Utah and Arizona National Park Road trip
I went on a road trip from Las Vegas to the national parks in Utah and Arizona in early May for 11 days! Here was our original itinerary:
Day 1: Vegas
Day 2: Drive to Zion in the morning – 2.5hr
Day 3: Zion
Day 4: Drive to Bryce afternoon – 2hr
Day 5: See sunrise at Bryce, evening drive to Page, AZ – 3hr
Day 6: Upper/Lower Antelope Canyon tour, Horseshoe bend in Page, AZ.
Day 7: Rainbow bridge boat tour or Smooth water rafting, Sunset at Wahweap Overlook.
Day 8: Drive to Grand Canyon – 2.5hr
Day 9: Drive back to Vegas – 4hr
Day 10: Vegas
Day 11: Fly back home
So basically this is how we went:
Las Vegas > Valley of Fire State Park > Zion National Park > Bryce Canyon > Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend > Grand Canyon > Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge > Las Vegas.
Day 01: Flying into Las Vegas.
We flew into Las Vegas on a night flight and stayed at the Tuscany Suites and Casinos hotel. We got a really good deal on it so booked this night here.
Day 02: Drive to Valley of Fire State Park and Zion.
In the morning we went to Walmart and grabbed fruits, nut mixes and bread. We had originally planned to drive straight to Zion (a 2.5hr drive), but I noticed on google map the Valley of Fire State Park is on the way to Zion National Park, so we decided to stop by there since it’s on the way. It was a good decision! We saw colorful and red sand stones rocks. We didn’t do a trail as it was pretty sunny and hot, so we just drove through and stopped at several scenic spots at this park.
Then we headed to Zion National Park. After checking into our hotel at the LaQuinta Inn in Springdale, we drove into the park and thought we could watch the sunset on the Watchman Trail, except we couldn’t find the trail! Not sure if it was just us, but the signage for the trail was pointing us at different directions lol. So… the sun set before we could find it -_-. I was able to get a picture of the sunset on the rocks though.
Day 03: Zion
In the morning we ate breakfast at our hotel and took the shuttle bus into Zion National Park. The first trail we did was the Temple of Sinawava – Riverside trail. It was a very easy hike. Too bad the water level was too high, we weren’t able continue and do the Narrows from there.
Next we went to the Weeping Rock trail. I didn’t do it as I was freaked out by the height (I have a fear of heights lol). But only later did I learn that it was only a little at the beginning that was high, the rest of the trail wasn’t steep at all. This one was only half a mile long, so the hike wasn’t long at all.
After that we went to the Grotto stop. There was 2 trails that we were able to go on. On the left was the Kayenta trail that I also could not go on as it went up pretty high at the beginning and I had no idea how far up it was going to go. The trail on the right goes to the Scott’s Overlook and that is where the Angels Landing starts, which I heard is very dangerous lol. So I just waited at the base as my group went on the Kayenta trail. My cousin hijacked my camera and took some pictures.
After a while, I got bored of waiting and thought maybe I can try and see what it’s like for the trail to the Scott’s Overlook. So I went on the Scott’s Overlook trail. I didn’t go far at all (only about 15mins in I think before I headed back). It was not at all steep at the beginning and there was a opening spot that had a very nice scenic view. After my group came back from the other hike, we went again to this one.
Feeling tired, we went back to Springdale and grabbed pizza at the Zion Pizza & Noodle, and then headed back out with our car to the Canyon Overlook trailhead to see the sunset. For this part, we had to drive up the switchbacks, and the trailhead is at right after you get past the tunnel (on the east side of the tunnel). The parking area is very small, so if there’s no spots you have to do a u-turn and park on the sideway on the other side of the road. So… this trail is pretty scary I would say for people scared of heights. There were parts that I thought I couldn’t go past…..but I slowly went through it lol. The sunset wasn’t as good I think as it might’ve been? Probably because there weren’t clouds at all. So we headed back down before it gets totally dark and hard to walk down the trail.
Day 04: To Losee Canyon Trailhead and Bryce
In the morning we headed out to the Losee Canyon Trailhead (it’s part of the Dixie National Forest). The drive to there is really nice.
We went through a dirt road to get into the Losee Canyon Trailhead, then went on the Arches Trail from the trailhead. So I heard kids can go on it so thought it would be an easy trail, but nooooo, many parts were nerve wrecking for me due to the height, and so I wasn’t able to reach the top :(. It’s not a long trail at all though, so it’s great for people who’s not scared of heights! You can see so many trees up close that’s struck by lightening, it’s pretty cool.
