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Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, Arizona: Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell and More!

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You have two days in Page, Arizona. Sweet! Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are definitely on your to-do list. We’re with you so far. Then what else are you going to do to occupy your time? Here’s a news flash for you: you’re going to find so much cool stuff to do here, you’ll wish you had three days to spend in the area! More on that later…

So, what’s the Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, Arizona? Well, like the Ultimate 1-Day Itinerary, it consists of touring Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell, but with a few twists.  

Since a good majority of Page/Lake Powell visitors come to us from Grand Canyon South Rim, Flagstaff and points South, we’re going to assume that you are, too. If not, just take our suggested itinerary and shuffle it around a bit.

Day 1

Sunrise: Pack up the night before so you can get an early start on the drive to Page, Arizona. Depending on how often you stop, the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim or Flagstaff can take anywhere from 2.5- 4 hours. Enjoy breakfast at the Historic Cameron Trading Post. The Navajo Taco with an egg on top is amazing, but fair warning: unless you’re starving, get the “mini.” The regular is huge!

Mid-morning: Stop at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook just 5 miles South of Page, AZ  at Mile Marker 545 on US89. The walk to the overlook is .6 miles each way and is manageable for most people in relatively good health. There is a slightly steep incline just off the parking lot you need to tackle first; the rest of the trail features both mild uphill and downhill sections, but there are benches placed every few hundred yards if you or anyone in your party needs a breather. Remember, this is an exposed overlook in a desert environment. Water and sun protection are a must, as is appropriate shoes for walking a trail whose surface can range from packed dirt to deep “sugar” sand on any given day. Also, it’s a 500’+ drop to the river and there are no guardrails. Keep children and pets under control at all times. Restrooms are available at the parking lot. Allow 60-90 minutes to enjoy the stunning view of this 270° turn (what geologists call an “entrenched meander”) of the Colorado River! Can’t make the walk? Here’s what to do.

Early afternoon: Tour Antelope Canyon. This world-famous slot canyon is on the photographic “bucket list” of every traveler to Northern Arizona, and deservedly so. Its surrealistic colors and shapes must be seen to be believed. You’ll need to decide ahead of time whether to tour Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper is 100 yards long, flat pretty much the whole way, easy-peasy. You can choose to drive directly to the Tribal Park Entrance on Highway 98, or take a tour from downtown Page, AZ. Lower is a bit more physical, requiring some stair climbing and simple boulder scrambling. For Lower, you must drive to the Tribal Park Entrance Gate directly. Whichever branch of Antelope Canyon you choose to tour, you’ll need to book a tour well in advance of your arrival. This attraction is becoming more popular – and crowded – every year. If the prospect of sharing a confined space with all those people doesn’t thrill you, or Antelope Canyon tours are already sold out, consider doing an Antelope Canyon Alternative Tour which will take you to slot canyons that are every bit as beautiful as Antelope, but far less populated OR check Antelope Canyon Now for last minute availability.

Depending on the time of year, your preference and Antelope Canyon tour availability, these activities can easily be done in reverse order as well.

Did we forget that you had to eat at some point? Not at all! Page, AZ has a diverse array of restaurants to choose from, both familiar franchises and independently owned. For those who choose to tour Antelope Canyon directly from the Tribal Park Entrance Gate on US98, grab a hearty, hand-made sandwich to go from the Deli at Big Lake Trading Post, or sit down to a relaxing lunch or dinner with a view that’s off the hook at the Sandbar Restaurant at Antelope Point Marina.

In the town of Page itself, you can take your pick of burgers to sushi and everything in between! For a dining experience that’s more than just a meal, but an educational and fun introduction to Page’s  unique place in history, Sanderson’s Into the Grand features home-cooked Navajo tacos, Native American dances, live music, and a Colorado River Rafting exhibit. Rated #1 on TripAdvisor, reservations are strongly recommended. Or if you prefer things a little more spontaneous, dig into an oven-baked pizza or bowl of pasta at the Canyon King Pizzeria, built inside a vintage paddleboat that logged many tours on Lake Powell in its heyday.

What a day it’s been, and you’re just getting started! Go to your Page, Arizona hotel or vacation rental and get a good night’s sleep. Be sure to set your alarm – here in Page, AZ, the fun starts early in the morning.  

Day 2

Sunrise (optional): Many of you like to start your day back home with a brisk walk or jog to get the blood pumping. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with your exercise routine, and do a little sightseeing to boot! The Page Rim View Trail is a 10-mile dirt track that encircles Manson Mesa (the site Page, AZ was originally built on). Popular with local walkers, runners and cyclists, it is manageable for adults and children who are at least moderately fit. It offers spectacular views of Lake Powell (though no lake access), and for those visiting in springtime, a radiant display of colorful wildflowers. Once on the trail, you are able to exit it at several points along the way. You are by no means obligated to do the full 10 miles! Also, it is completely exposed to the elements, so water and sun protection are a must, as is appropriate footwear. 

Be sure to fuel up for your busy day with a good breakfast. Some Page, AZ hotels may include continental or cooked-to-order breakfast in their room rates. Those staying at vacation rentals or accommodations with full kitchens have the freedom to do their own cooking. Favorite breakfast spots in Page, AZ include the River’s End Cafe inside Colorado River Discovery, the Ranch House Grille and Canyon Crepes.

Option 1 – 6:30 AM: Check in for the Glen Canyon Half Day Float TripThis leisurely raft trip takes place on a silky-smooth 15-mile stretch of the Colorado River through the last remaining intact section of Glen Canyon and is safe for children as young as 4. Putting in at the base of the massive Glen Canyon Dam, you’ll coast through Horseshoe Bend (be sure to wave to the people gazing down at you from the overlook!) and stop at Petroglyph Beach where you can take a cool dip in the river, marvel at centuries-old etchings in the canyon walls left by Ancestral Puebloan people, or munch on a bag lunch purchased at one of the local grocery stores or restaurants. After pulling off the river at Historic Lees Ferry, you’ll board a motorcoach and be dropped off back in Page at approximately 11:30 AM.**  

Grab lunch if you desire, then head over to the John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum to learn more about the first Anglo-American to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1869, setting the stage for the modernization of the Southwest U.S., and sparking the debate about land and water conservation that continues to this day. You can also examine specimens of dinosaurs excavated in the local area, as well as ancient artifacts made by the native peoples of the Colorado Plateau. By the way, the employees at the JWP are carefully selected for their knowledge of not only the Lake Powell area, but Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon and way beyond. If you have a question about anything within a 200-mile radius of Page, AZ, there’s a 99.9999% probability these guys can answer it! The museum is also a great place to shop for souvenirs of your visit for the folks back home.

