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Sedona and Grand Canyon

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Sedona and Grand Canyon

My husband and I are planning a trip to Arizona in August. We love nature, outdoor activities and I love photography. Looking for some helpful suggestions to do in the area.

We fly into Phoenix on Sunday in August, pick up rental car and then driving to Sedona to spend 4 nights. I am not sure what to do while we are there. I am thinking sunset jeep tour (Pink jeep tour seems most popular) on one night. Are they worth the expense?

Are there good places to drive to on our own where we can see the sights and get great pictures on our own. From the sounds of it hiking is pretty much out that time of year since I hear it is too hot to do too much.

Also was looking into tour companies that will pick you up in the early morning, drive you to Glen Canyon for smooth water rafting, then you get back to Sedona at night. Is 12 hour day and pretty expensive. Didn't know if it was worth sacrificing a day to do this, if it was worth the long trip.

Should we take a day trip to Flagstaff area? Worth driving there for the day?

So, after spending 4 nights in Sedona, we are going to drive to Grand Canyon and spend 2 nights at Best Western. Sounds like we can pretty much do it all on our own, drive around -- any tours that are recommended that we should do? Too hot to do any hiking then?

After we leave there we are going to drive to Scottsdale, spend the night and our flight leaves late morning the next day. Any spots we should hit on our drive from GC to Scottsdale?

Any help or suggestions if appreciated! This is my dream trip - I have always wanted to go to Arizona (might consider moving there in the future) want to make sure we don't miss anything of "must see" quality!

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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1. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

You've got the makings of a great trip planned. You'll find plenty to do while you're here in Sedona. I do recommend a Pink Jeep Tour although it doesn't have to be for sunset. There are several good options for sunset viewing in the area. One of my favorites is the airport noll on Airport Rd. You need to remember though that sunsets in Sedona are not about watching the sun set in the sky, but rather, it's about watching what the sunlight does to the rocks in the eastward direction. There's a short period when the rocks seem to light up from within from the filtered sunlight in the west.

Hiking is still and should be an option for you. Plan to do your hiking early in the day. The hottest time of day is usually late in the afternoon around 4-5 o'clock. And even so, in August our highs are in the 90s, but without humidity it feels like 80s in New York. You shouldn't have any problems. Also, if you choose to do some hiking in Oak Creek Canyon, the temperatures are cooler and the canyon is mostly wooded so you will be in shaded areas and cooler that way too.

If you want to do a Glen canyon float trip, you can save time and money by driving there yourself. It's an easy drive, allow about 3 hours each way. The scenery along the river is beautiful, and makes a good introduction to what you'll be seeing when you visit the Grand Canyon. You'll pass by Flagstaff on your way to Glen Canyon. Personally I enjoy the scenery around Sedona more.

Yes, you can do your own touring at the Grand Canyon. You'll be given plenty of maps and guide information when you enter the park. Just make sure that you are there for sunset, and if possible a sunrise. (Sunrise may be more challenging since you're staying outside of the park.) Again, hiking is a good option but plan to do it earlier in the day. Hikes along the rim are simple and you can do as much or as little as you choose. If you intend to hike down into the GC, remember to take plenty of water and plan to take twice as much time climbing back up as it does for you to hike down.

Not much to see on your way back down to Scottsdale, so plan to just get there and maybe explore that area that afternoon or evening. You'll feel as though you've returned to civilization and the urban sprall. Plenty of traffic, restaurants and shopping there if you want.

Catlin, Illinois
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2. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

We were in Sedona last July. While it was hot, we did early morning hikes. Saying that, do wear sun screen, where a hat and keep hydrated.

Go to the vistors center in downtown Sedona. You can buy your Red Rock pass there. It is staffed with local people who will help pick out the best hikes for you.

While you are there, go up to the airport. There are great views there.

There is no humidity to speak of in Sedona, so you should tolorate the heat well.

GC is 2000 ft higher that Sedona and cooler.

Take an extra chip for your camera, you will need it!

Manassas, VA
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3. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

I was in Phoenix, Sedona and GC during August last year and I was quite comfortable in both Sedona, Williams and GC. I never left the resort in Phoenix ;o)

If you click on my profile, you can find all of my AZ reviews.

I really enjoyed the drive back from Sedona to Phoenix. I stopped in Jerome and Prescott.

I also loved the Sugar Bowl Ice Cream Parlor in Scottsdale which is in a nice little shopping center that is great for walking around (it's a few minutes from the airport).

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4. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

A nice place to include while in Sedona would be Red Rock Crossing. It's a state park and the area is lovely. There are picnic tables, restrooms and of course the creek. It is located behind Cathedral Rock and has awesome views. You can walk across the creek on huge flat rocks. Kids wade and swim there. A very nice spot and also walking trails.

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5. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

We did a trip very similiar to yours in November.Just loved it and the advice on this site was invaluable.

