Julie United States 85 Comments

The American southwest is one of the USA’s best road trip destinations. It’s unbelievable how much there is to see and do here. There are the breathtaking vistas of the Grand Canyon, thrilling hiking trails in Zion National Park, and millions of hoodoos to photograph in Bryce Canyon. Are you getting excited yet? The list keeps going, with the sweeping views of Monument Valley, dusty, off-road adventures in Grand Staircase-Escalante, and numerous slot canyons to scramble through. On this American Southwest itinerary, you get to experience all of these things.

To really explore the American Southwest, you need weeks, maybe even months, to see it all. But with ten days, you have just enough time to explore the main sites, plus get to a few less popular (but no less awesome) places.

If you are like us, after this trip, you’ll be dreaming about coming back again someday.

About this American Southwest Itinerary

Tim and I went on our American Southwest road trip in May. Most of this itinerary follows exactly what we did, with two exceptions. In May, we did not visit the Grand Canyon, which we have done on separate trips. However, I could not write about a road trip through the American Southwest that did not include the Grand Canyon. That would be insane.

Also, we spent three days in Zion, rather than the two days that are included in this itinerary.

It might look like I put too much time into Monument Valley and Page, Arizona. Maybe I did, but Tim and I really enjoyed both of these places and the extra time let us really explore both of them. At the end of this itinerary, I give suggestions on how to shorten your time in Page and Monument Valley in order to give you more time for another destination.

Finally, this itinerary has a big emphasis on hiking. The American Southwest makes the perfect road trip destination, but it also makes an epic hiking destination. On this itinerary, Tim and I hiked over 60 miles, most of them in Zion, Bryce, and Grand Staircase-Escalante.

How to Use This Map: Click the tab in the top left hand corner of the map to view the layers (points of interest and the driving route). You can click the check marks to hide or show layers. If you click the icons on the map, you can get more information about each point of interest.

If you click the star next to the title of the map, this map will be added to your Google Maps account. To view it on your phone or computer, open Google Maps, click the menu button, go to “Your Places,” click Maps, and you will see this map on your list.

Day 1

Arrive in Phoenix, Visit Sedona

On the Road: 2 hours (120 miles) + Scenic byway (7.5 miles)

To get the most out of today, try to schedule your flight to arrive in Phoenix in the morning. This gives you the afternoon to explore Sedona. From the Phoenix airport, it is a two-hour drive north to Sedona.

American Southwest Road Trip

Devils Bridge

Once in Sedona, things to do include driving the Red Rock Scenic Byway, going on a short hike, and star gazing at night.

Where to Stay in Sedona: We stayed at a wonderful bed & breakfast called A Sunset Chateau. This is a beautiful property located just outside of the town of Sedona. This property has a pool, hot tub, and a lush garden filled with tropical plants and trees.

Day 2

Grand Canyon

On the Road: 2 hours (115 miles) 

In the morning, drive north to the Grand Canyon. And be prepared to be amazed.

The drive is rather unexciting, and it can be hard to believe that you are heading towards one of the most awe-inspiring spots in the world. Once you arrive at the Grand Canyon and have your first view, it can take your breath away.

Grand Canyon

Spend the day viewing the canyon from its numerous viewpoints and consider doing a short hike.

Where to Stay:  We stayed at The Grand Hotel in Tusayan. It is the highest rated hotel in the area. From Tusayan it is a 15 minute drive to get to Grand Canyon Village. There are also a number of hotels in Grand Canyon Village to choose from.

Day 3

Monument Valley

On the Road: 3 hours 15 minutes (180 miles)

On this American Southwest itinerary, you will spend two days in Monument Valley. Why so much time? For one thing, Monument Valley is not near anything, so it takes awhile to get here. And by spending one night here, you get to see Monument Valley at sunset and sunrise, beautiful times to be here.

In the morning, say goodbye to the Grand Canyon (don’t worry…more amazing places are waiting!) and drive to Monument Valley.

Before arriving in Monument Valley, I recommend stopping in Kayenta for lunch. The restaurants in Monument Valley are overpriced and serve mediocre food. However, in Kayenta, you can eat at Amigo Café, a local restaurant that serves Mexican food and Navajo Fry Bread.

Spend the afternoon touring Monument Valley. Drive the 17-mile Valley Drive, a scenic drive past some of the most popular sites in the park.

