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The Grand Canyon Dream – The mighty Southwest USA!

Praveen and I have planning on Grand Canyon ever since I moved to Utah!! The planning never stopped and I couldn’t believe that I would travel to the most famous place at the end of our Utah stay ! We decided to go for a rental car 🚗 for the entire road trip and budget was a huge and major concern. Each time I canceled it was because of the huge costs involved during our stay in Page, AZ. Obviously I was not going to spend so much for staying in Page, AZ. I know it’s fully touristy and much hyped but still my hunt for budget friendly places never stopped. We love to hike and by no means we could skip this wonderful place. After all, we were celebrating our 2nd Marriage Anniversary!

Our itinerary was worked on and on because of budget constraints and this time I had planned to cook the entire length of our road trip as I am vegetarian by choice. We both were surprised that it worked really well for us this time. Some recipes I experimented and it proved successful.

Planning for this trip

First I finalized a route and made sure I spent only a day or two at Page as it was expensive. As the costs were always high in Page, Az, and including the costs of Monument Valley and other places where your NP pass wont work, I cancelled this trip all the time. The route we finalised was —

Home (Provo) –> Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado –> Four Corners National Monument, New Mexico –> Monument Valley, Utah –> Horseshoe Bend, Arizona –> Lower Antelope, Arizona –> Grand Canyon National Park – North Rim, Arizona –> back to home (Provo) 🙂

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon

Your National Park Pass will be valid for entry to Monument Valley, the Antelope Canyons – Lower and Upper, Four Corners National Monument. If you are vegetarian, stock on food as you would find it difficult in finding vegetarian food to eat. In Page, Az however you do have Thai restaurants, Pizza joints so its not a problem there.

As for the stay, we knew we would spend more time in our car than in the hotel, hence we selected a not so expensive hotel where we can get a nice place to crash after a long day of hiking.

Itinerary for the trip :

Day 1: Mesa Verde National Park, Colorado

We started early in the morning like around 7:00 am drove from Provo to Mesa Verde. We reached around 3:00pm I think so. This was our first stop on the trip. Honestly, we weren’t impressed with this one! It was so disappointing to both of us. The disappointing reason was the small walls built without roofs and that too in 13th century. In India, at that time we had already built huge palaces and we were also having our army. Maybe this architecture that I am spoiled with in India could be why I was so disappointed to see those structures as achievements.

Both of us did a couple of hikes here and there and did not plan on spending much time here! We went back to our hotel room and relaxed the rest of the time.

Day 2: Four Corners National Monument, Monument Valley , Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell View

The Four corners National Monument belongs to New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Utah. It was cool though to stand in all four states at once. The drive was a little bumpy as the roads were not so great. With deserts on both sides, we had empty barren lands until we could see.

We clicked a few pictures and headed to Monument Valley where the famous movie – Forrest Gump was shot. If you haven’t watched this movie yet, then I highly recommend you to watch this one. The barren deserts are so huge and then you have these huge magnificent valley structures. Here your NP pass wont work and you have to pay for the entry fees. I guess it was 20$.

We enjoyed outside more than being inside. We weren’t so equipped to hike in the hot sun. So we went half way and returned back. I also got the opportunity to click the famous Forrest Gump pic.

We started towards Page, AZ post lunch heading to our hotel room which we had booked in advance.

On the way, we had to cross the famous Horseshoe Bend. We were excited to hike this one and hiked close to 0.8 miles to reach the spot. There was huge crowds around and trying to grab that one second for a nice picture was like next to impossible.

Quick Notes –

  • Hike type: Moderate hike (it is full of sand and rocks spread around)
  • Total time required to hike comfortably: ~1 hour
  • Total distance: 1 miles RT
  • Pets: Allowed
  • Kid friendly: Yes.
  • Best time: Spring and Fall season – Open year round (I have been in early Summer) The temperatures get really high so spring or fall would be the best time to visit.
  • Washrooms: Yes at the parking lot.
  • Parking: Available
  • Permits required: None
  • Wheelchair friendly: No, It would become difficult to move in the sand.