While in Sedona I suggest

A trip to the Chapel of the Holy Cross

Pink Jeep Tour (Broken Arrow)

A drive thru Oak Creek Canyon,Flagstaff didnt do anything for me

A stroll thru Telepaque

Sunset viewing and or dinner at the Airport

Lots of people doing Hot air Balloons

On the way to Scottsdale

Stop at Montezuma castle ,very enjoyable

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6. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

Just returned from Sedona (my first time there) and thought it was beautiful. Did the Broken Arrow Pink Jeep tour and was disappointed. My family (three teens, wife and myself) did one or two hikes per day and felt the scenery and views were awesome and there are so many trails that you can choose from. The jeep tour was costly ($300 for family of five) and did not provide views that were remarkably better than you can find on your own. They send 5 or 6 jeeps on that tour every time that is available so it seemed a little rushed and crowded to me. The West Fork trail in Oak Creek Canyon was beautiful and would highly suggest that. I bought a book on Sedona Hikes by Richard and Sherry Mangum that was very helpful. I also liked Walnut Canyon in Flagstaff to visit Indian ruins and for photos. I was surprised at how much the elevation affected my wife and myself on the strenuous hikes. I would definately take your time and take a couple of bottled waters per person per hike.

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7. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

We just did a trip similar to the one you are describing, and if you truly do want to experience everything, Glen Canyon is truly worth the ride from Sedona. You should definitely drive it yourself because it is a BEAUTIFUL drive. Also, make the 20 minute detour to the Navajo Bridge at Marble Canyon. It is worth it.

Flagstaff is nice and people are delightful, but not necessary for a sightseeing tour.

If we had the opportunity to do one of the tours you mentioned (we didn't because we have young children), I would do a Glen Canyon boat tour instead of the Jeep Tour. Many of the sights and trails in Sedona are accessible by foot, however, the Glen Canyon boat tours take you to places that are otherwise inaccessible, such as Antelope Canyon.

I know you posted this in the Sedona Forum, but I must tell you that the most enjoyable part of our vacation was staying within the Grand Canyon Village (we stayed at the Kachina Lodge). After the crowds left in the afternoon, the Canyon takes on a whole different feel. I cannot put into words the experience of watching the sun rise and set over the Canyon. Don't miss it!

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8. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

What company are people using for the raft ride in Glen Caynon? I see so many different choices, want to make sure I choose a good company.

Thanks for all the advice, very very helpful!!

Grand Canyon...
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9. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

"What company are people using for the raft ride in Glen Caynon? I see so many different choices, want to make sure I choose a good company."

There is only one company operating the float trips in Glen Canyon - go to www.nps.gov/glca. For the most part, the many choices are online travel agencies selling the trip as if it was their own operation, and/or ground transportation companies selling a package of the float trip plus their transporting you to glen canyon.

If you are going to the grand canyon south rim, you're already half way from sedona to page/glen canyon area. So you'd be driving sedona/gcnp/sedona/pass by or through gcnp on your way to page, then back to/thru gcnp, sedona, on to scottsdale. I'm exhausted just typing it. You really don't want to take up so much of your vacation on the road.

How about phx to sedona, sedona to gcnp south entrance, do village and west rim area of the srim one day, back to your hotel in Tusayan, then back into the park the next day and do the east rim, exiting at desert view. Continue east to US 89 north (left turn). Stop at Cameron Trading Post. Then continue north to Page, and either do the afternoon raft trip or spend the night and do the am trip. Then get back on 89 south - you will be backtracking the page to cameron part of the drive but no way to avoid it. Continue south towards flagstaff. You might want to do the loop road thru Wupatki and Sunset Crater Nat'l Monuments. Flag has Museum of Northern AZ, Lowell Observatory, Riordan Mansion, and more so you could add a night there on your way back to scottsdale/phx and your flight home.

OC Wisconsin
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10. Re: Sedona and Grand Canyon

My friend's "Spa Weekend" birthday celebration 8/31 - 9/2 in Phoenix is the catalyst for our family''s trip to Arizona. Our challenge is trying to work with the college schedules of our two daughters. We want to arrive a couple of days early because one daughter must leave on Fri 8/31 to go to school and the other one doesn't think she should skip class on Tues 8/28. That leaves us a short window to arrive in Phoenix 8/29 mid morning, see the Grand Canyon and whatever else we can squeeze in before one daughter's Friday evening departure from Phoenix.

Is it feasible to plan a decent trip of 50 - 55 hours?

We heard it's less expensive to stay in Flagstaff, but with our time limitation, we're wondering if it would be better to stay in one of the hotels closest to the Grand Canyon.

Here's a catch: I'm not crazy about heights, in fact, I'm afraid of heights, but I'm thinking we should still consider the skywalk and/or the helicopter ride. Just looking at pictures of the skywalk on the internet makes me feel uneasy. Any recommendations for how to enjoy the Grand Canyon and still feel safe?

My thoughts are to get our rental car by 10 a.m. Wed. in Phoenix, drive to the Grand Canyon w/ stops in Sedona and/or Flagstaff on the way, and plan to catch the sunset at the Grand Canyon. Then on Thurs. maybe catch a helpicopter ride early in the morning, followed by a couple of additional hours hiking around and then leaving sometime in the afternoon.

We could try to see something else Thurs. and then head back to Phoenix Thursday night or Friday morning.

We will have a rental car. And a friend recommended that in addition to the Grand Canyon, we also stop in Sedona.