The Mittens

You should also consider taking a tour of Monument Valley. On your own, you can only drive the Valley Drive. But there is a lot more to see and taking a tour is the only way to do it. There are lots of options, including photographic sunrise and sunset tours, cultural tours, and even an all-day excursion out to Hunt’s Mesa.

In the evening, a great place to watch the sunset is right from the Visitor Center, where you will overlook The Mittens.

Monument Valley Sunset

Where to Stay: We stayed in a premium Cabin at the View Hotel. We had a deck with a view and we could lie in bed and look out at West Mitten Butte. It was pretty awesome and we would not hesitate to stay here again.

Day 4

Monument Valley & Page, Arizona

On the Road: 2 hours (125 miles)

You have the option to take a sunrise tour of Monument Valley. This is a must if photography is your hobby and it’s a great thing to do if you want to watch the sky light up around the buttes and mesas. Just be prepared for a very early morning and know that it can be quite cold. We did this in May and temperatures were in the 30’s!

Monument Valley Sunrise American Southwest itinerary

In addition to scenic drives and tours in Monument Valley, there are a few nearby spots that are worth exploring.

Forrest Gump Point

You cannot miss Forrest Gump point. This is the place where Forrest Gump announced that he was finished his long distance run, stating “I’m pretty tired. I think I’ll go home now.” But it also gives you one of the best views of Monument Valley. This iconic spot is just 20 minutes north of the Monument Valley Visitor Center (located on US-163, GPS coordinates: 37.101393, -109.990973.)

Monument Valley

If you want to go off-the-beaten-path, here are several options for you:

Valley of the Gods. Valley of the Gods features a landscape similar to Monument Valley. It may not be quite as spectacular, but it also has much less tourist traffic. If you like scenic drives and want to leave the crowds behind, put this spot on your list.

Mexican Hat. This rock formation is named for its Mexican Sombrero-like appearance. You can see it from US-163 on the drive to the Valley of the Gods. If you want, you can hike up onto the formation.

Mexican Hat

Teardrop Arch. This is an unpopular, off-the-beaten-path tour in Monument Valley. We were able to do a little hiking, explore caves, and get a unique view of Monument Valley. It’s not for everyone, especially if you are short on time, but we recommend it if you want a little adventure or like to get away from it all.

Teardrop Arch

Once you are finished in Monument Valley, drive west to Page, Arizona (2 hours, 125 miles).

Where We Stayed: In Page, Arizona we stayed at the unexciting but clean, convenient, and budget-friendly Holiday Inn Express.

Day 5

Page, Arizona and Antelope Canyon

On the Road: Less than 15 miles (quick drives around Page, Arizona)

There are two must-do things in Page: Horseshoe Band and Antelope Canyon.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed spots on the Colorado River.

Horseshoe Bend

For photographers, the best times to visit Horseshoe Bend are at sunrise and sunset. You have the option to do both, since you will be in Page the entire day.

We visited Horseshoe Bend at sunrise and sunset. At sunrise, crowds are light and it’s a peaceful place to be.

Sunset is a much different experience. It was incredibly crowded and hard to find a spot with a clear view of the river. Even though it can be painful getting up before sunrise, for us, it was the better time to be here.

However, if you are here just for the thrill of seeing Horseshoe Bend, you can visit any time of the day. If you get here in the late afternoon, you should be able to get a good spot to watch the sunset.

Getting here: Horseshoe Bend is located a few miles south of the city of Page, on Highway 89. Park in the large parking lot and from here it is a 0.75-mile walk to the viewing location. It costs $10 to park in the parking lot. Read more here. 

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is a gorgeous place to visit. With its glowing red canyon walls and narrow, twisting passageways, this place is fun to visit and a joy to photograph.

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is made up of two slot canyons, Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. When people refer to Antelope Canyon, they are usually referring to Upper Antelope Canyon. With its darker canyon walls, falling sands, and light beams shining through the dusty air, the Upper canyon has been the more popular of the two slot canyons.

With one full day in Page, you can visit both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Each canyon offers a slightly different experience.

However, if you only want to visit one, how do you decide?

Antelope Canyon Arizona American Southwest itinerary

Upper Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Ladder

Lower Antelope Canyon

For more information about visiting Antelope Canyon, we have not one, not two, but three posts to help you out:

Should You Visit Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?

