as Nevada during the summer months).
    Almost forgot: regarding the North Rim, it’s not going to be practical to squeeze it in by driving there, but there is a possible way you can see it anyway: skip the Canyon Vista mule ride and take a flight over the North Rim. Fixed-wing airplanes and helicopters depart the Grand Canyon National Park airport daily, but mornings are the best times to fly for optimal light and less wind.
    Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
    Sandra - March 25, 2019

    You should choose two of your destinations and do the rest on different trips. If you really try to do all of this you won’t see the best of any of it. Choose Death Valley and the Skywalk, or Desert View and Antelope Canyon… choose two that are relatively close to each other.

    It is going to be hot in Death Valley in June, but the skywalk will be ok. I live near there. The temps will be in the 90s by then, but it isn’t too bad. They have so much to do now, besides the skywalk there is a zipline, and helicopter tours, you can take a helicopter down to the river and then take a boat tour.

    Reply
      Alley Keosheyan - March 25, 2019

      Hi Sandra,
      Thank you for contributing your insight to the discussion!
      Alley 🙂

      Reply
Chris - March 17, 2019

Travelling in May and being ambitious in trying to see and do as much as possible. So would appreciate feedback on my proposed itinerary.

Driving LA to Death Valley .
Next day to Hoover dam then Las Vegas. Helicopter tour of Grand Canyon with rafting then 2 days Vegas.
Now for the big one:
Day 1 Vegas to Zion.
Day 2 thru to Bryce Canyon (nit sure if stay at Bryce or go bit further?).
Day 3 via sh12 to do waterpocket fold walk then goblin valley walk and onto Moab for night.
Day 4 arches and island in the sky, overnight again in Moab.
Day 5 needles area of canyonlands then thru to Mesa verde.
Day 6 Mesa verde then via 4 corners to monument valley.
Day 7 MV tour then onto Page/lake Powell.
Day 8 Antelope canyon tour then horseshoe bend and onto Grand Canyon village.
Day 9 Grand Canyon then Williams for night.
Day 10 thru to Phoenix or possibly Tucson, then 5 days to do tombstone, Sonora desert, San Diego and back to LA

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 18, 2019

    Hi Chris and thank you for your inquiry.
    Your trip looks very well-planned, but there are a few areas raising red flags for feasibility, time, etc. When coordinating a trip in this part of the U.S., it is essential to remember that the drive times put forth by Google Maps are “wheels turning, no stops.” That rarely happens in reality because most dries are very scenic and you end up stopping to take pictures more often than you realize. Therefore, it is prudent to pad your estimated drive times by ~20-30% to be on the safe side!
    So, that said, here are my main observations:
    If you can possibly drop a day in Las Vegas, I’d recommend doing so in order to spend more time in Zion. It’s a beautiful park with lots to see and do. Many visitors report spending 4-5 days there and feeling as though they’d only touched the tip of the proverbial iceberg!
    Your plan for day 3 is too ambitious. You’re looking at a 4.5 hour drive, bare minimum, to get from Bryce Canyon to Moab. Attempting to add Waterpocket Fold and Goblin Valley to the plan that will double that figure. Since you’re going to pass through a lot of scenery that resembles Waterpocket Fold just as a matter of course, I’d recommend swinging up to Goblin Valley, then heading down to Moab. That puts your estimated drive time at a much more reasonable 6 hours. Remember that you want to get all your driving done by sundown due to lack of ambient lighting on many local roads, as well as to minimize your chance of encountering nocturnal wildlife such as deer, elk, free range cattle, or wild horses.
    On Day 6, you could add a stop at Goosenecks of the San Juan State Park before dropping down to Monument Valley. BTW, I hope you have lodging booked at the various stops on your tour already, otherwise, you might have trouble finding availability, especially at Monument Valley. There’s not much to work with there in the way of hotels in the first place, so if you find everything sold out, you may need to look at Kayenta, AZ, or Tuba City, AZ, for your lodging.
    When you cross back into Page, AZ, from Monument Valley, remember that the two areas are technically on different time zones. Utah and the Navajo Indian Reservation DO observe Daylight Savings Time, whereas Page, AZ, DOES NOT. Therefore, you will “gain” an hour as you travel from MV to Page. Be sure to book your Antelope Canyon tour in advance as well.
    On Day 8, you might want to reverse the order of your activities, hitting Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, then doing your Antelope Canyon tour before heading to Grand Canyon Village. That particular drive is a classic case of “Google time vs real time:” Google puts the drive time at 2.5 hours, but in actuality, it tends to shake out at more like 3.5-4 hours. Between Page, AZ, and the entrance to Grand Canyon National Park, there are several scenic overlooks worthy of a stop, including, but not limited to “The Cut” Overlook, Chinle formation views, the Cameron Trading Post (good lunch stop), and Chief Yellowhorse’s souvenir stands. The section of the trip between entering the park at Desert View Point and GC Village has over half-a-dozen named Grand Canyon viewpoints you can stop at as well.
    On Day 9, instead of stopping in Williams for the night, you might consider a night in Sedona instead. It’s ~3 hours from Grand Canyon Village, and is a much more scenic area. From there, Phoenix is only about a 2.5 hour drive, but then again, you might find yourself wishing you’d planned for more time in Sedona. Like Zion, it’s one of those places where you could spend a week and still go home feeling as though there was still so much more to see and do. I guarantee that at the very least, you’ll be planning a return visit here!
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Alena - March 15, 2019

Hi Alley,
I’m so gratfull I found this website with all of it’s useful information that you so thoughtfully provide! Thank you! I, like many others, am looking for your thoughts/advice on our upcoming trip next week (3/18-3/23). We (me, my husband and our 10 year old boy) are arriving at Phoenix on Monday afternoon, and are planning to drive to Flagstaff right away. Here’s our tentative itinerary:
Mon night – stay at Flagstaff
Tue – early drive to GC south rim —- Question – what are must do activities here with a 10yo boy?
Tue night – stay in GC (or go back to Flagstaff, depending on hotel availability)
Wed – explore more of CG in the morning — possibly take a helicopter ride over the canyon? What do you think?
Wed afternoon – drive to Page
Wed night – stay in Page
Thur – explore Antelope Canyon (lower), hike to Horseshoe, maybe do a boat tour. Any recommendations for a 10 yo to enjoy? Maybe skip the helicopter ride over GC and do one here?
Thur evening – drive to Flagstaff spend the night
Fri – drive to Phoenix, explore the city
Sat morning – fly home
I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations. We don’t have a lot of time in the region and want to see and do the most worth-seeing/doing things.
A million thanks in advance!
Alena

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 15, 2019

    Hi Alena, and thank you for visiting!
    If you have not secured Grand Canyon lodging at this point in time, you’re going to be hard-pressed to do so. You may have no other option but to stay in Flagstaff and make a day trip to the Grand Canyon. You can make it work, you just need to keep an eye on the time so you don’t find yourself having to drive back to your hotel at night. Driving after dark is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to lack of ambient lighting on local roads, and the possibility of encountering deer, elk, free range cattle, or even wild horses. Sunrise occurs at ~6:40 AM, sunset at around 6:40 PM. It takes approximately 90 minutes, each way, to drive from Flagstaff to GC South Rim.
    Good activities for a family like yourselves include, but are certainly not limited to: the IMAX film presentation “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets,” the NPS Junior Ranger program , walking the paved Grand Canyon Rim Trail, taking the free shuttle out to the viewpoints on the West Rim/Hermit’s Rest Drive, and maybe taking a short hike on the Bright Angel Trail, weather permitting (last I checked, there was still a lot of snow on the trail, which makes it hard to walk). I would definitely recommend the Grand Canyon helicopter tour for your family! If possible, try to fly first thing in the morning for optimal light and lack of wind.
    In Page, you’ve definitely set aside enough time for the “must-do” activities. Hit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning because the main parking area is going to be closed from 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. During that timeframe, you have to park in an alternate lot, and use a $5/person shuttle to get there. Frankly, it’s a pain, and I recommend avoiding it at all costs! Go at ~8:00 AM at the latest so you can allow at least 90 minutes to make the walk out and back and take some pictures. For boat tours, I’d recommend avoiding anything too long so your son doesn’t get bored. A waterside tour of Antelope Canyon from Antelope Point Marina would be a good choice. If you have more time, you might tour the Glen Canyon Dam, or take a short hike around the area known as the “New” Wave.
    On your final vacation day, instead of exploring Phoenix, I’d recommend making the short detour through Sedona, AZ. It’s a stunning area, and I can almost guarantee that once you see it, you’ll want to come back and spend more time there!
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Brianna - March 13, 2019

Hi there!
My boyfriend and I are going to be visiting April 7-10 and I have planned out a few things but want to know if you have any suggestions to our current schedule and if I should add anything else.

4/7 driving from SoCal to Bryce
sight see and spend the night in Bryce hotel
4/8 Bryce – drive to Page
spend the night in Page hotel
4/9 Kayak tour Lake Powell (there are no tour guides available during our visit from the company I would like to use. It is suggested by them that we are more than okay to self guide -thoughts?)
Horseshoe Bend at sunset
Stay the night in Page hotel
4/10 Lower Canyon tour
Drive home to SoCal

*we still need to figure out what to do in Bryce and if we need to schedule anything in advance
*considering the Glen Canyon float but is that necessary if we are already doing kayaking?
*what else can we add to our trip?

Thank you!
-Brianna

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 15, 2019

    Hi Brianna,
    Your itinerary looks quite well-planned, and I wouldn’t sweat about adding any more to it. It’s always best to leave room for the inevitable unplanned photo ops that pique your curiosity and turn out to be one of those unexpected surprises!
    Your drive on Day 1 to Bryce is going to be quite long. Not sure what part of SoCal you’re coming from, but the drive from LA is 8+ hours, so unless you get a super-early start, you won’t have much time for sightseeing that day. Since your visit is occurring before the start of the free shuttle service, you can use the first part of the day on 4/8 to explore the scenic rim drive in your own vehicle, then head to Page.
    As far as self-guided kayaking goes, it is pretty straightforward, you’ll just need to stay away from areas where large tour boats go as they kick up quite a wake. Most kayak rental outlets will take care of racking the kayak onto your vehicle, and giving you guidance on some of the better places to go. RE: the Glen Canyon Float Trip, it takes place on the Colorado River, from the base of the Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry, so it’s a different experience than kayaking on Lake Powell. But, with your limited timeframe, you’d probably have to choose one over the other (kayak or float trip). If it’s just you and your BF, you’d probably enjoy the kayaking more as it’s more hands-on. The GC Float Trip tends to be a family activity since kids as young as 4 can go.
    Also, I’d recommend hitting Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise. Sunset tends to be quite crowded; sunrise, not so much. Personally, I like the Wahweap Overlook better for sunset. If you take me up on that suggestion, you might consider a short hike at the “New” Wave beforehand. Whatever you do for sunrise or sunset, bring a light jacket with you as early morning/evening temperatures can be a bit nippy.
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Eric Mayer - March 11, 2019

Alley & Ryan,

Thank you for providing such a fabulous resource in this blog and your continued responses!

I thought I had our 11 day trip to the area in early July figured out until I read it all, learning about the many additional things to see…

We have to kids with us (10 and 12) and are now thinking:

Day 1: Arrive in Sedona in afternoon and stay the night.
Day 2: Hot air balloon ride & relax at a swimming hole, then driving to Williams and stay the night.
Day 3: Take the train to South Grand Canyon, explore in the afternoon, and stay the night.
Day 4: Explore more of GC and return to Williams in late afternoon, then drive to Page and stay the night.
Day 5: Visit Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe bend, assuming we can do it all in one day if booked in advance, stay 2nd night.
Day 6: Drive to Bryce canyon to explore a bit, then drive to Zion and stay the night.
Day 7: Hike Zion and stay 2nd night
Day 8: Hike more in Zion and possibly raft, kayak, or tube, staying a 3rd night in Zion.
Day 9: Drive to Las Vegas stopping by Red Cliffs, followed by late afternoon tour of Hoover Dam, then spend the night.
Day 10: Explore & relax in Vegas, stay a 2nd night.
Day 11: Head home mid morning

Much to see and too little time, so hoping you might offer your thoughts/advice on our tentative itinerary and the following questions:

1) We thought the train to GC would be fun, but would it be better to just drive instead to possibly split 2-3 days/two nights between south and north? Any must-do’s activities while there?

2) Should we change some things around for more/less time somewhere, or substitute in Antelope Canyon boat tour, Monument Valley, The Arches?

3) We have also kicked around the idea of renting an RV for the trip instead of a car to get a little Griswold style fun in, though not sure if that will just make things more complicated.

Many thanks in advance for your experience and wisdom!
Eric

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 11, 2019

    Hi Eric and thank you for visiting!
    I’ll start off by addressing the RV vs. car issue: if you’ve never driven or handled an RV before, it can be a bit intimidating, but then again I understand the appeal. In July, you’ll want to be sure you’re staying in an RV park with electrical hook-ups, because you’re going to need that air conditioning. It’s HOT. Those might be a bit hard to find at this point, since July is within peak travel season. Cost-wise, most people report it was something of a “wash” because any money they saved on hotels was eaten up in expenses for gas, but then again, the ability to prepare your own meals can offset that a bit. Whatever you decide, RV or hotel, be sure you make ALL reservations for overnight accommodations well in advance of your trip.
    RE: The Grand Canyon Railway, I’d say skip it this time around. For one, you don’t see the Grand Canyon from the train, you don’t see it until you get to the park and actually get off the train. Another major consideration is time: the train, which is pulled by an antique diesel engine, takes upwards of 2 hours to make a trip that would take you only 1 hour to make by car. Once the train arrives at the park, you then have only ~3 hours to explore before you have to re-board the train for the return trip — another 2+ hours — to Williams. The Grand Canyon Railway is a fun, “old West historic” experience, but one I’d save for another time, maybe when your kids are older and won’t get bored stiff on a 4-hour round-trip ride through some unremarkable scenery.
    In light of that, I’d recommend modifying the first half of your trip as follows:
    Day 1: Arrive in Sedona, overnight in Sedona
    Day 2: Hot air balloon ride & relax at a swimming hole, spend 2nd night in Sedona
    Day 3: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hours drive), take free shuttle to overlooks on Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive, overnight at Grand Canyon
    Day 4: Get early start, explore more of GC on East Rim/Desert View Drive en route to Page, visit Horseshoe Bend, tour Antelope Canyon , overnight in Page **it is not necessary to tour both Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon to have a fulfilling visit to Page. If you’re fit enough to handle Lower, do it and use time for other activities**
    Day 5: Take Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip, Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour, or Lake Powell Kayak Tour – 2nd night in Page
    Day 6: Drive to Bryce Canyon (~3 hour drive), overnight in Bryce
    Day 7: Drive to Zion (~2 hours), do a little hiking, overnight in Springdale, UT
    Day 8: Hike more in Zion and possibly raft, kayak, or tube, staying a 2nd night in Zion
    Day 9: Drive to Las Vegas stopping by Red Cliffs or Valley of Fire, overnight in Las Vegas
    Day 10: Take early morning tour of Hoover Dam, explore & relax in Vegas, stay a 2nd night.
    Day 11: Head home mid morning
    If you’re wanting to fit Monument Valley into your trip somehow, you could manage it by sacrificing time in Page, AZ, but you’ll find lodging hard to come by at this point in time. Push comes to shove, it can be done as a day trip from Page, but it is a 4-5 hour round-trip drive. As for fitting in Arches, that’s a bit of a stretch, plus that area really should get 4-5 days of your time in order to enjoy fully. There’s a lot to see and do there!
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Timothy A Blenkinsop - March 10, 2019

Hello!

My wife and I will be going to a conference in Sedona from Friday April 12th till noon on Sunday April14th. We have a flight from Las Vegas at 4pm on Friday April 19th and wanted to tour the region. This is what we have so far and we would like some guidance on what is practical for Wed-Fri.

Friday April 12 fly into Phoenix at 10:30am
Drive to Sedona for Conference til noon Sunday April 14
Sunday April 14: 12:30pm drive 6hrs to Thunderbird lodge and stay the night.
Monday April 15 Morning tour Canyon de Chelly with Navajo guide.
Monday Afternoon drive to Paige (3hr drive). Is there time to visit Mexican hat and Forest Gump spot (seems to add 2 hrs)?
Stay overnight at Paige.
Tuesday April 16 take boat tour in morning then tour Horseshoe Bend and Upper Antelope Canyon (reserved) in afternoon.
Say overnight at Paige.
Wed, Thurs, and Friday until~4pm plane leaves from Las Vegas
Items we were considering visiting, but don’t know how much time is needed for each (I know we cannot see all)
-Zion
-Bryce Canyon
-Valley of Fire
-Grand Canyon East Rim.
We have both seen Grand Canyon, but my wife only once so we don’t know exactly whether we should sacrifice seeing other parks that deserve some attention (read: Zion, Bryce, VOF).
My wife and I are fairly fit. We both can run 5K and exercise a few times a week. Can you recommend what is manageable? One more question: is Toyota Rav4 able to manage ok in the region?

Here is a map of our itinerary with some pinned spots so far (still working on it):
https://drive.google.com/open?id=1VeYHM9Y_SLkeEXpG-SdylBknfJRPM0xK&usp=sharing

Any help is greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
Tim and Bab

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 11, 2019

    Hi Tim and Bab,
    Your itinerary looks quite well-planned. Unfortunately, trying to cram every single item on your wish list into your vacation will result in some very long drives, which don’t sound like my idea of a vacation. With that in mind, and since you’ve already been there, I’d advise taking the Grand Canyon off the table this time around and maybe plan a return visit when you can give it enough time to do it justice instead of a “quickie pop-by” viewing. I guarantee that you’ll be planning a return visit to Sedona after your conference, and the Grand Canyon is an easy add-on to a vacation there!
    You are correct in that the drive from Canyon de Chelly to Page, AZ, will be extended by roughly two hours if you make the detour to Forrest Gump Point. If you really want to see it, you’ll have enough daylight to work with in order to do so. The main thing is to keep an eye on the time and get all your driving done by dusk. Nighttime driving can be especially dangerous on the Navajo Indian Reservation and on the outskirts of Page, AZ, due to the lack of ambient lighting, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range cattle and even wild horses on local roads. Another little quirk about this part of the country is that the Navajo Indian Reservation DOES observe Daylight Saving Time, whereas the rest of Arizona DOES NOT. You will “gain” an hour passing between Navajo Tribal lands and Page, AZ. So, sunrise in Chinle, AZ, will occur at around 6:45 AM local time, and sunset in Page, AZ, will occur at about 7:00 PM local time, or 8:00 PM reservation time.
    On your second day in Page, I’d recommend visiting Horseshoe Bend prior to your boat tour. Right now, the main parking lot of Horseshoe Bend is closed between the hours of 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM to facilitate the completion of some construction projects that are running behind schedule, one of them being the expansion of the parking lot. During those hours, a shuttle service is required (which costs $5/head) to access the overlook. Visiting in the hours just after sunrise will allow you to take advantage of smaller crowds, cooler temperatures, and some wonderful photo ops.
    In the time you have left, I recommend visiting Bryce and Zion, in that order upon departing Page, AZ. For Zion, plan on overnighting in Springdale, UT on the Western border of the park. This will place you closer to Las Vegas on the back end of your trip, and make the detour to Valley of Fire more manageable.
    And yes, a RAV 4 will be fine for this trip, however, be careful before attempting any off-road driving as this will technically void your insurance contract.
    Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Kait - March 9, 2019

Hey there,
Thought I’d ask about my itinerary too. My boyfriend and I are going to visit April 5-8. Plan to fly into Phoenix Friday night and stay over in Phoenix. Next Saturday drive to Grand Canyon and stay in the south rim. Sunday I wanted to do a lower antelope canyon tour and horse shoe bend then stay over in page for the night. Monday drive back to Phoenix see Sedona along the way. anything else you recommend for Monday?