Option 2 – 7:00 AM: Check in for the Lake Powell & Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour at Lake Powell (formerly known as “Wahweap”) Marina. This 6-hour tour will immerse you in the beauty of Lake Powell in a way that can only be experienced by boat. Your certified tour boat captain will show you the sandy beaches and intimate coves of Warm Creek Bay, Padre Bay and Navajo Canyon en route to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the world’s largest known natural stone arch, sacred to many indigenous peoples of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Towering red rock formations juxtaposed with the expansive blue-green waters is a scene like no other on Earth – small wonder this place is so popular as a movie location! On the return trip, you’ll stop at Dangling Rope Marina, which is only accessible by water. The soft-serve ice cream at the local snack bar is a welcome treat on a hot summer day. Depending on the water level of Lake Powell, a walk of 1.5 miles each way may be required to access the viewing area of Rainbow Bridge. Portions of this walk are slightly uphill, and devoid of shade, so people with mobility issues or sun sensitivity must consider carefully whether or not they can fully enjoy this tour. Complimentary water, coffee and lemonade are provided on the tour boat. You are welcome to bring a reasonable amount of snacks and/ or preferred beverages with you.

After your tour, enjoy lunch or an early dinner at one of five on-site dining outlets at Lake Powell Marina. Everything from light appetizers and custom coffee beverages to gourmet entrees with a world-class wine list can be had here, and the best part? They all come with a prime lakeside view! Then, head down to the Carl Hayden Visitors’ Center at Glen Canyon Dam and join a tour with the Glen Canyon Natural History Association. In less than one hour’s time you’ll get down in the depths of this monumental structure that is responsible for the creation of Lake Powell, an integral and still-controversial component of the Colorado River Storage Project. Tours are conducted on a first-come first-served basis. The Glen Canyon Dam is a federally-managed facility, therefore Department of Homeland Security regulations are strictly enforced. You will be passing through a metal detector, and armed guards are in place throughout the facility. No knives or any weapons will be permitted in the building. Bags and purses are prohibited on the tour.

Head back to your hotel, kick back and reflect on your day’s adventures, or discover a new place for dinner. If you’re still feeling perky towards the day’s end, take the short drive off the mesa to the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook, also known as the “White House” to enjoy sunset. Or, kick up your feet to some live music at Ken’s Old West, the Windy Mesa or the Dam Bar.

Hit the sack, sleep in if you want. You deserve it!

A few last notes: this suggested trip plan is designed for Page, Arizona’s peak travel season of late spring through early fall. Due to extreme heat typical of this time period, you don’t want to be out on the water in the blazing afternoon sun if you can possibly avoid it. If you happen to be traveling in early spring or late fall, you can flip the order of these activities around and still be comfortable, for example, on Day 2, do the Glen Canyon Dam or John Wesley Powell Museum tours in the morning, then do the raft or boat tour in the afternoon. Keep in mind, also, that many of these activities are offered seasonally. If you’re visiting in the winter months, water-based activities most likely won’t be running at all, or would require a certain number of passengers to guarantee operation.

………………………………………………………………………………………………

So here it is, Day 3, and time to head to your next destination, like Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park or maybe back to Phoenix, AZ or Las Vegas, NV. We hope you’ve had fun! If you’ve followed these suggestions, and maybe done a little “mixing and matching,” the last 48 hours will have certainly been memorable ones. But, that doesn’t mean the fun is over until you hit your next park. Here are just a few ideas for some “bonus activities” to add on to your list as you leave Page, AZ for the next phase of your vacation:

On US89 as you head toward Bryce, Zion or St. George:

  • The “New Wave:” approximately one mile past the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge, opposite the turn-off to the Lake Powell Resort complex, turn left instead and you’ll come to a small but interesting cluster of rock formations that bear more than just a passing resemblance to “The Wave.”  Unlike the “Old Wave,” the “New Wave” requires no permits, and at the moment, no admission fee. The only caveat: the road is not regularly maintained and prone to washing out. If you see any signage stating “no admittance” or the like, obey it.  
  • The Big Water Visitor Center: located 15 miles Northwest of Page, AZ over the Utah border on US89, this small but impressive facility features locally-excavated dinosaur bones, a topographical relief map of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and award-winning paleontology and geology displays.
  • The Paria Rimrocks-Toadstools Trail: at mile marker 19 between Page, AZ and Kanab, UT on US89 you’ll find a moderate 1.5 mile round-trip trail leading to a Mars-like landscape of whimsical hoodoos, balanced rocks and other geological oddities. Don’t be fooled by what looks like the end of the trail; a short rock scramble leads to the main hoodoo garden.  
  • Kanab, Utah: once the on-location darling of Western movie producers, Kanab, Utah is a charming small town with plentiful shopping and dining opportunities. Locals and visitors alike are partial to the Rocking V Cafe and Houston’s Trail’s End Restaurant.

On US89 heading toward Flagstaff, Sedona or Phoenix:

  • The Gap Trading Post: if you’re into Old West trading posts, but prefer those that are more trading post than tourist trap, pop into The Gap Trading Post just 45 miles South of Page on US89. Still an active commerce center, albeit a low-key one, you can purchase Navajo textiles, jewelry and pottery, or a cool beverage to refresh you for the drive ahead.
  • Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks: 20 miles South of the Gap Trading Post, take a slight Eastern detour off US89 to AZ160. A few miles before you get to Tuba City, you’ll find an unassuming sign advertising free parking. Here you can see fossilized dinosaur tracks, eggs and dung. The jury is still out on the latter two; the former, though, is obviously the real deal. This area is located on Navajo Indian Tribal Land, so you must have an authorized representative escort you to the track site. There is no charge, technically, but gratuities are appreciated.
  • Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monuments: Double your pleasure, double your fun, two cool monuments are better than one! Just North of Flagstaff, Arizona, these are actually two separate monuments connected by a convenient loop drive. Wupatki showcases the remains of an ancient, and surprisingly expansive Ancestral Puebloan Village with some unusual features, including a multi-story complex and a ball court. Sunset Crater is a dormant cinder cone that last erupted approximately 800 years ago, which, according to geologists, seemed like yesterday.

Do you have anything to add to this list? We’d love to hear about it! Feel free to write us in the comments, or visit our sister site, www.horseshoebend.com.

‘Til next time, good luck and happy traveling!