Upper Antelope Canyon: A Journey in Photographs

Lower Antelope Canyon: A Photographic Tour

The popularity of Antelope Canyon has skyrocketed in the recent years. To avoid disappointment, make your reservations far in advance (at a bare minimum, four months in advance, but up to six to nine months in advance for the summer season).

Where We Ate: For dinner, we ate at the Mexican restaurant called El Tapatio. It was wonderful and you can get some oversized margaritas if you want. Another place that gets great reviews, both online and by word of mouth, is Big John’s Texas BBQ.

Day 6

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

On the Road: 6.5 hours (200 miles)

Today is the day when this trip becomes more of an adventure. It’s also time to go off-the-beaten-path and explore some less crowded but truly amazing places in the American Southwest.

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Park is enormous. There are almost 2 million acres of protected land here, and with that comes tons of hiking trails, unpaved roads, and canyons to explore.

Since most people gravitate to the more popular parks like Zion, Bryce, and Arches, Grand Staircase-Escalante is pleasantly quiet and uncrowded. This just may be one of your favorite days of the trip.

Cottonwood Canyon Road

From Page, drive north on Highway 89 past Lake Powell and enter Utah. Just past Big Water is Cottonwood Canyon Road, a very scenic unpaved road that travels through Grand Staircase-Escalante.

Cottonwood Canyon Road is 46 miles long. It takes about 2 to 2.5 hours to drive from Big Water to Cannonville. You do not need a 4×4 for this drive.

Cottonwood Canyon Road

If you don’t like the idea of driving on dirt/gravel roads, or Cottonwood Canyon Road is impassable due to wet conditions, there is an alternate route. From Big Water, continue west on Highway 89 almost all of the way to Panguitch and then take Highway 12 past Bryce Canyon to Escalante, Utah. It’s a huge detour but since you are on paved highways it does not add much extra time (3 hours for the Highways 89 and 12 versus 2 to 2. 5 hours for Cottonwood Canyon Road).

Hole-in-the-Rock Road

From Cannonville, drive to Escalante and the start of Hole-in-the-Rock Road using Highway 12. Hole-in-the-Rock Road is another dirt and gravel road that leads to some amazing hiking spots and really cool slot canyons.

Zebra Slot Canyon

Zebra Canyon

Zebra Slot Canyon is a very short slot canyon, named for its striped walls. To get here, it’s a 5.2-mile round trip hike and takes between 3 and 4 hours.

Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Slot Canyons

Spooky Gulch

If you are looking for a super fun hike to do, put Peek-A-Boo and Spooky slot canyons on your list. Peek-A-Boo Gulch has several sections of challenging rock scrambling, including a 12-foot climb just to enter the canyon. Spooky Gulch is one of the narrowest slot canyons around, only 10 inches wide in some spots! If you’re up for the challenge, these two slot canyons are tons of fun.

Devil’s Garden

Devils Garden American Southwest itinerary

Devil’s Garden is a quick visit just off of Hole-in-the-Rock Road. With hoodoos, crazy rock formations, and arches, Devil’s Garden is a fun spot to explore.

If you get an early start to the day and are a fast hiker, it is possible to see all of these spots in one day. It’s a long day with a lot of driving but if you like the idea of exploring slot canyons, then Zebra, Spooky, and Peek-A-Boo are some of the best in the American Southwest.

If you don’t want to drive all of the way out to Hole-in-the-Rock Road, there are two optional places to visit near Cannonville.

Kodachrome Basin State Park

Kodachrome American Southwest itinerary

With colorful sandstone spires, red rock mountains, and bright blue skies, Kodachrome Basin is a gorgeous little spot to explore. Its name, Kodachrome, fits it perfectly, describing the multitude of vivid colors that are found here.

It is located on Cottonwood Canyon Road south of Cannonville. There are a bunch of quick hikes to choose from and this makes a great family hiking destination.

Willis Creek Slot Canyon

Willis Creek American Southwest itinerary

This is another slot canyon to explore, although this time the hike has you hopping and skipping over the Willis Creek. It’s fun to do and perfect for all ages and ability levels.

After a day full of hiking and exploring, it’s time to get settled into your next accommodation. Tomorrow morning will be spent at Bryce Canyon so we recommend staying near the park.