Reply
Silvija - March 7, 2019

Alley Keosheyan, thank you for your time and great answers!Would you please give me your advise on this.

I have 2 friends flying in from Europe and they would like to see as much as they can in the area.
We will fly on May 1st to Vegas and have to fly back on 8th.
they wanted to see Grand Canyon, Sedona, Death Valley, Antelope Canyon, LA??

I am not sure where is the best to start and if it is achievable – google maps distances and time usually do not match with real life. I would be thankful for any input.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 7, 2019

    Hi Silvija,
    You are absolutely right that the drive times put forth on Google maps rarely match what materializes once you’re on the road! In this part of the US especially, most drives are very scenic, so it’s best to “pad” given drive times by 20-30%. In light of that, you might need to scale back your proposed itinerary a bit. The trip from Las Vegas to LA takes ~5 hours, but is by no means a “day trip” from Vegas. You’d want to spend at least 3 days there in order to partake of the “must-do” attractions, such as Disneyland, Hollywood, Universal Studios, etc. If you’d rather not eat up that much of your already limited vacation time, you might drop it off the list, and do something like this:
    May 2nd (assuming May 1st you’ll be overnighting in Las Vegas): Day trip to Death Valley, overnight in Las Vegas
    May 3rd: Drive from Las Vegas to Sedona (~4.5 hours), overnight in Sedona
    May 4th: Second day/night in Sedona
    May 5th: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hours), overnight in Grand Canyon
    May 6th: Drive to Page, AZ (~3.5 hours), tour Antelope Canyon, visit Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page
    May 7th: Drive from Page, AZ, to Zion National Park, UT (~2 hour drive), overnight in Springdale, UT
    May 8th: Drive back to Las Vegas
    If your friends are really wanting to make that trip to LA, you might check into the feasibility and cost of flying into or out of Las Vegas, then into/out of Los Angeles. The biggest obstacle to doing something like that tends to be rental car drop-off fees. They can be pretty hefty for returning a vehicle anywhere other than where you picked it up from, but, it could make the trip much more feasible for you. I understand it might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for your friends from overseas.
    Hope that helps.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
    Jill rago - March 7, 2019

    I am coming to page from Phoenix on April 20 with 3 older teenagers who are all active and my 70 year old mother who still is active and walks 3 miles per day. We will only be there for the weekend and are trying to decide what to do. We all have a very adventurous spirit and want to see the beauty of the place but not necessarily the crowds. Here are the options I have narrowed it down to. Either doing adventurous antelope canyons tour 11 (owl, rattlesnake, upper antelope) or private tour (adds mountain sheep canyon) or horseshoe bend canyon tours or cathedral canyon on 1st day and then hidden canyon kayak antelope canyon tour and horshoe bend second day. OR. Doing Dixie Ellis combo package of Lower antelope/kayak antelope canyon 1st day and the driving to Grand Canyon 2nd day. Thoughts?

    Reply
      Alley Keosheyan - March 8, 2019

      Hi Jill,
      Either plan sounds wonderful, it would be hard to go wrong with either one! I’m personally partial to Cathedral Canyon because it has some features unique to it alone. It is not necessary to visit more than one slot canyon in Page, AZ, in order to have a fulfilling visit, though. If you are amenable to staying 2 days in Page, another activity you might consider taking part in is the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip or perhaps a 4WD tour to Alstrom Point.
      If you opt to drive to Grand Canyon South Rim, be aware that although the drive time is listed as 2.5 hours on Google maps, it is likely to take more along the lines of 3.5-4 hours because it’s a very scenic drive and you’ll undoubtedly be stopping to take pictures. In light of that and other factors, it is best to stay overnight at the Grand Canyon rather than drive there as a day trip.
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

      Reply
Sofia - March 1, 2019

Hi! Thank you for sharing all of this really helpful information. I’m planning a trip with my husband in June (21-26) and am hoping to get some advice on itinerary and lodging before I do any official bookings.

Here’s what we’re thinking so far…

Day 1 (6/21) fly into Phoenix – late night flight, pick up rental, stay the night (Recommendations for lodging?)

Day 2 (6/22) drive to Page (best, most scenic route we could take from Phoenix? Recommendations for lodging in Page?); Horseshoe Bend at sunset (I was looking into this tour https://horseshoebendtours.com/slot-canyon-plus-overlook is it worth it? should we just do Horseshoe Bend on our own?)

Day 3 (6/23) Lower Antelope tour in the morning (looking into this tour https://antelopelowercanyon.com/lower-antelope-canyon-hiking-tour/ based on your site’s recommendations). Any other activity you recommend as a must do for the second half of the day?

Day 4 (6/24) drive to Grand Canyon (Best activities to do in one day? Recommendations for lodging? We plan to stay the night)

Day 5 (6/25) half day Grand Canyon (recommendations?); drive back to Phoenix

Day 6 (6/26) Phoenix during the day (Recommendations for Phoenix?); fly back home late afternoon/night

Does this itinerary seem achievable? Do you have any other recommendations? Any and all help and advice would be greatly appreciated!

-Sofia

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 4, 2019

    Hi Sofia,
    Your itinerary as planned is quite achievable, and it’s good that you’re not trying to cram too many destinations into one trip.
    If you don’t have lodging booked already, you might find the more popular properties booked up in the parks, so at this point in time, it doesn’t matter what I recommend, all that matters is what’s available. At the Grand Canyon, for example, it’s always most desirable to stay inside the park at Grand Canyon Village. However, the in-park hotels tend to sell out months, even a year or more in advance. If you find that to be the case, Tusayan, aka Grand Canyon Village South, 7 miles outside the park entrance, would be your next best option. If those are full, then Williams, AZ, which is ~1 hour South of the park. For information on Grand Canyon hotels in order of proximity to the rim, and hence, desirability, visit GrandCanyon.com: South Rim Hotels
    In Page, AZ, you’ll have more choices, from Motel 6 to Marriott and everything in between in terms of price points and amenities. Here again, though, it’s a very popular destination, and you’re traveling during peak season, so you may already be limited as to what’s available. One nice thing about Page, AZ, is that you can look at vacation rental homes if traditional hotels are booked up. There is also a small cluster of properties in an area known as the “Street of Little Motels” where apartments have been refurbished into tourist lodging. For the price of a traditional hotel room, you get a unit with separate living and sleeping areas, and a full kitchen, so those are worth checking out, too. For more information on Page, AZ, hotels, click on VisitPageLakePowell.com: Where To Stay
    On your first night in Phoenix, since you mention that your flight is arriving late, you’ll probably want to stay relatively close to the airport. Fortunately, there are literally hundreds of properties located within a 50-mile radius of Sky Harbor. I recommend getting as close as you can to I-17 since that’s the highway you’ll be traveling on to start with. There is a La Quinta property as well as a Vacation Inn located right off the highway a short distance North of Phoenix, as well as a Motel 6 and Quality Inn a bit further North.
    The best route to take to Page, AZ, also happens to be the most scenic route, which is I-17 to Flagstaff, then US89 to Page, AZ. Time permitting, you might stop at Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monuments just North of Flagstaff, as well as the Cameron Trading Post. For Horseshoe Bend, you can do this on your own if you prefer, but dovetailing onto the Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon tour will certainly spare you some headaches, namely parking, which can be quite a bear at Horseshoe Bend. If you do decide to tour Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon and the overlook, then you wouldn’t necessarily need to tour Lower Antelope Canyon. Instead, I’d recommend using that second day to take part in a water-based activity, such as the Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour or the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. If you find you have more time to kill, other activities you might consider are Glen Canyon Dam tours, visiting the John Wesley Powell Museum, a cultural program at the Navajo Village Heritage Center, or maybe firing off a few rounds at Gunfighter Canyon, Page’s new indoor shooting range. There are lots of possibilities! Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, Arizona
    A good chunk of your Grand Canyon sight-seeing will actually occur on the drive down from Page since the route will naturally take you along the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the Grand Canyon. There are over half-a-dozen named Grand Canyon viewpoints you can stop at, as well as other points of interest on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands you’ll encounter before entering the park, so what is listed as a 2.5 hour drive on Google maps can easily end up taking more along the lines of 3.5-4 hours. If you are still feeling perky enough for more sightseeing after that, a stroll along the easy, paved rim trail or a short hike on the Bright Angel Trail can easily fill up an afternoon. If you get lodging in Tusayan, be sure to catch the IMAX film, “Grand Canyon: The Hidden Secrets” at the National Geographic Visitors Center.
    The next morning before driving back to Phoenix, you might catch a helicopter flight over the canyon. Though these won’t descend below the rim, they’ll still give you a truer sense of how big the Grand Canyon is, and show you areas inaccessible to even the fittest of hikers.
    Another option would be driving back to Phoenix via Sedona. This will add another 2-3 hours onto your trip, and you’ll probably wish you had more time in Sedona, but if this trip is going to be a “once-in-a-blue-moon” opportunity, it’d be a good way to make the most of your time.
    As for things to do in Phoenix before heading back to the airport, keep in mind that during the day, it’s going to be super-hot. Any outdoor activities should be done during the early morning hours, if at all. Anything else should probably be indoor-oriented, so you can enjoy the comfort of air conditioning. The Heard Museum would get my vote for a good indoor activity; it’s absolutely beautiful and huge. You’ll need to keep an eye on the time so you don’t get too engrossed and miss your flight. That wouldn’t be fun!
    Hope that helps – good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Elena Momtchev - March 1, 2019

Hi Alley,

I’d really love your opinion on our itinerary.
Our dates are May 23 – 27, and let me add that we have two kids with us – 9 and 11 yrs old.

Day 1 – we drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, with a quick stop to Hoover Dam bridge.
We didn’t make plans for the rest of that day. We’ll be staying at Yavapai Lodge for two nights.

Day 2 – We are planning to a Bright Angel hike. Do you think that’s a good idea with the kids?

Day 3 – Drive to Antelope Canyon. Here I’m not sure how to fill up the rest of the day.

Day 4 – Visit Upper and Lower Canyon. Any thoughts or tips here? Or maybe visit these two canyons on Day 3, and go to Grand Staircase onDay 4?

Day 5 – Drive back to Las Vegas and flight back home

Thank you in advance!

Elena

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 2, 2019

    Hi Elena,
    Your trip looks very well-planned. Still, I’d recommend making a couple of modifications for maximum enjoyment of your vacation.
    On day 2, where you say you want to do a “Bright Angel hike,” that sounds like a good plan, but, PLEASE don’t attempt to go all the way down to the Colorado River and back in a day. Simply hike as long as you feel comfortable with, and remember that 1 hour down = 2 hours back out. Food and water must be carried if you’re planning on going any further than 1-mile round-trip, or spending more than 1 hour’s time on your hike. Going down to the first rest house, 1.5 miles down the trail, and back typically takes ~3 hours for people in reasonably good health. Only you can determine your kids’ fitness and readiness for this kind of activity, so if you don’t think they can handle a 3-mile hike, maybe stop at the first tunnel. Even that small of a distance will give you an appreciation for how different the Grand Canyon looks and feels below the rim. If you have more time to work with, you might take a stroll on the easy, paved rim trail, or take the free shuttles out to the overlooks on the West Rim/Hermit’s Rest Drive.
    On day 3, when you drive up to Page, AZ, get an early start so you can make the most of the day. Although Google Maps lists the drive from GC to Page as 2.5 hours, 3.5-4 hours is a more realistic figure since the drive is very scenic and you’ll be stopping to take pictures frequently. Photo ops include but are not limited to the more than half-a-dozen named overlooks on the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the Grand Canyon, the Little Colorado River Overlook, Chief Yellowhorse’s souvenir stand, the Cameron Trading Post (good brunch/lunch stop), Chinle formation views, the “Cut” overlook, and last but not least, Horseshoe Bend. You could then do an Antelope Canyon tour that afternoon, overnight in Page, AZ, then on day 4, take the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip . As the name suggests, the trip does not go through any rapids, but is nevertheless a wonderful family activity with lots of beautiful scenery and history. The kids will even get the chance to swim in the Colorado River! In late May, we recommend taking the morning departure of the trip (6:00 AM check-in) to avoid the searing hot temperatures in the canyon typical of the afternoon.
    If you wish, you could spend a 2nd night in Page, or you might drive on to Zion National Park, and overnight in Springdale, UT. The drive back to Las Vegas the following day would then be only ~3 hours.
    If you’re under the impression that Grand Staircase-Escalante NM has been left off this itinerary, it hasn’t. You’ll get to see a pretty sizeable swath of it on the drive from Page, AZ, to Zion. On the way, you might stop at the Big Water Visitors Center to see some in-depth exhibits on dinosaur discoveries that have taken place within the Monument.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Elena Momtcheva - March 6, 2019

      Alley,

      Thank you very much of your fats answer. It was very helpful and now we are planning to do one night in Page, and drive to Zion on the next day.
      One last question: Would you recommend visiting both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons? There are no noon trips available for the Upper Canyon anymore, and I know that’s the best time to go there.
      So, I wonder should we use our time for something else, or visiting both Canyons, and not only one, is a must?

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - March 6, 2019

        Hi again, Elena!
        Although all of the Antelope Canyons are beautiful, it is not necessary to visit more than one in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page, AZ. If you have more time after touring one of the slot canyons (I recommend Lower if you’re physically OK with it), you might consider doing a boat ride or kayak tour of the section of Antelope Canyon that empties into Lake Powell. These are offered at Antelope Point Marina, which is a short distance away from Antelope Canyon Tribal Park, and are an excellent way to get more of a “big picture” perspective of the Antelope Canyons, and their complex role in the Glen Canyon ecosystem.
        Hope that helps 🙂
        Alley

        Reply
TONYA - February 27, 2019

Hi Ryan,
I kinda feel as if i know you by all this wonderful advise you give. I have read looking for my answer and I don’t quite see it, so here goes…
We fly in to Las Vegas very late 4-4 our( plans are backwards from your but i feel we can do most still)
Tuesday – Drive to Zion and explore
Wed – Drive to Bryce Canyon and explore
Thurs- Here is the query… Page AZ… Can we do an 8 am upper antelope canyon scenic tour AND make it to the 11 am wilderness half day float trip? or is that too much ?
Friday – Go to Grand Canyon staying at the El Tovar for the night
Sat- Sun not sure yet
Monday – return to Las Vegas fly home

Thank you so much in advance…
Tonya

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 1, 2019

    Hi Tonya,
    Ryan is out of the office, but I’ll tell him you said “hi!”
    So if I’m reading your inquiry correctly, you are visiting in the early part of April, correct? If so, check-in time for the 11:00 AM float trip is required at 10:00 AM. In theory, the 8:00 AM Upper Antelope Canyon tour should wrap up at 9:30 AM, and the Wilderness River Adventures office is relatively close to downtown Page and/or the Antelope Canyon Tribal Park entrance. However, delays do happen during peak travel season, which April definitely falls into. In order to avoid being late for either activity, and losing your money, I’d recommend doing the float trip on Thursday, then doing an early Antelope Canyon tour on Friday morning before driving to the Grand Canyon. Be sure to hit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, too!
    For the weekend where you note that you’re “not sure yet” what you’ll be doing, if you can possibly get a 2nd night at El Tovar, that’d be wonderful, but it’s not likely to happen. So, may I suggest Sedona? It’s a stunning area, with lots to see and do. It’s about a 3-hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Sedona, then the drive back to Las Vegas will be ~4.5 hours. Lodging options there run the gamut from basic bare-bones motels to over-the-top spa resorts. Where To Stay in Sedona
    Another observation is that your inquiry states you’ll arrive in Vegas the night of 4-4, which is a Thursday, then depart for Zion on Tuesday. If possible, I’d recommend dropping a night in Las Vegas and going to Zion a day early. It’s a huge park, with a lot to explore, and a quickie overnight really isn’t sufficient to do it justice.
    I know it’s a hard choice! Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Rebecca - February 26, 2019

Hi Ryan,

You have such amazing information and we really appreciate all the insights! I am feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the choices and want to plan our trip the best we can! My family is flying into Phoenix on April 13th and first staying in Flagstaff (check in on the 13th and out on the 16th) for a few nights and then driving back south and staying in Tempe (check in 16th and out on the 19th. My husband and I will be with our 13 and 9 year old.

My thought is to make a stop somewhere on our drive up to Flagstaff, but not sure where. I’m sure there are a ton of options. I just don’t want to get off the plane and then drive for hours without stopping to see/do something.

While in Flagstaff we will do an Antelope Canyon tour, horseshoe bend and Grand Canyon South Rim.
Then when we drive back to Tempe, I thought we would stop in Sedona for the day. Maybe do a jeep tour?

