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Itinerary advice

Dallas, Texas
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Itinerary advice

My wife and I (early 60s) are planning a trip to the area in early October (4th - 8th). We are scheduled to arrive at PHX at 5:40pm on Thursday. We're picking up a rental car and planning to drive to Flagstaff. I figure approx. 3 1/2 hours, including time picking up rental car, to get from the airport to Flagstaff? We are on central daylight time so that will be pretty late for our body clocks. Any recommendations for a place to stop and eat between PHX and Flag? Nothing fancy but not truckstop fare either.

Overnight at Little America Flagstaff and get up early next morning to head to GCNP. Thinking of doing the Sunset Crater and Wupatki Ruins National Monument loop drive along the way. Then stop in Cameron TP to pick up picnic supplies for lunch in GCNP. Enter park at the east gate entrance via 64. Do Watchtower/Desert View, Grandview, Lipan Point and El Tovar area. Skipping Hermit's Rest (we are not hard-core hikers and wish to avoid the shuttles), take 64 south from the village to Williams and have a look around there. Then we continue on to Sedona, planning to arrive before nightfall on Friday evening. Is this doable? Any advice on this GCNP day trip?

We stay 3 nights in Sedona at A Sunset Chateau. We plan on having a more-or-less relaxing day in Sedona on Saturday. Maybe do the Red Rock Scenic Byway drive? Open for other suggestions as well. Nice dinner in Sedona Saturday night... Mariposa or Cafe Elote? Other suggestions?

Sunday, the only thing we are giving strong consideration to is Verde Canyon Railroad tour. We are open to other suggestions.

Monday, it's back to PHX for a 2:50pm flight. Not sure what we'll have much time to do much in Sedona before we have to head out, but certainly willing to entertain any suggestions.

Thanks for any and all input!

6 replies to this topic
Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Itinerary advice

It’s going to be dark long before you get to Flagstaff. Allow 3 1/2+ hours PLUS time to pick up luggage and car. You’ll do well to be on the road before 7PM. A dinner stop will mean arriving Flag close to 11PM. Not ideal IMO.

Your Grand Canyon National Park to Sedona day trip will work, but I’d skip Sunset Crater and Wupatki. That’s 3 hours that you need inside the park. You need to leave the park by 4PM to reach Sedona safely in daylight. Sedona can easily keep you occupied for the time you’re here. I’d put the VCRR on about day 5 or 6 of a week at Sedona. JMO

Dallas, Texas
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2. Re: Itinerary advice

3 1/2 hours to drive 148 miles on interstate?

Dallas, Texas
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3. Re: Itinerary advice

Change of itinerary:

Now arriving PHX at 11:10am on Thursday, Oct. 4th. Any advice for stops to make, things to see on the way to Flagstaff by car? We're staying at Little America in Flag. Heard the restaurant is good there for dinner... any other recommendations? We're up bright and early next day for day trip to GCNP before returning to Sedona for 3 nights.

Thanks! Cheers, y'all!

Sedona, AZ
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4. Re: Itinerary advice

That makes the plan better. No advice on stops. Get to Flag as early as you can and enjoy relaxing there after your long day of travel.

Kalispell, Montana
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5. Re: Itinerary advice

Stop for a late lunch at Black Canyon City north of Phoenix Metro. Rock Springs Cafe is normally pretty good and at about a good place/time to stop for a snack. Between there and Flagstaff you could visit Montezuma's Castle. It an easy and short walk very close to a neat cliff dwelling ruin. If you have your America the Beautiful or a Senior NP Pass, you can start using it right there.

If you are up bright and early the next day, and are not planning any big hikes in GC, you have plenty of time to include the Sunset/Wupatki Loop...the turn off is only about 15 miles north of Flagstaff. Allot 2.5 hours on the loop for some stops at the lava bed and at the easily accessible Wupatki ruins. Have lunch at Cameron Trading Post before heading into GC. In fact reading your post again, I could not advise a better way to go and spend that day.

Daylight hours are shorter in October so you will have to pay attention to that. October 4...sunrise is at about 6:25 AM and sunset at about 6:06 PM. It is 60 miles and about 1 hour 45 minutes to Sedona from Williams. I think I would leave Williams at about 4 PM to give you a little leeway to get through Oak Creek Canyon before dark.

