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Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

New Jersey
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Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Hi All-

My wife and I are planning out our winter trip and have come up with the below itinerary. This will be done in The winter over a 2 week period. My wife has some dietary restrictions hence all the suites. Please let me know what you guys think.

Day 1: Fly into PHX. We are planning on hitting up a supermarket and cooking most of the day so my wife doesn't have to worry about finding food on the road.

Day 2: Petrified Forest & Painted Desert. We will probably back-track a bit and stay at La Posada in Winslow.

Day 3: Canyon De Chelly then up to Farmington. Planning on checking in at TownePlace Suites.

Day 4: Chaco Culture National Park. I noticed they won't be running guided tours. Can we cover enough on our own? We'll head back to Farmington for the night.

Day 5: Durango. I've heard this is a nice town to walk around. We were planning on taking the train but it won't be running. Any suggestions of things to see in or immediately outside of town? We will probably stay at Homewood Suites.

Day 6: Mesa Verde. Staying in Durango for the night.

Day 7: Monument Valley. It'll be a long drive. I would like to stay in the park. Any recommendations on which hotel (I hear there are two?)?

Day 8: more of Monument Valley and on to Page. Thinking of staying at the Comfort Inn.

Day 9: Zion. Not sure what the weather will be like for this. Back to Page for the night.

Day 10: Bryce Canyon. Again not sure of the weather. Back to Pagefor the night.

Day 11: Flagstaff then on to Sedona. Staying at Enchantment.

Day 12: Grand Canyon.

Day 13: hang out in Sedona

Day 14: more relaxing

Day 15: fly out of PHX

Question is she we stay up around Zion or Bryce that one night between? Also what to do in Durango?

Any thing we've missed or knowing the weather, anything we should change?

Thanks for the help!

-Scott

Phoenix, Arizona
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1. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

I think you're staying at way too many places, doing too much driving, and backtracking a LOT. With your current itinerary, you'd be driving over 2,200 miles. I recommend paring down your itinerary, and staying more days at fewer places. I would honestly take out Colorado, and focus on Arizona and Utah, and maybe some of New Mexico. (And to be honest, if I were going to New Mexico, I would definitely include Santa Fe.)

Regarding the backtracking, for example, Page is not recommended as a base for Zion and Bryce - you need at least a night each in both of those places; preferably 2 nights in Zion and 1 in Bryce, and a couple of nights in Page. Also, it doesn't make sense to go from Page to Flag, then to Sedona, and then to the Grand Canyon. Instead, make a loop from Page to the East entrance of the GC, spend a night inside the GCNP, then exit out the south (main) entrance, go back through Flagstaff, (Hwy 180 is recommended only if it isn't snowing) and then down into Sedona for at least 3 nights.

Also, do be aware that in some of your destinations, you could run into snowstorms, so keep an eye on the weather as it gets closer. We do get winter storms that sometimes close the highways for a day or two.

Check out some of the trip reports and itineraries on the Arizona forum, to get an idea of how people have planned their itineraries for an Arizona/Utah road trip. You could also post this on the Road Trips forum.

Phoenix, Arizona
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2. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Forgot that you asked about a hotel in MV - try to get a room at the View Hotel. Also, do make your reservations ASAP for the GC, Zion, and Bryce, as rooms can fill up quickly.

Also, when is this trip, exactly? If it's in late December or January, you might want to add a few days in the Southern part of Arizona, where it's much warmer and less likely to snow. Phoenix and Tucson are gorgeous in the winter, and there's a lot to do! :)

Edited: 07 October 2013, 02:49
Boston...
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3. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Agree with Hummingbird that it makes no sense to base yourself in Page for Zion and Bryce. Also, Farmington as a base for Canyon de Chelly? Farmington should not be a base for anything...it's a hellhole, an oil and gas town with absolutely nothing of interest (sorry to anyone from Farmington).

