Hiking in Flagstaff and Sedona

Flagstaff, Route 66, & Sedona- DAY 5 & 6

Flagstaff

A’a Trail- Easy, 0.2 miles

Lenox Canyon Trail- Moderate, 1.5 miles

After spending the 4th of July in the small town of Kaibab, Arizona, we made our way toward Flagstaff. After setting up the RV, we decided it was time for a hike.

Hiking Sunset Crater Volcano National Park
A’a Trail

After surveying the nearby area, we went to the Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. We decided to start by “hiking” the A’a Trail. It’s really more of a casual stroll than a hike. You will wind your way through the lava field and take in the black formations along the path. Stop and press your foot on some of the small groups of rock. It has some give and feels like rubber.

 

After wandering through the lava trail, we crossed the street to hike the Lenox Crater Trail. The path itself is ashy, and it can be hard to get a good grip on the uphill trek. Walking sticks can be helpful for this portion.

Travel to Arizona Hiking Flagstaff
Lenox Crater Trail

When you wind your way up toward the top, you will find yourself peering at an all black ash field on the other side. The black soil makes perfect circles around the trees in the field almost as if it were purposely landscaped that way. It is certainly a unique view to behold.

Route 66

Small Town Route 66 Arizona
Williams, Arizona

That night we drove to the town of Williams on Route 66 for dinner. The town itself is exactly what I imagined, mimicking the small town in the movie Cars. It has lots of cute shops and really leans into the Route 66 theme. You can find lots of unique souvenirs. As the sun started to set and our stomachs grumbled, we ventured off in search of dinner. We settled on Station 66 Italian Bistro. I had been craving a big plate of spaghetti and meatballs, so I was more than satisfied with my meal.

The end of our dinner was interrupted by two cowboys Continue reading “Flagstaff, Route 66, & Sedona- DAY 5 & 6”

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Grand Canyon Travel

My Trip out West- An Overview

Thing I learned while in the deserts of Utah and Arizona out West…

  1. I was ALWAYS thirsty.
  2. My skin was so dry, my cheeks started peeling.
  3. The cell phone service SUCKS.
  4. No humidity works wonders for my curly hair.
  5. Don’t even think about lighting a fire.
  6. AND MOST IMPORTANTLY… They have some of the most kick-ass landscapes I have ever seen.

I can honestly say that it is a completely different world out there. The towering mountains were a drastic change from the endless flat that is the state of Florida. While I have certainly seen lush green mountains in Pennsylvania and impressive seaside cliffs in Australia, nothing had prepared me for the red canyons and breathtaking rock structures that towered over the Utah and Arizona desert. It was a sight that thanks to modern technology, I wasn’t shocked to see but still in awe. “Wow” became my word of the week as I struggled to find others that fit the inspiring views from our many hiking adventures.

We went from the lush mountains of Zion to the stunning red architecture of Bryce Canyon Nation Park. We spent a day admiring the never-ending views of the North Rim of The Grand Canyon, and then ventured to smaller hikes near Flagstaff and Sedona. Everywhere we looked, new exciting and unique views were laid out before us.

And these red mountains and glorious landscapes were everywhere, not just in the parks! They were so commonplace that small towns had them as a forgettable backdrop from their everyday activities. You could drive for miles (like we did) and continue to stumble upon these giant red clusters and expansive forests. They were probably more common than the towns themselves.

The West became an incredible treat for the eyes showcasing a truly unique experience that cannot be found anywhere else on Earth.

Travel to Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon North Rim- DAY 3

On our third day out West, we ventured from Utah to Arizona to see the Grand Canyon. Because it was the week of the 4th of July and crowds were a guarantee, we opted to go to the North Rim. According to the U.S. National Park Service, the North Rim “is visited by only 10% of all Grand Canyon visitors.” It is also only open from May 15 to October 15 because of snow. If you are not looking to deal with crowds or fight other tourists for the best picture spots, the North Rim is a good alternative.

Buffalo in The Grand CanyonWe went later in the day to catch the sunset. Upon entering the park, we were immediately greeted by a herd of buffalo casually grazing not far from the road. It was a good way to start off our time in the park. After a few minutes of admiration for the animals, we made our way up through the woods until we got to the lodge and the visitor center. The area has gift shops, restaurants, ice cream, and restrooms, but at this point, we were just interested in the view.

