Arizona Trip in September

Mar 10th, 2012, 09:25 AM
  #1  
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Arizona Trip in September

I'm trying to plan a fall trip and one of the options is Arizona. The others are New England and Vieques. There are pros and cons to each, but on this thread I want to focus on Arizona. The pros are the better weather and fewer crowds and the cons are limited time.

I was originally trying to plan a 10 night trip, so Southern Utah was part of the itinerary, but hubby doesn't want to give up the vacation days required. Now we're looking at 7-8 nights. We would most likely fly into Phoenix, but I'm not sure if we will spend any time there. I would like to see Taliesin West, but that might throw off the rest of the trip too much.

Must do's:
Grand Canyon (at least one night)
Sedona (at least 2 nights)

Options:
Jerome
Prescott
Flagstaff
Meteor Crater
Oak Creek Canyon
Anteloupe Canyon
Wupatki National Monument
Hopi Reservation
Monument Valley
Canyon de Chelly
Petrified Forest
Montezuma Castle
Painted Desert

Would love your opinions. We like hiking, but nothing very strenuous or of more than 2-3 hrs duration. I have bad knees and broke my foot several years ago which makes me a little tentative with any major rock climbing, etc.
Deb15July is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 10:31 AM
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Do you want to spend a night in Prescott or just an hour or 2?
Prescott would work for the first night if you didn't leave the airport by noon. US 60 to Wickenburg then 89 to Prescott. Rt. 89 north from Prescott to I-40 east to Williams. From Williams north to the South Rim GC . After Grand Canyon east to Cameron on US 89 then north to US 160 east to US 163 for your drive through Monument Valley. When you reach US 191 you can decide if you have time to see 1 thing in Utah. If you don't, just head south to Canyon de Chelly. Next stop is Petrified Forest NP. The Painted Desert is part of it. Next stop (1 hour?) would be the meteor crater south of I-40. From there to Sedona. Visit Jerome on the way back to Phoenix from Sedona. If you have the time, you might want to visit "Out of Africa" near Camp Verde.
tomfuller is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 10:37 AM
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Sept in the southwest is a very popular time, not sure the crowds will be less, especially in AZ where August is hell like temps.
DebitNM is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 02:00 PM
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I live in Arizona and honestly, given your 3 choices, I'd go to New England in September (something I've actually done several times, with trips to Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire). It's over 100 F in Phoenix pretty much all of Sept and part of Oct, and still hot in the higher elevation places you mention.

If you can wait until mid-October then I'd say definitely come to Arizona, but in September I'd prefer New England.
Bill_H is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 03:21 PM
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You can visit Talisen West - in the north part of Phoenix/Scottsdale (fairly close to the freeway) - and then still make it to Sedona (2? more hours) for the night - if you get into Phoenix say by noon/early afternoon.

We also liked the Meteor Crater - an hour east of Flagstaff - and if you don't want to go all the way over to the Canyon de Chelly - you could stop by the Navajo National Monument (about 3 hours from the GC - just west of Kaitana - which is the entrance to Monument Valley) to see some Cliff Dweller ruins. http://www.nps.gov/nava/index.htm
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 03:25 PM
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This map gives you an idea of the route from the GC to Kayantia (sp)

http://tinyurl.com/8xx7lht
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 04:34 PM
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As Bill H said, Arizona is HOT in September, not a great month.
HappyTrvlr is online now  
Mar 10th, 2012, 05:53 PM
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Well...we could do our trip in October and that might actually be a better time work wise. So now I need to figure out if it should be AZ or NE.

Bill...which of the three states you mentioned was your favorite. I'm having a hard time coming up with an itinerary for just 7 nights.
Deb15July is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 07:32 PM
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Well...we could do our trip in October and that might actually be a better time work wise.

Sometime roughly mid-Oct the Phoenix temps drop to the high 90's (which is actually very pleasant because it's so dry) and it's in the 70's and 80's in most places on your list. This would be an ideal time to visit AZ places like Sedona, GC, Monument Valley, etc, not very crowded either.

A bit earlier, say last week in Sept or first week in Oct, I love to go to Colorado (which wasn't on your list but thought I'd toss it in, that's where Arizona people like to go when it's hot in AZ), where the aspens are turning colors in the mountains. Because it's relatively close to us our favorite area is SW Colorado, say the Durango - Telluride - Ouray loop. This is beautiful mountain country with a lot to do, but a bit crowded that time of year. Also harder to fly into non-stop.