We are still researching Tempe but see a lot of things to do in that area too. One day will be booked with visiting family near by.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! We are conscientious of our budget but also want to make sure we get some great experiences on our trip.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 26, 2019

    Hi Rebecca!
    First of all, using Flagstaff, AZ, as a “base” to explore the various popular attractions in Northern AZ is less than ideal. It takes at least ~2.5 hours, one way, to drive from Flagstaff to Page, AZ. It takes anywhere from 60-90 minutes to explore Horseshoe Bend, then an Antelope Canyon tour will take anywhere from 90 minutes to 2.5-3 hours. Another thing to be conscious of is daylength: at that time of year it’s still relatively short. Sunrise occurs just before 6:00 AM, and sunset occurs at 7:00 PM. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to lack of ambient lighting on local roadways, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range cattle, and even wild horses.
    Since you are traveling with your kids, it would also be a shame to miss out on the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. Though this tour, as the name suggests, does not travel through any rapids, it is still a wonderful family activity with lots of beautiful scenery, fascinating history (including a walk to an ancient petroglyph panel), and an opportunity to swim in the Colorado River. During the first two weeks in April, the float trip departs once daily at 11:00 AM, with check-in at 10:00 AM.
    Long story short, it would be best if you could stay in Page, AZ, for at least 2 days so you can take advantage of all the area has to offer, without facing a 5-hour drive.
    Ditto for Grand Canyon South Rim, it is best to overnight there instead of driving back and forth from Flagstaff. In this case, the drive from Flagstaff isn’t as long, only 90 minutes, but still, you should experience at least a sunrise and/or sunset on the canyon rim. That’s not so practical if you have to pack up and head back to “base camp” before dusk. Grand Canyon South Rim Hotels
    As for where to stop en route from Phoenix to Flagstaff, Sunset Point is nice. It’s actually a scenic overlook located at a rest area on I-17, but it boasts a beautiful view of the mountains to the West. If you take us up on the suggestion to continue past Flagstaff and head directly to Page, other points of interest include, but aren’t limited to Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monuments, the Cameron Trading Post, and Chinle formation views.
    For Sedona, here again, it deserves an overnight instead of just a “drive-by” touring. The Broken Arrow Jeep Tour is definitely worthwhile, but only represents the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of fun things to see and do! Where To Stay Sedona AZ
    Hope that helps – hope you have a wonderful vacation!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Eric - February 21, 2019

Ryan: I’m planning a trip in late August with my wife and 4 teens and I’m impressed and amazed at the depth of your knowledge and advice so I figure I’d jump in with my itinerary and ask for some guidance. We fly to vegas and pick up a Class C Rv, then head to trailer Village RV park for 2 (maybe 3 nights). I say maybe 3 because I wanted to go to Antelope Canyon, then over to North Rim Campground, just for a night, then to Bryce for 2 nights, ending in Zion for 3 nights (then 1 night in Vegas because…well, Vegas!) Should we forego the trip to Antelope/North Rim, or extend the NR stay and deduct one from either Bryce or Zion? And as far as Antelope tours, upper or lower? Thanks again for all your great feedback!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 23, 2019

    Hi Eric,
    Ryan is out of the office, but I’m happy to help you! I apologize for the delay in response to your query, as well. It’s been a busy week!
    First off, 2 nights at Grand Canyon South Rim is sufficient for most visitors to have a fulfilling visit. Another consideration is that you’ll do a good chunk of your Grand Canyon South Rim sightseeing on the drive out to Page, Bryce, Zion, etc. This route naturally takes you along the East Rim/Desert View drive of the park, where there are over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon you can stop at if you wish. Upon exiting the park, you might also stop at the Little Colorado River Overlook, the Cameron Trading Post, Chinle formation views and the Cut Overlook.
    Since you pretty much have to pass through Page, AZ, anyway en route from Grand Canyon South Rim to Bryce and Zion, I definitely recommend taking advantage of the opportunity to visit Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. You might stay a second night so you can take part in a water-based activity such as the Glen Canyon Float Trip or the Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour. To free up time for this, I’d recommend scratching a night off Bryce, since it is a relatively small park, and one night is usually sufficient for a thorough look-see. Regarding which branch of Antelope Canyon you tour, if your party is relatively fit, and won’t have trouble with ladders, stairs, and a few small boulders, you should be able to manage Lower. If anyone has any kind of mobility issues, then Upper is the better choice. Whichever one you choose, be sure to make your Antelope Canyon tour reservations well in advance.
    Though Grand Canyon North Rim is beautiful, visiting it may not be practical this time around as camping options are very limited and tend to book up several months in advance. Be sure you book all your RV park reservations ASAP.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Phil - February 16, 2019

Hi Guys,

My wife and I are visiting this August and while I am keen to do a photography tour of Antelope Canyon with my tripod, my wife does not care for anything other than using her iphone. However, I noticed that many tours won’t let you go on their photography tour without a tripod and dslr. Do you know of any that may allow my wife to join me and I can still use my tripod? Alternatively, how good are the sightseeing tours for someone using their dslr for handheld shots? Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 18, 2019

    Hi Phil,
    Due to the popularity of Antelope Canyon and its tributaries, such as Antelope Canyon X, Mountain Sheep Canyon, Rattlesnake Canyon, etc., companies that offer photography tours specifically are quite strict on who goes on them, and what they can bring. Their websites specifically state that DSLR cameras are not permissible on the photography tours. The only way I know of to have an exception made is to book a private tour, which is hard to come by for most of the tour companies since the scheduled tours are their “bread and butter.” One notable exception is Antelope Valley Canyon Tours, aka Ligai Si’Anii Tours, who manage several alternate slot canyons in LeChee, AZ. They do offer private tours, for a price, naturally. For more information, visit HikingSlotCanyons.com
    As for the basic sightseeing tours, the fact that they sell out months in advance speaks volumes about how good they are!
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Lee LaFrese - February 9, 2019

Hello, thanks for all of the great information about Page. My wife and I are planning to spend a few days in Page in late April. We are coming from Tucson and will likely arrive on the night of April 27 and leave either April 30th or May 1st. We definitely want to see Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and take a boat ride on Lake Powell. We are in our early 60s and in reasonable shape although I have some knee issues and my wife has some back issues. Still we can get around OK but may be a little slow going up or down. We are looking for some suggestions and have a few questions.

1) Should we do upper or lower Antelope Canyon?
2) We were thinking about doing a boat ride to Rainbow Bridge. Is that worth it? What boat ride would you suggest?
3) Should we do a day trip to Monument Valley? Or should we leave page a day earlier and stop at the Petrified forest on the way home?
4) Are we staying the right amount of time or should we cut it back a bit? Any other suggestions for things to do?

Thanks!

Lee & Petra

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 11, 2019

    Hello Lee & Petra, and thank you for visiting.
    The drive from Tucson, AZ, to Page, AZ, “on paper” takes approximately 6 hours. In reality, it could take you more like 7.5 or 8 factoring in bathroom breaks, meal stops (Flagstaff, AZ, or the Cameron Trading Post would be good candidates), and the fact that the drive is very scenic and you’ll definitely be stopping to take pictures. The earlier you can start out of Tucson, AZ, the better.
    As for the time you have allotted to Page, AZ, 2 full days should be enough given what you want to accomplish. For Antelope Canyon, you might be better off doing Upper in light of your knee and your wife’s back problems. The walk through that branch of the canyon is pretty much flat the whole way, and is a 100 yard out-and-back trail. The 2-mile safari jeep ride from the highway is more exciting than the canyon tour IMO! Visiting Horseshoe Bend can be done the same day you tour Antelope Canyon. The paved, ADA-compliant trail to the overlook should be completed by the time you get here. In the event it is not, consider taking a shuttle from Page operated by Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours. They go to the overlook via Native American Tribal Lands and the walk is much shorter from there.
    The Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour is absolutely worth it, but here again, you might be hard-pressed to fully enjoy it. Due to lower water levels, a 2.5 mile round-trip walk from the boat dock and back is required to see the Bridge. If you want to do a water-based activity, you might consider the Glen Canyon Float Trip instead. The scenery on it is beautiful, it’s just from the perspective of the Colorado River instead of Lake Powell, plus there’s less walking involved. There is a walk to a petroglyph panel mid-way through the tour, but that’s optional. If Rainbow Bridge is truly what you have your heart set on seeing, you might consider flying over it. Airplane and helicopter flights depart daily from the Page Municipal Airport. Mornings are the best time to fly for optimal light and less wind. Rainbow Bridge Air Tour
    If you want to see Monument Valley, it is doable as a day trip out of Page, AZ. It is a 2-hour drive each way, and you should definitely take a guided back-country tour in order to get the most out of your visit. You might check availability of lodging in the immediate vicinity, but options are few and far between, and are likely to be sold out already.
    Swinging by Petrified Forest on your way back to Tucson from Page, AZ, is definitely not recommended. That would turn a 6-hour drive into a 9-hour drive. Not my idea of fun! If possible, I’d recommend staying in one of the nearby towns, such as Winslow, AZ (as in “standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona!”) or Holbrook, AZ. The La Posada in Winslow, AZ, is a lovely hotel and would make for an extra-special treat to cap off your trip. The drive back to Tucson, AZ, from there would be about 5 hours.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Kelly - February 9, 2019

Hi. Was looking for some advice on my April trip. Am I missing anything?

Day 1- fly into Vegas.
Day 2- this is our long day. First tour at Hoover Dam, then Grand Canyon West- Skywalk. Then Drive to Williams.
Day 3. Up early and drive to Page. Take the 1pm kayak of antelope canyon tour. Sunset at Horseshoe.
Day 4- Take a Antelope Canyon tour 845 one- thinking the upper, not sure if that is the better one. Then Drive to Grand Canyon South for a 3:30pm Pink Jeep tour. Drive to Williams to sleep
Day 5- Back up to Grand Canyon South Rim- Hike the Bright Trail and a few other stops. Anything else to see with a 12 year old and 10 year old?
Day 6- Drive to Phoenix to see a Diamondback game
Day 7- Drive to Sedona. What are the best things to see
Day 8- Fly home to Jersey

Thanks so much for your advise.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 11, 2019

    Hi Kelly and thank you for your visit.
    “Am I missing anything” is a loaded question in this part of the country! In this instance, the answer is definitely yes. You’re missing Bryce and Zion, but seeing as though you’re flying into Las Vegas and out of Phoenix, it may not be practical to add them on at this point. Plus, your current plan involves too much back-and-forth driving.
    Frankly, I’d recommend skipping the Grand Canyon Skywalk this time around and concentrate your sightseeing at Grand Canyon South Rim. The South Rim is where you’ll experience the iconic “picture postcard” scenery. Grand Canyon West and the Skywalk are more of a novelty attraction. Instead of staying in Williams, which is a 3-hour one-way drive from Page and 1-hour one-way drive from the Grand Canyon, I’d recommend overnighting at the Grand Canyon and Page. That way you can experience sunrise and/or sunset at these locations. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the country due to lack of ambient lighting and the possible hazards posed by deer, elk, coyotes, free range cattle, and feral horses. Where To Stay in Page, AZ Where To Stay At Grand Canyon South Rim
    When you say you’re “driving to Grand Canyon South for a 3:30 pm Pink Jeep Tour,” you won’t need to do this if you take us up on the suggestion to overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim before traveling to Page, AZ. The driving route between the two areas naturally takes you along the East Rim/Desert View Drive, where you can stop at over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon before exiting the park at Desert View Point, or after entering the park at Desert View. If you wish to see the Grand Canyon IMAX film, which is definitely worthwhile, you can simply purchase your own tickets on site.
    RE: which Antelope Canyon tour you take, if all family members are in reasonably good shape, you would probably be fine with Lower Antelope Canyon. It is longer and requires navigating a few ladders and boulders, but would probably be more enjoyable than Upper, which is just a 100 yard out and back walk. If Lower Antelope Canyon is sold out, you might consider Antelope Canyon X, which is similar in appearance and physicality to Lower, but usually is less crowded.
    One day in Sedona doesn’t give you a chance to see/do much of anything. You could spend a whole week in area and still feel as though you only touched the “tip of the iceberg.” Here is where I’d recommend doing the Pink Jeep Tour as this will take you into parts of the backcountry that are not easily accessible with the typical rental vehicle. The Broken Arrow Tour tends to be the most popular, but there is a lot to choose from. You can even customize two or more into a combination tour if you wish. For more suggestions for a fulfilling one-day itinerary in Sedona, AZ, visit Sedona.net: One Day Itinerary
    So, to recap with the changes I’m recommending, your itinerary would look more like this:
    Day 1 – fly into Vegas
    Day 2 – tour Hoover Dam, drive to South Rim, see IMAX movie in Tusayan, overnight at South Rim
    Day 3 – hike part of Bright Angel Trail, sight seeing in Grand Canyon Village/Hermit’s Rest Road area, spend 2nd night at South Rim
    Day 4 – drive to Page, AZ, take kayak tour, sunset at Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page,
    Day 5 – take Antelope Canyon tour, perhaps tour Glen Canyon Dam, either overnight in Page, or drive down to Williams
    Day 6 – drive to Phoenix for Diamondbacks game
    Day 7 – drive to Sedona (2 hours from PHX)
    Day 8 – fly home
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Clara - February 8, 2019

Hi Alley
We will end the yellowstone tour in Salt Lake City on 11st June , planning to take a greyhound to Las Vegas for another 5 days trip before we fly back to our home town. In these 5 days, we want to visit GC , AC& Lasvegas
We have 5 women all healthy and active . We aren’t planning to rent a car in this trip , Haven’t book any hotel & greyhound yet .
What do you suggest for the best way to tour ? which way would be best to go. thank you!
Thank you
Clara

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 11, 2019

    Hi Clara and thank you for visiting.
    Honestly, taking a Greyhound and relying on a guided tour is not the best plan. Although Greyhound has improved its bus fleet in recent years, and remains an economical option for travel, their schedules still tend to be somewhat inconvenient. Case in point: their only daily departure leaves from Salt Lake City at 7:45 AM and don’t arrive in Las Vegas until ~3:00 PM. That’s if they’re running on time, which they rarely are. Salt Lake Express offers more choices of departures, and while their trip duration is comparable to Greyhound and tickets are more expensive, they offer a better class of service, if that’s a priority.
    Tour companies that travel to the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon out of Las Vegas are out there, but you do not get to choose “the best way to tour.” You tour the way they tell you to, and that’s the end of it. These programs also tend to be quite rushed, giving you no leisure time whatsoever for exploration and discovery. That said, package tours can range in length from a quick overnight to 5-days. In our experience, Viator tends to offer the most in the way of choices.
    All that said, though, renting a car and self-driving is really the best way to go. That way, you get to call the shots as to how you use your time and cater to your desires.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Krystal - February 28, 2019

      Hi Alley,
      This is the best information on any site I’ve seen. I want to plan a trip to see the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, & Horseshoe Bend. Where should I fly into, & what’s the best way to plan my trip? I will have 3 days to do this, Memorial Day Weekend, how far in advance should I book? I also need information on where to stay bc I’m lost but determined to see these beautiful places. I’m in shape so I definitely want to see Lower Antelope Canyon. Any suggestions will be Greatly Appreciated.
      Thanks,
      Krystal

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - March 1, 2019

        Hi Krystal,
        First off, bookings for lodging, guided tours, etc. should be done ASAP. You’re traveling during one of the busiest holiday weekends in the U.S., so don’t be surprised if things are already sold out.
        Regarding where to fly into, Phoenix or Las Vegas are the most popular airports to use as a starting point for vacations to the area. Either one is ~a 4.5 hour drive from Grand Canyon South Rim, or Page, AZ (gateway city for Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend), but travelers tend to report that flights are cheaper going into Las Vegas. It doesn’t hurt to check options for both, as well as compare rental car rates.
        Next step is to start checking availability at Grand Canyon South Rim hotels. This will be the lynchpin around which the rest of your trip planning should evolve, and revolve. One night is sufficient at the Grand Canyon, since a good portion of your sightseeing of that park will occur on the drive to or from Page, AZ. The drive from Grand Canyon South to Page is listed as 2.5 hours on Google maps, etc., but in reality, it can end up taking more along the lines of 3.5-4 hours because of the scenic nature of the drive and the stops you’ll invariably make.
        For Page, AZ, plan on staying 1-2 nights. Antelope Canyon tours and Horseshoe Bend can easily be done in one day’s time. If you’re traveling with kids who are at least 4 years old, you’ll want to take an extra day to do the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. As the name suggests, the trip does not traverse any rapids, but is still a wonderful experience, and a rare opportunity to actually get down on the Colorado River. As for where to stay in Page, AZ, lodging options run the gamut from Motel 6 to Marriott and everything in between in terms of price point and amenities. The key is to book all lodging and tours ASAP.
        Hope that helps!
        Good luck and safe travels,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
avni - February 7, 2019

hello, I am travelling to Antelope Canyon and will be there April 19th. I want to book AC but dont know which one to do? Lower or Upper – we are in relative decent shape. What company should I use to book with? What are you thoughts on Canyon X and boat tour? also is the lake warm enough then to go swimming?

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 8, 2019

    Hi Avni,
    If you’re in decent physical shape, then Lower Antelope or Antelope Canyon X should be just fine for you. The two are similar in appearance and exertion required. There are ladders and stairs strategically placed to assist you if/when you need to climb.
    Doing both a land-side slot canyon tour and a waterside tour of Antelope Canyon is an excellent way to gain an appreciation for the complexity of the landscape. Antelope Canyon is actually a multi-branched drainage system that includes several slot canyons, Antelope X is one. In April, Lake Powell usually isn’t quite warm enough for swimming; average water temperature is 54 degrees F at that time of year, but then again, it’s too soon to call. Start monitoring Page, AZ, local weather and Lake Powell Water Data about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. That will give you the clearest idea of what to expect.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Beth - February 5, 2019

Hello! My family and I (2 parents, kids will be 14 and almost 11) are visiting your area over spring break, March 24-30. We fly into Vegas early Sunday, drive to the Grand Canyon (stopping at Hoover Dam), and stay there until Weds AM. Next driving to Zion to stay until Saturday AM, then back to Vegas to see the city until our red-eye flight that evening. We are booked at Maswik Lodge Sun thru Weds and Zion Pioneer Lodge Weds thru Sat.
I have several questions:

We will likely do part of the Bright Angel trail to see the GC, and are considering a bike trip along the rim- any thoughts or advice about bike trip? Tour or just rent bikes? Is our money better spent doing a different tour?
Anything else not to miss at GC?

We are considering a stop at Antelope Canyon (probably Lower) as a break from the drive from GC to Zion. I see that the drive takes longer than google predicts (you say 4 hrs or so) and there is a time change. What time should I book a canyon tour if we are leaving GC Weds AM- we can leave at whatever time, but I’d rather not leave too early. I just don’t know how to be SURE we make our tour time!

As it is still spring, I know the Narrows hike in Zion is questionable, but what are the odds it would be open when we are there? I do know about the outfitters and renting appropriate gear. What do people do in Zion if the Narrows are closed? (We might drive to Bryce for a day in that case.)

I’ve already learned a lot from other people’s questions! Thanks in advance for your help!
Beth

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 6, 2019

    Hi Beth and thank you for visiting our site.
    First observation, right off the bat, is that you have too much time at the Grand Canyon. Instead of making the drive from the Grand Canyon to Zion with a “stopover” in Page for an Antelope Canyon tour, I’d recommend dropping a night at the Grand Canyon and overnighting in Page, AZ. That way, you’re not under so much pressure to get up earlier than you’d like in order to make your Antelope Canyon tour, you could simply do it the following morning after you arrive in Page, AZ, then head to Zion at your leisure, which is fairly easy since it’s only ~a 90 minute drive (a hop, skip, and a jump in this part of the country LOL). You’ll do a good chunk of your Grand Canyon sightseeing on the drive to Page, and can visit Horseshoe Bend on your way into town. Keep in mind that the main parking lot at Horseshoe Bend is temporarily closed so some ongoing and overdue construction projects can be completed. You’ll have to park in an alternate lot, then take a shuttle to the overlook for $5/person. For more information, visit HorseshoeBend.com: Temporary Lot Closure and Shuttle Another option would be to visit the overlook after 4:00 PM, or prior to 9:00 AM the following morning.
    RE: the bike tour at Grand Canyon South Rim, I personally have not taken it, but IMO, you can accomplish just as much be utilizing the free shuttle service that goes to the viewpoints on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Road. If you’re looking for a Grand Canyon tour with a lot of “wow” factor, I’d recommend an airplane or helicopter tour. These don’t fly below the rim, but nevertheless will show you areas of the Grand Canyon that are virtually inaccessible by any means.
    I’m thinking the Narrows won’t happen for you in March, especially in light of the fact that local rivers will be receiving large amounts of snowmelt in early spring, therefore the Virgin River will probably be flowing too fast, and the water will be too cold. If you’re looking for another “grand-daddy of all Zion hikes,” and no one in your party is afraid of heights, you might try doing Angel’s Landing. It’s definitely challenging, and the views from the top can’t be beat, but it’s not for the faint of heart. Even if you decide against that hike, there are tons of other beautiful hikes in Zion you can do. Or going to Bryce for a day is certainly an option, just keep an eye on the weather up there. At 8,000′, it gets a lot of snow.
    No matter what you do/where you go, be sure to pack a few pieces of warmer clothing since late March is still in that “transitional” zone between winter and spring. Weather can still be quite cool, especially in the higher elevations.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Mike - February 4, 2019

Hello –

I am traveling with a group of 10 that will be taking a day to drive up from Sedona to check out the Page area Slot Canyons (Antelope) and any other slot canyons (Rattlesnake ?) in the area. Our trip is in late September / Early October. We are all experienced and fit hikers and will be getting up early to arrive in the Page area around 9 am at the latest. We are looking for some recommendations for the best canyons to visit that would accommodate our one-day time frame? Also, what are the recommended reservations we should be making ? We are confused by all the options available and don’t have a good feel at which one(s) are the best option. We will have our own transportation so this is not a problem for us. Some of us have already been to Horseshoe Bend Overlook and Glen Canyon Dam Overlook and these would be added onto our day in that area only if time permitted. We want to make sure that we have all necessary reservations made in time for our visit.

