Guest Blog: 11-Day Arizona Road Trip Itinerary
By Carly Eisley
Looking for a Spring road trip destination? Arizona is a GREAT option – the desert is wonderful in the springtime. In late April-early May, we hit the road again for an adventure on wheels. The destination this year? – an Arizona Road Trip! So what happens when you pack 4 New Englanders into a campervan and put them in the desert? Hiking, beer, and FUN.
Where did we go? What did we do? Was it hot and sandy and prickly and strange? Here is an overview of our itinerary, route, and destinations as we drove around the state for 11 days. And yes – it was very hot, sandy, prickly and strange. And we LOVED it and had a fantastic time.
Wednesday, April 25
Thursday, April 26
Hiking the Grand Canyon. We hiked from the South Rim (down the South Kaibab trail) —-> Colorado River and to Phantom Ranch ——-> Back up to the South Rim (up Bright Angel Trail). What a challenging day! ~20 miles of hills, heat, and scenery. Do NOT attempt this as a casual hiker. We are all endurance athletes who have done similar things before. There are no bailout options once you commit and especially once you get to the floor of the canyon, so if you are heading down, you need to get yourself back out. There are plenty of day hike options, or you could stay at Phantom Ranch and the campground there if you want to try this out over a couple of days. The Grand Canyon was spectacular, and a must see at least once in your lifetime!
Friday, April 27
Head from the Grand Canyon to Page, AZ. Stopped off at the Desert View Watchtower along the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Horseshoe Bend for a photo op, and to a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon. Stopped to check out Glen Canyon Dam, and then camped for the night at Wahweap campground on Lake Powell.
Saturday, April 28
Start the day with coffee and sunrise over Lake Powell. Head over for a Lower Antelope Canyon tour, and then drive out to Monument Valley (2-hour drive). Drive the 17 mile scenic drive around the monuments (wow!). Camp at the View Campground overlooking the monuments.
Day 5 – 7
Sunday, April 29 – Tuesday, May 1
Coffee and sunrise over Monument Valley, then a trail run through the monuments on the Wildcat Trail. Drive from Monument Valley to Sedona. Stop off to check out the Tuba City dinosaur tracks, Wupatki National Monument, and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument along the way. Camp at Pine Flat Campground in Coconino National Forest. Hike Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, and a trail run along Oak Creek on the West Fork Trail. We ended up leaving Sedona area a day early due to some bad weather coming in (40 – 50 degrees and rainy), so our plans were altered a bit and we didn’t end up spending time up in Flagstaff as we had hoped. Next time!
Day 7 – 8
Tuesday, May 1 (EVENING) – Wednesday, May 2
After morning running and hiking in Sedona, drove South outside of Phoenix to avoid the cold rain hitting Sedona Tuesday night and Wednesday. Stopped for beers at Verde Brewing Company and at Pedal Haus in Tempe. Camped at the Lost Dutchman State Park. Hiked the Siphon Draw Trail up to the Flatiron right from the park.
Day 9 – 10
Thursday, May 3 – Friday, May 4
Headed further south toward Tucson for two nights of camping at Catalina State Park. Explored the murals and craft breweries of Tucson. We especially liked Borderlands Brewing Company! Headed over to Saguaro National Park (East – Rincon Mountain District), for the scenic drive and a hike on the Loma Verde trail, among the giant cacti.
Saturday, May 5
Campervan drop off and drive home. What a trip!! There is NEVER enough time on vacation.