Our Southwest Road Trip Itinerary (12 Days)

In February of 2022, Teddy and I took a 12 day trip to the desert southwest. We spent time in 5 states including Nevada, California, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. We visited 10 National Parks, 3 State Parks, as well as National Forests, Monuments, Preserves and Tribal Parks.

Below is a brief overview of what we did each day on our trip. For specifics from the day, check out the various links for more detail. Something to keep in mind is that Teddy and I don’t mind driving a lot during our trips. There was one day we ended up driving about 8 hours during the day from Joshua Tree to Saguaro. Most days however are 3-5 hours of driving. We also spend only 1-2 days in most parks. This is also not everyone’s preference, that’s just what we like to do so we can see more places in one trip.

Overall, this was one of the top three trips I’ve ever taken. We got to see so much and ended up driving just under 3,000 miles. We were able to do 22 hikes during our time, and see so much. I hope this is helpful for you as you plan you own future southwest trips!

Day 1 – Travel Day

  • Fly into Las Vegas
  • Explore the City
  • Stay in or outside Vegas overnight

Day 2 Death Valley National Park

  • Drive to Death Valley
    • Zabriskie Point
    • Furnace Creek Visitor Center
    • Artists Palette Drive
    • Badwater Basin
  • Drive through Mojave National Preserve
  • Stay overnight in 29 Palms

Day 3Joshua Tree National Park, Saguaro National Park

  • Explore Joshua Tree
    • Sunrise
    • Explore Skull Rock
    • Stop at the Cholla Cactus Garden
  • Drive to Saguaro National Park
    • Hike the Valley View Trail
    • Watch sunset inside the park
  • Stay overnight outside Tuscon

Day 4 – Gila National Forest, Petrified Forest National Park

  • Drive toward Gila National Forest
    • Hike the Catwalk Trail inside the forest
  • Drive to Petrified Forest and drive the scenic road
    • Hike Blue Mesa Trail
    • Enjoy the overlooks
    • Lunch at the Visitor Center in the north
  • Drive to Sedona
    • Enjoy dinner downtown
  • Stay overnight in Sedona

Day 5Sedona, Grand Canyon National Park

  • Explore Sedona
    • Watch sunrise from downtown or a local hiking trail
    • Check out the view from Airport Mesa
    • Choose a trail to hike
    • Lunch at Outlaw Grill
  • Drive to the Grand Canyon
    • Enjoy the overlooks in the park
    • Dinner inside the park
    • Watch sunset along the Rim Trail
  • Stay overnight at Grand Canyon

Day 6Grand Canyon National Park, Page

  • Watch sunrise over the Grand Canyon
    • Visit the Kolb Studio on the side of the canyon
    • Hike part of the Bright Angel trail down into the park
  • Drive to Page, Arizona
    • Stop at the Marble Canyon and Navajo Bridge along the way
    • Dinner at Big Johns BBQ
    • Watch sunset at Horseshoe Bend
  • Stay overnight in Page

Day 7Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley

  • Breakfast in downtown Page
    • Antelope Canyon Tour
  • Drive Toward Moab
    • Take in the Views in Monument Valley
    • Dinner in downtown Moab
  • Stay overnight in Moab

Day 8 – Moab, Arches National Park, Deadhorse Point State Park

  • Watch sunrise in Arches National Park (Windows Trail)
    • Hike to Delicate Arch
    • Hike the Devil’s Garden Trail to Landscape Arch
  • Grab lunch or dinner in downtown Moab
  • Watch Sunset at Deadhorse Point
  • Stay overnight in Moab

Day 9Canyonlands National Park, Goblin Valley State Park, Capitol Reef National Park

  • Explore Canyonlands
    • Sunrise at Mesa Arch in Canyonlands
    • Drive the scenic drive through Canyonlands
  • Drive to Goblin Valley State Park
    • Short hike in Goblin Valley
  • Drive to Capitol Reef National Park
    • Scenic Drive
    • Hike Cassidy Arch or Hickman Bridge
  • Drive through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
  • Stay overnight in Escalante

Day 10Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park

  • Drive to sunrise at Bryce Canyon National Park
    • Sunrise near Sunrise Point
    • Hike the Navajo Loop & Queens Garden Trail
    • Drive the scenic drive
  • Drive to Zion National Park
    • Have lunch in downtown Springdale
    • Hike the Emerald Pools Trail
    • Dinner at Zion Lodge
    • Watch sunset inside the park
  • Stay overnight in Zion

Day 11Zion National Park, Valley of Fire State Park

  • Explore Zion
    • Hike the Riverside Walk in Zion
    • Grab Breakfast in Springdale
  • Drive to Valley of Fire State Park
    • Drive the scenic roads in park
    • Hike Mouse’s Tank Trail
  • Drive to Vegas
  • Visit Red Rock Canyon State Park
  • Stay near Vegas

Day 12Hoover Dam, Travel Day

  • Drive to Hoover Dam
  • Drive to airport for flight

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