Ultimate road trip through the Grand Canyon and National Parks

When asked on www.Quora.com, the question and answer community, “What is something every person should experience in a lifetime?  Not surprising, one of the answers was to see the Grand Canyon. 
More than 10 million people visit the Grand Canyon annually along with several million going onto Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park.  There is a lot to see and do, and hundreds of miles to cover.  If time permits, suggest adding a couple extra stops to enhance the trip and get the most from the area. 

Coined, the “The Grand Loop”, consider starting in Sedona, then go onto the Grand CanyonLake PowellBryceZion National Park and finish in Las Vegas.  Its a packed itinerary that combines luxury hotels, park lodges, hiking, biking, golfing, ATVing and Vegas nightlife.  The average drive time between the suggested destinations is a comfortable 2-3 hours. 
Grand canyon and national parks grand loop itinerary.

Sedona.  Hotel, Enchantment Resort and Spa.  Activities: Pink Jeep Ruin Tour, Golf at Seven Canyons, associated with the Enchantment.

Sedona is an early highlight.  The Enchantment Resort is surrounded by vermillion-colored rock formations in Boynton Canyon There is ample hiking, biking, golfing and ruin tours.  Hourly activities from watercolor painting to wine tasting will keep everyone busy.

Grand Canyon.   Hotel, El Tovar Activities: Grand Canyon Airlines TourMule rides and river rafting.

The Grand Canyon has limited lodging options, with the best being the El Tovar, a historic National Park hotel founded in 1906.  Rooms are limited, you need to book 6-8 months out for the best availability.  The hotel sits on the edge of the South Rim.  Its location provides excellent sunrise and sunset views and is a good starting point for many of the popular hiking trails.  If you want to get a feel for the sheer size of the 277 mile long canyon you should consider a helicopter or private flight over the canyon.

Grand Canyon
Lake Powell.  Hotel, Lake Powell Resorts. Activities: fishing, day boat rentals at Lake Powell Marina, Antelope Canyon lower slot tour.

Lake Powell is the second largest man made reservoir on the Colorado River, straddling the border between Utah and Arizona.  If you don’t have time to rent a houseboat, rent daily power boats and water toys instead.  A couple days on the lake is a perfect way to experience a fraction of the 2,000 miles of shoreline and see the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the largest natural stone bridge in the world.   Don’t miss a walking tour through the lower Antelope slot canyon, with its breathtaking twisted red rocks.
Lake Powell Marina
Bryce Canyon.  Hotel, Bryce Canyon Grand Hotel, Best Western (that’s about as good as it gets in Bryce J).  Activities: horseback riding, evening Rodeo.

Bryce is known for its Hoodoos, odd-shaped pillars of rock left standing from the forces of erosion.  It’s not a canyon, rather a collection of amphitheaters filled with various spires and hoodoos.  Truly amazing scenery, like no other.  Decent lodging is limited, but the hiking and scenery make up for it.  Held nightly Wednesday through Saturday is the Bryce Canyon Rodeo, not to be missed.
Bryce Amphitheater
 Zion National Park.  Hotel, Zion Lodge.  Activities: Pink Sand Dunes ATV Tours.

 “Zion” means a place of peace and refuge. The canyon is home to more than 146,000 acres of cliffs, canyons, diverse plant and animal life.  A hikers dream with many trails going through streams, waterfalls and rivers, a truly unique experience.  The town outside the park has charming restaurants and bars and other lodging options.  The “Zion Canyon Scenic Drive” into the park is unbelievable. 
Zion National Park
Las Vegas.  Hotel the Bellagio, we choose this because its kid friendly.  Activities  in Vegas range from lounging pool side to rollercoaster rides.  

Ending in Las Vegas provides a much needed dose of relaxation, good food, nightlife and something for everyone.  It is a short three hour drive from Zion.

Whether you choose to be adventurous and do the Grand Loop or just visit the National Parks, you won’t be disappointed as it truly is an experience of a lifetime.


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