Canyons and Monuments Adventure
Flagstaff, Grand Canyon, Page, Chinle and Petrified Forest
You have read about it, heard about it, and dreamt about it. Now it’s time to experience it. Northern Arizona is a traveler’s dream, featuring some of the world’s most famous attractions including the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Canyon de Chelly and the Petrified Forest.
DAY ONE Your journey begins in Anthem, Arizona, considered the gateway to Northern Arizona. Drive north on Highway 89 to visit the Colorado Plateau’s most recent volcanic eruption, Sunset Crater National Monument (:30) which erupted sometime between AD 1064 and 1180. Hike Lava Flow Trail, a simple, one-mile loop trail that is well worth your time. Afterwards, follow the loop road through the incredible ever-changing scenery and into Wupatki National Monument, where you’ll discover the ruins of large ancient pueblos. Be sure to stop by the Monument’s Visitors Center which is a great place to enjoy a picnic lunch or take a leisurely walk. If you have time, visit some of the other pueblos. The turnoffs from the main road are well marked. When the sun goes down, take advantage of one of Flagstaff’s many dining establishments in Historic Downtown. Try the urban and hip Pasto restaurant and then wander over to the Mogollon Brewing Company where you’ll “cure what ale’s ya”. Be sure to sample their Prickly Pear Vodka – you’ll be glad you did! Overnight in Flagstaff.
DAY TWO Discover one of the Seven Wonders of the World with a visit to Grand Canyon National Park. Enjoy an early breakfast and drive north on US 89 towards AZ 64, the seldom-crowded East entrance of the park (1:00). Leisurely explore the Canyon’s Desert View Drive, the longest stretch of road open to the public along the South Rim. Visit Desert View Watchtower, designed by renowned architect Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter, just past the East Rim entrance. Don’t miss Lipan Point and Grandview Point for more breathtaking views. After lunch, hop on the free shuttle that runs continuously to various view points. Visit Canyon View Information Plaza where you will find informative exhibits about the Grand Canyon. Stroll around Grand Canyon Village and visit the Kolb Studio. Keep your eyes open for wildlife along the way. Be sure to sit back, relax and take in the sunset at the Canyon. You won’t want to miss the sunrise also, so remember to check for sunrise times in advance. Later, savor a gourmet meal at the historic El Tovar Lodge. Overnight in the National Park or nearby Tusayan.
DAY THREE Did you check for sunrise times? Good. Grab your coffee and watch in awe as the sky transitions from one vibrant color to the next. When you’re ready to depart the Canyon, you’ll drive back to the east entrance and proceed north on US 89 towards Page (2:00). Be sure to stop by the historic Cameron Trading Post, just north of the Grand Canyon National Park turnoff. Try a Navajo Taco and shop for authentic Native arts and crafts. On your way, stop off in Tuba City to see the new Explore Navajo Interactive Museum which premiered at the 2002 Winter Olympic Games. The museum is a look at the Navajo people, society and historic contributions. Once in Page, visit the John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum and learn of his Colorado River Voyages back in the late 1800’s. Take a 4-wheel drive trip to remote Canyon “X”, a slot canyon, just a few feet wide but more than 180 feet deep. Later, catch the sun setting over Lake Powell or take a dinner cruise on the Canyon King. Tours can be booked through the museum. Overnight in Page.
DAY FOUR Take an all-day cruise tour to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the world’s largest natural bridge (schedules vary by season). This sacred bridge spans 275 feet across the river and reaches 290 feet high. The boat docks and you can take a leisurely, 1 mile walk to the bridge for magnificent photo opportunities. After the relaxing cruise back to Page, enjoy an evening of dining and dancing at the Dam Bar and Grill. Overnight in Page.
DAY FIVE Drive eastward toward Chinle (3:00) and experience a couple of Arizona’s scenic roads – AZ 98 and US 191 – along the way. Pack a lunch and take an afternoon jeep tour into Canyon de Chelly National Monument. Canyon de Chelly is home to sheer cliffs and hundreds of Anasazi ruins, as well as modern Navajo homes and farms. Explore the sandy canyon floor while you listen to your Navajo guide speak about his tribe’s past and their way of life. Overnight in Chinle.
DAY SIX Head further south on US 191 towards Ganado. Stop at the Hubbell Trading Post National Historic Site (:30). This historic site offers weaving demonstrations and still trades goods with Navajo artisans. You just may catch a glimpse of a trade being made. Continue to the I-40 West towards the Petrified Forest National Park, one of the world’s largest and most colorful concentrations of petrified wood. There are many opportunities to photograph archeological sites, historic structures and the multi-hued badlands known as the Painted Desert. Continuing west on I-40 you arrive in Flagstaff (1:30) where you will overnight. We recommend a fine dining experience at Brix Restaurant – selected in 2007 as one the “95 Best New Restaurants in the World” by Conde Nast Traveler!