THANK YOU for your guidance !!!

Mike

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 4, 2019

    Hi Mike,
    First off, the time of year you’ve chosen is wonderful: good weather (usually), thinning crowds that consist mostly of grown-ups… good stuff 😉
    In light of the fact that you are all experienced and fit hikers, I’d say stay away from the main branches of Antelope Canyon. These will still be crazy-crowded, and I’m not sure you’d want that. Instead, you might consider touring Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon. The former is similar to Lower in physicality and appearance; as the name of the latter implies, the degree of difficulty is quite high, but it sounds as though you’d be up for it. Both canyons are managed by Taadi’di’in Tours and can be combined into one long tour should you desire, and IIRC they might grant you group discount. For more information, visit http://www.AntelopeCanyon-X.com or phone 928-660-8890.
    I know that you stated that you wanted to make this a day trip, but if you do take us up on the suggestion to visit Canyon X and/or Cardiac, you might want to rethink that and spend the night in Page, AZ. That way you can rest after the challenging hike instead of face a 3-hour drive back to Sedona. Where To Stay in Page, AZ
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Mike - February 4, 2019

      Thanks Alley !

      Those sound like great options. I checked out the link you sent and they look awesome. I need to call them to see if we book the Cardiac Canyon hike if that includes Canyon X. Regardless, these look good.

      Thank you so much for your advice !!!

      Mike

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - February 5, 2019

        You’re welcome — please contact us again if we can be of further assistance! 🙂

        Reply
Josh Fennell - February 3, 2019

Hello there…..awesome advice! I will be traveling to the area the first week of June 2019 with my family. Can’t wait! However, it is pretty overwhelming all of the awesome sights! Thoughts for a family of 5 with kids 13, 11, 8. We definitely want to hit the Grand Canyon, the Page area looks awesome and we are considering Parks in Utah. Any advice is welcome!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 4, 2019

    Hi Josh and thank you for your compliments!
    Not knowing how much time you have to devote to this trip, I’m kind of stabbing in the dark here, but since you are a. traveling during the summer months and b. doing so with family, I’d recommend spending one night at Grand Canyon South Rim, and 2 nights in Page. The latter suggestion is in order to take part in the following activities:
    – Antelope Canyon tour
    Horseshoe Bend
    – Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip
    For Antelope Canyon, you are required to visit with a tour outfitter licensed by the Navajo Indian Tribe. This is a very popular attraction, so tours must be reserved in advance of your arrival. How To Book A Tour Of Antelope Canyon Horseshoe Bend may be visited in your own vehicle at your leisure, but since parking at the overlook tends to be crowded during the mid-day hours, you might wish to consider utilizing a commercial shuttle service from Page, AZ, or other alternate means of getting there. Horseshoe Bend Shuttle Horseshoe Bend Trail Rides Horseshoe Bend Scenic Flights
    The Glen Canyon Float Trip is offered twice daily during the summer months, but it gets VERY hot in Glen Canyon during the summer months. Therefore, taking the morning departure of this tour is recommended for optimal safety and comfort. Check-in is required at 6:00 AM for a 7:00 AM departure, which returns to Page, AZ at approximately 1:00 PM.
    As for Utah parks you might wish to add to your itinerary, Zion and Bryce Canyon are popular choices, 90 minutes and 2.5 hours from Page, AZ, respectively. Time permitting, you might also consider adding Monument Valley to your “to-do” list. The possibilities are almost endless out here! For more suggestions, check out our “Ultimate 7-Day Itinerary In Northern AZ and Southern UT
    Do let us know if you have further questions!
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Joe - February 1, 2019

Hi,

We’re looking for suggestions.

Our trip duration is 5 days. Arriving on Monday, 03/18.

We would like to spend 2 night. Then visit Antelope Canyon.

Other than that, rest of the week is flexible.

What other sites do you recommend we visit?

Which places should we spend the night to be close to places of interest?

Thanks in advance,

Joe

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - February 1, 2019

    Hi Joe!
    With 5 days to work with, you can certainly accomplish a lot.
    Assuming your first 2 nights are given to Grand Canyon South Rim, you should then plan on spending one night in Page, AZ, to tour Antelope Canyon and visit Horseshoe Bend. Just so you’re aware, the main parking lot at Horseshoe Bend is temporarily closed due to some construction projects taking place, so you’ll need to park in an alternate lot and take a shuttle to that area.
    For your next two days, you could do one of two things: spend 1 night in Bryce Canyon, and 1 night in Zion, or spend 2 nights in Zion. Weather will most likely be a prime determining factor as to whether you can and/or wish to visit Bryce. At 8,000′ ASL, it tends to get a good deal of snow. Best case scenario, it’s quite cold, so you’d need to be prepared with warmer clothing. Ditto for the Grand Canyon.
    As to where to spend the night, inside the park is always most desirable at Grand Canyon South Rim, seconded by Tusayan/aka Grand Canyon Village South. Grand Canyon hotels
    For Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, overnighting in the town of Page, AZ, is best for convenience and number of services.
    In Bryce Canyon, there’s only one lodge inside the park and it’s probably sold out already. There are a number of hotels located in nearby gateway communities, though. Bryce Canyon lodging The situation is similar at Zion. Springdale, UT, is the optimal lodging choice as this will put you only 3 hours away from Las Vegas when it comes time to fly home for your trip (assuming that’s where you’re staging out of).
    Be sure to book all hotels and guided tours ASAP, and start monitoring local weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel.
    Good luck and have a safe trip!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Joe - February 2, 2019

      Hi Alley,

      Thank for your feedback.

      Here’s some additional info and thoughts since my last post.

      We’re driving from Florida , arriving on Monday, 03/18. Heading back on Friday, 03/22.

      Here’s the initial plan. (Very flexible)

      Day 1: (GC South) Arrive mid-day, check in, relax, view sunset. (Yavapai Lodge already booked)

      Day 2: (GC South) View sunrise, relax and wonder around all day.

      Day 3: (Page, AZ) Depart early from GC, drive to Page, AZ. Stop at Horseshoe bend, then mid-afternoon tour lower Antelope Canyon, rest of the day – wonder round.

      Day 4: (Monument Valley, UT) Depart Page, drive to MV. Drive the 17 mile loop. Take a tour (jeep or horseback. Any recommendations on tour company) – Check into The View, relax, visit Forrest Gump Hill and other sites.

      Day 5: Unknown. (Flexible day) Head back to Florida early evening.

      What do you recommend (sites/destinations/attractions) to best take advantage of our time?

      How would you organize the week?

      We’re very flexible.

      BTW, is the skywalk worth the visit/drive?

      Really appreciate you input.

      Thanks,

      Joe

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - February 4, 2019

        Hi again, Joe!
        Thank you for providing more of a “big picture” of your trip plans, that definitely helps us advise you better.
        RE: the Grand Canyon Skywalk, I’d skip it this time around. Grand Canyon West is certainly an interesting attraction, but it’s better situated to compliment a Las Vegas visit. The South Rim is the “true” Grand Canyon, where you can enjoy the picture postcard views you’re expecting to see.
        Now, onto the rest of your trip plans:
        In light of the fact that you are driving back to Florida at the conclusion of your visit, a site that would be a natural and fulfilling add-on to your itinerary would be Mesa Verde National Park. It is located ~90 minutes East-Northeast of the Four Corners Monument and features some very well-preserved and sophisticated examples of Ancestral Puebloan architecture. Plus that whole area is just beautiful. There is only one lodging facility inside the park, Far View Lodge, which doesn’t open until April. However, there are several hotels to choose from in the nearby towns of Mancos and Cortez.

        Another fascinating area centered around Ancestral Puebloan culture and history is the Chaco Culture National Historic Park in New Mexico. This is a bit further away from Four Corners (~3 hours) and the nearest lodging is at least 1 hour away, but again, it would make a fairly easy inclusion into the trip back to Florida.

        Again, if you are able to modify your lodging reservations at this point in time, you might consider dropping a night at the Grand Canyon and moving your visit to Page up one day in order to work one of these other attractions in. Moving your reservation at Monument Valley would probably prove to be the biggest obstacle, however, as lodging is somewhat scarce there in the first place.
        Thanks again for your visit and have a wonderful trip!
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
Leah - January 30, 2019

Will be in Page Az the first week of March and want to tour both the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. How much time should you leave between the tours (I have no idea how far apart they are) if we want to do both in a day?
Thanks for any and all info!

Leah

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 30, 2019

    Hi Leah,
    First of all, it is not necessary to tour both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page. There are many other attractions in the area that warrant a visit, such as Horseshoe Bend, the Glen Canyon Dam, the scenic Lakeshore Drive Loop on Lake Powell, the John Wesley Powell Museum, the “New” Wave, and the Navajo Village Heritage Center… just to name a few.
    If you do have your heart set on touring both branches of Antelope Canyon, the good news is they are not located far apart from one another. It’s a good idea to leave about 1 hour between tours in case of delays, or if you’d like to have a chance to grab a bite to eat. There aren’t many restaurants in the immediate vicinity of Antelope Canyon with the notable exception of Antelope Point Marina and the Deli at the Big Lake Trading Post.
    For optimal convenience, you should tour Upper Antelope Canyon with one of the tour companies that operates directly from the Tribal Park Entrance instead of Page, AZ. These are Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours and Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours. Both Lower Antelope Canyon tour outfitters are located at the Tribal Park Entrance, which is a short distance down US98 from Upper.

    Whatever you decide, be sure to make any and all tour reservations well in advance of your vacation. Don’t be surprised if you find Antelope Canyon tours are already sold out. If you find this to be the case, consider touring one of several alternate slot canyons that are just as beautiful, but a lot less crowded.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Mickey DeCosse - January 29, 2019

I am wondering if you need a guide or permit to access antelope canyon from the water on Paddle Board? I am coming in July and was hoping to SUP down the river into the canyon.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 29, 2019

    Hi Mickey,
    Great question!
    The waterside of Antelope Canyon is within the boundaries of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, aka Lake Powell. You do not need a permit or guide, per se. You only need to pay the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area entrance fee, which is good for one week’s time. However, having a guide would probably make for a better quality experience due to the guides’ first-hand knowledge of the idiosyncracies of paddleboarding in this environment, as well as other sights you might enjoy in addition to Antelope Canyon.
    The landside of Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, so you would need to take a guided tour in that area. However, the slot canyon (land side) is not readily accessible from the waterside, so the two should be considered separate entities and activities.
    Now, when you say you were “hoping to SUP down the river into the canyon,” Antelope Canyon is a tributary that empties into Lake Powell. You access the waterside by launching somewhere on Lake Powell, such as Antelope Point Marina (the most sensible since it is closest) or Lake Powell Resort & Marina, formerly known as Wahweap Marina. If you were wanting to SUP on the Colorado River, you can do so from the base of the Glen Canyon Dam to Lees Ferry by using a backhaul service from Page, AZ. Wilderness River Adventures is one of several companies that provide this service.
    For more information on SUPing in Lake Powell and the surrounding area, visit SUP Connect: Paddleboarding Lake Powell and Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Edward - January 27, 2019

Hey, Alley,
Such an awesome service you provide. Thanks
We’re going to be in Antelope Canyon March 28th. Will we catch light shafts in the Upper?
Also, how far in advance would u book your tour? We are worried about booking too early and then getting lousy weather.
Thanks
Edward in Miami FL

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 28, 2019

    Hi Edward and thank you for your inquiry.
    You might encounter some light shafts in Upper Antelope Canyon in March. However, it’s doubtful that they will reach all the way to the canyon floor. That tends to be a late spring/summertime phenomenon, which is rendered moot on a cloudy day. Due to Antelope Canyon’s extreme popularity, we recommend making reservations as soon as possible. Since late March is Spring Break for many schools, tours might already be sold out in the main branches of Antelope Canyon. If your tour happens to be cancelled due to extremely bad weather, your tour price will be refunded. However, a little rain or a few clouds shouldn’t dissuade you from enjoying your tour. There’s no such thing as a bad time to go!
    Hope that helps,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Alina - January 23, 2019

Hi Alley,

It is mentioned that there are three companies offering tour to Upper Antelope, but I do found a few others, for example https://navajotours.com/ Are those also reliable tours to join in your opinions?

Thanks

Alina

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 23, 2019

    Hi Alina,
    Yes, Navajo Antelope Canyon tours is a perfectly reliable tour company to join. They do not pick up in Page, but directly at the Tribal Park Entrance on US98 Southeast of Page.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Larry Funk - January 21, 2019

My wife and I are considering an extended trip to the area with our travel trailer. We are torn between making the trip in the spring or fall to avoid the busy/peak visitor season. Which (spring or fall) would provide the best weather and overall experience?

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 21, 2019

    Hi Larry!
    If you are able to pick and choose when to visit, I would suggest October. It is typically marked by dry, stable weather and pleasant temperatures, not to mention crowds that consist of mostly adults. In the spring, you run the risk of encountering a late season snowstorm, and Spring Break crowds. Whatever you decide be sure to reserve space at RV parks and campgrounds along your trip route. Although days are usually nice that time of year, nighttime lows are starting to creep down to the 40’s or occasionally below freezing.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Larry Funk - January 23, 2019

      Thanks Alley. October sounds inviting. When you spoke of 40’s for lows, was that Spring? I assume October would be good for the Big Five as well.

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - January 23, 2019

        Hi again, Larry!
        That temperature range can apply to either spring or fall. Start monitoring local weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. And yes, October would be superb for Utah’s Mighty Five!
        Alley

        Reply
Darwin Gawat - January 19, 2019

Good Day,

Me and my friends are scheduled to visit Page, AZ on Feb 2 to 3. We plan on seeing horseshoe bend and antelope canyon. Looking at your website, i found that we have to schedule a tour. My question is, is it mandatory that we schedule a tour? or can we just drive there and do things on our own? how difficult is the access to the canyon compared to grand canyon? If you have any suggestions as to how we should spend our day there that would be awesome. Thank you.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 21, 2019

    Good day, Darwin,
    Yes, you absolutely must have reservations to tour Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon, and many other slot canyons in the Page, AZ, area, are situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, therefore you cannot simply “drive there and do things on your own.” What’s more, these tours are very popular, so waiting to make reservations until you arrive in Page, AZ, is a surefire recipe for last-minute scrambling since many tours are sold out already! If you find that to be the case, consider touring one of several alternate slot canyons that are just as beautiful, but a lot less crowded.
    As for difficulty of access, if you mean how difficult is it physically, that depends on which branch of Antelope Canyon you tour. If you tour Upper Antelope Canyon, for example, that’s an easy, flat 100 yard walk, out and back. Lower Antelope Canyon is more challenging, it’s longer (600m), and requires that you navigate several ladders and step over/around a few boulders. It’s manageable for most people in relatively good health. To gauge whether you’d be able to manage it, watch this video of a Full Walk-Through of Lower Antelope Canyon
    Other activities you might consider to round out your time in Page, AZ, include but aren’t limited to touring the Glen Canyon Dam, visiting the John Wesley Powell Museum, taking one of several easy but scenic hikes in the area, and taking the scenic Lakeshore Drive around the Southwestern flank of Lake Powell. Ultimate One Day Itinerary in Page, AZ
    In addition to your Antelope Canyon tour, be sure you book lodging in Page, AZ, in advance of your arrival.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Rachel C - January 19, 2019

Hi we are planning our first big family vacation. My husband is a Marine and we have never had time to go on a true vaction because we are always moving. first off we have a large family 5 children 25 – 16. (Two are graduating in May from College and High school!). We plan to fly into Las Vegas May 24 in the morning then drive to either Tusayan or Flagstaff, see the Hover Damn on the way try and tour part of the lower rim Grand Canyon
.Tour Grand Canyon another day spend the night
.leave early and drive to Page see Horse shoe on way Tour Lower level canyon
Do you think it is doable to take a Kayak tour –their last tour going out?
stay in Page then drive to somewhere around Zion the next day
Do Zion for that half day and the whole next day ( the narrows water tour looks fun)
leave out of Vegas May 29th
What do you think.
I am most excited to see the Antelope Canyons
Also someone told me the parks give free admission to military. My husband is active duty.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 21, 2019

    Hi Rachel and thank you for visiting our site. Wow – first big family vacation?! That’s exciting – we’re glad you’ve chosen Arizona for it!
    First off, because of the size of your party, it’s even more crucial that every leg of your trip’s lodging and guided tours are reserved in advance. You may also find it necessary to book two hotel rooms in a lot of places. State fire codes forbid more than 5 people sleeping in one traditional hotel room. Some hotels have suites designed for families, or you might find vacation rental homes or B&B’s to be a viable alternative to hotel rooms. Just something to keep in mind as you make your plans.
    So, on your first day, instead of driving to Flagstaff, I’d recommend driving to Tusayan or Grand Canyon Village and overnighting at the Grand Canyon. You definitely want to be on the canyon rim for sunset and/or sunrise! Flagstaff is 90 minutes away, and nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to lack of ambient lighting, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range horses and cattle, and other wildlife on local roadways.
    When you say “tour part of the lower rim Grand Canyon,” I’m assuming you are referring to the inner canyon, below the rim? If so, the Bright Angel Trail will be the best trail to hike. It’s easiest to find, is well-traveled, and has drinking water piped in every 1.5 miles on the upper half of the trail. 1 hour down = 2 hours back out. Food and water must be carried if you plan on spending any more than 1 hour’s time or going further than a mile round-trip down the trail. That said, you probably won’t be inclined to do this particular activity on the same day you drive over from Las Vegas. You’re looking at at least a 5-hour drive, and if you’re coming from the East Coast, you might be a bit jetlagged. I’d plan on taking it easy that night, maybe catch the IMAX movie if you’re staying in Tusayan, then doing your exploration the following day.
    On your drive day from Grand Canyon to Page, I know the drive time is given as 2.5 hours, but in reality, it typically ends up being more along the lines of 3.5-4 hours. That’s because the drive is very scenic, and there are multiple photo ops along the way, such as over half a dozen named Grand Canyon viewpoints, all different and beautiful, the Little Colorado River Overlook, the Cameron Trading Post (great brunch/lunch stop!), Chinle formation views, the “Cut” Overlook, and the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. As to whether you can squeeze a kayak tour in on this day, you would need to be certain to get an early enough start out of the South Rim in order to pull it off. Fortunately, sunrise occurs at ~5:15 AM in May. The latest departure for most kayak tours is around 3:00 PM, so you’d want to be sure your Antelope Canyon tour ends with enough time for you to get down to the Marina and check in for your tour. If you have any reservations at all about being able to do that, you might save the kayak tour for first thing the following morning.
    As for hiking The Narrows in Zion, May is a good time to do it, but be sure that your family is thoroughly briefed on the equipment recommendations for optimal safety and comfort. For lodging on this leg of your trip, Springdale, UT, will probably be your best bet since it’s on the Western border of the park, putting you ~3 hours from Las Vegas, plus it has more choices than other Zion gateway communities.
    And yes, since your husband is an active duty Marine, you get a free annual park pass from the National Park Service.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Olga - January 19, 2019

Hi Alley,

Thank you so much for so interesting and helpful information! Going through all these comments I made so many notes of “must do” things, so now I am not able to pick the best ones for the upcoming trip. Could you be so kind to help me with it?
I am planning a tour for my family for mid of April 2019 from San Diego to Las Vegas then likely to Page, Sedona , … I have not booked anything yet, but will do it at this weekend. We visited the Grand Canyon before and were in Las Vegas several times, so we do not plan to spend much time in LV and the Grand Canyon. The challenge is that I need to plan the tour interesting and fun enough for my kids (16-year old son and 9-year old daughter) as well as safe and doable for my 75 y.o. healthy parents. I plan to buy a tour to the Lower Antelope Canyon, since it looks like a small adventure for the entire family and also want to buy a boat tour to the Antelope Canyon. Could you be so kind to advise what else is the best place to visit in April (14-18 Apr)?

