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Trip Report Arizona/Grand Canyon/Sedona/Page/Lake Powell Trip Report

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We’re home from our Arizona trip and wanted to share our thoughts and recommendations with you. A huge part of our itinerary was a direct result of Fodorite advice and we are very grateful to all who took the time to explain and share their experiences. A heartfelt THANK YOU!!!!
A nice romantic way to begin our vacation was at the Royal Palms Resort in Phoenix. It is beautiful and luxurious with the #1 rated restaurant in the area: T. Cook’s. My husband and I had reservations for dinner and enjoyed the food and the atmosphere.
Our two adult children joined us at A Shooting Star Inn, a bed and breakfast in a remote area of Flagstaff, where we stayed our second night (we reserved all three rooms). We enjoyed very pleasant accommodations, viewed the night sky through Tom Taylor’s giant telescope, and ate delicious home-cooked meals with a music serenade (guitar and flute). After hiking in the beautiful area around Flagstaff (the flowers and landscape were different from anything we were used to seeing) we headed to the Grand Canyon for two days.
The Grand Canyon is breathtaking! Staying on the South Rim (as opposed to staying outside of the park) is the best way to enjoy the adventure. I expected very rustic accommodations at the Thunderbird Lodge, but found attractive, clean, and very nice hotel rooms instead. After dark we were delighted to see gigantic Elk right outside our window! The canyon views are outstanding on both the east and west sides of the Grand Canyon Village. Hike the west side and jump on the buses when you need a break (we hiked 5 miles in one day). Drive the east side and be sure to stop at the furthest viewpoint from the village: Desert View. It has a watchtower which gives you a great view from 7,522 feet (the highest point on the South Rim).
We headed to Page/Lake Powell for two days and stayed at the Days Inn & Suites. We were very pleased to get an extra-large room with 3 queens and a balcony. The staff was friendly and helpful. What to do there? Kayak Powell’s 6-hour kayaking adventure with stops to swim, hike, and eat (delicious hot cooked southwest breakfast burritos, fruit, juice, and coffee) was the highlight of the trip! Jim, the owner and guide, was a great guide/instructor/cook! We had a fantastic time! For dinner we ate at the Dam Bar & Grille and enjoyed tasty bar food. The second day we did the float tour 15 miles down the Colorado River from the dam to Lee’s Ferry with Colorado River Discovery. It was beautiful and relaxing (though my family had mixed reviews on the length: my son and I thought three hours was too long while my husband and daughter wished for more). Afterwards, we toured the lower Antelope Canyon (a real hidden gem that thrilled my amateur photographer husband) and then ate lunch at Slackers (good hamburgers and hot sandwiches).
We drove the scenic route (89A) to Sedona (stopping at the Cameron Trading Post for a few souvenirs and Navajo tacos made with traditional fry bread…yum) and checked into the Best Western Arroyo Roble where we rented a 2-story townhouse complete with living room, kitchen, and ….halleluiah….washer and dryer. They prepared a hearty buffet breakfast for their guests (included in the price). We loved it there! We also tried the breakfast at L’Auberge on their creek-side terrace. It was very elegant and delicious! We wanted to see the red rocks of Sedona so we drove to the Chapel of the Holy Cross, a small church built into the red rock. It was a beautiful spot and we spent a couple of hours just appreciating the views of the area. Then we backtracked a little and drove to Wupatki National Monument where we walked through pueblo ruins from the 1100s. One amazing phenomenon there is a blowhole….powered by a network of natural underground tunnels that blows cold air out in the summer and sucks in cold air in the winter (based on temperature and barometric pressure). We were there on a hot day so cold air blew out like an air-conditioner! We continued to drive through the park and stop at more ruins. Before we left we hiked the base of the Sunset Crater Volcano, a volcano that erupted 900 years ago. It was interesting to see how the landscape changed and adapted as a result of that eruption. We barely had time to rush back to our hotel and change for dinner at Dahl and DeLuca’s, a wonderful Italian restaurant that was the celebratory ending of our wonderful Arizona week.

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