I guess my first question is one week too short a time to hit these three plances In what order would you visit (shortest} driving time? I saw something about a Ferry from Lake Powell but have no idea if that would help. We may need to start and and in Albequrque so I need advice either starting and finishing in NM or starting and leaving from the place that make most sense. Not sure if we can use our points from one airport to another
What time of year are you visiting?
By three places, I presume you mean Sedona, Grand Canyon, and Lake Powell. The closest places to fly into would be Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Albuquerque. Since you have the time, I'm going to give you a route that also takes you to Monument Valley as well, which will increase your trip's driving time by only two hours or so. Since Albuquerque is your choice, the quickest driving route to see all four would be as follows Im putting these in 5 separate posts--one for each day:
(1) Go west on Interstate 40 to Gallup, New Mexico (136 miles)
(2) Go north on New Mexico state highway 491 (7 miles)
(3) Go west on New Mexico state highway 264 (15 miles) to the Arizona state border
(4) The road now becomes Arizona state highway 264, continue on this for another 35 miles
(5) Go north on US Highway 191 for 44 miles
(6) Turn left on Indian Route 59 for 44 miles
(7) Turn left (go west) on US Highway 160 for 8 miles
(8) Go north on US Highway 163 for 22 miles
You should now be at the Utah-Arizona border, which is the exact location of Monument Valley. There are two motels here--you should pre-book one of them before starting your trip.
(1) Go back the 22 miles on US 163 (going south) back from the direction you came on Day 1
(2) At US Highway 160 turn right (going west) for 32 miles
(3) Turn right (going west) on Arizona state highway 98 for 67 miles
This will take you to Lake Powell and the city of Page, AZ. You can actually see the lake during the last 10 miles of your drive. P.S. Drive slow as you approach Page--there seem to be a lot of police in this area looking to pull over speeders.
You can either stay in Page, or drive the 5 miles over to the south edge of the lake and stay at the Lake Powell Resort.
From the south edge of the lake, either take the boat tour to the Rainbow Bridge--or rent a houseboat for a day to see the lake or just rent a waverunner or two to drive around awhile. (Really spectacular scenery even if you just stay at the south edge of the lake).
(1) Head south on US Highway 89 for 81 miles
(2) Turn right (west) on Arizona State Highway 64 for 52 miles
During the last 25 miles of this trip the Grand Canyon will be on the right side of the road. Most of the time you won't be able to see the canyon, but sometimes you will. The best viewing spot is near the last five miles of the trip--and there will be many spots where you can pull out and park in this area.
Now turn onto US Highway 180 (and head south/east)
There are many hotels/motels to stay at near the end of this trip right after you turn onto US Highway 180
(1) As you head south/east on US Highway 180, you will still also be on Arizona State Highway 64. These two highways are the same road for the first 27 miles of your trip.
(2) After these first 27 miles, stay on Arizona State Highway 64 (and not on US Highway 180) for another 28 miles heading to the city of Williams, AZ
(3) Now get on Interstate 40 and head east for 29 miles to Flagstaff, Arizona.
(4) Go south on Interstate 17 (heading towards Phoenix) for 2 miles
(5) Exit onto US Highway 89A and drive for 24 miles to Sedona, Arizona.
You can also stay on Interstate 17 if you want and then exit after 40 miles onto Arizona State Highway 179 north and drive the remaining 8 miles to Sedona. The distance is twice as far--but the road is much better and you will be going about 65 miles per hour the entire way instead of the 40 miles per hour you will be going on US Highway 89A.
There are lots of motels/hotels all over the Sedona area and the red rock canyons surround the town on almost all sides.
(1) Drive back to Flagstaff using either of the routes already mentioned in my last post.
(2) Get on Interstate 40 heading east and drive 323 miles which will put you in Albuquerque.
Total time of the last day's trip--around 6 hours
Things to know or consider:
(1) Be sure to fill up your gas tank often--and consider booking your hotels (especially in Page and in Monument Valley) early since these places often fill up and there are no other places available for miles--sometimes a hundred miles or more.
(2) Consider stopping along side the road to visit some of the Indian jewelry merchants--their items are fairly high quality and reasonably priced--and they have very little other sources of income available.
(3) You might consider doing this trip in the opposite direction. This would give you time at the end of the trip to either include/exclude Monument Valley and also to include places like the Canyon de Chelly which you will go by at the end of this trip, and it will also give you time to consider a day trip up to Santa Fe from Albuquerque (the drive time is only one hour each way). You could also even go all the way up to Moab in Utah if you want to see some of the national parks up that way (Arches/Canyonlands/Dead Horse Point) or the city of Durango, Colorado (with its old steam railroad).
(4) Lastly, consider visiting the area in Albuquerque near the Old Town area. There are lots of great restaurants and small little shops there worth a visit.
I travelled through Sedona and Flagstaff, with a day trip to the Grand Canyon, fitting nicely into 5 days.
Beautiful! If you love nature, there's an abundance of spectacular off-trail wandering you can do in Sedona, and of course the popular energy sites are fantastic too. Red rock country is a true desert oasis!
If you and your company are feeling social, I would highly recommend the two hostels (run by the same people) in Flagstaff. They are two of the top-rated in the USA and I had excellent experiences there with fellow travellers; Laid back, friendly, adventurous souls. We went on an intimate guided tour to the Grand Canyon, and hiked halfway down, winding along the donkey paths. It was great. We were all young men on the tour, so depending on who you're with and what you're looking for...
My advice would be to rise up early with the sun, and have full days. There's so much to see that is special in Sedona and so many events and awesome alternative people and shops, and specatular scenes, that you will want to get an early start.
There's a lookout point on the main highway between Flagstaff and Sedona offers a breathtakingly panoramic view, and the other windier roadway between the two is a fun and scenic drive...
WIshing you Safe and Happy Journeys!
[ Edit: Edited on 23-Feb-2010, at 11:19 by xeno33 ]
I find this funny as the reason I joined this board last summer was because I was taking virtually the same trip. A few tips: When in Sedonna you simply must eat at Elote's Cafe. As luck would have it the restaurant was attached to our hotel and I just stumbled upon it. In all honesty the meal on the deck overlooking the red rocks was the best meal of my life. Make sure to order the appetizer by the same name, Elote, it is spectacular.
As with me Cal is offering very good, detailed advice. I can't top that but I can give you an idea of what we did. 3 nights in Sedona for us was plenty. We took the scenic route to the South Rim up the canyon and through Flagstaff, this you simply must do this. When we got there we had booked a cabin named Bright Angel Lodge. We really lucked out there, it was by far the best reasonably priced place to stay. The cabins are right on the rim and near dining as opposed to some that are in the woods and not close to either. If your tastes are more upscale look at the other big lodge, El Tor....something.
If you have the time, money a copter ride over the canyon will be worth it.
My wife and I will be in Sedona in May, but did not know about Elote's Cafe--so thanks for the tip. We'll be sure to order the appetizer as well.
P.S. I really appreciate it when the visitors to a place return to the website to let us know about their experience--and what was good or bad about their trip, so that even us "regulars" get tips on the latest sights/restaurants/happenings.
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