214 Responses

  1. Hi Alley!

    I just stumbled across this page and I am so happy I did. All the info you have given to people is incredible! I am going to be arriving in Mesa, AZ on Thursday 1/2/20. From there, I would like to travel with a friend by car to Page for a couple days/nights then drive back to Mesa to fly back out of AZ on 1/6/20. I am slowly getting through all the questions and comments from others, but I am basically completely open to ANYTHING because I just stumbled upon what looks like a beautiful city by searching “things to do in AZ.” Anything you think we CAN’T miss? Of course we want to do Horseshoe Bend and the Antelope Canyon (thinking the lower), but we want to get in as much as we can. Not sure on travel times from are from Mesa to Page and what else we can fit it. If you see this, let me know what else we for sure should do. We are up for anything and everything. Are there tons of hotels to stay in nearby? Something you suggest? Thanks in advance for your reply and for all the info that you provided everyone. You’re knowledge is incredible.

    1. Hi Heidi, and thank you for your compliments!
      Given your flight dates, you have approximately 2.5 days to work with on this trip. Assuming that you’re not wanting to spend one of those days in Mesa, here’s what I’d recommend:
      Thursday 1/2/20: Arrive in Mesa, overnight in that area
      Friday 1/3/20: Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim via Sedona, AZ (~2 hour drive from Mesa, then 3 hour drive to Grand Canyon, ~6-6.5 hour total drive factoring in stops ), have lunch in Sedona, overnight at Grand Canyon
      Saturday 1/4/20: Drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ (~3.5-4 hour drive, factoring in stops), stopping at Grand Canyon viewpoints between Grand Canyon Village and Desert View Point, then other points of interest as desired upon exiting the park, lunch at Cameron Trading Post, tour Antelope Canyon in the afternoon, overnight in Page, AZ
      Sunday 1/5/20: Visit Horseshoe Bend and Glen Canyon Dam, spend 2nd night in Page, AZ, or drive back to Mesa (~5 hour drive)
      Monday 1/6/20: fly home
      The feasibility of the above itinerary will depend on two key factors: availability (or lack thereof) of Grand Canyon hotels, and availability (or lack thereof) of Antelope Canyon tours. If needed, you can flip-flop the above itinerary, hitting Page, AZ, first, then the Grand Canyon. You might also consider saving Sedona, AZ, for another trip when you can spend more time there. It’s a stunning area with lots to see and do, and you really need 3-4 days minimum to do it justice rather than a quickie drive-by. You are visiting just after the New Year’s holiday which is a relatively busy time, too, so be sure to make all lodging and guided tour reservations ASAP.
      Another thing to keep in mind is that the time of year you’re visiting is winter, so be prepared for anything weather-wise, up to and including snow. In the event any local roads are closed due to weather, your best bet is to just stay put and go with the flow. This may necessitate cancelling some plans, but hotels and tour companies tend to be very understanding of those situations and should give you a refund, if it comes to that.
      Another important consideration: daylength. At that time of year, it’s short, with sunrise occurring at approximately 7:30 AM and sunset taking place at around 5:30 PM. Be sure to get any and all driving done during daylight hours. Roads in this part of the U.S. don’t have much in the way of supplemental lighting, and deer, elk, and other wildlife tend to move about after dusk, which hikes up your risk of having an accident. Definitely not a good vacation memory!
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  2. Hi Alley,

    I was not sure on going to Page, AZ however, after reading all your advises on your blog, I actually am very excited and looking forward to it. Thank you very much for taking your time in providing details information on Arizona.
    My husband and I will be going to Page, AZ, and spend 1 night at Lake Powell Resort 10/17 to 10/18, we had visited the Lower Antelope Canyon in the past, so would like to visit the Upper antelope Canyon this time, however, the tours are sold out. so I have listed few places below as my alternative spots, but not sure in which order, hoping to take advantage of these places as many as I can!

    Your recommendation is much appreciated.
    Thanks in advance for your help.
    Lien

    Wed. 10/16 – afternoon, drive from Los Angeles, CA to Vegas and spend a night there.
    Thurs 10/17 – depart from Vegas early morning to Page, AZ
    Place to visit when I am in Page: Horseshoe Bend, Vermillion Cliffs, Rainbow Bridge Boat Tours, Catherdral slot canyon tour, or Canyon X

    Friday 10/18 — depart from Page, AZ to St. George UT aprx. evening time (7pm) and spend a night there
    Sat 10/19 depart from St. George UT to Zion for half day, then head home

    1. Hi Lien,
      Glad you’ve decided to visit us in Page, AZ, on your upcoming vacation. October is a great time to visit the American Southwest!
      Unfortunately, I have to start things off with a bit of bad news: you don’t have enough time to do the Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour. The drive from Las Vegas to Page, AZ, via the Vermilion Cliffs (which is a beautiful drive!) will take you anywhere from 6-7 hours minimum due to construction taking place on a section of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge.

      That’s going to take the better part of a day right off the bat. The Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour is an 8-hour commitment as well, due to the water level of Lake Powell. There are two daily departures, one from 7:30 AM-3:30 PM, and another from 12:30 PM-7:30 PM, so as you can hopefully see, it just won’t be practical this time around. But there still might be a way to work it in… more on that in minute.
      As for whether you tour Antelope Canyon X or Cathedral, you won’t go wrong with either one! Personally, I’m partial to Cathedral Slot Canyon, because it has both “classic” slot canyon scenery, and some formations you won’t find in any other Page, AZ, slot canyons.
      Back on the subject of Rainbow Bridge: since the boat tour is pretty much out of the question, you might consider flying over it in a fixed wing airplane! In just 30 minutes time, you’ll not only get to see Rainbow Bridge, but a ton of other amazing scenery. Mornings are generally regarded as the best time to fly optimal light and lack of wind. For more information, check out the Rainbow Bridge Air Tour
      Hope that helps and that you have a wonderful time!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hello Alley,
        Is the construction still happening on I-15? we planned on driving in from Vegas at dawn straight to Antelope Canyon. Then drive back same day. I read your post on trying to avoid driving when it was dark so i know if there was still construction, this whole plan would be null lol.
        Thanks in advance

        1. Hi Adwoa,
          Sorry to be the bearer of potentially bad news, but the construction project is still going on, and is expected to continue until June of 2020. Depending on the time of year you’re traveling, I wouldn’t necessarily let that deter you from visiting. One advantage to Las Vegas is that it has a rather large light dome, so if you are able to get to Mesquite, NV, by nightfall, you should be good to go the rest of the way.
          If you use Google Maps regularly, it does have a real-time traffic feature. You might also join the very aptly named Facebook group, “Pain In The Gorge” to receive (and post) real-time traffic updates through the construction zone.
          Hope that helps. Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
          Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Jennifer,
      You posted your inquiry in the Ultimate 1-Day Itinerary section, so that’s where it has been answered 🙂
      Alley

  3. Hi there! This website is full of great information, so thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and experience here! I’m planning my first ever trip to Vegas and the Grand Canyon in early November and am thinking of the following itinerary:

    Day 1-3: Enjoy Vegas
    Day 4: Drive from Vegas to Grand Canyon South Rim, overnight there (perhaps a sunset view)
    Day 5: Enjoy a Grand Canyon hiking day
    Day 6: Drive to Antelope Canyon (see Horseshoe Bend along the way), tour both upper and lower canyon
    Day 7: Drive to Sedona late afternoon
    Day 8: Enjoy Sedona
    Day 9: Drive to Phoenix
    Day 10: Enjoy Phoenix
    Day 11: Depart

    Does this sound like a realistic itinerary? Am I missing anything along the way? Any “must-do” items in/near Antelope Canyon and Sedona?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again!

