Northern Arizona Road Trip [5 Day Itinerary]

In April I took my first solo trip in a over two years. I wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to go and considered areas like Texas Hill Country, Denver or Colorado Springs, as well as areas of Utah and Nevada. I decided on Arizona because the weather would be perfect with cooler morning and warmer days, but I also wanted to explore some new areas and visits some that were already familiar.

Over 5 days, I explored various areas of north central Arizona including National Monuments, a National Park, historic gold mining towns, an arts community, State Parks and more. Below you’ll find a link to each specific day of my trip along with a summary of what to do each day as well.

Day 1 – Montezuma Castle, Walnut Canyon, and the Grand Canyon

  • Fly into Phoenix on an early flight
  • Grab a coffee, chai, or energ drink at Dutch Bros before heading north
  • Visit Monetezuma Castle National Monument and see a multistory dwelling carved out of the cliff
  • Take a hike too see ancient dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument
  • Drive north to the Grand Canyon National Monument South Rim
  • Stay overnight at the Bright Angel Lodge right at the Grand Canyon Rim

Day 2 – The Grand Canyon, Wupatki, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Sedona

  • Get up early and hike down a portion of the Bright Angel Trail to see the sun begin to illuminate the canyon. Or watch the sunrise from the rim trail at Mariposa point.
  • Check out of your lodging and drive to the visitor center. Get on the bus to the South Kaibab Traikhead.
  • Hike about 1 mile into the canyon to Ooh Aah point or about 1.5 miles to Cedar Ridge.
  • Return to the canyon rim and drive to Wupatki National Monument. Explore more ancient dwellings and then continue to Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument which is along the same road. Learn more about this 1,000 year ago volcanic eruption.
  • Continue your drive and check in to The Arabella in Sedona. Hike the trail behind the hotel to the sunset overlook where you can sit in red adirondak chairs and enjoy the sun go down over the red rocks.

Day 3 – Hiking in Sedona, Jerome, and Goldfield Ghost Town

  • Begin your morning with a sunrise hike at the Margs Draw Trailhead which is east to walk to from the hotel. Sit below Snoopy Rock and have this less popular trail likely to yourself.
  • Grab a quick breakfast at the hotel before checkout.
  • Download the Guide Along Tour of Sedona and drive through town learning about its history, geology, and about what to do in the area
  • Park at the trailhead for the Fay Canyon Trail and hike to the bottom of the arch. It’s a short hike but great workout and you have the opportunity to experience the trail both from the bottom and top of the canyon for great views
  • Drive to the Indian Gardens Oak Creek Market for lunch and coffee
  • Drive to Jerome, a historic copper mining town. Explore the shops and walk through town and make sure to take in views down into the valley!
  • Drive south toward Phoenix and spend time at the Goldfield Ghost town and watch a shoot out or take a train ride.
  • Check into your hotel for the night. I loved the Hilton Cavasson for the on site dining and views from the balcony
  • Get dinner downstairs at the Desert Pony before heading to bed.

Day 4 – Lost Dutchman, Tortilla Flat, McDowell Sonoran Preserve

  • Watch the sunrise from your balcony and then drive over to the Lost Dutchman State Park
  • Hike the Treasure Loop Trail to the Crosscut Trail to the Siphon Draw trail for just under 3 miles.
  • Take the scenic drive through Tonto National Forest to the town of Tortilla Flat – an old historic town that used to be a stagecoach stop. Grab lunch at the Superstition Restaurant and Saloon.
  • Return to the hotel and take a nap or relax by the pool.
  • Go out on an evening hike in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve for beautiful desert views

Day 5 – Head home!

  • Head to the airport for your flight home!

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