Where We Stayed: We stayed in Tropic at the Bryce Canyon Inn. This place was wonderful. We had our own cabin with queen sized beds, bathroom, and kitchenette. It was cozy, quiet, and very clean. From here, it was just a 15-minute drive to Bryce Canyon.

Day 7

Bryce Canyon National Park

On the Road: 4 hours (150 miles); includes Kodachrome Basin and Willis Creek

Bryce Canyon National Park…a fantasyland of hoodoos, bizarre rock formations, and sandstone pillars. This is a crazy beautiful place, and its unique landscape sets it apart from other national parks. Although Bryce may not have the same sweeping, expansive vistas as the Grand Canyon, it’s still a breathtaking experience the first time you see this view.

Bryce Canyon American Southwest itinerary

Bryce Canyon Hiking American Southwest itinerary

Bryce Canyon is compact, at least for a National Park. One day is all you need to explore this park. With one day, you can hike through a garden of hoodoos, take in the view from multiple viewpoints, and thoroughly explore the park.

For more information on the best hiking trails, viewpoints, and how to plan your day, read our post:

A Perfect Day in Bryce Canyon

What We Did: Depending on how fast you visit Bryce Canyon, you can visit Kodachrome and/or Willis Creek in the afternoon. Tim and I started at Bryce Canyon at sunrise, finished Bryce Canyon by lunch, had lunch in the town of Bryce, spent the afternoon hiking Kodachrome and Willis Creek, and then drove to Zion National Park. It is a long day but it can be done.

Tonight, sleep in Springdale, Arizona, the gateway into Zion National Park. We stayed at the Holiday Inn Express, one of the best Holiday Inn properties we have seen.

Day 8

Zion National Park

On the Road: 10 – 15 miles, mostly on the Zion Shuttle

Zion National Park is one of the best spots in the United States to go hiking. From the awe-inspiring hike up Angels Landing to the family friendly Riverside Walk to multi-day backpacking adventures, there is something here for everyone.

Angels Landing American Southwest itinerary

Angels Landing

Hiking Zion American Southwest

Hidden Canyon Trail

Take your pick from a wide variety of hikes, some just a mile or two in length to longer, full-day adventures. With two days, you can choose several hikes, especially if you get an early start in the morning.

We recommend starting as early as possible. During the months of April through November, when the Zion Shuttle is operating, it’s best to be on one of the first shuttles of the day. By mid-morning, the lines to get on the shuttle can be frustratingly long and take up your valuable time. Being on the first shuttle of the day puts you first on the hiking trail for the day. Yes, it’s not fun to get up at the crack of dawn, but it’s so much better than waiting literally an hour or longer in line for a shuttle.

Day 9

Zion National Park

On the Road: 10 – 15 miles, mostly on the Zion Shuttle

Spend the day hiking and exploring the park. For suggestions on how to plan your time, read our Zion National Park Itinerary post. 

Observation Point American Southwest

The view from Observation Point

Where We Ate in Springdale

Tim and I were in Zion for three days and had lots of time (and a huge appetite after hiking) to try different restaurants.

King’s Landing Bistro. This place was so good that we ate dinner here twice. This restaurant has a “fine dining” feel to it with an amazing menu. Our favorite restaurant in Springdale.

Café Soleil. This place is quick, reasonably priced, and serves delicious sandwiches.

Oscar’s Café. The perfect spot after a long day of hiking. Oscar’s café serves great nachos and huge portions of Mexican food.

Zion Pizza and Noodle Café. This is another budget friendly place that serves pizza, pastas, and salads.

Jack’s Sports Grill. This was the only place that we don’t recommend. Expect mediocre food in a sports bar setting.

Day 10

Las Vegas

On the Road: 2.5 hours (160 miles)

Today, travel to Las Vegas to catch an afternoon flight home or spend a night on the Vegas strip.

With More Time

Add More Time to the Grand Canyon

Add more adventure to the itinerary by hiking below the rim or taking a helicopter ride over the Grand Canyon.

Canyonlands, Arches, and Capitol Reef National Parks

These are three more great National Parks located in Utah. Adding these parks to the itinerary requires a lot of time (factor in one day for each park plus a day or two of driving time from Monument Valley or Bryce Canyon) but these are epic destinations to add if you have the time.

More Time in Zion or Las Vegas

If you have an extra day or two, add some more time to Zion (for hikers) or to Las Vegas, if this your first time in the city.