Thank you so much!
Olga

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 21, 2019

    Hello Olga and thank you for visiting our site.
    With both kids and seniors in tow, a good plan for a 2-day visit to Page would include:
    Antelope Canyon Tour
    Horseshoe Bend Overlook
    Glen Canyon Dam
    A water-based activity
    For the last item on the list (water-based tour), instead of doing the Antelope Canyon boat tour, you might consider doing the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip instead. It features different scenery from the Antelope Canyon boat tour, and though it doesn’t traverse any rapids, it is still a fun and memorable trip for families like yourselves. The kids will even get the chance to take a dip in the Colorado River, if they’re able to brave the cold water 😉
    With the extra time you have, I’d recommend visiting Bryce Canyon or Zion, before returning to Vegas.
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley

    Reply
Joanna - January 16, 2019

Hi Alley,

Got a ticket and hotel in Vegas from 6th to 12th. Plan to stop by Grand Canyon, then move to Antelope, Rainbow Bridge, Hoover Dam. Would you give me some advice on the planning?

Thanks,
Joanna

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 17, 2019

    Hi Joanna and thank you for visiting us!
    So I’m going off the assumption that by “the 6th through the 12th,” you’re referring to February. Because the attractions you list are a long ways away from Las Vegas, and not day trips, renting a car and driving yourself will give you optimal freedom and flexibility to relax and enjoy yourself.
    Here’s what I would recommend:
    Day 1: Drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, with a stop at Hoover Dam, overnight at Grand Canyon. Drive time: 4.5-5 hours
    Day 2: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ. Drive time on Google Maps is given as 2.5 hours, but realistically, it ends up being more like 3.5-4 hours due to the numerous photo opportunities you’ll encounter on the trip, including, but not limited to the half-a-dozen+ named Grand Canyon viewpoints, the Little Colorado River Overlook, the Cameron Trading Post (great brunch/lunch stop!), Chinle formatoin views, The “Cut” Overlook, and the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. Overnight in Page, AZ
    Day 3: Tour Antelope Canyon (make a reservation ASAP, some Antelope Canyon tours are already sold out!). Spend a 2nd night in Page, AZ.
    So here’s where Rainbow Bridge gets “tricky.” There is no vehicular access at all to Rainbow Bridge. The only way to visit the bridge in person is by boat. If you are visiting in February, you should be aware that at this time of year, Rainbow Bridge Boat Tours only go out on Saturdays. Due to the present level of Lake Powell, tour duration is 8 hours and requires ~3 miles hiking round-trip from the boat dock to the bridge. If this is not practical for you, then you might consider flying over it. Rainbow Bridge Air Tours are offered by fixed-wing airplane and helicopter. While they do not land at the bridge, flight tours offer an expedient and exciting way to tick Rainbow Bridge off your list, and get a truer sense of how huge Lake Powell really is.
    Day 4: Either drive back to Las Vegas (~4.5 hours), or, time and/or desire permitting, you might take another day or two to visit Zion National Park. It it not too much of a detour between Page and Las Vegas, and it is a beautiful park, one we strongly recommend visiting if this trip is a “once in a lifetime” adventure. The most convenient location for lodging is Springdale, UT, on the Western border of the park. The drive back to Las Vegas from Springdale, UT is ~2.5 hours.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Rachel Tuomey - December 17, 2018

Hi Alley,
Just stumbled across your site looking for info on Antelope Canyon and so glad I did. Was wondering if you could give your input/advice on our itinerary planned for April 2019? We are a family of 5 (kids ages 14, 11, 7). Open to any suggestions/changes my only requirement is that we sleep 2 nights in each location because I don’t think I can handle packing up every night!

Thurs 4/18 Fly JFK to LAS, land 10am: Valley of Fire, then off to Zion (reservations at Desert Pearl Inn)
Friday 4/19 Day at Zion (Desert Pearl Inn)
Saturday 4/20 Early Morning Drive to Bryce / Day at Bryce, Late afternoon drive to Lake Powell Resort
Sunday 4/21 Wake and Do Horseshoe Bend / Antelope Canyon (do you recommend upper or lower?)
Grab lunch and head back to hotel (Lake Powell Resort)
Monday 4/22 Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim, spend day there late drive to Sedona (any recs for places to stay?)
Tuesday 4/23 Maybe Meteor Crater or Slide Rock Park (sleep in Sedona again)
Wednesday 4/24 Morning hike in Sedona, Drive back to LV
Thursday 4/25 Mandalay Bay in Vegas
Friday Day at the hotel, redeye home

Thanks so much in advance for reading through! Initially we were not doing Sedona at all and instead rafting and spending extra time at Lake Powell, however we were told the water is quite cold on the lake in April still, so we gave up that extra day. Open to other options also 🙂

Best,
Rachel

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - December 17, 2018

    Hi Rachel and thank you for visiting us!
    Your trip looks quite well-planned, and it’s good that you have your hotels reserved already. Still, I’d recommend a couple of modifications for maximum enjoyment of your trip for all your family.
    First off, on the sections of your trip where you’re driving to Bryce then Page, then to Sedona via the Grand Canyon, you might want to rethink that. I know you specified not wanting to pack up and move every day, but that might actually be the better way to go for safety and comfort’s sake. For example: the drive from Zion to Bryce is ~2 hours; the trip to Page from Bryce is ~2.5 hours, but those are “on paper” figures. They rarely materialize IRL as both legs of the drive are very scenic, and you’ll no doubt find your self stopping to take pictures. You could find yourself running out of daylight by the time you complete your sightseeing in Bryce, and daylength is still on the short side at that time of year (sunrise is at 7:15 AM, sunset at about 8:15 PM in Utah). Driving at night is strongly discouraged in this part of the country due to lack of ambient lighting on local roadways, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range cattle, coyotes and other wildlife. You might consider overnighting closer to Bryce Canyon, then heading to Page the following morning.
    Ditto for the plan to drive from Page to Sedona with a stopover at the Grand Canyon. You’re looking at 5 hours of driving minimum (2.5 hours Page to GC, 2.5 to Sedona), but it’s more likely to end up being 7 hours – or more – due to the numerous photo ops along the way. The Desert View/East Rim Drive of the Grand Canyon is particularly scenic, with over half a dozen named viewpoints you can stop at. Better to overnight at Grand Canyon, then maybe swing over to Meteor Crater then down to Sedona the following day (~3.5 hour drive). Swimming at Slide Rock SP probably won’t happen at the time of year you’re visiting; the water will likely be too cold. But, you can at least walk down to the creek. It’s still a pretty hike.
    Speaking of cold water, you are correct that the water in Lake Powell is cold at the time of year you’re visiting, but the Glen Canyon 1/2-Day Float Trip (if that’s what you were considering) takes place on the Colorado River, where the water is even colder – 47 Fahrenheit, year-round. Since the trip does not go through any white water, though, you won’t get wet unless you choose to. The air temperature in April is quite pleasant (usually), so, long story short, if you can work this tour back into your itinerary, I’d strongly recommend it. It’s a nice relaxing family activity, and considered a “must-do” for most visitors to Page. At the time of year you’re visiting, there are two daily departures: one at 7:00 AM (6:00 AM check-in), and one at 1:00 PM (12:00 noon check-in).
    Keep in mind, also, that Utah DOES observe Daylight Saving Time, but Arizona doesn’t, so you’ll “lose” an hour crossing the state line from Nevada to Utah, then “gain” it back going from Utah to Arizona.
    As for places to stay in Sedona, lodging options run the gamut from simple cabins to over-the-top spa type properties, so it all depends on your tastes and budget. Just don’t wait too long to reserve a place, though. April is a busy time in Arizona, and places will sell out.
    Hope that helps. Best wishes for safe travels, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
    Rachel Tuomey - December 18, 2018

    Hi Alley,
    Thank you SO much for this fantastic info. We have revisited our itinerary as per your suggestion and booked ourselves outside the GC for one night to allow for perhaps more GC in the am and then either driving to Meteor Crater or straight to Sedona (my vote) for less drive time. It will be a gametime decision.

    For some reason, my husband is opposed to the raft ride on Lake Powell, I guess just time of year so we are keeping 2 nights on Lake Powell and braving that drive (oh Lord!). Due to the cooler temps in Bryce, we aren’t sure how much time we will even spend there since it’s quite possible there may by snow on the ground. So our drive to Lake Powell might take place mid afternoon. Sad we won’t see sunset there, but it seems we are traveling at a cooler time of year.

    Thank you again for your time and thoughtful response…so very helpful!
    Happy holidays and Happy New Year!

    Reply
      Alley Keosheyan - January 17, 2019

      Hi again, Rachel,
      Too bad you’ll miss the float trip, but, then again, maybe you can plan a return trip for a multi-day Grand Canyon white water rafting trip! As for the weather, yes, it could be all over the place, so having the flexibility to make, as you so aptly put, a “gametime decision” is definitely to your advantage.
      Best of luck to you in the New Year and let us know how your trip goes.
      Alley 🙂

      Reply
Aleksandra - December 15, 2018

Hi Alley,

thank you for information – I found a lot from your chats and decided also to ask for your advices.
I am planning February trip for 4 adults.

I think to fly from JFK to Phoenix on February 9th or early AM on 10th, rent a car and drive to Sedona, plan to stay in Enchantment resort for 2-3 days, relax 1 day and see around;
than probably Page – Antelope canyon(lower level and lake boat tour) , horseshoe band…
than probably Grand Canyon -South rim and last 2 days in Vegas, flying home from Vegas on 17th or 18th
Want to see the most but enjoying the views…
will take any suggestions please – can you help with more detailed itinerary
Thank you, Aleksandra

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - December 15, 2018

    Hi Aleksandra, and thank you for your inquiry!
    It’s great that you apparently have plenty of time to experience the scenery and attractions of this area at a nice, relaxed place. The first thing to establish before you commit to this plan, however, is rental car drop-off rates. Quite often, rental car outlets charge pretty hefty fees for returning vehicles anywhere other than where you picked them up. This is due largely to the remoteness of the area, and the long distances between cities.
    Since you are traveling in February, you should definitely keep some “wiggle room” in your schedule in case you are delayed or detoured at any stage of your trip by winter weather. Snow is a very real possibility at that time of year, especially at the Grand Canyon, since it is 7,000′ above sea level. Be sure to pack a few items of warmer clothing for your safety and comfort. Also, start monitoring local weather conditions about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. Grand Canyon weather
    For the Sedona leg of your tour, “must” do activities include, but certainly aren’t limited to, backcountry jeep tours, easy but scenic hiking, art galleries, wine tastings (yes, that’s a thing!), and shopping. For suggestions, I recommend http://www.VisitSedona.com With an early enough start out of Phoenix, you might consider making a stop at Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. It’s not too far off the interstate, plus it’s a fascinating park, with its focal feature being a very well-preserved multi-story cliff dwelling, estimated to be about 800 years old. A detour through the former ghost town of Jerome, AZ, and the former State Capitol of Prescott, AZ, would not be too hard to do, either, or you could see these as a day trip out of Sedona.
    One day in Page, AZ, would probably be sufficient since the majority of boat tours are on seasonal hiatus during February. Antelope Point Marina still runs Antelope Canyon waterside tours on a regular basis (may be contingent on a certain number of passengers booking), but those are only 1 hour long. You can hit Horseshoe Bend on your way into town, parking permitting, or visit it first thing in the morning on your way out of town. Lower Antelope Canyon tours must be booked in advance of your arrival. Since these depart from the Tribal Park Entrance on US98, you could easily do both the waterside boat tour and the landside walking tour back-to-back (allow about 1 hour between tours so you can grab lunch at the marina), availability permitting. Page, AZ, lodging should also be booked in advance.
    On the drive from Page, AZ to Grand Canyon South Rim, you’ll do the majority of your Grand Canyon sightseeing. The distance is 150 miles, but the drive usually ends up taking 3.5-4 hours due to the plentiful photo opportunities between “point A” and “point B.” Plan to stop at the Cameron Trading Post on the Navajo Indian Reservation for lunch/brunch, and have your phone or camera fully charged to capture the over half a dozen Grand Canyon viewpoints you’ll encounter between the park entrance at Desert View Point, and Grand Canyon Village. Time/desire permitting, you might also explore a bit of the West Rim/Hermit’s Rest Drive and visit some of those viewpoints as well. This 8-mile spur road is normally closed to private vehicles, but since you’re visiting in the off-season, you can drive out there unescorted. It is best to stay in the park at Grand Canyon Village if at all possible; if these properties are full, then Tusayan/GC Village South is your next best option. Grand Canyon hotels
    On the drive back to Las Vegas, Seligman, AZ, might make a worthwhile detour if you or any of your party members are into Route 66 history. A stop at Delgadillo’s Snow-Cap Drive-In is a definite must for a burger and a laugh. The swing through Seligman will add ~90 minutes to 2 hours on what is normally a 4.5 hour drive.
    Hope all that helps. Best wishes for safe travels, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Aleksandra - December 15, 2018

      Thank you, so much for your quick reply, I will review your suggestions and might come back with more questions 🙂

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - December 16, 2018

        Please do 🙂

        Reply
Jennifer Avila - December 14, 2018

Hi Ryan!

My boyfriend and I are flying in from Miami to Phoenix on December 29th and leaving January 3rd. It’s our first time in Arizona and really wanna get the most in. We honestly do not mind the driving. Antelope canyon, monument valley grand canyon, sedona are on our list but we will take any suggestions please!!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - December 14, 2018

    Hello Jennifer and thank you for your visit!
    Ryan is out hiking somewhere, but I’m happy to help you.
    First off, it’s good that you don’t mind driving, because it’s a fact of life in this part of the U.S. Another thing you need to keep in mind is that your visit coincides with the New Year’s Holiday, and it’s going to be busy. Don’t be surprised to find hotels and tours sold out, so be open to alternatives when it comes to lodging and activities. Assuming that December 29th and January 3rd are going to be travel days, you can still get all the items on your “wish list” in, but you won’t have time to squeeze in much else.
    The order in which you hit these attractions will depend on lodging availability, and your preference for either getting the longest drive of the trip out of the way first, or saving it for last. Since most people prefer option “A,” here’s what I’d recommend:
    December 30th – Drive from Phoenix to Page, AZ (~4.5-5.5 hours). The drive is very scenic, so don’t be surprised if you stop to take pictures often. The Cameron Trading Post is just past the mid-way point of the drive and makes a good lunch stop. Hit the Horseshoe Bend Overlook on the way into town, parking permitting, or visit it first thing in the morning the following day. Overnight in Page.
    December 31st – Visit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise (if you were not able to do so the day prior). Take a morning tour of Antelope Canyon from the Tribal Park Entrance on US98. If Antelope Canyon tours are sold out, consider one of several alternate slot canyons that are just as scenic, but a lot less crowded. Then drive to Monument Valley (~2.5 hour drive)Time/desire permitting, take a backcountry tour of Monument Valley. Overnight in Monument Valley. If Monument Valley hotels are sold out, then check availability in Kayenta, AZ, or Tuba City, AZ.
    January 1st – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (3.5-4.5 hour drive). Here again, it’s a very scenic drive, so you will be stopping often for photo ops, especially upon entering the park at Desert View Point. There are over half a dozen Grand Canyon viewpoints, each with differing features and perspectives, between DV and Grand Canyon Village. Overnight in Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon Village is most likely sold out, so check availability in Tusayan/GC Village South (just outside the park), Valle, AZ, or Williams, AZ.
    January 2nd – Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Sedona (~3 hour drive from GC Village). Take backcountry jeep tour, visit Chapel of the Holy Cross, Tlaquepaque, or whatever else strikes your fancy. For suggestions, go to http://www.VisitSedona.com Overnight in Sedona.
    January 3rd – Drive back to Phoenix, ~2 hours, fly home.

    Now, if you end up with an extra day to allot somewhere, give it to Sedona. Sedona is the kind of place one could spend 4-5 days and still wish they had more time!
    Hope that helps and that you have a wonderful visit. Best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Lilly - December 8, 2018

Hi Ryan,
Wonderful amount of information 🙂
Could you give me some tips, please. Traveling first time with my family to West Coast from NYC and don’t know much what should I see 🙂
Yea re landing in SF on 21st December, then heading to LA, after that San Diego, Phoenix And Las Vegas 2/3 days before NYE, then SF and flinging back to NYC on 5th January. We would like to see beautiful parts of Grand Canyon and its surroundings. Could you point out places we should definitely see and helpful tips. We are renting a car to drive between these cities.
There will be a 1,5 year old with us.
Thank you.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - December 8, 2018

    Hi Lilly!
    With a toddler in tow, it’s probably best to avoid making any trip plans that would involve long drives. That said, they tend to be a fact of life in this part of the U.S.
    Using Las Vegas as your starting point, with 2/3 days to work with, you could drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim (a 4.5 hour drive), overnight at the South Rim. Then the following day, drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ (3.5-4 hour drive), tour Upper Antelope Canyon (that is the best option for families with young kids), and stop at Horseshoe Bend. Overnight in Page, AZ. Then drive back to Las Vegas (4.5-5 hour drive). If desired, you could make a detour through Zion National Park, which would add another 60-90 minutes onto your drive time.
    The main obstacle you’ll be likely to encounter at this point is availability of lodging, or lack thereof, as well as spots on Antelope Canyon tours. These must be reserved in advance of your arrival, so I would recommend starting to check availability ASAP.
    Best wishes for safe travels and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Ariel - December 2, 2018

Hi,
Ideas and itineraries here are very helpful -thanks!