    1. Hi Alan, and thank you for your compliments!
      Your itinerary looks pretty fun, and I especially like the fact that you’ve built some “chill time” into your vacation. In my profession, I often find folks trying to plan every single second of their vacation and not allowing for any down time.
      As to whether you’re “missing” anything, that’s kind of a loaded question. For example, if you’re traveling as far as Page, AZ, you might be tempted to try and squeeze Bryce Canyon and/or Zion into your itinerary, but frankly, I’d leave things just the way you have them, with one exception: drop a day in Phoenix and give it to Sedona. Sedona has so much to offer that 3 days bare minimum are necessary to do it justice. While you won’t be able to do any swimming at Slide Rock State Park or Oak Creek, you can still enjoy hiking in those areas, with the proper clothing and shoes. Besides, IMO, Phoenix is just another big city, and I’m definitely of the “been there, done that” frame of mind!
      Whatever you decide, be sure to book all lodging well in advance, and to make advance reservations for Antelope Canyon tours. Also keep in mind that early November is usually a nice time to be here, but still falls in that transitional period between fall and winter. Keep an eye on the weather, starting about 2 weeks before you get set to travel.
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Thank you, Alley, for your response and your advice! I’ll certainly factor that into the final itinerary. I’m looking forward to exploring your beautiful state!

        If you have any tips on how to make the most of the Sedona experience (e.g., top things to do), I’d be all ears!

        Alan

        1. Hi again, Alan!
          What can one do in Sedona? Let me count the ways! LOL
          While water-based activities won’t be an option at the time of year you’re visiting, you’ll have no trouble filling your days with fun and exploration!
          Popular activities in Sedona during its “shoulder” season include, but are certainly not limited to:
          Wine tastings
          – “Retail” therapy
          Hot air balloon rides
          Pink Jeep tours
          Verde Canyon Scenic Railroad
          – Day trips to Montezuma’s Castle/Well and/or Tuzigoot National Monuments
          Spa days
          Horseback riding
          “Out of Africa” Wildlife Park
          – Day visit to Jerome, a ghost town turned artists’ colony (or you can swing through there on the way back to Phoenix)
          – Devil’s Bridge, Bell Rock Trail, Red Rock Crossing, Coffee Pot Rock — just a small sampling of the easy but scenic hikes available in this area! For more information on hiking in Sedona, AZ, visit http://www.AllTrails.com: Sedona
          Have a great time and let us know how things go!
          Alley 🙂

  4. Alley,

    I apologize if this is a duplicate message, as I thought I left a reply a few days ago but can’t find it now. I love this site and thanks for all the information! Planning a trip for myself and my 3 kids (14, 12, 10) next spring break at the beginning of April. Not sure if I’m building enough time in for things, and want to do it right, as it’s our first time at all of these destinations. Suggestions? Here’s what I have …

    Day 1 – Fly to Phoenix, (potentially a Diamondbacks game, but otherwise drive to Grand Canyon). Maybe a later-day ranger-guided tour. Night 1 at Canyon
    Day 2 – early ranger guided tour, also use the shuttle for the viewing points. Drive to Page, Az. Overnight in Page.
    Day 3 – early Upper Antelope Canyon tour. Could I do a float tour of Colorado River/Horseshoe Bend that same day? OVernight in Page.
    Day 4 – Drive to Zion. Zion Canyoneering Tour for families. Night in Zion
    Day 5 – Drive back — potentially to Vegas, as the airport is much closer.