Read more about Las Vegas:

15 Things to do in Las Vegas with Teenagers

Exploring the Valley of Fire near Las Vegas

Two Short, Fun Hikes to do at Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas

With Less Time

You can eliminate two days by altering the beginning of this itinerary. Skip Sedona and head right to the Grand Canyon from Phoenix. Spend the afternoon and night at the Grand Canyon. On day 2, visit Monument Valley as a quick day trip from the Grand Canyon and then sleep in Page. Then start this itinerary on day 5.

If you think that one full day in Page is too much time, on the morning of day 4, drive right to Page, tour Antelope Canyon, and then sleep in Page. On day 5, drive to Grand Staircase-Escalante. Visiting Page and Monument Valley quickly eliminates one day on this itinerary.

Are you planning an American Southwest road trip? Comment below if you have any questions!

If this is part of a bigger road trip through the USA, visit our United States Destination Guide for more inspiration and travel planning tips.

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Comments 85

  1. Hi! I am so happy I came across your blog. I am having a hard time trying to figure out the best route to take for my trip.
    I am from NY and planning a road trip to see mainly Utah and Colorado. The plan is to fly to Phoenix early morning Sunday and end the trip the following Monday (8 days in total). I’ve been to AZ before but would love to hike Devil’s Bridge trail or take my friend to Horseshoe bend before heading to Utah. I was thinking we could head to Zion national park Monday morning and from there we would like to see Monument Valley, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands, Moab. In Colorado we would like to see Rocky Mountains, Mesa Verde, Garden of The Gods (still deciding on other places and would appreciate your input)

    I am trying too figure out if we should fly back to NY from CO or UT and whether flying into PX is a good idea.. I’m not sure if I should scale back or whether this is doable. I would love your suggestion on best route and how I can be efficient with time. Looking forward tom your response.

    Thanks in advance!

    1. Post

      Hello Sheree. It looks like a lot to do in 8 days. Here are 2 possible routes: 1, Phoenix/Sedona -> 2, Page (Horseshoe Bend/Antelope Canyon) -> 3, Monument Valley -> 4, Mesa Verde -> 5, 6 Moab (Canyonlands and Arches) -> 7,8 Rocky Mountains.
      OR 1, Las Vegas -> 2,3 Zion -> 4, Bryce -> 5, Page -> 6, Monument Valley -> 7, Sedona -> Fly home. Also check out our itinerary through Utah’s Mighty 5. Garden of the Gods is nice but in my opinion your time is better spent in the national parks you have listed. There’s so much to choose from in this part of the country, that’s why we keep going back. Cheers, Julie

  2. Thank you for all the information.

    We are planning a trip in a month – maybe late already – we are flying to Las Vegas, and spend 9 days around canyons and departure from Los Angeles. We have 4 & 7 years old kids with us, so not much hiking will be possible…

    I am planning to make your trip clockwise – have to skip Valley of Gods, unfortunately –
    Las Vegas – Valley of Fire State Park – Zion – Bryce – Page – Grand Canyon… From there we would like to go to San Diego. Is it doable? Do you suggest me any good route/place to see between Grand Canyon & San Diego – Los Angeles.

    Thank you.

    1. Post

      Hello Deniz. Yes, it’s doable, but it is a very fast itinerary and that last drive from the Grand Canyon to San Diego is a long one (8+ hours). If you put one day into each destination you list, you will reach the Grand Canyon on day 6. On the way to San Diego, you can visit Joshua Tree National Park or Mojave Preserve. On day 7, drive to Joshua Tree or Mojave Desert; on day 8, tour Joshua Tree or Mojave and then drive to San Diego or Los Angeles. Or, just go right to San Diego/Los Angeles.

      Another alternative is to fly into Las Vegas, see the Valley of Fire on a day trip from the Grand Canyon, spend 2 days at the Grand Canyon, then go to San Diego and relax here for a few days. Just a thought.

      Cheers, Julie

    2. Thanks, Julie.
      I guess I will leave Zion for another time just to make sure have enough time for other places. One more question; do you think unpaved roads are open during late April between Cannonville and Big Water?

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  3. Hi! This will be our first road trip ever. We are a family of four and our children are 8 and 11. We are planning our trip with another family who is a family of five. Their kids are 1, 8, and 15. We need advice on planning this 11 day or so trip. We were thinking of starting in Phoenix and then head to Sedona, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon, and then end in Vegas.

