Trekking through the Grand Canyon, seeing the sunrise at Horseshoe Bend, paddle boarding on Lake Powell, taking pictures of the amazing Lower Antelope Canyons, glamping under the stars and hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park were just a few of the extraordinary moments that made our road trip from Vegas to Grand Canyon and beyond so special.
There is so much to be said about this amazing American Southwest trip Leif and I went on for my birthday turned engagement (you can read our proposal story here written by Leif) I can say easily say this has to be one of the best adventures I have ever been on and it’s in our own backyard! I did extensive research through Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google, and travel blogs. I am also SUPER thankful for the platform I have to be able to ask you guys for recommendations. So now I am more than happy to share my 6-day itinerary for our road trip from Vegas to Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Zion, so you don’t have to spend many hours researching.
I knew there was going to be a lot of moving around on our trip but booking our hotel was so simple with Hotels.com! The first time I used that website was when I was traveling in Malaysia and needed to book hotels room last minute and always found the best (as in LOWEST prices) on Hotels.com.
It is seriously so easy to search and book rooms on the website! I am also a big fan of their Rewards program – book 10 nights and get 1 night free!! This is not sponsored, I just love sharing brands that can save you time and money!
Oh, the mighty Grand Canyon!!! The breathtaking beauty and vastness of nature here instantly captured our hearts which is also why Leif proposed to me at the Grand Canyon. This is one of those places you can spend some time describing but it will never be the same as being there!
The entrance fee to Grand Canyon National Park is $35 per private vehicle (as of June 2018). This covers everyone in the car and it works for all the other parks and is good for 7 days so be sure to keep your receipt!
When you pay your entrance fee or show your pass, you will be given a receipt and a Visitor's Guide. This includes information about parking lots, bus routes, and South Rim viewpoints.
Because we didn’t have a lot of time, we decided to go West and park close to Hermit Road and ride the shuttle to see various viewpoints. Hermit Road (Red Route) has the greatest concentration of breathtaking viewpoints in the park. Because it is closed to private vehicles March through November, it is also one of the most pleasant places to do a little canyon viewing or easy hiking during the busiest times of year: no traffic jams, no parking problems, and plenty of free shuttle buses operating along the route. I highly recommend walking the trails once you get off of your first point.
Tip #1: Don’t stop at the very first point at the Visitor Center because its where everyone tends to stop! I recommend going west and parking as close to Hermit Road as you can and then take the Red Route and then walk the trails once you get off of your first point on the Red Route.
At this point, we had about an hour before the sunset and we were pretty tired since we got up at 4 AM and had been traveling all day. We need to head North East towards Page, AZ so we decided to see the sunset on the way there. We drove east towards Page and stopped at Grandview Point to catch the sunset and snapped a few pics. Be warned when the sun is setting it gets crazy windy.. this is where my hat flew overboard... RIP. Lol
We got to our hotel, Country Inn & Suites around 9:30 PM and most restaurants were closed so we got Sonic Drive-In (same parking lot as the Inn), showered, and passed out. This is a brand new hotel and was one of the most affordable Inns I found that was still very nice.
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Denim shorts: these are a must-have! BEST SHORTS EVER!! Order a couple sizes and return one that doesn't work. (I got size 28. I am between size 28/29)
We were looking for a way to experience Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell without battling the crowds on the overcrowded canyon tours. Paddleboarding on Lake Powell into the slots of Antelope Canyon was definitely one of the most memorable parts of our trip!
We got our paddle boards from Lake Powell Paddleboards & Kayaks in Page, ZA (right by our hotel). These guys are amazing and deserve every accolade sent their way! Once we arrived, they strapped everything to the car and showed us how to properly secure them when returning. Joe (owner) is VERY knowledgeable and gave us a map of the Antelope Canyon, and in great detail instructed us on how to paddle into the slot canyon to avoid the strong winds and currents.
Go early and give yourself about 4-5 hours for paddling into Antelope Canyon slots and another 1-2 hour or so if you want to do the hike into the canyon (which I highly recommend doing). It is definitely not for the faint of heart because it is a long paddle but you can also rent kayaks if you’re more comfortable with that. It’s the perfect way to enjoy the canyon without battling crowds on tours!
Tips: Reserve your board online only $40 for the whole day and ask for a demonstration if you’re new to this! Be sure to start your adventure early as you need to be back by 6pm to return the board.
Leif and I both brought our own waterproof Dry Bag + waterproof case for iPhone. I didn’t bring my DSLR camera because I didn’t want to risk it getting wet and I didn’t want to pack my bag too heavy because we planned on doing the hike at the end. I also packed this little tripod and remote for my iPhone so I can snap a picture of Leif and I together (no one was around to take a pic). Be sure to bring food for the hike and lots of water! I wore a one-piece bikini and packed my denim shorts, Nikes, and a light kimono for hiking. It’s a super easy ‘hike’ btw.
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We were debating if we should wake up at 4 am since we were so exhausted from the paddling adventure but I am so glad we did!!! There is a good 15 min walk (longer if you’re out of shape) uphill then downhill in the sand to reach the edge of the canyon. Well worth the short walk with an amazing view of the river, just be careful near the edge, especially with children or when taking photos! The Horseshoe Bend sunrise was surreal!