So, you're spending your first night in Phoenix, where you fly in. I think I'd drive the two hours to Flagstaff and stay there, so you have less driving on Day 2.

On Day 2, you have Petrified Forest / Painted Desert. These are drive-through type parks...if you really want to stay nearby, you might be better off in Holbrook backtracking to Winslow. But I'd push onto Canyon de Chelly (Thunderbird Lodge or whatever they call it now is very nice) so you have at least one night in the park. It's a peaceful, beautiful spot.

You've got some good advice for the rest of the trip. And you've picked great places!

Edited: 07 October 2013, 03:18
Uden, The...
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4. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Farmington is a good base for a visit to Chaco Canyon where the OP wants to go coming from CdC first. Not a hellhole at all and fairly good lodging there. Chaco Canyon requires driving dirtroads for a while so check fro driving in winter. Close to Farmington also are Bisti Badlands. In summer I would direct you via Buffalo Pass between CdC and Farmington but not with snow in winter.

Boston...
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5. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Farmington DOES have a big selection of rooms for the night, that's true. But it is an oil and gas town filled with roughnecks--maybe more of a consideration if you're a woman who likes to get out and walk around than if you're a couple that is just driving to a hotel and will stay put for the night. And the city itself has nothing to offer.

Read the police blotter of the Farmington Times sometime, or just Google "Farmington hate crimes." It's not a nice place.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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6. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Majnuni, it is more than two hours to Flagstaff. In fact it would be a long stressful drive after a flight from New Jersey.

sicklyscott, if you are going to the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest you should include Meteor Crater on that day. Three unique wonders in one spot on earth.

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7. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Doubling back to La Posada is very worth it. It is an experience in its own right, rather than just a place to sleep. And, very much a part of understanding the Southwest's history (plus fab food).

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8. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Thanks all for the responses. Spoke to the wife last night and we decidd to heed your warnings. There is a ton to see and we were quite overwhelmed to begin with. Trick is to keep in mind this should be a RELAXING vacation....something we typically forget about (last trip we ended up walking around Paris for 7 days almost non-stop).

Here's the new cut....

Day 1: Fly into PHX, food shopping and prepping food for the trip.

Day 2: Drive up to Winslow stopping at Metero Crater and taking our time along the way.

Day 3: Drive to Petrified Forresta nd Painted Dessert. As mentioned we'll make this a "drive through" tour and end up at Canyon De Chelly (probably stay at Days Inn in Chinle unless staying in the park with truly worthwhile.

Day 4: Canyon De Chelly tour.

Day 5: Drive up to Monument Valley, check in and do some site seeing.

Day 6: More discovery of Monutment Valley

Day 7: Move on to Page

Day 8: Page (not sure what to do exaclty yet here)

Day 9: Grand canyon )South or East rim)

Day 10: Grand Canyon (South or East rim)

Day 11: head down to Sedona

Day 12, 13, 14: Hang out in Sedona, enjoy the resort and surroundings.

Scottsdale, Arizona
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9. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

What time do you arrive and where are you staying in Phoenix? There might be something close by that is a must see.

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10. Re: Itinerary help please (2 weeks in the SW)

Scott, that itinerary looks much better! :) Regarding the Grand Canyon, there isn't an "east rim", there is just an East entrance, which you'll be using since you'll be coming from Page. When you enter from that east side, your first view of the Canyon will be at Desert View, and then there are a number of other overlooks where you can stop along that entrance road, which is AZ 64. Your eventual destination is the South Rim Village, which is where all the hotels are located. Plan at least 2-3 hours, including stops, to get to the Village. For more info, take a look at the GC maps on the NPS website, once it's up and running again.

In Page, you can see Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Glen Canyon dam, etc.:

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g60834-Activitie…

In Sedona, definitely do a Pink Jeep Tour, go hiking, see the Chapel of the Holy Cross, visit Red Rock State Park, wander the shops at Tlaquepaque. etc.:

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g31352-Activitie…

Have a great trip, let us know if you have more questions!