On our way back we took this little detour to visit Lake Powell, the lake that belongs to Arizona and Utah as well. It’s one of the most favorite lakes of Utahians. It was so serene guys and obviously it had very less people.

 

Day 3: Lower Antelope Canyon and Grand Canyon – North Rim – Day Hikes

The most awaited day finally arrived. I waited nearly an entire year to visit this place and spent hours planning in fact. I just wanted to cut down on the budget somehow as Page, AZ was really expensive when it came to accommodation. I highly recommend you to try Airbnb if you are tight on budget. You would get 19$ off if you signup using our link here.

As we started to drive the very next day, we went past the Lower Canyon and Upper Canyon sign boards. I was contemplating if we should skip this altogether but since its the most scenic formation by mother Nature, we just couldn’t hold on to our decision.

Praveen convinced me and took a detour to Lower Canyon, purchased the tickets. The next available slot was 10 min away. We got lucky infact. This one we aren’t going to regret any time. It was the most magical place I have been to. One hour seemed to pass so quickly and we were done with the tour. You can check our blog on detailed info about Lower Antelope Canyon.

We saw so many deer and antelopes on our way. As we reached during lunch time. the first thing we did is find a spot for having lunch. We ate quickly and headed towards Bright Angle Point Trail-head.

Bright Angle Point Trail

Quick Notes –

  • Hike type: Moderate but steep hike (It’s crowded inside and you have some steep steps and narrow passages)
  • Total Distance: 0.5 miles RT
  • Total tour time: ~ 45 minutes
  • Pets: Am not sure. But I did not see any pets in the region.
  • Best time: Fall season should be a good time as temperatures are getting lower and weather will be much cooler. Grand Canyon North Rim is open only during May to October every year.Check if you are planning any other time of the year.
  • Washrooms: Yes at the parking lot/ visitor center
  • Parking: Available
  • Permits required: None
  • Wheelchair friendly: No

We clicked some great pictures here in the canyon. We felt good that we did not stick to our decision to skip it. As we completed this tour, we immediately started for Grand Canyon. I insisted on trying to do all the possible hikes for the day. We were short on time as always and driving back from Grand Canyon was a challenge as there were so many antelopes on the sides, a bison came chasing us.

If you are short on time like us then don’t miss these wonderful trails in North Rim —

Imperial Point View

This is the easiest of all.  It is just a few hundred meters from the parking lot. It is a view-point with a few steps easily manageable.

Cape Royal Trail

Quick Notes –

  • Hike type: Easy Walk
  • Total Distance: 0.6 miles RT
  • Total tour time: ~ 45 minutes
  • Pets: Allowed on leash
  • Best time: Fall season should be a good time as temperatures are getting lower and weather will be much cooler. Grand Canyon North Rim is open only during May to October every year.Check if you are planning any other time of the year.
  • Washrooms: Yes
  • Parking: Yes
  • Permits required:None
  • Wheelchair friendly: Yes

Roosevelt Point Trail

  • Hike type: Easy Walk
  • Total Distance: 0.2 miles RT
  • Total tour time: ~ 30 minutes
  • Pets: Allowed on leash
  • Best time: Fall season should be a good time as temperatures are getting lower and weather will be much cooler. Grand Canyon North Rim is open only during May to October every year.Check if you are planning any other time of the year.
  • Washrooms: Yes
  • Parking: Yes
  • Permits required:None
  • Wheelchair friendly: Yes

Walhalla Plateau Overlook

Vishnu’s Temple

You can visit the Grand Canyon in a day too like we did and saw majority of all views that Grand canyon had to offer. Few people prefer to hike rim to rim , but for that be prepared ahead of time and plan accordingly. We work in weekdays and it’s difficult for people like us to keep traveling for months. But this is possible too, One thing what we learned from traveling is enjoy each place and time and there will always be so many things you will miss. So enjoy the moment and make the best of what you have.

Day 4: Driving back to home sweet home

We stayed overnight near Zion National Park in a vintage style Airbnb and drove back to home the next day.

See who came to say Hi to us in our Airbnb home.

Thank you for visiting! If you have any questions / suggestions / feedback you can comment below or send me an email. I would love to hear back from you.

Have a nice day!

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