We’re planning a family trip to Utah right after Christmass. We’re a family with 4 kids (oldest is 10) but pretty accustomed to hiking up to 4-5 miles a day. We will be staying in Kanab for 10 days and are planning to use it a base to drive and hike around, weather permitting (Antelope canyon, Zion, Bryce, even the Wave if we’re lucky). Any suggestions on how to plan an agenda for 10 days in the winter would be appreciated.
Thanks in advance,
Ariel

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - December 3, 2018

    Hi Ariel, and thank you for your visit!
    With 10 days in Kanab, UT, there will be no shortage of places to see and do in addition to the ones you list.
    In the very likely event you do not succeed in obtaining a Wave permit, you might consider doing a tour to White Pocket, Soap Creek, Pinnacle Valley, Alstrom Point – or perhaps all of the above! Though these areas do not require a permit to visit, and are theoretically accessible by private vehicles, we still encourage you to travel with a licensed tour guide. All of these areas are accessed via unpaved roads, which could be rendered impassable in inclement weather. Plus, you’d be voiding your rental car insurance by venturing off-road, leaving you on the hook for any damage you might sustain. A well-known tour company that covers these areas from Kanab is Dreamland Safari Tours, but there are several to choose from in Kanab, Paria, and Page.
    As for other places you might visit, these include, but are not limited to:
    – Pipe Spring National Monument
    – Toroweap Overlook (here again, a guided tour is recommended due to the condition of the road)
    – Snow Canyon State Park or Yant Flats (both near St. George, UT, the latter bears strong resemblance to The Wave, doesn’t require a permit, but does require some hiking)
    – Volunteer at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
    – Visit Moqui Cave
    – Kodachrome Basin State Park
    – Duck Creek
    – Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe (~2.5 hour drive 1-way from Kanab)
    – Brian Head and Cedar Breaks National Monument
    – Johnson Canyon
    – Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon
    – Coral Pink Sand Dunes
    For more suggestions, go to VisitSouthernUtah.com, VisitUtah.com or simply talk with the staff at the local visitors center, or at your hotel. The possibilities are almost endless!
    Best wishes for safe travels, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
    Alley 🙂
    P.S. Be sure to pick up an “America The Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass.” For just $80, this card grants you access to all National Parks, Monuments, and Federal Recreation Areas in the U.S. for 1 year’s time. The only areas it won’t work are State Parks and Native American Tribal Parks (such as Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon), but it would still likely pay for itself on this trip alone. Simply purchase it at the first National Park you hit on your itinerary.

    Reply
      Ariel - December 4, 2018

      Thanks Alley for the detailed answer!! We will be sure trying some of these
      Happy holidays,
      Ariel

      Reply
ciara - November 27, 2018

Hi! We are lokking to do a tour and have no idea where to start, we are wanting to go sometime during March 2019 and we mainly want to see the antelope canyon as well as the grand canyon. We have about 5 or 6 days and we are coming from dallas, tx. where should start and where should we stay? all recommendations welcome thank you so much!!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - November 27, 2018

    Hello Ciara and thank you for visiting!
    Assuming you are driving from Dallas, you first need to be aware that it will take you two full days (as in ~8 hours of driving per day) to make the trip to Arizona, then another couple of days to make the trip back. Albuquerque, NM would probably be the best point at which to break up the drive on the trip over; going back, you might make Tucumcari, NM your stopover point. That doesn’t give you much time for sightseeing – 2-3 days tops – but the good news is, you can visit both the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon in that amount of time.
    You’ll want to visit Grand Canyon South Rim as that’s the area of the Grand Canyon that offers the most to see and do. It is most desirable to stay inside the park (Grand Canyon Village), but you might already find those hotels to be sold out. If that is the case, then Tusayan, aka Grand Canyon Village South, 7 miles outside the park boundary is your next best option. Grand Canyon hotels
    Spend 1 night there, then make the trip to Page, AZ. The drive time given on Google Maps is 2.5 hours, but that’s wheels turning, no stops. That rarely happens since the drive is very scenic, and there will be many places where you’ll invariably pull over to take advantage of a photo op, especially on the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the Grand Canyon. Upon exiting the park, you’ll be on Navajo Indian Tribal Land, where there are numerous points of interest that might pique yours, including, but not limited to: the Little Colorado River Overlook, the Navajo Trading Post (good breakfast/lunch stop), Chinle formation views, the “Cut” overlook, and just South of Page, the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. Regarding Horseshoe Bend, this attraction has become extremely popular, resulting in frequent parking snags. If you’re unable to find a place to park at the overlook on the way into town (and don’t improvise, you’ll get a ticket), then plan on hitting this attraction just after sunrise the following day.
    As for where to stay in Page, AZ, everything from traditional hotels and motels to bed and breakfasts and repurposed apartments are available, in varying amenity classes and price points. Pick what works for your party and your budget, and book it, along with other accommodations and guided tours, ASAP.
    On your 2nd day in Page, take your Antelope Canyon tour (again, book it ASAP!), then, time permitting, you might visit the John Wesley Powell Museum, take a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam, hike to the New Wave (easy), or enjoy a meal “lakeside” at the Lake Powell Resort or Antelope Point Marina.
    The next day, start making the trip back to Dallas, TX. Time/inclination permitting, you might make a detour to Monument Valley, but this will tack another 1-2 hours onto an already long drive.

    Good luck and safe travels, and best wishes for a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
April - November 25, 2018

Alley would you be so kind to look at my itinerary and help me plan my last two days.
Traveling – my husband and I and our 20 year old kids and their significant others, total of 6 adults
December 29- fly into Phoenix
December 29 & 30 stay nights at Oak Creek Canyon Cabins bear Sedona (hike and see Sedona)
December 31- drive to GC and stay at Yavapai Lodge that night
January 1- Lower Antelope Canyon & ????
Should we stay in Page or drive to Monument Valley, then get up and see Monument Valley on the 2nd
January 2- see Monument Valley or just stay in Page
January 3- fly out of Phoenix at 1:00 in the afternoon

I don’t know whether to hassle with Monument Valley or just relax in Page and Sedona?!?
Any advice will be appreciated. I’ve really enjoyed reading this blog of information and advice- 2 thumbs up!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - November 26, 2018

    Hi April and thank you for your inquiry.
    If you want to include Monument Valley in your trip plan, it’s almost a “six of one/half a dozen of another” proposition as to where you put it. If you were to hit it right after the Grand Canyon, it would be ~a 3-hour drive, going direct, but that rarely happens. The trip, especially the portion that goes along the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the Grand Canyon, is very scenic, and you’ll no doubt find yourself stopping along the way at attractions such as Grand Canyon scenic overlooks, Chief Yellowhorse’s curio stand, the Little Colorado River overlook, the Cameron Trading Post (excellent “brunch” stop), the Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks, Navajo National Monument the Elephant’s Feet, and the Navajo Code Talkers Museum… just to name a few. With this in mind, a 3-hours-and-change drive could easily turn into a half-day adventure. The drive to Page from Monument Valley would then be about 2-2.5 hours, and you could tour Lower Antelope Canyon on your way into town since the Tribal Park Entrance is just off US98 Southeast of Page. The drive from Page to Phoenix would then be ~4.5 hours.
    If you were to opt to go to Page before Monument Valley, the same driving rule applies: a 2.5 hour drive “on paper” is actually more like 4 hours or so in reality. If you do it this way, you could hit the Horseshoe Bend Overlook on your way into Page, then tour Lower Antelope Canyon on your way to Monument Valley (you’ll pass the Tribal Park Entrance on your way out of town). The trip back to Phoenix would then run ~4.5-5 hours. The key factor in making this plan work is availability of lodging at Monument Valley. Hotels/motels are few and far between in that area, so don’t be surprised if you find everything sold out. The View Lodge is generally regarded to be the best in the area, seconded by historic Goulding’s Lodge. If nothing is available there, then the town of Kayenta, AZ (~30 minutes away) would be your next best option.
    If you can’t find lodging in Monument Valley, you might indeed skip it this time around and opt to hang out in Page for a couple of days. That said, there may be a possibility to “have your cake and eat it too” with regards to Monument Valley: take a scenic flight over it out of Page, Arizona. Westwind Air Service offers fixed-wing airplane tours over Lake Powell, Monument Valley, and other local attractions by prior arrangement. For more information, visit their website, AND call their local office at 928-645-2494.
    Please keep in mind that you’ll be traveling in winter, and cooler weather will be the norm. Be sure to pack appropriate clothing, and start monitoring local weather conditions about 2 weeks before you get set to travel.
    Have a safe trip, and a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Leena - November 14, 2018

We (5 adults , 1 kid (2 year old) ) planning this itinerary.

Wed : start driving afternoon from sanjose and reach sequioa
Thu : spend in sequioa
Fri : after brunch start to zion
Sat: spend time in zion
sun : visit early mrng tours for upper and lower antelopes and go to horse shoe for sunset.
mon : drive back to San Jose

1. can you plz suggest if any changes are needed
2. any other suggestions instead of sequioa? should we direct go to zion ?
3. what things can be done at zion with kid?
4. seems like tours are booked, can we visit antelopes without tours? kid allowed?
5. any other suggestions that is doable with kid?

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - November 15, 2018

    Leena,
    Yikes, this is WAY too much driving in too short a time, especially with a toddler in tow! You’ll need to a. free up more time to pull this off or b. take a good hard look at a map and concentrate your sightseeing on destinations that are closer, such as Sequoia, and perhaps Yosemite and/or Death Valley.

    It takes approximately 4 hours – wheels turning, no stops – to drive from San Jose, CA, to Sequoia National Park. It then takes ~9 hours, again, driving direct, to get from Sequoia to Zion. Eliminating Sequoia from your “wish list” doesn’t improve the situation much, you’re still looking at ~ a 10 hour drive. You should consider breaking up the drive in someplace like Primm, NV, or Las Vegas, NV.
    The trip from Zion to Page, AZ, takes 2-2.5 hours. It is not necessary to tour both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page. With a 2-year-old, you’re better off sticking with Upper Antelope Canyon and saving Lower for another visit, preferably once they’re around 6-7 and better able to make their own way through the canyon. Full Video Walk-Through of Lower Antelope Canyon Whether you visit Upper or Lower, you MUST go with a guided tour since the canyon is situated on Native American Tribal Lands. If you’re finding that Antelope Canyon tours are sold out, consider touring Antelope Canyon X.
    Regarding things to do in Zion with children, there’s no shortage of easy but scenic hikes.
    I don’t recall when your visit was scheduled for, but if it’s for the near future, keep in mind that it’s cold here. You’ll need to pack jackets, gloves, scarves, and other warm weather clothing for you and your child’s safety and comfort.
    But the main take-away here is I cannot endorse your plan as it stands. It seems to me that you don’t fully comprehend the distances and drive times involved. You should get a better sense of the potential difficulties before you pack up your family and hit the road.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Leena - November 15, 2018

      Thanks Alley, such a meticulous reply, answering all my concerns.. amazing…

      we removed sequoia from the plan.. we are driving directly to zion with a break at Las Vegas.

      Wed (21stNov) start from sanjose and drive to Vegas, stay overnight
      Thu : start from Vegas to Zion.
      Fri : spend in zion
      Sat : Monument valley (or) Powell lake + horse shoe bend
      Sun : upper or(and) lower antelope and start to Vegas
      Mon : drive back to SJC from Vegas.. with a break at sequoia.

      any suggestions here?

      would you recommend monument valley or Powell lake? which one is good?

      also would you recommend staying one night near Zion and 2 nights near page?

      or any common place for staying all 3 nights that is almost equidistant to Zion + antelope + monument valley?

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - November 16, 2018

        Hi Leena, that’s a more reasonable plan, but still requires some modification if you don’t want to spend all your days driving.
        Zion to Monument Valley takes ~4 hours. Lodging in that area is sparse, so I’d recommend skipping it this time around and drive to Page/Lake Powell instead. There are more choices of lodging there, although reservations should still be made. Monument Valley is a beautiful area, but I’d save it for another time.
        The plan to drive from Las Vegas to SJC with a stopover at Sequoia is still ill-advised. It takes approximately 6.5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to Sequoia, then another 3.5 to drive to San Jose. Another thing you have to factor in at the time of year you’re traveling is daylength. It’s short: sunrise in Las Vegas occurs at around 6:20, sunset at about 4:30 PM. In order to pull this off, you’ll need to get a pre-dawn start out of Las Vegas, or else face a very late night getting back to San Jose. Even if you do take Sequoia out of the mix, you’re looking at a long drive regardless: 8+ hours. If you can free up a night to spend in Three Rivers, CA that will make for a more comfortable experience for your family.
        Regarding how many nights to give to each destination, 2 nights in Zion and 1 night in Page is good at this time of year. I wouldn’t recommend using one place as a base camp then doing day trips to each place. The less time spent driving and the more time spent enjoying the sights, the better!
        Thank you for giving us the opportunity to comment on your vacation plans.
        Best wishes for safe traveling,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
Teresa B - November 10, 2018

Hi. Thank you for your posting. I find them very informative. Our family (my husband, 16 y.o. daughter, 12 y.o. son, and me) are traveling to the region, arriving in Phoenix early 4/19/19 and depart at night on 4/26/19. I have a hard time deciding what and where to book the tours. We are active and athletic family. We would like to do hiking, horseback/mules riding, kayak, exploring the region while there. Here is our itinerary.
When/where should we do horseback/mules riding ?
What tour would you recommend for Grand Canyon or do we need a tour?
What about Zion National park? Can we fit that into the days that we will be at Page?

4/19-4/21 Sedona (3 nights)-slide rock, Cathedral Rock, Red Rock state park?
4/22/19 one night at Grand Canyon (leave Sedona early 4/22/19 to Grand Canyon, spend 2 days)
4/23-4/24 two nights at Page- Lower Antelope, Kayak at Lake Powell, Horse Shoe Bend?
4/25 one night at Flagstaff and will do more Sedona/FlagStaff activities prior to heading to the Phoenix airport.
Thank you for your help.
Teresa

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - November 10, 2018

    Hello Teresa, and welcome!
    First off, GOOD CALL for giving Sedona the time it deserves. You won’t regret it, there’s plenty to see and do. In addition to the activities you list, you might consider a hike to the West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon or perhaps the world-famous Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour; just to name a few. http://www.VisitSedona.com
    The Grand Canyon is one of the easier parks in the area to self-tour. All the viewpoints are open to private vehicles, with the exception of those on the West Rim/Hermit’s Rest Road, which is served by a free shuttle system. As for mule rides at the Grand Canyon, the one that goes to Phantom Ranch, IMO is the best one. It’s an overnight trip, a ton of fun, and… booked a year in advance, so probably not going to happen for you. What you might consider instead is taking a horseback ride to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook in Page, AZ. It doesn’t descend below the rim, but offers a novel means of getting to the overlook without having to contend with the typical parking hassles. If you don’t opt for the Lake Powell kayak trip, another activity you might consider taking part in whilst in Page is the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. It does not go through any rapids, but is still a wonderful scenic family activity.
    Now – let’s talk about how you might fit Zion National Park into all this. You might accomplish it by 1. dropping 1 night in Sedona and/or 2. dropping that night in Flagstaff prior to flying out of Phoenix. Zion is a huge, beautiful park that requires at least 2 days of your time to do justice. Then, rearrange your itinerary a bit so that you don’t have to make too long a drive at the end of your trip. Maybe schedule Zion in between the Grand Canyon and Page, and hit Sedona last on your trip.
    BTW, the reason I suggest you can get by with just one night from the Grand Canyon is because you’ll actually do a big chunk of sightseeing at the South Rim on the drive to Page. The most efficient route naturally takes you along the East Rim/Desert View Drive of the park, where there are over half a dozen named viewpoints you can stop at. Upon exiting the park, you’ll be on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, where there’s even more to see.
    So, a revised trip itinerary would look something like this:
    4/19 – Arrive in Phoenix, drive to Page (4-5 hour drive), spend 2 nights
    4/21 – Drive to Zion (~2 hour drive), spend 2 nights in Springdale, Utah
    4/23 – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3 hour drive [realistically speaking]), spend 1 night
    4/24 – Drive to Sedona, spend 2 nights

    If you haven’t already done so, be sure to book your Grand Canyon hotels and Antelope Canyon tours. These two trip components will be the most important elements of your tour around which the rest of your plans will revolve, and evolve.
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels, and have a Happy Holiday Season!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Lupe Ortiz - November 7, 2018

Good Morning,
My friend and I are planning to drive from Oceanside, CA on Thursday January 17th, to arrive there that evening. We will stay in Page then tour Antelope all day Friday then drive down to the Grand Canyon, spend the day there and drive back to Oceanside Sunday. Is this enough time? Should we stick to only one? And is it possible to see both upper and lower Antelope in one day? Thank you so much! Have a great day!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - November 7, 2018

    Hi Lupe,
    What a coincidence, I lived in Oceanside, CA, for a time myself, albeit some time ago (late ’80’s). Bet it’s grown a lot since then!
    As to whether you have enough time to visit both Antelope Canyon and the Grand Canyon in the timeframe you have, unfortunately, the answer is no. It will take you a minimum of 10 hours to drive from Oceanside to Page. You’ll then need ~2.5 hours to tour Antelope Canyon. You should also stop by Horseshoe Bend while you’re here, which will take another 60-90 minutes of your time.
    The drive time from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim is given as 2.5 hours on Google Maps, but that figure rarely materializes in the real world. The drive is very scenic, and you’ll no doubt find yourself stopping to take pictures, especially on the Desert View Drive on the Eastern rim of the Grand Canyon. 3.5 or even 4 hours ends up being a more accurate figure. Then, the drive from the Grand Canyon back to Oceanside will take you at least another 8 hours (I know, I did that drive a few times!). In the summer months, you may be able to pull it all off, but in January, daylength is still quite short: sunrise occurs at about 7:45 AM, sunset at about 5:15 PM.
    Unless you can free up another day so you can spend the night both at Page and the Grand Canyon, I would recommend sticking to the Grand Canyon this time around, and saving Page, AZ for a later/warmer timeframe when you can do some exploring on Lake Powell, or perhaps take the Glen Canyon Float Trip. Grand Canyon hotels
    While it is possible to see both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon in one day’s time, it’s not necessary in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page. If you’re physically up for doing Lower Antelope Canyon, I’d stick with it, and use the time to enjoy other sights and activities in the area.
    Hope that helps ~ Have a Happy Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Kelly - November 5, 2018

Thank you for all the helpful information on this site! My husband and I and our children (15yo, 13yo, 10yo) plan to spend our Spring Break (April 13-20, 2018) touring Northern Arizona. We have already booked our flights in/out of Phoenix. I listed our itinerary below, but would appreciate any feedback. This will probably be our only family trip to this area, so a good balance of sight seeing, hiking and water sports would be great. Our kids are great travelers and can tolerate long, busy days.

Day 1: Fly into Phoenix in afternoon. Drive to Sedona.
Day 2: Sedona then drive to Grand Canyon for sunset (overnight in Tusayan)
Day 3: Grand Canyon then drive to Page (Horseshoe Bend for sunset)
Day 4: Lower Antelope Canyon/Lake Powell/ Glen Canyon Half Day Float
Day 5: Bryce Canyon
Day 6: Zion (overnight in Springdale)
Day 7: Las Vegas (overnight in Las Vegas)
Day 8: Fly out of Phoenix in evening

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - November 5, 2018

    Hi Kelly and thank you for visiting today!
    In theory, your plan is doable, but you’re rushing things. The first “red flag” I notice is that you’re not giving Sedona enough time. This area has a lot to see and do and really should be given 2 days minimum in order to do it justice. http://www.VisitSedona.com Ditto for Zion; huge park, lots to explore, you’d probably end up kicking yourself if you only spent 1 day there.
    In order to give one of these areas more time, I’d recommend taking Las Vegas off the table. It doesn’t have much to offer for folks under 21, plus would make for a long trip back to Phoenix when you’re already tired of driving. In order to minimize drive time toward the end of your vacation, I’d recommend moving Sedona to day 7. That way, you’d only have a 2-hour drive back to Phoenix, vs. a 5-6 hour slog.
    Mapped out, the trip would look something like this:

    Note that I’ve shuffled a couple things around, having you hit Page, AZ first, then Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon South Rim, and Sedona. The important things to nail down right now are Grand Canyon lodging and Antelope Canyon tours.
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels, and best wishes for a Happy Holiday Season!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Fabien - October 29, 2018

Hi there,
We (3 adults) are planning a trip to Northern AZ and will definitely drop by Page for a day or so. Does this itinerary make sense? I appreciate your opinion(s)!

