Road trips are an incredible way to see a lot of sites for less. Last Thanksgiving my family and I decided to roadtrip from Austin to Sedona and the Grand Canyon. November was actually a really great time to travel to Arizona because the temperatures are mild but a little on the cooler side, which is perfect for hiking. We first traveled from Austin -> Albuquerque where we spent the night before continuing on to Sedona. We were able to get to Sedona by midday.
Travel Tip: Stop by the tourism office in Sedona when you get there. The staff were super friendly and helpful. You can also get free maps of the area and advise for what trails are best for you.
Our first stop was the Sedona airport overlook where you can drive up and get an incredible view of the red rock plateaus. Then we headed to the Broken Arrow trail which was a very easy 3.4 mile trail.
Tour companies with jeeps like the one pictured above will take you to locations on the trail that people otherwise hike to. This is a great option if you are traveling with kids or cannot hike for whatever reason.
The next day we had the full day to spend in Sedona and opted to do two short hikes. In the morning we tackled Devil’s bridge, a 4 mile round trip. The hike took us 2-3 hours and was pretty moderate except for a couple steep stairs.
In the afternoon we decided to go to the Cathedral Rock Trail. The trail had spectacular views, but was more of a rock climb than a hike. I would not suggest going with small children, dogs or bad knees. The trail was very crowded midday so I would suggest getting there early for a parking spot and less crowded trail.
Check out more Sedona hikes here.
After finishing our hikes we drove to Tusayan, AZ where we booked a hotel for two nights while we visited the Grand Canyon. While in Sedona we had opted to stay in Flagstaff which was only a 30 minute drive from Sedona and much less expensive.
Travel Tip: Check to see if there are bigger towns close to the main tourist destination you are visiting that may have rooms for much cheaper. Often the savings are well worth the extra distance.
The next day we spent the entire day at the Grand Canyon. Doing a short hike in the morning and then seeing different views of the canyon using the hop on hop off bus. We headed home after catching a gorgeous sunset.
On our way back to Texas we decided to stop by the Petrified Forest National Park and Painted Desert in New Mexico. Although it is not incredible as the Grand Canyon it was definitely a unique geological formation to check out. Driving through the park only took us about an 1.5 hour detour.
This time on the way back we stopped over in Santa Fe where we had an incredible dinner at Maria’s and refreshed for the night before completing the long drive back to Austin. Overall this trip was not just about the destinations but the interesting stops made the long drive seem less like a hassle and more like the best part of the trip.