Arizona Grand Canyon itinerary help


Jul 7th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Arizona Grand Canyon itinerary help

Planning a week long trip to Grand Canyon and surrounding area in September. We are flying in and out of Phoenix due to great rates from our local small airport. We have never been west (except for Vegas) I would like to spend at least one night in the Grand Canyon at one of the lodges. Planning on some moderate hikes and maybe kayaking. I was looking at the Hualapai River runner one day rafting trip until I added up all the charges to total $381.36 pp. Yikes! Any other suggestions for kayaking the canyons? Been reading the forums and feel like we need to see Sedona, Lake Mead. Any help is appreciated.
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Jul 7th, 2012, 08:38 PM
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I am not a big fan of GC so someone else will havr to help there.

In my opinion, Sedona is a town with t-shirt stores and art galleries and restaurants that close at 9PM. However, venture just beyong the town and the Red Rocks are amazing. So be prepared to do some mild walking/hiking in a few areas around the town.

Also, if you're into Pink Jeep tours I would recommend Broken Arrow though I hiked it when I was there.

About 3 hours from GC is Page, AZ. There are two compelling sights there: Antelope Canyon (about 3 hours including the truck drive and an hour in the little Canyon) and Horseshoe Bend (about 3/4 mile each way).

Antelope Canyon should be visited when the sun is high in the sky for maximum effect in the canyon.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 01:25 AM
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Sedona is gorgeous...amazing hiking. Rent a car and drive from Phoenix airport; pretty scenic. Stay in Sedona 2-3 days to try a few of the amazing trails (, make sure to visit the vortices (, do a picnic by the creek at Cathedral Rock Crossing, some kayaking (, then drive to the GC. Downton Sedona is pretty quiet from what it used to be...less stores, everything closing early-ish, restaurants are not that good at all.

Make sure to see Havasupai waterfalls on your hiking trails in the GC. If you want to start the hike early into the GC, stay in Flagstaff for a short drive the morning of the hike. You can also do an overnight camping thing in the GC, with a tour/hiking guide, of course. We didn't do a hike down GC - Sedona was plenty for us, but we drove to see the GC both times. So stunning!

I also recommend parts of Navajo Country ( I bought some beautiful hand-made jewelry there (from locals with stands on the side of the road, not the big touristy shops). We did all of the above, minus the kayaking, in a week. So much fun!

You can do a big, full circle and see all of the above, then go back through Sedona to Phoenix. I've done it twice and loved it both times.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 01:43 AM
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By the way, I highly recommend Las Posadas of Sedona for a great place in Sedona. It's a terrific place with a friendly staff, awesome rooms, very private, clean, very comfortable, and their afternoon cookies/dessert and morning breakfast weren't bad, either! Views are great, too..and the bathrooms are luxurious. And the proximity to everything in Sedona makes it very worthwhile.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 01:46 AM
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Oh, the links in my first post might need to be copied/pasted to work, minus the parantheses. Sorry, this site doesn't allow editing of posts. :/
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Jul 8th, 2012, 04:26 AM
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Am a big fan of the Grand Canyon and think you need at least a couple of days there to do it justice.

As for River running - we didn't do it there - but you can take a nice float trip from Page - which goes along the river walls and is scenice and fun, but not any rapids.

We also like Sedona - but if you want to see something more of Navajo lands as suggested - we love Monument Valley - (about a two and a half hour drive from the South Rim of the GC) -

and also - 20 miles before you get to Keyenta - is the turnoff to the Navajo National Monument - where you can easily walk to look across the valley at some Cliff Dwellings and they also have a good visitor's center/movies, etc. Very friendly place.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 07:49 AM
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Plan your trip around when you can get lodging at one of the rim lodges in the Grand Canyon. Book at If there is no availability, call and keep calling. I think there is a 30 day cancellation fee so 40-30 days before your trip check online or call. You want to have at least one night at the Grand Canyon.

Reserve a car now and then keep looking for lower rates. Sign up for the frequent renter program for each car rental agency and get their email specials. Flights are cheap into Phoenix but we have found the Phoenix airport to have very high car rental rates.

We loved Sedona---the town is a disppointment, but we loved hiking the Red Rocks. Look at for hikes, trailheads, difficulty levels.

We stayed at the Enchantment Resort with their fabulous setting but it is $$$$$. We stayed in the offseason on a great special rate. Head out to Enchantment though for lunch, hike the canyon--we also enjoyed hiking Doe Mountain, an fairly easy switchback hike that heads to the top---a mesa---walk to the sides of the mesa for great views.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 09:12 AM
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We love the GC, too. Do try to stay at least an overnight at the rim - it is worth it. Sedona is okay, but very touristy, pretty country (rocks). Don't know anything about kayaking. The reason the car rental prices in PHX are so high is the taxes. The base rental rates are in line with other places, but the taxes are over 50% - get the tourists, they can't vote.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 10:50 AM
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Call Xanterra at 888 297 2757 to inquire about rooms available in one of the six lodges inside the park. There Are rooms that do not show up on the internet booking site, and availability changes daily due to cancellations. September is a popular time, but if you keep trying you should be able to get something. Stay two nights if you can, so you will have a full day to hike and visit various viewpoints.

The smooth water floor trip from Page is very popular and not nearly as expensive as the Hualupai River Runners trip. Do that before or after your time at the South Rim, not on the day you are spending there.

Havasu Falls, mentioned by holi_wood are not in the Grand Canyon national park; they are on Havasupai tribal land in a remote area well west of the South Rim. It is not a day hike to see the falls; it is an overnight hike that requires advance planning and reservations. Better to concentrate on Grand Canyon, Sedona, Page, maybe Lake Powell ( instead of Lake Mead).
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Jul 8th, 2012, 11:06 AM
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We just returned from a 7 night trip to Arizona, and Utah. We took a half-day smooth water float trip with Colorado River Discovery out of Page, AZ and it was fabulous!! I highly recommend it. We also combined this tour with a half-day hummer tour and toured the slot canyons in Page. It was truly a wonderful day. They provide you with lunch and it makes for a very memorable day!
Where you stay at the GC is going to depend on what is available at this late date. We stayed at the Yavapai Lodge on the south rim and made those reservations 10 months in advance. If I went again, I would prefer the Bright Angel Lodge or the El Tovar.
I would highly recommend going to Bryce Canyon National Park which is less than a two hour drive from Page. Then proceeding onto Zion National Park. Both are breathtaking! Good luck.
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Jul 8th, 2012, 07:25 PM
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Thank you so much for the great advice!! I don't seemed so overwhelmed now in planning the trip. I see an opening at Yavapai Lodge. I might snag that for now and hope something opens at Bright Angel or El Tovar.
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