I spent a week in Arizona last January and split my time between Phoenix and Northern Arizona. While the northern section really deserves at least an entire week on its own, many of us just don’t have the time to spend multiple weeks in one place. I decided to create a 3 day itinerary for visiting northern Arizona based on my own experience. I left out amazing portions of the north like the Wave, Monument Valley and several parks but hopefully this small snippet of an itinerary will help you plan your own trip there.
3 DAY ITINERARY FOR VISITING NORTHERN ARIZONA
Day 1 – Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is enormous so one day is only going to get you a very brief glimpse of its grandeur. But one day is enough to at least whet your appetite for a return later. During this day of touring, you can take a helicopter ride over the cavernous natural wonder, drive the rim and stop for random photo shoots, hike one of the trails or if you’re visiting the West Rim, you can walk along Skywalk, the glass pedestrian bridge that passes over a portion of the canyon. There are quite a few activities offered and you really can’t go wrong with any of them. Depending on the time of year you visit, make your plans with possible inclement weather in mind. During wintertime roads aren’t the greatest and there can be a lot of ice. There isn’t much by way of lodging when it comes to the Grand Canyon. The government has all sorts of fees and high costs associated with building new establishments in the Grand Canyon so most of the ones that you come across during your research are old and have been grandfathered in. You won’t find a Ritz Carlton here but instead you’ll encounter various Best Westerns, Days Inns, Holiday Inns, etc. Price are reasonable during winter but expect upwards of $289 during peak season. You can also camp at the Grand Canyon.
Day 2 – Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon
You’ll want to leave the Grand Canyon area early (assuming you stayed in the North Rim the previous night) so you can arrive in Page in time for a tour in Antelope Canyon. You can opt for Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon and hopefully you’ll already have made your reservation for either. The Antelope Canyon tour will last between 1-2 hours depending on the tour you chose and so you’ll finish just in time for lunch. Grab a quick one and then either go on a hike (Waterhole Canyon is beautiful but just a head’s up, you need a permit beforehand) or go visit Lake Powell. End your day with a sunset view overlooking Horseshoe Bend. If you want to actually see the sun set over Horseshoe Bend, make sure you leave Page in time – I would allot at least 2 hours to make it in time for sun set as you’ll need to drive, park, hike and then set up your camera gear for that shot. Page has a few more options for lodging compared to the Grand Canyon but pickings are still slim. Again, Best Westerns, Days Inns, Holiday Inns and Hamptons seem to reign here. Nothing terribly exciting by way of luxury stays.
Day 3 – Sedona
I chose Sedona as the main highlight of Day 3 but if you prefer, you can opt for Monument Valley instead. Monument Valley was just a bit far for me to drive in the amount of time I was able to spend in Northern Arizona but I would definitely love to visit on a future trip. Sedona is amazing – it’s a cute hippie town located against a gorgeous backdrop of cliffs and red rock. You can see rock formations all around you and there are numerous hikes you can take that will give you beautiful panoramas of the city below and the mountains all around you. You can spend your day quickly touring the town and then going on one of the hikes (Devils Bridge Trail looks amazing – I would have hiked it had I not been traveling alone this trip). Relax in the evening at a spa and be ready for your return trip in the morning. Sedona is full of luxury places to stay. I’d recommend Sedona Rouge – it has a spa and restaurant on site and beautiful southwest decor (last two photos).
*Thanks to Sedona Rouge for hosting me*