Headed back to our INN around 6 AM to pack up and eat breakfast before our Lower Antelope Canyon tour. After some research, I decided to go with Dixie Canon Tours and they did not disappoint.
Tip: Sunrise is a better view and less crowded view then Sunset. Wear closed toe shoes!
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We had a great tour with Dixie Ellis. Check-in was easy and took just a few seconds as we had signed our waivers online before we got there. The only hiccup was that they don’t allow any sort of bags or backpack on the tour! So make sure to bring only what you can easily carry — I didn’t even bring a water bottle since it was only an hour and a half hour and you’re underground so it’s not super hot. The guides are all super helpful and will show you the best spots to take photos and how to use your iPhone & filters (all the photos I took are iPhone only).
I would definitely recommend doing both this tour AND the paddleboard because both are incredibly different experiences.
If you’re an adventure seeker like I am, I would highly recommend this!! We rented two ATVs so I could drive (because I didn’t want Leif to have all the fun *wink*wink). We had a blast riding between the red rocks, canyons, dunes, desert, and cotton candy sky at dusk.
Bill took great care of us, making sure we had fun but were safe! You don't need to bring anything except for long pants and closed toe shoes. They provide everything else you need, including a buff to keep sand out of your face, helmet, sunglasses, water, and snacks.
Leif booked a Helicopter Tour on a whim for my birthday! It was such an incredible experience to see Zion National Park from the sky. We did the most popular 90-mile tour (about an hour) and paid an additional $75/person for the stop on a bluff. Jeff, our pilot did an excellent job explaining the sites along the way and we felt very safe with good equipment! Only thing is that I get motion sickness very easily and I was sitting in the front and got a little dizzy. But I would do it all over again and it was worth every penny.
After the tour, we stopped at Walmart to get water and snacks and whatever we need for Glamping (Glam Camping) and then the liquor store for tequila & champs (hey it is my bday after all).
Actually, I have to thank one of my followers on Instagram who recommend this to me when I had asked for recommendations.
Overall, Under Canvas Zion is a unique and special experience. Can't say enough good things about this place. The location, staff, and views surrounding the camp are wonderful, and there's something special about camping under the stars which really compliments days spent hiking in the park! We paid a little extra for the suite with a wood stove, toilet, sink, and shower. This is the only way I would camp! Can't wait to do it again.
Angel's Landing is the most popular hike in Zion. The trail involved chains and lots of bravery. It is challenging but very doable for those with a reasonable fitness level. I echo the advice of others to get out as early as possible! If you are lucky enough to be staying in the park at the lodge, you can actually go before the shuttle starts. The landing is not very spacious so it can be very harrowing with all of those crowds and the chain part is definitely not made for two way traffic.
I was wearing run-down Nike Free’s, which led to some dicey moments when climbing up the frictionless, sandy rocks. So be sure to wear shoes with good tracks! It’s the things that scare you that are the most worth it though, right? The view from Angel’s Landing was truly incredible and being that high up, it’s easy to see how it earned its namesake. It’s a must-do hike if you make it out to Zion. Be safe! Enjoy!
SpringHill Suite in Springdale is super close to Zion (on the free shuttle line)! It's an awesome hotel with good continental breakfast, an awesome heated pool and hot tub overlooking the red hills!
Prep: Rent the gear by the Zion Park entrance located at the parking lot, where you can rent shoes/neoprene socks and a walking stick ($25).
We didn't want to wake up at 5am, so we arrived at the park around 9am. Every review said to be the first, but we still had many opportunities to feel like we were the only ones on certain parts of the hike. Pack lunch, water, and sandals in our bookbag. There was a long line for the shuttle, but it only took us about 15 minutes to get on. They run like clockwork. Take a nap, because the shuttle ride to The Narrows (last stop) is about 40 minutes.
Once you get to your stop it is a solid 20-minute walk to the entry of The Narrows. The water was cold, but manageable. It was considerably cooler in the Canyon, especially in the morning, so take a light layer. The hike was gorgeous!! In total, the whole experience can take about 7 hours (from Zion park entrance and back to park entrance... remember you're on the trolly for 80 minutes, roundtrip).
Tips: There is a bathroom at the Narrows shuttle stop. Bring the waterproof cell phone case. You can take great photos on your phone without having to remove it from the bag. You WILL get wet and might fall as the rocks are slippery, so unless you have amazing balance, protect your camera/phone. Take a layer. Rent the gear beforehand. No one regrets renting the boots as they have amazing ankle support and your feet don't feel like they're in ice water...
After the hike, Leif and I drove to Vegas and spent two more days there to relax, shop, go to shows, and eat! I won't really go into too many details except that we stayed at the Venetian but I would love to stay at The Wynn next time!
All in all, the most amazing 6-day itinerary spent at Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, and Zion National Park! The only thing I would have changed was cut our last two days in Vegas and instead spend those two days going to Bryce. Hope you guys have so much fun, please share/pin this guide and leave me a comment if you have any questions or find this guide useful! I appreciate it!