I’m currently sitting alone in my room, at the cutest boutique hotel I’ve probably ever stayed in, bummed that my husband just left for his flight out. He was able to take two days off and finally go on a work trip with me and we had such a blast.
I booked this trip about 3 weeks out since a conference for work came up last minute. We didn’t really have a game plan but since the conference was Monday-Wednesday we thought we would make the most out of our weekend and fly in early. I had absolutely zero expectations for this trip (Like I was definitely not going to blog it) and it ended up being unbelievably fun – so of course I had to share all the details.
We flew in from KC on the earliest flight out on Saturday and landed in Phoenix around 7am. We rented a car for just a little over a day ($80) and planned to drive to the Grand Canyon since neither of us had ever witnessed this wonder of the world.
We jumped in our tiny Nissan Versa and headed north for the 3 hour drive. I had done a bit of research the night before and essentially had three mini plans, knowing we only had time for two.
1. Tour the west side (Hermit’s Rest) of the canyon via the “red route” shuttle. (2-2.5 hours)
2. Hike the South Kaibab trail to Ooh Aah Point. (1.5-2 hours)
3. Drive Desert View Drive and stop at a few lookout points along the way. (1.5 hours)
Instead of trying to fit in all three or deciding ahead of time, we chose to see how we were feeling once we arrived. We ended up making extremely good time out of Phoenix and ended up arriving at the Grand Canyon a full two hours sooner than I was planning. We chose to save our daylight hours and did the hike first and then planned taking Desert View Drive out of the park.
I read somewhere that 97% of people who visit the Grand Canyon never step below the rim. We obviously didn’t want to be that statistic, so down into the canyon we went. To my surprise it was around 50 degrees at the top and closer to 80 once we reached the point. The whole hike was just under 2 miles round trip and we made it in about an hour and a half. We even got to see a mule train carrying people and supplies up out of the bottom of the canyon! So fun!
If you have a lot of time and are an experienced hiker I would definitely recommend hiking further down. The views were amazing and the trail itself was pretty fun. Definitely take some water and maybe a small snack. Hiking shoes are recommended and plan on the trail being a little icy/muddy if you go in the spring.
After we got back up to the top we took the orange shuttle back (the only way to reach the trailhead) and headed back to the car only stopping for our standard postcard souvenir (we like to mail ourselves them!)
We then headed down Desert View Drive to see the east side of the South Rim. If we had more time we would have definitely checked out the red shuttle line and the village but we still had a 3 hour drive back to Scottsdale ahead of us.
Along the drive we stopped at Grandview Point, Moran Point, and the Desert View Watchtower. After climbing up and down the watchtower we did a short hike out in front of the viewpoint area.
The views there were amazing and it was one of the few places you could see the river.
We hopped back in the car and filled up with gas and headed back toward Flagstaff. All in all we probably spent 6 hours total in the park.
On the way back we stopped at Diablo Burger in Flagstaff – sooo good – and sat next to a super fun couple from Chicago. I kind of dig places that encourage you to sit next to strangers! #extrovert
From Flagstaff it was about a 2 hour drive back to Scottsdale. If you have more time and a flexible I’d recommend staying in Flagstaff but we had an early hike planned in Scottsdale so we figured it was easier to just book one hotel for the full trip. (And what a hotel it was!!!)
For the info on the rest of our trip check out the next post!