Oct 31 – fly into PHX, rent vehicle and drive to Grand Canyon, then spend the night at South Rim
Nov 1 – drive around viewpoints along South Rim, then head to Desert View Watchtower, then onward to Horseshoe Bend and then Page
Nov 2 – Antelope Canyon and maybe Lake Powell, then drive to Monument Valley
Nov 3 – Monument Valley sightseeing, then drive up to Forrest Gump Point in UT, then drive back to central AZ / Sedona
Nov 4 – Sedona area sightseeing
Nov 5 – Drive back to PHX

I think the timetable makes sense on paper.

The other thing I’m hesitating over is whether to rent an RV + book at campsites with full hookups, or rent an SUV and do hotels/Airbnbs instead. Both have pros and cons and I’m wondering if anyone would like to share some thoughts if they have experience doing either in that region. Especially given the season. Weather forecast is looking good but I know it gets cold at night on the Colorado plateau. Thanks in advance!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - October 29, 2018

    Hi Fabien and thank you for visiting our site!
    First off, I wouldn’t recommend an RV rental at the time of year you’re visiting. Colder weather tends not to agree with RV’s, especially the water pipes, which can result in inconvenient and sometimes costly breakdowns. Overnight lows on the South Rim area already dipping down into the 20’s (Fahrenheit), so I would recommend traditional hotels or vacation rentals. At the Grand Canyon, it’s definitely preferable to stay as close to the rim as possible so you can experience sunrise and/or sunset over the canyon. Grand Canyon hotels
    On November 2nd, where you indicate you’d like to “visit Lake Powell,” at this time of year, your options are going to be somewhat limited because boat tours are on seasonal hiatus. Since you are planning to drive to Monument Valley that afternoon, I’d recommend touring Lower Antelope Canyon in the morning, then maybe popping down to Antelope Point Marina for lunch. The restaurant is right on the lake, and walking around the marina complex is a pleasant way to take in some of the views. The marina is located within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, so you will be required to pay an entrance fee of $25/vehicle.
    Thus far, your itinerary looks well-planned — until you get to Sedona. It’s about a 4-hour drive from Monument Valley to Sedona to begin with, and then you’re only giving it one night. You’re going to find that’s nowhere near enough to partake of all that area has to offer. 3-4 days minimum tends to be the typical recommendation for a first-time visit. If that’s not possible this time around, try to at least free up another night to stay there. Rest assured, you won’t regret it! Visit Sedona
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Fabien - October 30, 2018

      Alley,
      Thank you so much for your response! We appreciate the time you took to read through my questions and address each point.

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - November 1, 2018

        You are welcome Fabien! Hope you have a wonderful trip 🙂

        Reply
      Dave P. - November 4, 2018

      Alley:

      I appreciate your insightful responses and suggestions to your inquiries. My wife and I plus two sons, 19 and 16 will be in AZ during the second half of Nov. The entire family will be together for a minimum of 9 days (Nov 18th – Nov 26th), with the possibility of two additional days. We can depart from Phoenix on either Nov 18th Sunday or Nov 19 Monday to head North. We have identified so many things we would like to see, we are having a difficult time picking what would be the most important and realistic for our time frame. We mostly want to see natural sights (read: not museums). The only tour we have scheduled so far is for Lower Antelope Canyon on Thursday, Nov 22nd., with a possible stop at the Antelope Point Marina for lunch and Horseshoe bend in the afternoon. Of course we are interested in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Sedona, possibly Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley, etc. We would appreciate your suggestions on how to plan out the itenerary with potential stops to include and ideal locations to stay along the way. In addition, if there was a way to incorporate sights south of Phoenix,, like Tombstone, Sonoran Desert, etc. (we will have location available in PHX as a ‘home base’ while in AZ) we would like to see if that would be possible too, even if it means extending through Wed, Nov 28th.

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - November 5, 2018

        Hi Dave and thank you for stopping by today!
        As a general rule, the more time you can spend in Arizona, the better. There’s no shortage of things to see and do (not museums LOL) to keep your family busy.
        One comment that immediately raised a bit of a red flag was your desire to visit Tombstone while you’re here. It’s not exactly a “day trip” from Phoenix. It takes ~3 hours each way to drive from Phoenix to Tombstone, and in late November, you’re up against a short daylength as well (sunrise occurs about 7 AM, sunset at about 5:20 PM). Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in the more rural areas of Arizona due to lack of ambient lighting on local roads, and the possible presence of deer, elk, coyotes, free range cattle, and other animals. Best to make this part of your trip an overnighter for optimal safety, comfort, and enjoyment. Tombstone, Arizona hotels
        As for the remainder of your itinerary, you could do something like this:
        November 18th – Phoenix to Monument Valley, ~5-6 hour drive, 1 night at Monument Valley Monument Valley Lodging
        Novemnber 19th – Monument Valley to Page, 2.5 hour drive, tour Antelope Canyon en route, overnight in Page Page, AZ hotels
        November 20th – Page to Bryce Canyon, 2.5 hour drive, overnight in Bryce Bryce area lodging
        November 21st – Bryce to Zion, ~2 hour drive, 2 nights in Zion, stay in Springdale, UT
        November 23rd – Zion to Grand Canyon South Rim, ~4.5 hour drive, overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim Grand Canyon hotels
        November 24th – Grand Canyon South Rim to Sedona, 2.5-3 hour drive, stay 2 nights in Sedona
        November 26th – return to Phoenix, 2 hour drive, overnight in Phoenix
        November 27th – drive from Phoenix to Tombstone, overnight in Tombstone (or Benson or Bisbee, AZ)
        November 28th – return to Phoenix
        Mapped out from start to finish, the trip would look something like this:

        If adding another couple of days to your trip isn’t an option, you’ll have to take a couple destinations off the list, which, for practicality’s sake, would probably be Bryce and Zion.
        Another possible wrench in the works would be weather. It can snow in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah at that time of year, which could affect access to local roadways. Start monitoring the weather now, and pack a few items of warmer clothing just in case.
        You’ll probably want to check availability of Grand Canyon hotels first.
        Good luck and safe travels,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
Chris Hoiz - October 23, 2018

Thank you for this wonderful resource. I am headed to Vegas/Utah/Arizona next week and had some general questions about tweaking our itinerary so that we can fit as much as possible. We only have 5.5 days to visit Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon North Rim, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. We plan to hike for a full 2 or 3 days at Zion so that really only leaves us 2.5 days to literally speed thru Bryce/Grand Canyon/Antelope/Horseshoe. Is this reasonable or are we way over our heads? Please advise.

Mini questions:
1. Bryce – Is there a way to speed thru this without hiking for hours, if all we want to see are the scenic areas with the hoodoos?
2. Grand Canyon – Same as above….. any where to speed thru this without hiking for hours? We just want to see amazing scenery and 1 to 2 hours max will suffice.
3. Antelope – 1 to 2 hours max with the tours….
4. Horseshoe Bend – 1 hour max self-guided….

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - October 23, 2018

    Hi Chris,
    “Drive-by sightseeing” is not something we recommend. You’ll regret not giving these attractions the time they deserve.
    Another important consideration is daylength; at this time of year, it’s rapidly shortening. Sunrise occurs at ~6:45 AM, and sunset occurs ~5:30. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the country due to lack of ambient light on local roadways, plus the tendency of nocturnal wildlife like deer, elk, and coyotes to be running around them. You want to get all your driving for the day done by sunset.
    With 2.5 days to spare after hiking in Zion, here’s what I would suggest:
    1. Get as early a start as you possibly can out of Zion and head to Bryce. Do your packing the night before. The drive from Zion to Bryce takes ~1.5 hours, then plan for another 4 hours or so to drive the 38-mile round-trip scenic loop drive. Afterward, drive to Page (2.5-3 hours), overnight in Page. Page, AZ hotels
    2. Hit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, tour Antelope Canyon, then start making your way to Grand Canyon South Rim around noon (the North Rim is closed at this time of year, plus there is more in the way of visitor facilities at the South Rim, as well as a larger geographical area of the canyon that you can actually see). Even though Google Maps gives the drive time as 2.5 hours, that rarely happens. It’s a very scenic drive where you’ll invariably be stopping to take pictures along the way, so 3.5-4+ hours ends up being more realistic. Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim.
    3. Head back to Las Vegas. It’s about a 4.5 hour drive from the South Rim. Time/desire permitting, you might take a morning helicopter flight over Grand Canyon North Rim on your way out of the park.
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Cassie Fitzgerald - October 23, 2018

WOW! I’ve read through SO many comments and found so many great options on touring the area…. and that leaves me a little perplexed on how to plan a trip for 3 adults and 2 children (7 & 10) for this trip.

We are traveling from Ohio (bbbrrrrr) to Las Vegas on a late flight arriving Tuesday 11/20/18 around 10PM. Our hope is to travel in an RV (rented) from Vegas and see the Grand Canyon West, Antelope Canyon, Zion, Hoover Dam and back to Vegas by late Friday night. We can omit the Hoover Dam and take an afternoon trip there over the weekend as we are not flying out until late Monday night on 11/26 if needed. We planned on a few days in Vegas to see all the sites there.

Here’s what I think we can do:

1) Wednesday morning- early departure from Vegas to Grand Canyon West Rim and spend the day at the West Rim (estimated 2 hour drive from Vegas to the West Rim?)

2) Thursday- THANKSGIVING- Head to Antelope Canyon from the West Rim (5 hours?) and try and book an afternoon tour around 2:30. Would the upper canyon be a better option for the kids (they do like to hike)? Do you know if they are open on Thanksgiving? Stay in an RV park Thursday night near Antelope Canyon

3) Friday- depart Antelope Canyon and head to Zion Park – Zion to a (maybe) quick peak to the Hoover Dam and back to Vegas to stay until Monday afternoon.

Does this seem feasible or am I under estimating travel time? We thought an RV rental would help us stay closer to the canyons and we would not need to pack and unpack in a hotel to save time.

Is Antelope Upper open on Thanksgiving? It’s hard to find this information online.

Thanks for your help! We are so looking forward to this trip (pending all the details!)!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - October 23, 2018

    Hi Cassie and thank you for visiting today!
    First off, I wouldn’t recommend an RV rental at the time of year you’re visiting. It’s going to be cold here, too, and that can cause all kinds of complications with RV’s, especially with the water delivery systems. Another consideration is distances between attractions here, which you are underestimating. You certainly won’t save any time, and money-wise, it would probably be a wash vs. staying in conventional hotels.
    Another “red flag” is your prioritizing Grand Canyon West instead of Grand Canyon South Rim. Grand Canyon South Rim, the National Park, is where the vast, colorful, picture postcard views can be seen. Yes, it is a 4.5-5 hour drive from Las Vegas, but if you haven’t been there yet, you should definitely cross Grand Canyon West off the list and devote the majority of your time to Grand Canyon South Rim and Page.
    Since you’re planning to visit during the Thanksgiving holiday, it will be busy, so lodging must be booked ASAP. Try to find lodging inside Grand Canyon Village, if at all possible. If that area is already booked, then Tusayan/GC Village South is your next best option, about 7 miles outside the park. If that area is booked, then look at Williams or Flagstaff. Grand Canyon hotels. BTW, it would be best to hit Hoover Dam on this leg of your trip, not on the back end.
    The drive to Page is given on Google Maps as taking ~2.5 hours, but that’s wheels turning, no stops. That rarely happens as the trip is very scenic and you’ll no doubt be stopping to take pictures along the way. 3.5-4 hours is a more realistic figure. Antelope Canyon tours are operating on Thanksgiving day and advance reservations are strongly recommended. While in Page, be sure to stop at Horseshoe Bend. Glen Canyon Dam is quite impressive as well, some say even moreso than Hoover!
    Your plan to visit Zion en route from Page to Las Vegas is also not a great idea, especially at the time of year you’re traveling. Daylength is short (sunrise 7:10 AM, sunset 5:10 AM), and you want to be sure you get to wherever you’re going before sunset. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the US due to lack of ambient light, and the possible presence of nocturnal wildlife like deer, elk, coyotes, etc. near local roadways makes it a dangerous proposition. Besides, Zion is an incredibly large and beautiful park, one you definitely shouldn’t limit to just a “drive-by” sighting. Think about saving it for another trip when you can spend 3-4 days.
    Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Irina - October 22, 2018

Hi Alley,

Thank you very much for such a wonderful overview of the tours and I decided to ask your opinion about my future itinerary and timing. My husband and I are going to attend a wedding in Snowbird, UT on May 25, 2019 and after that to have a road trip to see national parks. It is my long time dream to do it and I can’t miss an opportunity to do it.
The trip I tried to put together for now look like this:
May 24 – arriving to Salt Lake City and wedding for the next day
May 26 – leaving for Moab.
May 27 – spend a day in Arches National Park
May 28 – leave Moab for Page and on a way there spend some time in Monument Valley National Park
May 29 -30 – stay in Page to see Anthelope canyon, Horseshoe Band, Lake, Vermillion Cliffs
May 31 – Bryce
June 1 – Zion
June 2 – North Rim Grand Canyon
June 3-4 Las Vegas, leaving to NY

I would appreciate your input on any portion of my route:
how would you suggest to plan time around Page? Should I see both Upper and Lower Anthelope canyon? When is the best time of the day to see Horseshoe Band?
Do you think it is enough 1 day for each Bryce, Zion and NRGC? Where would you suggest to stay while doing it?

Any comments, suggestions are greatly appreciated. I traveled a lot in Europe and South America, but never planned a trip on National Parks in US and for me it is so excited and kind of difficult:)

Best regards,
Irina

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - October 22, 2018

    Hi Irina and thank you for visiting us!
    Your itinerary is doable, but still raises a few “red flags.” First off, be sure to verify that rental car drop-off fees won’t be cost-prohibitive for picking up a vehicle in Salt Lake and dropping it off in Las Vegas. Due to the distances between cities in this part of the U.S., and difficulties involved in getting vehicles back to their point of origin, many rental car outlets impose fairly hefty fees for one-way rentals.
    Secondly, there are a couple of parks where you only plan to stay 1 day that really deserve more time to do them justice, namely, Moab and Zion. If it is at all possible to free up 3-5 more days for this trip, you definitely won’t regret it!
    Another modification I’d recommend making is to hit Grand Canyon North Rim after Bryce and before Zion in order to minimize backtracking. Placing Zion as the last stop on your itinerary will put you closer to Las Vegas when it comes time to wrap up your vacation, especially if you get your lodging in Springdale, Utah, on the Western border of the park.

    Since Grand Canyon North Rim lodging options are fewer in number and smaller in scale, I would check availability there first, then let the rest of your plan evolve around that. If you find that all North Rim lodging is sold out, you might consider a. taking a day trip from Page (the drive is ~2.5 hours each way) or b. changing up your plans slightly and going to Grand Canyon South Rim instead. The South Rim offers more in the way of hotels, restaurants, and other facilities, not to mention a much larger geographical area of the Grand Canyon you can actually see. A revised itinerary would have you go from Moab to Bryce Canyon, then to Zion, heading South to Page, AZ, then Grand Canyon South Rim.

    Unfortunately, that would most likely mean taking Monument Valley off the table, unless you could free up an extra day or two and hit it between Page and Grand Canyon South Rim.
    As to your other inquiries, it is not necessary to tour both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page. If you’re physically up for doing Lower, stick with it, then use the time you saved by not touring Upper for other things, such as visiting the John Wesley Powell Museum and the Glen Canyon Natural History Association, taking one of many easy but scenic hikes in the Glen Canyon area, taking the scenic Lakeshore Drive loop to Lake Powell Resort, or even firing off a few rounds at Gunfighter Canyon, Page’s new indoor shooting range.
    Regarding visiting Lake Powell, you must keep in mind that it is huge, therefore seeing the whole thing is pretty much impossible. A boat tour to Rainbow Bridge will allow you to see quite a bit of it, but will take up the better part of a day. Another fine water-based activity worth considering is the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip.
    The best time to visit Horseshoe Bend during the summer months is just after sunrise for cooler temperatures and minimal crowds. Going later in the day, you’ll risk not being able to park and having to come back at another time. We’re not kidding. “Help! There’s No Place To Park At Horseshoe Bend”
    Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Irina - October 27, 2018

      Thank you very much for your help and suggestions!!!

      Reply
      Irina - October 28, 2018

      Hi Alley,

      I was going through your recommendations and I would spend 2 days in Zion and 1.5 days in Arches.
      What would you suggest regarding going through National Monument park or stay in the North Rim Grand Canyon?
      Should I do Moab-National monument-Page-Bryce-NRGC(without staying there at all) – Zion-LV?
      I wanted one extra day in Page because I wanted to visit the Wave in Vermillion Cliff, but if I won’t win a lottery, should I do another trail there? Or I can skip it and stay in Grand Canyon?
      So many beautiful places and so little time! Hard to decide!

      Thank you in advance,
      Irina

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - October 29, 2018

        Hi Irina,
        Honestly, you should free up more time for Moab, UT. Arches National Park is only the “tip of the iceberg” as they say. Canyonlands National Park is another attraction within shouting distance of Moab, UT. Cataract Canyon rafting trips are another enticing opportunity, depending on the time of year you’re traveling, of course. Minimum recommended time for that area is 3-4 days.
        Grand Canyon North Rim is beautiful, but isolated, not to mention lodging options are few and far between there. There is only one hotel inside the park, and 2 more within relatively close proximity just outside the park gates. If you can’t find availability at any of them, you’re looking at a 60-90 minute drive to the next nearest lodging. Grand Canyon North Rim hotels If it’s your first visit to the Southwest, Grand Canyon South Rim is recommended over the North Rim for several reasons, namely, more choices of lodging, restaurants and other visitor amenities, plus a larger geographical area of the canyon that you can actually see by car. If you still have your heart set on seeing the North Rim, you can still do so, even if you’re staying at the South Rim, by flying over it. Airplane flights and helicopter tours pass over the North Rim and offer enough of an opportunity to see how different it is from the South Rim.
        Regarding The Wave lottery, chances are slim that you’ll actually win it, but even so, there is much in the way of beautiful scenery in that area that doesn’t require a permit to explore. So if you decide to stay that extra day in Page, you won’t have any trouble finding something/somewhere cool to occupy the time! Alternate Areas Around The Wave
        You hit the nail on the head: so many beautiful places, yet so little time!
        Good luck and safe travels,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
Rhonda - October 17, 2018

Very informative site; I haven’t read through every single comment, so please forgive me if someone has already asked … planning an anniversary trip the end of November; our plan is to fly into Page from Las Vegas to minimize driving. Is there ground transportation such as Uber, to visit Antelope Canyon, or would we need to rent a car? How’s the weather this time of year? If we have a small amount of time (Arriving in Page 3 pm on November 27, and departing Page 1 pm November 29, so we basically have 1 1/2 days), what do you recommend for the must see/do? Thank you!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - October 18, 2018

    Hi Rhonda and thank you for visiting.
    No worries about repeating previously posed questions, you won’t be the first and certainly won’t be the last!
    Scheduled air service is not yet offered from Las Vegas to Page, but it soon will be. Contour Airlines will resume regular flights from LAS-PGA as of 11/6, but flights will only run on certain days of the week. Check http://www.ContourAirlines.com for exact schedules and fares.
    Once you arrive in Page, you should definitely plan on renting a car for optimal freedom and flexibility. Uber/Lyft are just now starting to establish themselves here, but from what I’ve heard, they’re not 100% reliable. Not a problem you want to encounter when you need to get to a scheduled activity, like Antelope Canyon tours. Avis is the sole car rental outlet at the Page Municipal Airport.
    Weather in late November can run the gamut from sunny and cold to rainy or snowy. Start monitoring Page, AZ weather conditions about 2 weeks before you travel so you can best gauge what kind of clothing to pack.
    For a 1.5 day stay, must-do activities are Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. Water-based activities won’t be an option, but you might consider taking a tour of the Glen Canyon Dam, visiting the John Wesley Powell Museum, doing one of many easy but scenic hikes in the area (weather permitting), or firing off a few shots at Gunfighter Canyon, Page, AZ’s new indoor gun range! For more suggestions, check out “The Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, AZ.”
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Bri H. - October 18, 2018

      Hey there, you have the most informative responses I’ve seen. Wanted to ask you about my potential itinerary Nov 15-22, for four adults. I have two options, one is driving in AM and one is in late afternoon/right after sunset.

