This past July our family took a trip to see some of the national parks and many amazing sights in Arizona, Utah, and Nevada.
I spent hours and hours researching on message boards, trip reviews, and reading information online on how to plan this trip.
After our trip, I had so many friends ask me about my itinerary. I had an itinerary in my phone notes but went in to make more detailed notes with friends!
So here is our trip report!
We arrived in Phoenix and it was well over 100 degrees at 9pm!
It was a 1 hour 50 min trip from Phoenix airport to Sedona. The road is not well lit and two coyotes ran out in front of us. Went to bed so we could get up by 7:30am for our Pink Jeep tour!
We got up and got to look around our VRBO which we loved. It was walking distance to the town and the Pink Jeep headquarters.
We grabbed some breakfast sandwiches and coffee from Before and After Java Cafe next door.
We went on the Pink Jeep Broken Arrow tour. It was a two hour tour. We all loved it!
We grabbed lunch at 89 Agave after the tour. It was about a block away. The food was amazing and the margaritas were great as well.
It was 11 min to Chapel of the Holy Cross. I had read about how bad parking was but we got there around 12:30 and we didn’t have to park far away at all. It was so pretty inside. We went in and said a prayer.
It was 22 min to Slide rock state park from there. The sign said the parking was full but we pulled in anyway and there were probably at least 5-7 parking spaces open. We stayed for maybe an hour until it started thundering, and I made us leave in fears of a flash flood.
We stopped in Tlaquepaque Village to walk around before heading back. There are a lot of unique shops and restaurants in this cute little center.
We headed back to shower for our reservation for dinner.
We had a Mariposa reservation at 7pm (1.1 miles from house-3 min drive). I made the reservation about 6 months prior. It was one of the most beautiful views we ever had at a restaurant. The food was great, and they brought us a special dessert since our 21st anniversary was that week.
My daughter and I started the day with a run and a walk through Tlaquepaque again and through downtown Sedona.
We had breakfast at the Wildflower cafe, which is extremely similar to Panera.
We began our trip to the Grand Canyon 2 hr 11 min.
Thankfully we stopped in Flagstaff for gas and some snacks because we literally didn’t see one gas station or store between Flagstaff and the Grand Canyon! It pretty much was a desolate drive through the Navajo Nation.
The Grand Canyon was absolutely amazing and overwhelming. Words cannot describe the vastness and beauty.
We spent a few hours hiking and walking around. It was overwhelming how it just kept going and going.
We began our drive to Page-2 hr 13 min.
We continued to see the Grand Canyon for a good portion of our drive towards Page through the Navajo Nation.
We stopped at a little place on the side of the road and met a Native American woman who was selling jewelry. We got some beautiful jewelry and some jerky. She had moved back to the area she grew up in with her teenage boys from Texas so they could learn about their history and go to the reservation school. It was so interesting to speak to her and learn about how hard it was to set up a house and it took 3 years to even get a water hookup.
Eventually we arrived in Page, which was a bit underwhelming as a city. We expected a bit more considering Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend all were in this town.
Our VRBO was within ten minutes of everything and very clean.
We went to dinner at Grand Canyon Brewing Company which was a really cool building and good food and drinks.
We got up early to be at Wilderness River Adventures by 6:15am-5 min drive 1.9 miles.
We had to go through a TSA check and metal detectors because we would be arriving at Glen Canyon Dam.
We took a bus to the dam and loaded onto our little boats, which kind of looked like a motorized raft.
We had a really cool guide who didn’t talk our ears off but gave us some really interesting tidbits and pointed out all the wildlife.
We got to take a little break halfway to get in the water, go to the bathroom, and see Petroglyphs.￼
We were done by 11am after taking a 45 min trip on a bus back to the headquarters.
We got lunch/brunch at Ranch House Grille. Some of us had sandwiches and some breakfast. It was a pretty good lunch, kind of like a diner.
Next we headed to Antelope Canyon since we had a reservation for our tour. We chose Dixie’s Tour.
It was absolutely amazing! Our guide was awesome and took time to take amazing photos of our family.
First we had to walk down many steps and turn backwards and go down like a ladder. If you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights, it may bother you.
We went to Horseshoe Bend next to look down where we had taken our boat tour earlier that day.
It was packed! It was also a gorgeous view. It’s a pretty long walk from the parking lot to the overlook, so be prepared for a long walk.
By that time we were exhausted and got takeout from Big John’s Texas BBQ.
We got up and I made breakfast from some groceries I picked up at Walmart the night before. We headed to Zion National Park.
We stopped in the cute little town of Kanab for lunch at an authentic Mexican restaurant called Escobar’s. It was excellent.
We made it to Springdale and headed into the park to check in at Zion Lodge. I had made my reservation about 11 months prior for Zion Lodge, and I am so happy we did!
We headed to get our rentals at Zion Outfitters in Springdale for our Narrows hike tomorrow.
We headed back to the lodge to hike around and go in the water by the entrance to the Emerald Pools Trail.
We ate dinner at the Red Rock Grille in the lodge. After dinner we sat on the outdoor patio balcony area and had a drink and watched the wildlife on the lawn.
The shuttles were done and no vehicles are allowed in the park in the summer except guests at Zion Lodge, so by evening it is so quiet.
We got to bed early to be ready for the Narrows!
We got up at 5:30am and had the breakfast buffet at 6:30am at Red Rock Grille. After that we headed to hike the Narrows!
We packed our car up since we had to check out but you are allowed there all day your day of checkout.
We took the shuttle to stop 9 and took Riverside Walk to the water.
It was not that crowded but we were hiking really early.
Our goal was to make it to Wall Street. We ended up going a good portion past Wall Street and took the path to the right for awhile after Wall Street.
It gets about waist deep at times. I’m so glad we rented our boots and poles from Zion Outfitters. I also bought a dry backpack from Amazon for about $20, and it was so worth it because the water was up to our waists in many portions. I can’t imagine doing this hike without the poles. The rocks are covered with algae and are very slick.
We ended up going 7.2 miles and it was about 3 hours and 50 min.
On our way back between 10-11am, it began to get really crowded and by the time we got on the bus to head to our car, it was packed heading in!
My suggestion is to start by 7am if you want to get past Wall Street.
When finished we returned the items to Zion Outfitters and got lunch at Zion Canyon Brew Pub after cleaning up. The guys paid to use the showers at Zion Outfitters. We took towels and clean clothes to change into.
It was 2 hours 45 min to Vegas.
We dropped off our rental car so we wouldn’t have to pay for parking and checked into Bellagio.
We went to the pools at Bellagio every day.
We were not really comfortable leaving the property and being on the streets of Vegas, so we stayed mainly at Bellagio and Caesar’s. Our favorite meal was at Lavo at Venetian and thought Hell’s Kitchen was overrated!
If we would do this trip again, I would stay off the strip and at JW Marriott or Green Valley Ranch which are a little bit away from the strip. Vegas has really gone downhill since our last time there. The prevalent smell of marijuana and the chaos on the strip with a possible active shooter our first night which ended up being someone throwing a rock through the glass doors of MGM all combined to make us a little uneasy for this leg of our trip.
It really was such an epic trip! Our kids were at the perfect age (18, 16, and 13). There was very little bickering and no whining and complaining. Everyone was excited to see the next part of the trip. It was such a nice time to spend together before our oldest went off to college.
If you have any questions, let me know, and I can try to answer them!