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Arizona and Utah Road Trip Advice

London, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
4 reviews
Arizona and Utah Road Trip Advice

Hi,

My husband and I are planning a road trip vacation in Utah and Arizona from 26 December to 5 January. We fly into and out of Vegas, and our flights are already booked. We also have accommodation booked in Vegas to end our trip from 5 - 7 January. We are from the UK this will be our first time in this part of the States so would love to get some advice on whether this is a good itinerary:

26 December - land in Vegas at 1pm and drive to Zion NP. Stay two nights nearby (Springdale?)

28 December - drive to Page and spend two nights at Hampton Inn and Suites. Visit Horseshoe Bend and Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon

30 December - GCNP - stay at El Tovar Hotel. Watch the sunset, have dinner at the hotel, and watch the sunrise before setting off the following morning.

31 December - Flagstaff. Sounds like a fun place to stay the night for NYE.

Then from 1st - 5th January we don't have any fixed plans. My husband would love to go back to Palm Springs, which we've been to before. It looks like this would be a 5 hour drive from Flagstaff, so we could perhaps spend 2 nights in Flagstaff and then 3 nights in Palm Springs before driving to Vegas, to get there for 5th January. Or should we plan to spend a night or two in Sedona? And would the itinerary above allow any time to visit Monument Valley (perhaps while staying in Page?).

I'm worried we're trying to fit a lot in to a short space of time so suggestions are very welcome! I have a few accommodation bookings at the moment, but they are all flexible.

Thanks for your help!

5 replies to this topic
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Level Contributor
8,489 posts
86 reviews
1. Re: Arizona and Utah Road Trip Advice

I suggest you have confirmed reservations at the lower elevation, desert attractions... Venture no further than Zion... IF the current weather forecasts & road conditions are adverse ... in the remote, higher elevation areas of Northern Arizona ... Happy trails ... carracar

Salt Lake City, Utah
Destination Expert
for Salt Lake City, Lake Powell
Level Contributor
20,137 posts
36 reviews
2. Re: Arizona and Utah Road Trip Advice

I'm not sure if you understand that you can easily encounter winter weather and road conditions in late December. This is particularly true of northern Arizona which include the Grand Canyon and Flagstaff. It's not unusual for a heavy snow storm to close down roads for periods of time while the road crews clear the snow. This could be 24 hours, give or take.

Stay in the town of Springdale to visit Zion National Park. It is literally at the park entrance.

You don't need two nights in Page and touring one Antelope Canyon is sufficient.

For your remaining nights, go to Sedona Arizona. Going to Palm Springs is too far off the route you are taking.

Seattle
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
Level Contributor
9,706 posts
77 reviews
3. Re: Arizona and Utah Road Trip Advice

As stated above, the high desert areas of northern Arizona can get heavy snowfall. That includes Flagstaff and Grand Canyon south rim, both up near 7000 feet. Keep a close eye on the weather forecasts and cancel the Hampton Inn and El Tovar within the free cancellation period if snow threatens. For El Tovar, you may cancel without forfeit up to two days prior to arrival. Best to call them to do this.

Then instead of heading east from Zion, you would return to Las Vegas and head to Sedona from there.

A nice alternative to Palm Springs might be Death Valley, a 2-2.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. There is a very nice resort hotel there:

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Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
66,689 posts
249 reviews
4. Re: Arizona and Utah Road Trip Advice

What they said. 2 nights Springdale, 1 at Page 1 at Monument Valley (this is the only logical time to go there) then Flagstaff and Sedona, Palm Springs would be over 6 hours from Flag. Too far IMO.

London, United...
Level Contributor
2 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: Arizona and Utah Road Trip Advice

Thanks all for the great advice! I will keep an eye on the weather closer to the time and try to stick to accommodation I can cancel within short notice.

I'm now looking at a Plan A and Plan B.

Plan A (if weather is OK):

26 December - land in Vegas at 1pm and drive to Zion NP. Stay two nights in Springdale.

28 December - drive to Page and spend one night at Hampton Inn and Suites. Visit Horseshoe Bend and Upper Antelope Canyon

29 December - stay at the View or Gouldings Lodge, Monument Valley (unfortunately both require a deposit and only offer partial refunds)

30 December - GCNP - stay at El Tovar Hotel.

31 December - Flagstaff.

1st - 5th January - Sedona (and maybe a couple nights in Death Valley...I like the sound of the resort hotel)

Plan B (if weather is bad) would be cancel all the pre-booked accommodation and to base ourselves in Sedona for at least the first few days and look into doing trips to the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley from there.

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