Flagstaff to Grand Canyon and other national parks
Replies: 9 - Last Post: Mar 24, 2013 5:45 PM Last Post By: adder
Mar 23, 2013 3:15 PM
Flagstaff to Grand Canyon and other national parksHi all, we are planning to fly from San Fran to Phoenix, hire a car and drive to Flagstaff, and using this town as a base, drive to the Grand Canyon for sightseeing. Which other monuments would be worth a visit? We will visit the Montezuma Castle Monument on our way from Phoenix to Flagstaff, and could stay 3 nights in Flagstaff, with the option of a 4th night, if necessary.
Any advice would be gratefully received! Thanks...
Mar 23, 2013 4:08 PM
Mar 23, 2013 4:30 PM
Mar 23, 2013 7:46 PM
Mar 23, 2013 7:47 PM
Mar 23, 2013 7:56 PM
Mar 23, 2013 9:15 PM
6The drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon is long...and not very scenic... Once inside the Grand Canyon you might consider staying there...at one of the facilities... The Canyon is great at night by moonlight...it has an eerie glow... and there are a couple good bars and restaurants at Bright Angel and at the El Tovar... El Tovar is a very classic rustic lodge...lots of logs and taxidermy...and you don't have to stay there to eat and shop there...
Flagstaff is a great university town with a "mountain man" ambiance......but its not the Grand Canyon...
Sedona is a short downhill drive from Flagstaff...and is really more of a "new age" resort town for tourists...there are lots of red rocks and the supposed "vortex" to check out... This contrasts with Flagstaff's high country pine forest appearance...
Exiting the Canyon to the east is the Navajo Reservation which you might check out...There are some craft shops and ruins nearby....
Mar 23, 2013 11:09 PM
Meteor Crater, Lowell Observatory, Sunset Crater NP, Valle Air Museum, Wapatki Nat. Monument.
Lee's Ferry, Vermillion Cliffs.
The main road to Page has suffered landslide damage and may not be repaired by the time of your visit. The detour route requires over 3 hours of driving to reach Page; if the road is fixed, it's more like 2. Destinations in the immediate Page area include Antelope Canyon, Glenn Canyon Dam tours, short, fairly easy walk/stroll/hike to Horseshoe Bend (1/2 mile, 150 ft elevation change.)
Mar 23, 2013 11:16 PM
8Typically I don't suggest basing yourself elsewhere for a visit to the Grand Canyon - I really think that staying inside the park, or just outside the entrance in Tusayan, provides the best experience. In your case I'd probably suggest basing in Flagstaff for a few days and doing a few things around there, and then making an overnight to the Canyon.
A typical itinerary might be to drive up Hwy 89 to the north and east of Flagstaff, turn off at Cameron, stop at the Little Colorado Gorge overlook, then enter the park via the east entrance. Tour the viewpoints along East Rim drive, and settle in at your hotel before venturing out again for sunset and dinner. In the morning, catch sunrise, take the shuttle bus out Hermit's Rest road, make whatever other stops you want, and head back to Flagstaff via 180 after lunch (as a bonus, 180 is more scenic heading south than north, as you'll be facing the mountains).
In the park, you'll find enough to do to occupy your time. There are number of good museums and historical sites. I know you said you're not up for "rough walks or hikes", but there are a few short and very easy walks that are highly worthwhile. The stroll out to Shoshone Point is along a flat, gravel road through woods for a 1/2 mile or so, and ends at one of the best viewpoints on the south rim - this is where weddings and other events are conducted, and it is quite isolated from the bustle of the road and tour buses. The shuttle bus out to Hermit's rest stops at a number of viewpoints along the way and it is very easy to hop off the bus at one viewpoint and walk the mostly flat Rim Trail a short distance to another viewpoint and catch a later bus.
As for the rest of your trip, I'd suggest you at a minimum detour through Sedona on the way up to Flagstaff...or better, base in Flagstaff for a couple nights and make Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon one of your day trips. the town of the Sedona is a high-priced new-agey tourist trap, but the surrounding Oak Creek Canyon and Red Rock Country is beautiful. There are number of very easy, very lovely walks that you might find suitable (West Fork, Bell Rock Pathway, and Red Rock Crossing come to mind), there are also 4x4 jeep tours. tours to archaeological sites, shopping, and other activities.
Sunset Crater and Wupatki National Monuments can be visited on the way up to Grand Canyon via the east entrance, although that makes for a very long day even with just quick stops. Visiting both on their own from Flagstaff can be stretched out to a most of a day. Walnut Canyon National Monument is pretty, although you may (or may not) find the walking to be a bit much. It is a worth a couple hours. The Museum of Northern Arizona is quite good, and is right on the way back from the Grand Canyon - also worth a couple hours. Lowell Observatory has tours of the historic campus and nightly sky viewings.
Mar 24, 2013 5:45 PM
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