Ready to see all the best that the Southwest has to offer? Here we'll detail what we believe is the best route for an epic road trip through the highlights of Arizona and Southern Utah!
Arizona is home to many of the top destinations in the country, and one of the world's Seven Natural Wonders - The Grand Canyon. Just across state lines is Utah where you can see more of the most incredible landscapes in the world like Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon.
So how can you make the most of a short trip and see it all?
Map your route!
You'll want to map your entire route according to how many days you have to complete the trip and how many hours a day you can manage driving safely. Don't forget to incorporate time for enjoying the views and meals!
Below is our personal recommended route (starting and ending in Wickenburg, AZ) which can be completed in as little as three days!
From Wickenburg, you'll take highway 89 north through Prescott and Jerome into Sedona. If you're ready to grab a bite to eat, we suggest the chicken fajitas at the Javelina Cantina in Sedona. From there, you'll continue on the beautiful highway 89 north to Flagstaff. Then you'll get onto highway 180 and travel an hour and a half to the South Entrance of Grand Canyon National Park where you can enjoy the views and a train ride, grab a souvenir, and camp on the nearby BLM land.
The next highlight on the route is Horseshoe Bend. From the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, you'll take highway 64 back to highway 89 and head north toward Page. Horseshoe Bend is located just south of Page, but you can't miss the multitude of signs along the way! It's about a twenty minute walk to the viewpoint, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes and bring water! (Use caution when visiting in the summertime heat. Plan to arrive early in the morning or late in the evening to avoid the higher temperatures.)
There are tons of things to see and do around Page, including Antelope Valley, the Grand Staircase, and the Wave. You'll want to plan extra time to visit these places, and do your research on how many visitors are allowed at the time you plan to visit. The Wave requires a ticket to enter and tickets are given on a lottery basis.
A two hour detour before or after visiting Page (4 hours round trip) will take you east to Monument Valley. This is where the infamous Forest Gump decided to stop running (if you know, you know). Adding this stop requires you to backtrack as there are no other routes heading west through Utah.
After Page, you'll cross the border into Utah and either continue on highway 89 to Bryce Canyon National Park, or get on highway 9 heading into Zion National Park. This park is beautiful, but requires you to stop and enjoy some trail hiking or take the shuttle into the canyon. Without doing trails or the shuttle, it's just a short but beautiful drive through the park ending in Hurricane, Utah.
If you're interested in visiting Bryce Canyon National Park, we recommend going there first, then backtracking back to Zion National Park to save you time
From Hurricane, you can head west to Las Vegas and try your luck at the casinos, or you can head back into Arizona for some more incredible views. You'll head south through Colorado City and Fredonia, into the Vermilion Cliffs and Marble Canyon. This drive is beautiful so be ready to enjoy the views! Along this route, you can take another detour to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, this is another hour one way, and will require you to backtrack the same way. Once you pass through Marble Canyon on highway 89A, you'll get back onto highway 89 heading south to Flagstaff. From there, you can end your route with one some new views by taking I-17 south instead of highway 89. Either route is beautiful and will lead you back to Wickenburg!
We believe this is truly the ULTIMATE southwestern road trip! So what are you waiting for? Book the trip!