      15: Arrive to Las Vegas in the AM
      16: Drive in AM to Zion, try and squeeze in a hike in Zion.
      17: Spend the day in Zion, leave to Bryce
      18: Wake up in Bryce, spend day in Bryce, leave to Page
      19: Wake up in Page- Horsehoe Bend, Lower/Upper Canyon (should we do both? which is better that time of year?) Sleep in page
      20: Wake up, head to Desert View Drive @ Grand Canyon, spend few hours there, Drive to Sedona to sleep
      21: Sedona
      22: Sedona, leave from Phoenix airport @ night

      15: Arrive to Las Vegas in the AM
      16: Drive in AM to Zion, try and squeeze in a hike in Zion.
      17: Spend the day in Zion, sleep in Zion
      18: Drive to Bryce in AM, spend day in Bryce, sleep in Bryce
      19: Drive to Page in AM- Horsehoe Bend, Lower/Upper Canyon (should we do both? which is better that time of year?) Sleep in page
      20: Wake up, head to Desert View Drive @ Grand Canyon, spend few hours there, Drive to Sedona to sleep
      21: Sedona
      22: Sedona, leave from Phoenix airport @ night

      Let me know your thoughts, any must does, or anything to be mindful of. Really appreciate it! THANK YOU.

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - October 19, 2018

        Hi Bri, and thanks for your compliments!
        Your itineraries look pretty good. One thing to verify before committing is rental car drop-off fees. They can be pretty hefty for returning a vehicle anywhere other than where you picked it up from due to the distances between cities in this part of the U.S.
        That said, I tend to lean toward your second proposal that has you overnighting in the areas where you do your sightseeing. That way, you don’t have to do any long-distance driving when you’re already tired from hiking and exploring.
        One thing I’d strongly recommend changing is the tail end of your itinerary where you drive from Page to the Grand Canyon, then Grand Canyon to Sedona. You’re going to end up doing more driving than you expect. The trip from Page to the Grand Canyon is ~150 miles and Google Maps gives the estimated drive time as 2.5 hours. That figure rarely materializes as the drive is very scenic and you’ll no doubt be stopping to take pictures. Popular stops along the route include, but aren’t limited to, Horseshoe Bend (it’s just South of Page, AZ on US89, allow 60-90 minutes to explore that), the “Cut” Overlook, Gap Trading Post, Chinle formation views, the Cameron Trading Post (great place to stop for lunch/brunch), the Little Colorado River Overlook, and that’s just the first half of the trip! Once you enter the park at Desert View Point, you’ll then have your pick of over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon to see on your way to Grand Canyon Village Historic District. Therefore, this 2.5 hour drive can reasonably end up taking more along the lines of 4 hours or more depending on what piques your interest. Then, after all that, you’re facing a 3-hour drive to Sedona.
        Another factor potentially working against you at that time of year is shortening daylength. Sunrise occurs at ~7:00 AM, sunset at ~5:15 PM. You want to complete any drives you make well before sunset, and you really should see sunset at the Grand Canyon. If possible, overnight at the Grand Canyon, then head down to Sedona the following morning. Driving back to Phoenix from Sedona isn’t that big a deal since it’s only about a 2-hour drive.
        Regarding Sedona: it offers so much to see and do that most people, present company included, recommend a bare minimum of 3 days/4 nights to fully enjoy it. If you find the rental car drop-off fees too cost-prohibitive to do a Las Vegas to Phoenix loop, and if Phoenix is the more economical choice for your staging city, then take Bryce and Zion off the table and give that time to Sedona. If Las Vegas ends up being a better ticket buy, then take Sedona off the itinerary and maybe spend an extra night in Zion, or 2 nights in Page or Grand Canyon.
        Almost forgot: Antelope Canyon. It is not necessary to tour both Upper and Lower to have a fulfilling visit to Page. If you’re physically up for doing Lower, stick with it. Then, with your extra time, you might consider visiting the John Wesley Powell Museum and Glen Canyon Natural History Museum (they’re right next door to one another), taking a guided tour of the Glen Canyon Dam, enjoying one of many easy but scenic hikes in the area, or firing off a few shots at Gunfighter Canyon, Page’s new indoor shooting range.
        Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels!
        Alley 🙂
        P.S. Be sure to pick up an “America The Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass” at the first National Park you stop at. For just $80, this card grants you access to all National Parks, Monuments and Federal Fee Areas in the U.S. The only areas it won’t work are Navajo tribal parks, of which Antelope Canyon is one. It will still pay for itself on the trip you’re planning to take!

        Reply
Yana - October 17, 2018

Hi Alley, Ryan,

Thank you for providing a great informative website.

My Husband and I like to visit the Grand Canyon south Rim and Antelope/Horseshoe Bend on the 2nd week of November, before we fly to Los Angeles.

Our tentative itinerary:
– 11Nov: arrive late night from vegas, stay at Tusayan.
– 12Nov: a day tour to Grand Canyon (visit south rim and antelope/horseshoe bend)
– 13Nov: check out from Tusayan. and fly to Los Angeles.

Q1. Is it better to travel from Vegas or to stay near to Canyon?
Q2. Day tour to south rim and antelope/horseshoe bend doable?
Q2. Better with guided tour or on our own?
Q4. Any tour company that does both south and antelope tour?

Seeking your kind advise for the best recommended travel. Hear from you soon. Thanks!

Cheers,
Yana

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - October 17, 2018

    Hi Yana and thank you for your compliments!
    I’m getting the distinct impression that you have yet to fully comprehend the distances involved in your travel plans. Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are NOT located in or near Grand Canyon National Park. They are located near the town of Page, Arizona and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
    It takes approximately 4.5 hours to drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim. It then takes anywhere from 3-4 hours to drive from Grand Canyon. Therefore, touring the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in a single day really isn’t that feasible. I would recommend modifying your travel plans to give you an extra day to devote to Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and all the attractions Page, AZ has to offer. If this isn’t possible, then devote your time to the Grand Canyon and plan to return to the area when you have more time, like a week or so.
    As for your other queries,
    1. It is always better to stay at the Grand Canyon. That way you can catch sunrise and/or sunset there.
    2. Day tour to South Rim and Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend: if you are asking whether it’s possible from Las Vegas, yes it is. Visiting Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas
    3. Better to go on your own for more freedom and flexibility.
    4. There are a few tour companies that go to both Grand Canyon South Rim and Antelope Canyon, but very few. You would also need 2 days to participate. Tours4Fun 2-Day Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell Tour
    Hope that helps. Please don’t hesitate to contact us again if you have further questions!
    Alley 🙂
    P.S. One more thing: driving at night in Northern Arizona is strongly discouraged due to the lack of ambient lighting on local roadways, plus the tendency of nocturnal wildlife like deer, elk, and coyotes to congregate around them. Any driving should be done prior to sunset.

    Reply
      Yana - October 18, 2018

      Hi Alley,

      Thank you for your reply.

      Yes, we understand that Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend is near the town of Page, which is 3-4 hours drive from Grand Canyon.

      After reading some of the recent posts, tours itineraries, we decided to allocate 2 days (12-13Nov) for our canyons trip and tour on our own =)

      Day 1 – Grand Canyon
      – Drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon (3-4hr)
      – Experience Route 66 and stop at Hoover Dam
      (Any recommended scenic route, Scenic stops along drive)
      – Explore South Rim and visit the 14 best viewpoints
      – Catch sunset at Grand Canyon (Any tips?)
      – Spend the night in Tusayan

      Day 2 – Horseshoe bend and Antelope Canyon
      – Drive from Tusayan to Horseshoe Bend (2.5hr)
      (Any scenic route? Do you think it is possible for us to visit Lake Powell?)
      – Hike to Horseshoe Bend viewpoint (1hr)
      – Tour Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon (2hr)
      (Noticed that 10.30am and 1pm timing cost more. Assume these are better timing for tour?)
      – Drive back to Las Vegas (5hr)

      We are still considering if we should do 1.Vegas-Grand Canyon-Page-Vegas or 2.Vegas-Page-Grand Canyon-Vegas.

      Let me know what you think. Thanks!

      Cheers,
      Yana

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - October 18, 2018

        Hi again, Yana,
        This sounds like a MUCH better plan, but still warrants a couple of “reality checks.”
        1. The drive from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim takes more along the lines of 4.5-5 hours.

        You can stop at Hoover Dam just South of town, either by detouring onto the dam itself, or by just getting a good look at it from the Tillman-O’Callaghan Bridge.
        For Route 66, Kingman, AZ and Seligman, AZ are good choices. Seligman in particular is neat, it was the partial basis of the town of “Radiator Springs” from the “Cars” movies and still retains that “frozen in time” vibe. Lunch at Delgadillos Snow Cap Drive-In serves up good burgers and good laughs.
        Upon arrival at Grand Canyon South Rim, you won’t have time to explore 14 viewpoints. Simply hit the ones you have time for. Keep in mind that daylength is short at the time of year you’re visiting. Sunrise occurs at ~7:00 AM, sunset at ~5:15 PM. Start with a visit to the Canyon View Information Plaza, and perhaps a walk to Mather Point. Then concentrate the rest of your sightseeing at the Grand Canyon Village Historic District. You can walk along the easy, paved rim trail, and time permitting, ride the Hermit’s Rest Shuttle and get on and off at your leisure to explore whatever viewpoints appeal to you. For sunset, Hopi Point is popular, but honestly, just being on the rim is sufficient. Wherever you choose to go for sunset, be there about 30 minutes prior to sunset, then linger for 15-30 minutes afterwards. That’s when the most dramatic light changes tend to occur.
        2. The drive from Tusayan to Page, AZ is more likely to run anywhere from 3-4 hours. Fortunately, the most logical route happens to be the most scenic one!

        There are over half a dozen named viewpoints of the Grand Canyon on the Desert View/East Rim Drive that you can stop at. Once you exit the park, you’re on Navajo Indian Tribal Land,
        which also has much to offer in the way of history and scenery. Popular stops on this portion of the drive include, but aren’t limited to, the Little Colorado River Overlook, the Cameron Trading Post, Chinle formation views, the “Cut” overlook, and then Horseshoe Bend can be visited on your way into town.
        Mid-day departures of Antelope Canyon tours are considered prime viewing time, therefore these tours come with a “premium” price tag. Honestly, there’s no such thing as a bad time to go. Early morning and late afternoon are beautiful in their own right. If you’re physically up for touring Lower, stick with it. It is not necessary to tour both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon to have a fulfilling visit to Page. As for “visiting Lake Powell,” you wont’ be able to do anything in-depth like a boat tour, but you can tour the scenic Lakeshore Drive inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and maybe take a short walk around the Lake Powell Resort or Antelope Point Marina complex. Both of these are Federal Fee Areas, so you would need to pay a $25 entrance fee to visit them.
        After doing all this, you’ll probably be exhausted and in NO MOOD to try to make the drive back to Las Vegas. Spend the night in Page, AZ. You’ll have a much better time by doing so!
        Regarding the order in which you visit, it will probably hinge on lodging availability at Grand Canyon South Rim. Check that first, then check availability of Antelope Canyon tours. Build your trip around those two crucial elements.
        Hope that helps!
        Take care and drive safe,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
Praful Gupta - October 13, 2018

Hi Alley/Ryan,

First of all, thank you so much for this post and answering all the questions and providing guidance.

We wanted to visit Grand Canyon South rim, Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in a weekend. We plan to visit the area on Oct 19-21 2018, flying in and out of Phoenix. Our current plan is to arrive in Phx friday morning. Rent a car then drive to Kachina lodge. Stay there for a night. Explore the canyon, do a hike on Friday afternoon. Saturday we have a mule ride tour booked at noon. Should be done by 3 pm. Then we plan to drive to Page. stay overnight in Page. Tour Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon on Sunday morning & afternoon. Leave from the area at 3 pm to arrive in Phoenix at 7 pm. We have a flight out at 8:30 pm.

Is the above plan doable?
If so, what times on Sunday would you recommend touring Antelope Canyon and horseshoe bend?
Should we only do lower or upper? given the time we have.
Also, can we do both upper and lower canyon and Bend in 5 hrs time? 9 am – 3 pm?

Would you recommend driving from South rim to Page late evening? Or should we leave south rim like around 3 – 4 pm to get to page at a decent hour?
Any hotels/b&bs you recommend in Page? or along the way?

Thank you very much for answering the questions.
Praful

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - October 15, 2018

    Dear Praful,
    Hello and thank you for your compliments!
    First off, driving after sunset in this part of the U.S. is not recommended. This is due to the lack of artificial/supplemental lighting on local roadways, plus the tendency of nocturnal wildlife like deer, elk, coyotes, etc. to congregate around them. So, it would be best to head for Page, AZ ASAP after your mule ride. Sunset occurs at roughly 6:00 PM at the time of year you’re visiting. This means you won’t have time for stops; you need to be in “wheels turning, get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible” mode.
    Sunrise the next morning will occur at roughly 6:45 AM. Be at Horseshoe Bend as soon as possible after sunrise for ease of parking and fewer crowds, then try to book an Antelope Canyon tour as soon as possible after that. You don’t have time to do both Lower and Upper, plus it’s not necessary to tour both branches of the canyon in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page, AZ. This late in the game, you’ll need to find whatever is available that morning and get it booked ASAP. If you find that Antelope Canyon tours are sold out – which is a very real possibility at this stage – consider touring one of several alternate slot canyons that are just as scenic and far less crowded. I like Antelope Canyon X and Cathedral Canyon personally.
    If possible, try to get your sightseeing in Page, AZ done by noon or 1:00 PM. The reason I suggest this is because, normally, you’d have done some sightseeing on US89 on the drive from Grand Canyon to Page, AZ. Since you’ll be racing with the sunset on your drive day, you won’t be able to do that. What you will be able to do is make up for some of your time lost on the drive from Page down to Phoenix. Some stops we highly recommend are: the “Cut” overlook, the Cameron Trading Post, Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monuments (just North of Flagstaff), and Sunset Point Overlook (just North of Black Canyon City).
    Regarding lodging in Page, AZ, here again, if you don’t have something booked already, you’ll need to settle for what’s available. October is prime time to visit Northern Arizona, and people know that, so hotels, vacation rentals, guided tours, etc. are bound to be quite busy. For recommendations of lodging in Page, AZ and other cities, visit TripAdvisor or Hotels.com.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Praful Gupta - October 16, 2018

      Hi Alley,

      Thank you for much for the reply back.

      How much time would it be to drive from south rim to Page on Sat evening without any stops? Can we make the drive in 3 hours straight since sunset is at 6 pm?

      We will have time in south rim on Friday since we are not doing anything on Friday except drive from Phx.

      Any recommendations to view fall colors on our drive from Phx to South rim? I read somewhere about Hart Prairie road and Snowbowl. Are they too off of a detour to do?

      Thanks
      Praful

      Reply
        Praful Gupta - October 16, 2018

        Also, the tours of the antelope canyon, if they say 1. 5hrs each. do they run exactly 1.5 hrs each or sometime they take 2 hrs as well?

        Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - October 17, 2018

        Hi Praful,
        If you drive directly to Page, without making any stops, you can feasibly get there in ~2.5 hours, especially if you take the 89T/Coppermine Road route that bypasses Bitter Springs and The Cut.

        It would be a shame to have to do that, though, because the drive is very scenic, especially the section from Grand Canyon Village to Desert View Point.
        For fall foliage viewing, you don’t have to go too far out of your way at all. The driving route from Phoenix to Grand Canyon South Rim takes you through Flagstaff, AZ, naturally, and the colors are just about peaking now. Taking AZ180 instead of I-40 to AZ64 will give you even more opportunities for “leaf peeping” as it takes you right through the mountains.

        Though Hart Prairie Road and Arizona Snow Bowl are beautiful locations, visiting them is not 100% necessary to get good views of the autumn leaves. Hart Prairie, especially, would be too long of a detour, plus it’s mostly dirt road, which is not recommended for travel in a rental car.
        Regarding Antelope Canyon tour length, that can vary a bit depending on the number of people who have signed up for tours. I wouldn’t schedule anything too tightly on that particular day.
        Safe travels,
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
          Praful Gupta - October 17, 2018

          Hi Alley,

          Thank you for replying back and sharing the information.

          So the 89T/Coppermine Road route that bypasses Bitter Springs and The Cut is not the scenic one then? What would be the scenic route to take then, can you plz give me the Map option?

          Also, once I am out on Route 89, then it should be fine correct in terms of a major road with other cars driving?

          For the Fall foliage, you are suggesting to take I-17, then I-180 then I-64 would be better for leaf peeping like below?

          Reply
          Alley Keosheyan - October 18, 2018

          Hi again, Praful!
          You are correct in that the 89T/Coppermine Road route is less scenic, but compensates by saving you a little time on the drive to Page. If you want to experience the best scenery – which we don’t blame you a bit for! – then it is best to take the traditional route on US89 through Bitter Springs and The Cut. You can also hit Horseshoe Bend on the way into town easily by taking the latter route.

          This is a major travel route is well-populated, fully-paved, and very easy to follow.
          And yes, the route to take from Phoenix to the South Rim for optimal foliage viewing is I-17 to Flagstaff; AZ180 from Flagstaff to Valle, then AZ64 from Valle to Grand Canyon South Rim.
          Hope that helps! Take care and drive safely,
          Alley 🙂

          Reply
          Praful Gupta - October 18, 2018

          Hi Alley,

          Thank you very much for all the help and guidance.

          Praful

          Reply
          Alley Keosheyan - October 19, 2018

          You’re welcome, have a wonderful trip!

          Reply
          Praful Gupta - October 23, 2018

          Hi Alley,

          We had a great time on our trip. Thank you for all the help.

          Please let me know if I can write up a review for you guys.

          Thanks
          Praful

          Reply
          Alley Keosheyan - October 23, 2018

          Wow, Praful, that is so great to hear, and that is SO nice of you to offer to write us a review. I have sent you a personal e-mail with appropriate contact information for doing so 🙂

          Reply