    Maybe I’m doing too much and need to add a night somewhere, either in Page or at the Canyon? I’d love your thoughts! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Lori, this is copied from my reply to your previous inquiry, so apologies in advance if you’ve made changes that aren’t reflected here.
      ——————————————————————
      Your tentative itinerary looks pretty fun, still, I’d recommend making a couple of modifications for the sake of convenience.
      First off, you mention in your previous inquiry that you’ve been to Sedona before, so I assume that’s why you’re leaving it out this time around.
      I did some research and it appears that the Arizona Diamondbacks 2020 season opener is scheduled for April 5th, vs. the Boston Red Sox.
      At the Grand Canyon, it is not necessary to take a guided tour. The South Rim is a very easy area to self-tour, and a good chunk of your sightseeing of the Grand Canyon will actually occur on the drive to Page (or from Page… more on that in a minute). Most of the overlooks are open to private vehicles, except for the ones on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive, which are served by a free hop-on/hop-off shuttle line. If possible, book your Grand Canyon lodging inside the park, or Tusayan, just 7 miles South of the park so you can easily enjoy sunset and/or sunrise on the rim of the Grand Canyon!
      For the Page, AZ, leg of your trip, the boat tour on this particular site isn’t the one that goes through Horseshoe Bend. The trip you’re looking for is the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. During the month of April, the 1/2-Day Float Trip departs once daily at 11:00 AM with a 10:00 AM check-in, and concludes at 3:30 PM. As to whether you should tour both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, they are both beautiful, you would just need to be sure that neither slot canyon tour overlaps with the float trip on either side of it. Upper + Lower Antelope Canyon “bundle” If you opt to tour just one slot canyon, and your family is physically fit enough to handle Lower Antelope, I’d recommend going with that. Full Video Walk-Through of Lower Antelope Canyon
      On Day 5, where you propose to visit Zion as a day trip from Page, AZ, that’s doable, but you must keep a close eye on the clock. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the country due to lack of artificial lighting on local roads, and the possibility of colliding with a deer, elk, free range cow, or even a wild horse. It typically takes ~2 hours to drive from Page, AZ, to Zion, but that’s wheels turning, no stops. That rarely happens, since it’s a very scenic drive, and you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves along the way, such as the Big Water Visitors Center, Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos trail, and Moqui Cave, just to name a few. So a 2-hour drive could easily turn into 3.5 or even 4 hours, unless you resist all temptations to stop. Another thing to keep in mind is that while Utah DOES observe Daylight Savings Time, Arizona DOES NOT. So, you’ll “lose” an hour traveling between Arizona and Utah, but “regain” it as you travel back to Arizona. Sunrise in AZ occurs at ~6:00 AM in early April; sunset takes place around 6:45 PM. Taking all that into consideration, that wouldn’t give you much time to work with in Zion, which is an amazing park that really deserves 3-4 days time to fully enjoy.
      If you’re open to making some changes, you might consider flying into Las Vegas instead of Phoenix. Las Vegas occasionally hosts some Spring Training games, if catching a baseball game is a non-negotiable element of this trip. If not, you’d probably find Las Vegas to be better poised to make this itinerary work. Your schedule would look something like this:
      Day 1 – Fly into Las Vegas, catch a spring training game, overnight in Las Vegas
      Day 2 – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~5 hours), overnight at the Grand Canyon
      Day 3 – Ranger-guided hike at South Rim. Drive to Page, AZ (~3-3.5 hours factoring in stops), night 1 in Page
      Day 4 – Antelope Canyon early morning tour, 1/2-day Glen Canyon Float Trip, either spend 2nd night in Page, AZ, or drive to Zion and overnight in Springdale, UT.
      Day 5 – Early AM drive from Page to Zion, or get early start out of Springdale, UT, for Zion National Park tour.
      Day 6 – Drive back to Las Vegas (~3.5 hours), fly home
      If you prefer to keep Phoenix as your staging city, and depending on your tolerance for making a longish drive at the beginning of your tour, you could do something like this:
      Day 1 – Fly into Phoenix, catch baseball game, overnight in Phoenix
      Day 2 – Drive from Phoenix to Kanab, UT (~6 hours), overnight in Kanab.
      Day 3 – Drive from Kanab to Zion Ponderosa Ranch (~1 hour drive), take canyoneering tour, spend 2nd night in Kanab.
      Day 4 – Drive to Page, AZ (~60-90 minutes), check in 10:00 AM for 11:00 AM float trip, take afternoon tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, overnight in Page.
      Day 5 – Drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3.5-4 hours factoring in stops), overnight at South Rim.
      Day 6 – Drive back to Phoenix, fly home.

      Sorry to ramble on for so long, but hope that’s given you some things to think about. Please don’t hesitate to hit us up again if you need further guidance!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

          1. Looks like the Glen Canyon 1/2 Day Float Tour has a check-in at 10 am. Are early morning tours available in April for Upper Antelope Canyon so that we’d be able to both in the same day? I can’t see times yet because we’re more than 6 months out.

            I’m also curious — we’ll probably arrive in Page in the afternoon. Would you recommend we hike Horseshoe Bend (and how long might the hike be?), or even the Navajo Grand Tour?

            So excited about all the possibilities. Thank you for all your insight!

          2. Hi Lori!
            If I remember correctly, Antelope Canyon tours in April start as early as 7:00 AM, so you should be able to manage a morning Antelope Canyon tour with the Glen Canyon Float Trip. However, since temperatures in April tend to still be moderate, you shouldn’t have a problem touring Antelope Canyon after doing the float trip if need and/or availability should dictate.
            RE: Horseshoe Bend, the hike in and out is less than 1.5 miles in length. Whether you do it the afternoon you arrive in Page, AZ, will depend largely on the parking situation and whether or not you can find space. Since the 2nd phase of the parking lot was added, it has helped matters in that regard.
            Hope you had a Happy 4th and that your family is doing great!
            Alley 🙂

  5. I just found your website and it is awesome!! We will be flying into Phoenix the end of September and starting our trip via RV from Mesa. Here is what I am thinking so far:

    Sat Sept 28 Phoenix-Mesa-Montezuma’s Castle-Camp Verde
    Overnight in Camp Verde
    Sun Sept 29 Camp Verde-Cottonwood-Jerome-Grand Canyon
    Overnight in Grand Canyon
    Mon Sept 30 Sunrise at Grand Canyon south rim, mule ride-Drive to Page
    Overnight in Page
    Tues Oct 1 Page-Horseshoe Bend-Antelope Canyon
    Overnight in Page
    Wed Oct 2 Page-Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour-Start drive to Bryce
    Overnight somewhere or all the way to Bryce
    Thurs Oct 3 Bryce sunrise if we get there-drive to Zion
    Overnight in Zion
    Fri Oct 4 Zion
    Overnight in Zion
    Sat Oct 5 Las Vegas Eagles concert!!
    Sun Oct 6 Fly home from Vegas

    Is this doable or way too much?
    Things we don’t need to see?
    Things I missed on my list?
    Any suggestions on RV parks?
    Thank you so much!!!