Bright Angel Point Trial

Bright Angel Point Trail- Easy, 0.07 round trip 

Our first stop was Bright Angel Point Trail which starts right by the lodge. It is not really a hike, more of a scenic stroll where you can overlook the canyon from different angles. While I do not like heights, this did not scare me (as long as I didn’t stray too close to the edge). The walk can be narrow in places, but there were only a handful of other people on the trail at the same time. When you reach the actual Bright Angel Point, you will have an almost 360 degree view of the canyon stretched out before you.

The magnificence of the canyon is simply stunning. It seems to go on in every direction forever. There really is no name more fitting than The Grand Canyon. The rock formations rise and fall over one another filling your view. You will see plateaus and mountains of reds, browns, and whites dotted with green from the trees.  While Bryce Canyon National Park was still my favorite national park we visited, The Grand Canyon was certainly a must see when traveling based on the sheer size of it alone.

Point Imperial

After soaking in that view, it was off to the next lookout with new sites to take in. We drove to the highest point on the North Rim, Point Imperial, to see the eastern side of the canyon. (Note- There is no shuttle service within the park and the lookouts can be miles apart.)

Travel Blog Grand Canyon North Rim
View from Point Imperial

Personally, Point Imperial was my favorite view of The Grand Canyon. As you walk to the lookout, the Painted Desert will be to your left. Continue reading “The Grand Canyon North Rim- DAY 3”

Travel Blog Bryce Canyon

Bryce Canyon National Park- DAY 2

Our second day in Utah was a trip to Bryce Canyon National Park. While Zion and The Grand Canyon seem to be the stars, Bryce stole the show in my book. We all agreed it was Travel Blog Utah Archesour favorite part of the trip. The drive there alone was a site to see. We weaved our way through the Red Canyons stopping to take pictures of the magnificent red giants towering over the road. You may also stumble upon a few of Utah’s arches which act as tunnels for passing cars. What I didn’t know at the time was that these clay towers were just a glimpse into the red city awaiting us at Bryce.

The first stop at Bryce was Sunrise Point and all I can say is wow. Reds, peaches, whites, and greens dot the horizon as far as the eyes can see stretching to meet the bright blue sky and the white clouds above. Red hills span in layers overlapping and blending together.

Red Rocks Bryce Canyons

The landscape is so unique it makes you pause to entertain the saddening thought that you may never experience something like this again. While you may immediately pull out your phone to capture and share the view, make sure you also take the time to absorb the moment without any cameras. Just gazing out onto the expansive scenery is a sublime reminder of our own irrelevance on this enormous planet. Mother Nature must smile down upon Bryce Canyon watching as the arrogant and busy humans are silenced by the ethereal view before them.

And we haven’t even started hiking yet…

Continue reading “Bryce Canyon National Park- DAY 2”

The Narrows Travel Blog

Zion National Park- DAY 1

The Narrows

The Narrows- Stop 9, hike as far as you like (we hiked for about an hour and didn’t make it all that far)

Get off at the 9th stop with the Temple of Sinawava, and make your way on the short trail to The Narrows. The Narrows is an upstream battle through the Virgin River that while unique is certainly harder than expected. Before going on the hike, I remember laughing about how it was categorized as strenuous. On a hot day in Utah, The Narrows can serve as a cool oasis in the desert, but you probably won’t make it as far as you had hoped. While I was resistant to the nerdy appearance of the hiking poles, they are a must on this hike, especially if you are as graceful as a newborn giraffe like me. Backtracking and walking downstream is much easier, but the rocks may still be slippery. Be wary where you tread. You may find yourself like my mother wading out into water that comes up to your stomach. Being the most popular hike at Zion National Park, The Narrows had the added pleasure of careening your way through the many other eager hikers. Granted, we did go the week of July 4th, but expect a crowd.

If you don’t have the best water shoes, don’t sweat it. The hot desert air will dry your shoes and keep you from noticing the wrinkles in your feet. If you have the time, I would taking a few minutes to dry our your feet after and change your socks, but I did without just fine.

The Grotto & The Emerald Pools

Continue reading “Zion National Park- DAY 1”