For New England, in Maine we liked the coast between Portland and Bar Harbor, especially Bar Harbor and Acadia NP. This was good say mid-Sept +/- a week, summer crowds are gone but weather hasn't turned foul yet.

In Vermont and NH we were there mainly to photograph the fall colors in early thru mid-Oct but hit a lot of rain and the crowds are off-putting, especially on weekends. Beautiful places but too crowded because they are close to huge population centers.

You also mentioned Vieques ... haven't been but I wouldn't go in the fall because it's hurricane season.

I'm having a hard time coming up with an itinerary for just 7 nights

For your AZ list in your opening post you could hit everything by doing something like a night or two in Sedona, one night at the GC, one night at Page, one night or two at Monument Valley, one night in Chinle for Canyon de Chelly, then back to say Scottsdale for the last night before you fly out ... 6-8 nights ...

This would allow you to visit every place on your list, with mostly short drives (2-4 hours, ideally mid-day) between stops except for about 6 hours from de Chelly back to Scottsdale or Phoenix the last full day. Or you could just pick three places (say Sedona, GC, MV or Page or CdC, or Page plus one of CdC and MV) and have a more relaxed pace but miss some of the places on your list.
Bill_H is offline  
Mar 10th, 2012, 07:57 PM
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Great info Bill. I really want to go out west, but for some reason my husband is not really enthused with that idea. He tends to do that...so I drag him places and he loves them. LOL

I'm glad to hear you think the things on my list are reasonable with 7-8 nights. I'm going to try to convince him that we should try the trip in October.

You're right on the money with Vieques...I don't know why I forgot about hurricane season running that long. You'd think I'd remember these things since I grew up in Miami! We'd have to go in November for that locale and to coincide with a new moon (for Bio Bay)it would have to be mid-Nov.
Deb15July is offline  
Mar 11th, 2012, 03:19 PM
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If you can go to Vieques in Mid Nov, go, whatever other trips you do. vieques and the bio bay are not long for the world in their current state, I fear.
jubilada is online now  
Mar 11th, 2012, 06:53 PM
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Get thee out West - and I would opt for another night at the Grand Canyon - v. going all the way over to Canyon de Chelly, but hey - we all have our opinions.

Would also agree - Colorado in Sep - including Pikes Peak by Colorado Springs - can rival the turning of the leaves in New England - bus shuush - that's heresy you know!!!

Of course - since I went to the AF Academy - I might be a bit biased.

http://www.springsgov.com/sectionind...x?sectionid=18
Tomsd is offline  
Mar 12th, 2012, 10:50 AM
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>>> For your AZ list in your opening post you could hit everything by doing something like a night or two in Sedona, one night at the GC, one night at Page, one night or two at Monument Valley, one night in Chinle for Canyon de Chelly, then back to say Scottsdale for the last night before you fly out ... 6-8 nights ... >>>

This is a great itinerary, and very similar to one I did 2 years ago in April. I'd definitely say at least 2 nights in Sedona, especially since you like hiking (I stayed 3 nts. and wished I'd stayed longer); 2 at the GC. 1 night in Page.

One night is sufficient in Monument Valley. You can leave Page in late morning/early pm and arrive there before sunset - in time for a drive around the buttes. The next day you can do a morning hike on the Wildcat Trail, then leave around noon, go north through the Valley of the Gods, then head to Chinle and arrive in late afternoon, in plenty of time to explore the canyon. You'd have time the next day for a morning hike down to the White House ruins, and then drive to Scottsdale for the last night. 8 nights.

Although it sounds hectic on paper, it's really not. Driving in AZ, especially in these areas, is a pleasure, and you'll have plenty of time to get from place to place. I did it on my own and it was very relaxing and I never felt rushed.

I'd really try not to miss the Canyon de Chelly. It was recommended to me on Fodor's and turned out to be one of my favorite places on the trip.

Petrified Forest/Painted Desert is just a drive through, with maybe a brief stop somewhere.

I spent 2 nights in Winslow at the end of my trip then headed to Scottsdale for the last night.
panecott is offline  
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