Once we finished the trail we headed to Bryce Canyon (only 30mins away). We headed straight to our hotel (Best Western Plus Bryce hotel) and took a nap lol. Then we had dinner at the Bryce Pines restaurant. The food was good. Later we drove to the Sunset Point to watch the sunset. We came pretty early so we decided to head down into the Navajo Loop Trail. I of course after just seeing the big drop off decided to go back up after 1 min of walking down the trail lol. Looking at the picture now, it doesn’t seem that steep of a drop off? lol
Day 05: Bryce Canyon
So in the really early morning, around 5am, we woke up and drove to Bryce Point to watch the sunrise. I thought I could also get some star photos, but we woke up too late for that, there’s already some light in the sky from the incoming, not-to-be seen yet sun. There goes my plan to shoot stars… but anyway, we watched the sunrise, which was pretty 🙂
It was very cold in the morning, so right after the sun fully came up, we headed back to the hotel and had breakfast. Then drove up to the visitor center and waited for the Rainbow tour bus to come pick us up (you need to make a reservation for this bus tour, it’s free though). It was a very informational nice tour. It takes you to the areas that the regular shuttle bus doesn’t go to. So the first stop was the farthest, the Rainbow Point, then it took us to the Aqua Canyon, Natural Bridge, and Farview point.
After the tour bus dropped us off back at the visitor center, we drove in our own car to the Sunrise point, Inspiration point, and Fairyland point. All were awesome spots.
We’ve pretty much went through all of Bryce now, so we headed out to our next destination: Page, Arizona. On the way out from Bryce, we stopped just a few minutes at the Red Canyon (part of Dixie National Forest I believe). We didn’t go on the trail as our group was feeling tired lol. So we just took some pictures.
Day 06: Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
Next we drove to Page, Arizona(stayed at the Courtyard by Marriot). We went to the Lower Antelope Canyon in the afternoon. The weather was perfect that day, it was sunny so we were able to see the color fill through in the Antelope Canyon well. The photo came out really good in any direction we point the camera at! We went with Ken’s Tour, the regular walk tour, not the photography tour, but we took many pictures anyway lol.
Later in the day we went to Horseshoe Bend, and watched the sunset from there.
Day 07: Glen Canyon Dam and Wahweap Overlook
In the morning we went to the Glen Canyon Dam, then later went to Wahweap overlook to see the sunset, except we missed the sunset by 10min…so now we know for sunsets we should go an 1hr earlier! We decided not to do the Smooth water rafting since some people in our group wasn’t into that, though I wish we did kayaking! That would’ve been awesome.
Day 08: to Grand Canyon
In the morning headed out to Grand Canyon. Since the Cameron Trading Post is on the way, we stopped by there and had lunch. Then we stopped in multiple scenic spots along the way to Grand canyon. Our first spot was the Little Colorado River View point. There were tents set up in this area where you can buy stuff.
Then we went on to Desert View Watchtower, followed by Lipon point, Moran point, and Grandview point.
Then we checked into our lodge, the Yavapai Lodge. Fyi they don’t have Wi-Fi at the lodge. Then drove to the visitor center and took the shuttle bus to Hopi point to watch the sunset 🙂
Day 09: Grand Canyon & to Vegas
In the morning, we visited Yavapai Point, Mather Point, and Yaki Point.
Then we headed out on the long drive to Las Vegas. We thought about stopping by Sedona, but thought it would be too much driving, so ended up just heading straight to Las Vegas. We took part of the drive on route 66, which I think we really should’ve skipped lol. On the way, we stopped by the Hoover Dam Bypass Bridge (Mike O’Callaghan–Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge). It was a nice little walk and you can see the Hoover Dam below.
Day 10 & 11: Vegas and Back Home
In Vegas we splurged and stayed at the Aria Hotel. It was awesomeeee, we were able to upgrade our room for free so we got a room that has 2 bedroom with full baths! We were very happy lol. So we went to see the Bellagio botanic garden (didn’t know that it was part of the hotel!) and then the fountain water show at night. The decorations inside the shopping stores in the hotels are really good, much better than the ones at our regular malls lol. We also took advantage of the hot tubs and pool at our hotel, and of course tried some game machines 🙂