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Your beautiful B&B is located ideally in West Sedona. So you can plan your days accordingly from there to avoid passing too many times through the busy Uptown traffic circles. Red Rock Byway is actually the 179 heading south to Bell Rock and the Village of Oak Creek. If you are heading to Phoenix, it makes sense to go that way the day you leave. I would first drive the Dry Creek/Boynton Canyon Scenic Byway since it is closer to your B&B.

Mariposa or the restaurants out at Enchantment Resort are those really nice places to eat, closest to where you are staying. Both are special...try both or choose by menu. You cannot beat the views at either one. Elote is wonderful too but in a different area. They don't take reservations and are closed on Mondays. They open at 5...so be there in time to get into the first wave of seating. Breakfast at Coffee Pot.

Here is a sample itinerary based on coming into Sedona from the north. You can look at it to get ideas of where you would like to go each day according to your own tastes.

There are 5 basic areas in/near Sedona to visit and you can group things together accordingly to avoid a lot of backtracking.

1...Oak Creek Canyon: The canyon drive from the top viewpoint to Uptown. . As you enter the area towards Sedona Uptown, you will gradually see more and more of the red rocks, the closer you get to town. But first you come to Midgley Bridge...a scenic hiking area with a small box canyon...its really nice for photos. Indian Gardens Cafe and Market along there is popular for breakfast and lunch.

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2...Uptown...for some more touristy, yet fun shops, the Cowboy Club Restaurant, Sedona Memories Bakery Cafe and other restaurants and the various on and off road jeep tours begin there.

3. The area west of West Sedona where you are staying:

A....That includes Airport Mesa Drive with its Big Red Knoll, loop trail and overlooks. Best done in the morning and NOT at sunset. Too crowded and limited parking...views also have buildings and homes in the way of the red rocks.

B...The Dry Creek Scenic byway, a right hand turn off of the 89A out along the red rock cliffs to the famous Enchantment Resort. You know how scenic it must be for that resort to be out there. Out there too are the very popular Devil's Bridge, Fay, Boynton and Long Canyon hikes plus others. Drinks or a meal at Enchantment would be a treat for views alone...no need to be guests. Non-hikers still must make that drive out and back...its gorgeous.

C...It is also out there where you will find the renowned Red Rock Crossing/Crescent Moon Park along the Upper RR Loop drive. That is great for the creek-walk, Buddha Beach (rock cairns) and the **classic sunset or daylight views of Cathedral Rock with the creek in the foreground. It also has a nice picnic area and nice restrooms. Expect that to cost $10 as it is not included in the parking pass program. The classic view is across the meadow, down by the creek behind the first restroom just after you pass through the entrance gate.

Dinner at Mariposa after visiting RRC or watching sunset there.

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4... For a day trip west of West Sedona, you can include some or all of the following. The Verde Valley railroad tour, seasonally, the Verde Valley wine trail, Toozigoot National Monument, Cottonwood for antiquing, wine tasting and the quaint town of Jerome, now an arts and restored mining town up on a hillside. *Its easy to combine Toozigoot, Cottonwood and Jerome with sunset later at Red Rock Crossing.

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5...To the south: The Red Rock Byway the #179 from Uptown to the Village of Oak Creek to the I-17. This is the route you take to begin your trip back to Phoenix. Along there are the Tlaquepaque adobe-style gallery and dining village under the big trees. The Oak Creek Brewery and Grill there might be good for lunch.

The Chapel of the Holy Cross comes next. It will be a left hand turn and a short drive up. There are free golf cart shuttles to take you up to the chapel if its hard for you to walk...or you get parking a long way down the hill. After the Chapel you come to the stunning hiking area at Bell Rock near the Village of Oak Creek. You should stop there for photos and a short walk if for nothing more than the photos of Bell Rock and other Red rock formations all around you. Nice places for Breakfast in VoC are Red Rock Cafe and Miley's. A local favorite for drinks and bar food PJ's Pub. Dinner at Cucina Rustica.

To get you started, I would go to the following website and have them send you the free Visitor's Guide magazine...its a great help for people who are unfamiliar with the area.

Sedona Arizona Free Visitors Guide visitsedona.com/visitors-guide

Easy hikes with descriptions/photos/maps https:/…

https://verdecanyonrr.com

http://vvwinetrail.com

https://www.nps.gov/tuzi/index.htm

https://www.blazinm.com

https://outofafricapark.com

http://azjerome.com/jerome/

Please feel free to ask any other questions that you may have. This should be a real nice trip for you.

Dallas, Texas
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6. Re: Itinerary advice

Wow!! Thank you , Mary, for all the great info!

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