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FLmom Sep 12th, 2006 11:23 AM

If you had an extra 2 hours on your way from PHX to the Grand Canyon how would you use it?
Because I will not be returning via PHX my drive from the airport to the Grand Canyon will be a one way trip. I've been thinking about hitting Montezumaís Castle then cutting over to Sedona for a scenic drive up 89A. Or maybe making a beeline for Flagstaff and catching 89 to Sunset Crater and Wupatki, then enter the GC through the east. I'm sure we won't be disappointed with the view even if we just head straight up through the south. Iíd really like to see a pueblo, but these boards are full of comments about the Sedona area and Iím not sure what to do with the extra time. What do you think?

P.S. Google Earth shows 89A getting high and curvy before Flagstaff and Iím not sure about driving that road.

OO Sep 12th, 2006 12:30 PM

If you've never been to Sedona, I would, at the very least, drive through it. The surrounding red rocks are amazingly beautiful.

89A isn't all that bad. We've done it several times as flatlander Floridians, and heights bother me a lot. This did not--it is a not to be missed drive.

My preference after that is Wupatki, which I enjoyed far more than Sunset Crater. Have forgotten now how long it took us to go through, but I think you are still well within your time frame, even if you decide to stop in Sedona.

Walnut Canyon is another quick and fascinating sidetrip.

Montezuma's Castle was interesting too, but you are right up in the ruins at Wupatki, rather than viewing from a distance, and I found it more impressive. In that stark arid landscape, you'll wonder how that culture possibly thrived in that location.

emd Sep 12th, 2006 12:40 PM

Unless you have a real fear of heights and roads w/drops offs, you'll be fine on 89A. I will not drive it at night (no lights, too narrow and high towards Flagstaff for no lights for me) but it is fine during daylight and everyone goes the speed limit. I've never had anyone try to pass me or get upset w/me for driving the speed limit on that road and for slowing down on the curves as it goes higher towards Flag.

laurieb_nyny Sep 12th, 2006 12:53 PM

I concur with the above advice. Wupatki & Sunset Crater (North of Flag) will not take that long either as they are on the same loop road.

Be sure to stop at the top of the switchbacks on the 89A at the Oak Creek Canyon overlook.

FLmom Sep 12th, 2006 02:10 PM

Are you guys saying that I could cut over and catch Sedona and still have time to drive by Sunset Crater and loop around and check out the ruins at Wupatli? That would be ideal, but I don't wnat to be freaked about getting to Bright Angle Lodge before dark.

bbqboy Sep 12th, 2006 02:17 PM

I still like Arcosanti for a couple of hours.
It's unique.
You'll be seein' lots of rocks, but there's only one Paolo Soleri.

TheWeasel Sep 12th, 2006 02:33 PM

FLmom - Where are you going after the Grand Canyon? Instead of trying (and maybe failing) to fit all this in on the drive from PHX, you could do some of it after you leave GC. If you're headed out the east entrance towards Page, then Wupatki/Sunset Crater aren't too terribly far out of the way. Or, if you're headed to Las Vegas, you could head down to Sedona on the way. That doesn't mean you can't do some stuff on the way to GC from PHX, but it would give you a little extra time to spend on each stop.

pollyvw Sep 12th, 2006 02:46 PM

Upfront...I have not been to Wupatki.

We have done the Phoenix, Montezuma, Sedona, Flagstaff, Sunset Crater, Grand Canyon drive more than once. In fact, I have entered GC from both directions and prefer the Eastern entry. Driving up the interstate, you can see the Painted Dessert on the horizon. Loved Montezuma's Castle. Just beyond MC at a different interstate exit is a site called Montezuma's Well which was the source of water (according to legend) for the castle dwellers. It is unique in itself.

89A, high and curvy before Flagstaff? Yes, but not treacherous and definitely worth the drive.

I checked this route on mapquest:

Phoenix airport
Montezuma's Castle
Sunset Crater
Bright Angel Lodge

Without stops:
Total Est. Time: 5 hours, 33 minutes Total Est. Distance: 270.25 miles

Directly to Bright Angel Lodge from airport via Flagstaff and Route 64:

Total Est. Time: 3 hours, 54 minutes Total Est. Distance: 232.04 miles

traveller69 Sep 12th, 2006 03:07 PM

Just a word of caution here. If you want to see Sedona and time gets a little tight - backtrack to 17 instead of going up 89A. It is beautiful if you have the time but it is very very slow but worth the drive if you have lots of time.

FLmom Sep 13th, 2006 02:42 PM

Hey, thanks for the input posters. I've decided to keep it simple and stop at Wupatki to see the ruins and enter the Grand Canyon from the east.

As much as I would love to drive through Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon I think it would make me too tight.

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