    Thank you!

    1. Post

      If you plan to start in Phoenix, visit Sedona, then the Grand Canyon, then drive around to Zion and Bryce via Page, Arizona, and end in Las Vegas. I would give the Grand Canyon and Zion each 2 days, minimum. Sedona has some great, short, family friendly hikes so you could spend several days here, as well. From Las Vegas, you can visit Red Rocks Canyon or the Valley of Fire, great things to do with kids if you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the hotels/casinos. Cheers, Julie

  4. Hello
    I am from France and I planned a 3- weeks trip in june to visit Yosemite, Sequoia, Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon,Lake Powell, Las Vegas, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
    I love your site, especially for the hikes you described so well (time, difficulty, etc). We are a group of 4 adults + 3 kids of 9.
    My question is : did you visit yosemite? Have you some information about hikes we can do there?

    thnaks in advance

    1. Post

      Hello Cornelia. It sounds like you have an amazing trip planned! We have info on Yosemite, Kings Canyon, Sequoia, and San Francisco. Take a look at our California page for the links. BTW, Yosemite is incredible. And we will be in the Grand Canyon in June so maybe we will cross paths. 🙂 Let me know if you have any more questions. Cheers, Julie

  5. Hi julie,

    I would like take the same route but by public transportation. Is there any bus or shuttle between those places? If yes, could you please help me the info to book the ticket?


    1. Post

      I don’t know much about public transportation since we had a rental car. You could try researching the different legs of the itinerary (for example, Grand Canyon to Monument Valley) but I don’t know if public transportation is an option. A rental car is the best way to go. Cheers, Julie

  6. I love this site!! One of the most helpful I’ve come across. We are planning to do a modified version of this itinerary in March of 2020 for our spring break, and would love to know if this makes sense! We will rent an SUV and be traveling with two teenagers. We would prefer to do two nights in Sedona (to get one full day there), two nights in the Grand Canyon, and eliminate Grand Staircase/Escalante.

    Day 1 and 2 – Fly into Phoenix and drive to Sedona; spend two nights at resort; star gazing; pink jeep tour, etc.
    Day 3 and 4 – Grand Canyon (hoping to get reservation at Tovar)
    Day 5 – drive to Monument Valley in morning; tour MV in the afternoon
    Day 6 – drive to Page in morning; see Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in the afternoon
    Day 7 – drive to Bryce Canyon in morning; tour in the afternoon
    Day 8 – drive to Zion; hike in afternoon
    Day 9 – hike in Zion in the morning; drive to Vegas in afternoon to spend one night there, and then fly home

    Is this doable in your opinion? I’ve heard several people say that they wish they had spent more time in Zion… Hopefully we’re not cutting it too short! My husband and I toured Monument Valley about 20 years ago, and would really like to take our kids there, but wondering if that is something that we should consider cutting.. Husband really wants to spend a full day hiking in the Grand Canyon, hence the two nights there. Thanks so much for your two cents!!

    1. Post

      I think your itinerary looks great. And we would be in that category of more time in Zion is better. By now, we have spent a total of 5 days there over 2 trips and we still have a list of things to do. 🙂 But I also understand why you want to take your kids to Monument Valley. However, we just did a drive by Monument Valley in December with Tyler and Kara and took them halfway down the loop drive. They thought it was nice but just after seeing the Grand Canyon were not that impressed.

      I think your teenagers will have more fun in Zion. There are so many great hikes to choose from. You just have to make sure that you would really use the extra time there. It will be too early to do the Zion Narrows. That leaves two big popular hikes, Angels Landing and Observation Point. When you do Angels Landing, I recommend also hiking part of the West Rim Trail north. Almost no one hikes back this way and it’s gorgeous. Just go for one mile and enjoy the view…it looks a lot different than the other sections of the park. You can get info on how to do this on our West Rim Trail article. With your extra time, you can also do the smaller hikes.

      In the Grand Canyon, Tyler and I hiked south rim to south rim (South Kaibab to Bright Angel Trail) as a day hike in December while Tim and Kara did a helicopter ride. In the near future we will be publishing articles about both of these.

      Cheers, Julie

  7. Hello,

    We found out your blog while looking for information for Mostar in our Balkan trip. Tremendously inspiring!