    1. Hi Noelle and glad you found us!
      Your itinerary looks pretty fun, and you’ve chosen a great time to be here! Still, I have to offer a few “reality checks” before you commit to it 100%.
      Driving an RV is going to limit you slightly on the places you can realistically go. You don’t specify whether you’ll be driving a motorhome, or driving a truck or SUV pulling a 5th wheel or travel trailer. Since you’re flying into Phoenix, I’ll assume it’s a motorhome, so, no tow vehicle that can be unhooked to explore areas that may be impractical for a larger rig. Camp Verde RV Parks
      On Day 2 when you say you want to explore Jerome, AZ, many RV forums advise against driving that section of US89A in a rig over 30′ in length as it’s very narrow and twisty. You might want to skip it this time around and go directly to the Grand Canyon. At Grand Canyon South Rim, there are 2 RV parks located in Grand Canyon Village: Trailer Village, which has electrical and water hook-ups, and Mather Campground, which does not have hook-ups, but has a laundry and paid showers on site, plus an RV dump station located nearby.
      On your 3rd day when you indicate you’re taking a mule ride, I assume you’re referring to the 3-hour Canyon Vistas ride? The only other option is a 2-day/1-night trip to Phantom Ranch, which is booked 1 year in advance. I’d suggest taking the 8:00 AM departure so you don’t risk doing any of the drive to Page, AZ, at night. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in Northern AZ due to the lack of artificial lighting on local roads, and the tendency for deer, elk, free range cattle, and even wild horses to graze around them at night. Even in a motorhome, you don’t want to risk a collision with a large animal in areas where cell service is spotty at best, and a tow truck will be a long time in coming and very expensive! In early October, sunrise occurs at ~6:30 AM, sunset at around 6:00 PM.
      On October 2nd, where you intend to drive to Bryce after the Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour, keep in mind that this trip could run anywhere from 6-8 hours in length depending on the water level of Lake Powell at the time of your visit. A hike of 2-3 miles round trip from the boat dock will also be required to actually see Rainbow Bridge. After an activity like this, just about the only thing you’ll probably be in the mood to do is relax with a cocktail somewhere, not make a 3-hour drive to your next destination. If the prospect of skipping the Rainbow Bridge Boat tour doesn’t appeal – which I totally would understand – then take the earlier departure at 7:30 AM, which would conclude sometime between 2:30 and 3:30 PM. That would at least buy you some time to get to Bryce before sunset (which occurs at 7:00 PM Utah time). Remember, driving a motorhome means you have to take the drive more slowly than if you were in a passenger car! If you feel this would be cutting it too fine, and you still want to see Rainbow Bridge, an efficient and exciting way to accomplish this goal is to fly over it. Fixed-wing airplanes depart from the Page Municipal Airport daily, usually first thing in the morning for better light and less wind. Rainbow Bridge air tours typically take only 30 minutes time. RV & Camping Options in Page, AZ
      For Bryce Canyon, there are 2 first-come/first-serve campgrounds located inside the park, North and Sunset Campgrounds. Neither have hook-ups, so if you prefer to have them (you’ll probably need some heat at night at this time of year since Bryce is 8,000′ above sea level), look to Ruby’s Inn, Bryce Canyon City, and other developed areas just outside the park boundary. Bryce Canyon RV Parks
      In Zion, there are two campgrounds located in Zion Canyon, which is the main commercial area of the park. Neither have electrical, water, or sewer hook-ups. If you prefer these services, you’ll want to look at developed RV parks in Springdale, UT, which is situated near the Western border of the park. Also keep in mind that coming from East to West, the most convenient route will be the Zion-Mt. Carmel tunnel, which requires an “escort fee” for all RV’s and oversized vehicles to travel through it. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the particulars of traveling in Zion National Park in an RV before you set out on your trip.
      On the drive back to Las Vegas from Zion, be aware that construction is taking place on a stretch of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge, which will tack another 30-60 minutes onto your trip time.
      In order to free up a full day to devote to seeing Bryce Canyon, I’d recommend dropping that first night in Camp Verde and just driving all the way to Grand Canyon South Rim instead. If that’s not an option, then, again, reconsider the Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  6. Hi Alley,

    Thanks for all the wonderful information on the site. I have a trip planned with my 2 teenage daughters from Phoenix on July 5th to Page for two nights, then off to Bryce on the 7th, and Zion on the 8th. Could you help with suggestions for an itinerary on what best to do with our time in Page and the other stops. Your help is much appreciated!

    1. Hi Brandon,
      The piece you commented on, the “Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, AZ” had ample suggestions for how to use your 2 days in Page, AZ. In a nutshell, the “must-do’s” here are:
      touring Antelope Canyon (check out the new “bundle” options!)
      – visit Horseshoe Bend (best done just after sunrise at the time you’re visiting for cooler temperatures and less people)
      – do some kind of water-based activity, such as the Lake Powell Boat Tour to Rainbow Bridge, or the Glen Canyon Half-Day Float Trip; if doing such a long boat or raft tour doesn’t appeal, note that many of the Antelope Canyon tour “bundles” combine an Antelope Slot Canyon tour with a short boat tour of Antelope Canyon’s waterside from Antelope Point Marina
      As for what you might do in Bryce and Zion, that ultimately depends on you and your family, your interests, and how much hiking you’re willing to do, or not do. On the trip from Page, AZ, to Bryce, a couple of good stops to make are the Big Water Visitors Center and the Paria Rim Rocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT at mile marker 19 of US89. However, another important consideration is that at the time of year you’re visiting, it’s going to be very hot. Any hiking or other labor-intensive activity should be undertaken early in the morning for optimal safety and comfort. Hats, sunscreen, and plenty of water should be carried at all time, and appropriate footwear for walking should be worn.
      In Bryce, start by taking the rim loop drive (or use the free shuttle) to the various overlooks in the park. Popular hikes rated as “easy” to “moderate” include, in order of length/distance, Mossy Cave, the Rim Trail, Queens Garden, the Navajo Trail, Tower Bridge, the “Hat Shop,” and Swamp Canyon. For more suggestions of good hikes and other activities in Bryce, consult the National Park Service guide to Day Hikes in Bryce Canyon
      In Zion, the two “grand-daddy of all hikes” are The Narrows and Angel’s Landing. The Narrows might be fun for you guys as it entails walking in the Virgin River for a good part of it, and the cool water is very refreshing. Appropriate shoes for hiking in the water are necessary for this. However, if a flash flood warning is in place, you’ll probably have to take a pass on that. If Angel’s Landing doesn’t appeal, there are plenty of other good hikes to make in Zion, as well as activities such as horseback riding, river tubing, ranger talks, etc. Keep in mind that unless you have reservations at the Zion Lodge in the park, you’ll have to utilize the shuttle from Springdale, UT, to access the Zion Scenic Drive.
      Hope that helps, and that you have all reservations in place for lodging and guided tours.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hello Alley,
        I have been reading your recommendations to others and learned so much! I’m wondering g if you could give me some help with a trip I’m planning for my adult daughter and me for April of 2020. We will have a Saturday through the next Saturday to visit. Right now, I’m planning on flying into and out of Phoenix but haven’t purchased any tickets yet. I plan to rent a car in Phoenix. (Thanks for the advice not to drive at night! I had no idea.) Depending on the time of our return flight’s departure, we may want to stay in Phoenix Friday night.

        The Grand Canyon south rim and Sedona are places on our for sure list. Would you just stick with those two places based on our time frame? If I were to add another place, it would be Page (Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell). Would all of this be possible in our timeframe? Neither of us has been to Arizona or Utah and I had originally thought about possibly adding either Bryce, the Arches, or Monument Valley, but I am thinking this will be another trip (unless you think one of these makes sense logistically instead of the trip to Page).

        We are both pretty fit (her more than I am) so we would be doing some hiking. I had a question about the tours offered through the Grand Canyon website. Would you recommend doing any of them or just doing things on your own. I had wanted to do one of the mule rides down into the canyon, but can’t figure out if that is a one day experience and if this is only offered through the park service. I’d opt for the one that includes an overnight at Phantom Ranch, but from what I can tell, the Ranch is already booked through next June.

        Thank you again for all the time and thought in your responses!