    We are gonna have about 15-day american southwest round trip starting and ending from LA in the end of March next year. We thought about using your itinerary adding 1 or 2 days at some outstanding places like Grand canyon, Page, Monument Valley, etc … I got a couple of questions:

    1. We have one nearly 6-year old boy together in the trip; therefore, I’m wondering how much hiking do we have to? Because my son cannot walk for too long and too far.

    2. ‘Cause from LA to Grand Canyon is a little bit too far, can we stop by somewhere in the middle?

    3. Can your recommend an itinerary from LA -> Grand Canyon -> Monument Valley -> Page -> Grand Staircase Escalante -> Bryce Canyon -> Zion -> Las Vegas -> LA?

    Thanks in advance from Sweden!

    1. Post

      Hello in Sweden! How nice…you are visiting one of our favorite spots in the USA (in just two weeks we’ll be back for our second visit of the year 🙂 ). Las Vegas is a great spot to add between LA and the Grand Canyon. And two days is a nice amount of time to spend at the Grand Canyon. We will be at the Grand Canyon in just two weeks and will have a lot more info about it on our website in January. Your itinerary could look like this: 1 – LA; 2 – drive to Vegas, spend the afternoon in Vegas; 3 – drive to Grand Canyon; 4 – Grand Canyon; 5 – do our itinerary day 3 through day 10 which gets you to day 12 of your 15 days. You will need one more day to get from Las Vegas to LA. That gives you about 2 more days to add something to this itinerary. The Valley of Fire and Red Rock Canyon is a great place to take kids. Or, you could spend more time in either Las Vegas or LA seeing the city sites. As far as hiking, there are lots of short, great hikes in Bryce and Zion to do with your son, just take a look at are articles to learn more. The hiking is a blast in the southwest and hopefully your son will love it. You have a lot of great adventures to look forward to! I hope this helps and let us know if you have more questions. Cheers, Julie

  8. Ciao ,perdonami la domanda ,ma è la prima volta che noleggio una macchina e in un tuo post ho visto che avete preso una toyota forerunner, essendo noi in 5 adulti e volendo un SUV per poter fare in tranquillità le strade sterrate ,cercavo un auto così …ma non la trovo su nessun sito …tu con chi hai prenotato ,grazie

    1. Post

      This is the question translated: Hello, forgive me the question, but it is the first time I rent a car and in your post I saw that you took a toyota forerunner, being us in 5 adults and wanting an SUV to be able to do the dirt roads in peace, I was looking for a car so … but I can not find it on any site … you with whom you have booked, thank you

      We rented our car at the Phoenix airport. If I remember correctly, we used Avis but Hertz is another company we frequently use in the USA. You can look on their websites and see what cars they offer and get updated pricing. Just note that you don’t always get the exact model car you reserve. We rented a SUV and just happened to get upgraded to the Toyota Forerunner which was perfect for this trip. Cheers, Julie

  9. Hello! Awesome information! Have you ever traveled these places in Mid-December?
    We are planning this trip in Mid-December due to our vacation days and wanted to see if snow or rain is a major issue?


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      We have not been there in December, yet. We will actually be visiting the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, Arches, and Canyonlands the week of Christmas this year. We are expecting cold temperatures with the possibility of snow in some spots. I’m really glad we decided to go in December this year…we have gotten this question so much lately! Rain or snow should not be a major issue. Bryce Canyon is the place on this itinerary where snow has the highest likely of making an appearance. There is a small chance it could snow during your visit, and as long as the roads stay open and you don’t mind driving in the snow, Bryce Canyon would be magical with a layer of snow!! Have a great trip! Cheers, Julie

  10. Hi, I’m organizing a 10 day trip for seniors and planning on following this itinerary, pretty closely. I have two questions. They plan on traveling late January, early February, what will the temps be like at that time? Also I checked the drive from Bryce to Zion National Park and it looks like an 8.5 hour trip. I sthere anywhere in between that could be added as an extra day or half day to break up the long drive?


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      Hello. That time of year it will be cold, especially Bryce Canyon, since it’s at a high elevation. There’s a chance you could even have snow. The Grand Canyon and Monument Valley will be a little warmer, but it could still be quite cold that time of year. However, it just really depends on the weather decides to do. It’s only an hour and 20 minute drive between Zion and Bryce. Make sure you enter “Zion National Park” and “Bryce Canyon National Park” into Google Maps. Cheers, Julie

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