        1. Hi Susan and thanks for your compliments!~
          I’m going to work “backwards” here, so hope you don’t mind. Grand Canyon mule rides are indeed booked up 1 year in advance, plus the daily rider quota was reduced from 20 to 10 some years ago. Therefore, getting on one is going to be next to impossible, even for April 2020. The only mule ride that goes into the inner canyon from the South Rim is the overnight ride to Phantom Ranch. There used to be a one-day trip that went to below the rim to Plateau Point, but National Park Service kaboshed it and offered up the “Canyon Vista,” a 3-hour ride along a rimside trail, which IMO was a poor substitute for the Plateau Point ride. The mule rides, by the way, are offered by the park concessioner, Xanterra South Rim, but since they operate in a National Park, National Park Service has carte blanche to make a lot of decisions concerning day to day operations that may impact the “resource,” which, in this case, is the Grand Canyon.
          RE: what you can accomplish in 1 week’s time, using Phoenix as your staging city, you could spend 3 days in Sedona, 1 day at Grand Canyon South Rim, 1 day at Monument Valley and 2 days in Page. The order in which you allot your time will depend heavily on two key elements: 1. availability of lodging at the Grand Canyon and 2. availability of Antelope Canyon tours Since you’re planning your trip well in advance (which we definitely commend you for!), you should still have good availability to work with. Another consideration is your preference for getting the longer drive out of the way first, or are you OK saving it for last? Since most trip planners fall into the former category, and assuming you do as well, here’s what I’d recommend:
          Day 1 – Drive from Phoenix to Page (~5 hours), overnight in Page
          Day 2 – Visit Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, possibly a short boat tour on Lake Powell (Lower Antelope Canyon/Boat Tour bundle), 2nd night in Page
          Day 3 – Drive from Page, AZ, to Monument Valley (~2 hour drive), overnight in Monument Valley
          Day 4 – Take backcountry tour of Monument Valley (or do this day before time permitting), then drive to Grand Canyon South Rim (~3.5 hour drive), overnight at Grand Canyon
          Day 5 – Take free shuttles to Grand Canyon overlooks on Hermit’s Rest Road, or take short hike on Bright Angel Trail, drive to Sedona (~3 hours), overnight in Sedona
          Day 6 – 2nd day/night in Sedona, take Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour, or hike to Bell Rock or West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon.
          Day 7 – 3rd day/night in Sedona, or drive to Phoenix (~2 hours) and fly home

          As mentioned earlier, this itinerary can be reversed if lodging availability is more conducive to doing so, or you prefer to chill for a few days leading up to the busier part of your vacation.
          As you can see, Bryce Canyon and Arches were left off this itinerary. They’re a bit impractical when using Phoenix as a staging city. Las Vegas is better positioned as a “jumping off point” to Utah’s Mighty 5, so you might indeed save that for another trip.
          Hope that helps – feel free to hit us up again if we can provide further guidance.
          Alley 🙂

  7. HI Ally –
    I need some help. 🙂 We are planning on coming to Las Vegas with my husband and 2 teenagers. It will be in July – thinking 4th of July weekend, we are going for a basketball event in Las Vegas. We want to head over to Zion, Bryce, Horseshoe Bend and Lower Antelope. What would be the best itinerary if we left Vegas on the 5th but come back to Vegas on the 7th. I know it will be super hot so we do not plan to do any hikes. What do you think would be best route to go and stay? So basically it would be 2 nights to stay between these 3 areas/ spots. What is something also we should def not miss from any of these places.
    Thanks so much!! Hannah

    1. Hi Hanna, and apologies for the delay in response to your inquiry.
      With that short of a timeframe to work with, you won’t really be able to explore any of these attractions in a manner that will do them justice. As you’ve noted, however, that time of year is really hot, so not the ideal time of year to do any long hikes.
      The order in which you visit Zion, Bryce, and Page, will be largely dependent on where you can find lodging, and when.
      You could do something like this:
      July 5th: Drive from Las Vegas to Bryce Canyon via Zion, drive time ~5.5 hours, stay overnight in Bryce Canyon or nearby
      July 6th: Drive from Bryce Canyon to Page, AZ (~3 hours), tour Antelope Canyon, overnight in Page
      July 7th: Visit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, head back to Las Vegas (~5 hour drive)
      Depending on availability of hotels, or lack thereof on this busy weekend, you may need to be prepared to flip-flop this itinerary, hitting Page, AZ, first, then Bryce, then head back to Las Vegas. You could do the drive-through of Zion either on the way out or back depending on your schedule. Keep in mind that there is a construction project in progress on a stretch of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge that will add some time to both drives.

      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  8. Hello,
    Thank you so much for your wonderful information. I am so stuck in my itinerary of what to do after reading all the wonderful comments. I have been to GC multiple times but husband has not and our goal is to hike the GC. We are flying into Flagstaff Sept 27 at 730 pm, renting a car and the only reservations we have made are to the El Tovar on 9/28-29. Below is the tentative dates and places. 9/27 Fly into Flagstaff, rent care should we stay in Flagstaff or drive to Williams.
    9/28 go to GC, definitely want to see sunset today. Dinner at El Tovar
    9/29 hike GC and see sunrise.
    9/30 drive to Page, AZ should we do an afternoon canyon tour?
    10/1 Page, AZ do canyon tour and boat tour
    10/2 sedona
    10/3 Sedona would like to do a jeep tour??
    10/4 Phoenix or somewhere else???
    10/5 Fly home out of Phoenix
    Any suggestions would greatly be appreciated. Trying to get everything pinned down. Thank you in advance for your help.
    Mona

    1. Hi Mona,
      Good job on scoring reservations at El Tovar, and late September/early October is a great time to be here!
      Your itinerary as it stands looks pretty fun, still, I’d recommend making a couple of minor adjustments, plus injecting a couple of “reality checks.”
      For one, when you say “hiking the Grand Canyon is the goal,” if you’re thinking you’ll go rim-to-river and back in one day, that’s not likely to happen. It takes anywhere from 4-6 hours to hike from the South Rim to the Colorado River — all downhill — then another 7-10 hours to hike from the Colorado River back to the rim — ALL UPHILL. I’ll put it this way: marathon runners have had a hard time doing what is referred to as a “burn run” (rim-to-river and back, 1 day). To experience the Inner Canyon in the safest, most comfortable way, it’s best to hike down, spend the night, either at Bright Angel Campground or Phantom Ranch, then hike back out the next day. Unfortunately, Grand Canyon backcountry permits for Bright Angel Campground or reservations at Phantom Ranch are extremely hard to come by, and tend to be sold out 1 year or more in advance.
      The good news is that day hiking can be done without a permit, and there are plenty of wonderful hikes you can do, depending on your fitness level, timeframe, and inclinations. The over-arching rule of thumb is that 1 hour hiking down = 2 hours to hike back out. Food and water must be carried if you plan on spending any more than 1 hour’s time, or going further than 1 mile round-trip below the rim. If 2-3 hours tops is all the time you want to spend, you might consider hiking to Cedar Ridge on the South Kaibab Trail. It’s 3 miles round trip, amazing views, but no water on the trail. You must utilize the National Park Service’s hiker’s shuttle to get to the trail head. If you’re up for a hike of 6-8 hours or thereabouts, you might go as far as Indian Gardens (9 mile round-trip) or Plateau Point (12 miles round-trip) on the Bright Angel Trail. The Bright Angel Trail does have potable water piped into several resthouses located every 1.5 miles down the trail, but you should still bring your own, as well as high-energy snacks, sunscreen, and some first aid items such as moleskin (for blisters). For other suggestions of good day hikes, visit Grand Canyon National Park Service: Grand Canyon Day Hiking
      As for the rest of your trip plan, with a 7:30 PM arrival time in Flagstaff, I’d recommend just staying there for the night. Williams is only ~30 minutes away and has fewer choices of hotels, restaurants, etc, plus it will already be dark by the time you arrive, and you want to avoid doing any driving around here after sunset. The next morning, you might get an early start on the day and plan on being at the Grand Canyon Railway Depot in Williams for the Wild West Shootout. That occurs at ~9:00 AM.
      On your arrival day in Page, AZ, there’s no need to do another slot canyon tour since you’re already planning to do one the next day. The drive from the Grand Canyon to Page, AZ, will have already entailed a lot of sightseeing, so you might simply settle in at your hotel, or go relax with a cocktail somewhere. If you’re still feeling energetic enough to do some other things, a visit to the John Wesley Powell Museum is a good way to get to know the “backstory” of Page, AZ, or you might do one of several interesting yet low-key hikes in the area, such as the Hanging Gardens or the “New” Wave. Parking permitting, you might also pop into Horseshoe Bend on the way into town; in the likely event you find the parking area full, plan to visit it just after sunrise the next morning.
      In Sedona, plan on doing the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow Tour. On the day prior to when you indicate you’re flying out of Phoenix, I interpret “10/4 Phoenix or somewhere else??” to mean that you were thinking about visiting another area that day? I’d actually recommend simply remaining in the Sedona area. 3 days is the minimum recommendation for a vacation there, but nevertheless, I hear from tons of people who spent 4-5 days there yet feeling as though they only scratched the surface. If you’re open to doing a day trip at that point, you might consider Montezuma’s Castle & Well and/or Tuzigoot National Monument, the former ghost town turned artist colony of Jerome, AZ, or perhaps a scenic train trip on the Verde Canyon Railway (much better views than the Grand Canyon Railway!). Then again, simply hanging out and enjoying some downtime is OK, too. There’s no law saying you have to plan every. single. minute. of your vacation. 😉
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  9. Hi Alley and Ryan

    Thank you so much for all the wonderful information on your website. I was hoping for a bit of guidance on our planned trip to Arizona from Dec 26-Jan 1 this year. Just with the time of year we are traveling, your valuable input would be much appreciated. We are a family of 5 (2 adults and 3 kids 17, 15 and 11) and love to hike!
    Dec 26 – Arrive late into phoenix and staying just north of the city overnight.
    Dec 27 – Drive to Sedona – Best options for the rest of the day in Sedona ?? Over night in Sedona
    Dec 28 – Morning Sedona – Drive to Grand Canyon South Rim, walk along the rim trail, O/N GC
    Dec 29 – A hike down into the GC – best option? Helicopter ride over GC today or early tomorrow morning ? ON GC
    Dec 30 – Drive to Page – Lower Antelope Canyon Tour in the afternoon – ON Page
    Dec 31 – Horseshoe Bend in the morning, either New Wave or Monument Valley in the afternoon. Today is my 50th birthday so somewhere to celebrate??
    Jan 1 – Drive back to Phoenix for 4pm flight.

    Thank you – we would really appreciate any advice!

    1. Hi Liz,
      Your itinerary looks pretty fun and well-planned, but the one thing that could throw a major wrench into these plans is weather. You’re visiting during the winter months, which means you could very well encounter snow in places like Sedona and the Grand Canyon. While that usually materializes as rain in areas such as Page, AZ, last year they had 6″ of snow over the Xmas/New Year’s holiday week!
      In Sedona, you’ll find no shortage of things to see and do! Hiking the Courthouse/Bell Rock loop trail might be a good candidate for an afternoon hike, again, weather permitting. Or you might hit the Chapel of the Holy Cross, or explore some of the numerous art galleries and retail shops on one of Sedona’s Art Walks.
      In the Grand Canyon, the easiest inner canyon hike will be down the Bright Angel Trail. The trailhead is located ~100 yards West of Bright Angel Lodge. Go down as far as you want, but be careful not to go down TOO far. A good rule of thumb is 1 hour down = 2 hours up. Bring water and snacks with you if you plan on spending longer than 1 hour’s time, or going further than 1 mile round trip. For the Grand Canyon helicopter flights, mornings are the best time to fly for optimal light and lack of wind, but again, these operate weather permitting, and snowstorms usually result in flights being cancelled.
      At the time of year you’re going to be here, visiting Monument Valley as a day trip from Page, AZ, isn’t the greatest idea because 1. it takes 2 hours each way to drive there, so 4 hours in the car will be required right off the bat; 2. you’re up against short daylength at that time of year – sunrise takes place around 7:40 AM, and sunset occurs at about 5:15 PM. You’ll need to be sure that you time your drive so that you’re “back to base” well before nightfall due to the lack of artificial/supplemental lighting on local roads, and the tendency for deer, elk, free range cattle, and even wild horses to gravitate around them at night, ratcheting up your risk of a collision. Believe me, that’s something you don’t want to deal with on a dark, lonely road on a cold winter night! In light of your limited time, I’d recommend either dropping Monument Valley from your itinerary, or freeing up more time so you can spend the night there.
      For celebrating your birthday (congratulations!) there are a number of restaurants in Page, AZ, where you might do this. Bonkers Restaurant, State 48 Tavern, or the Dam Bar and Grille are some of my personal favorites. For more suggestions, visit TripAdvisor: 10 Best Restaurants in Page, AZ
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hi Alley
        Thanks so much for all your great advice and I guess we will be at the mercy of the weather. Hopefully we’ll manage most of what we set out to do.
        thanks also for your favorite places to eat – we’ll definitely check those out!

        Best wishes
        Liz

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