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Old 08-05-2016, 04:05 PM
 
Location: Beacon Falls, CT
368 posts, read 317,929 times
Reputation: 641

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Afternoon everyone!

My friend and I are planning a two week trip throughout Arizona and into southern Utah in the fall (October 3rd-17th). I need to inquire first about a one way car rental, as the itinerary I came up with is dependent on being able to rent a car in Tucson and drop it off at St. George in Utah. We're young (I'm 27, friend is 25) and we are generally more about the outdoors and less about the museums (with a few exceptions), so there will be quite a bit of hiking involved. I am open to any suggestions as far as scenic routes, specific hotels/restaurants and other must-see sights/attractions not listed here, as our only absolute musts are the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon and Sedona. This is what I've got right now:

Day #1 - Fly into Tucson, see the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum and Saguaro National Park. Would like to see a sunset at Gates Pass if the weather permits.
Day #2 - Pima Air and Space Museum, then spend the rest of the day exploring Sabino Canyon and the surrounding trails. Once again, weather permitting, we'd like to be able to catch a sunset at Tumamoc Hill this time.
Day #3 - Drive to Phoenix, see the Desert Botanical Garden, head north from there to hike Camelback Mountain, grab lunch, then hit the Superstition Mountains (Flat Iron trail in particular), then see the Theodore Roosevelt Dam & Bridge. Is this doable in a day, even if we were to skip the Botanical Garden and drive right to Camelback? We're not really looking to spend more than a day in Phoenix.
Day #4 - Leave Phoenix, drive to Prescott to hike the Thumb Butte trail, then take the 89A scenic route through Jerome for lunch and move onto Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. After that, we'll book a hotel in Sedona.
Days #5 and 6, we will spend entirely in Sedona.
Day #7 - Leave Sedona, drive first to Winslow to see the Barringer Crater, then we were hoping to be able to explore Petrified Forest/Painted Desert and then see Canyon de Chelly as well. We'd book a hotel in Chinle.
Days #8 and 9 - Leave Chinle, drive to the Grand Canyon and spend two days there.
Day #10 - Leave the Grand Canyon, book a tour at Antelope Canyon and explore.
Day #11 - We'll spend the day at Horshoe Bend.
Day #12 - Leave Page and drive out to see Monument Valley. Spend the night at Kayenta.
Day #13 - Leave Kayenta, drive out to see Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. Spend night in Bryce.
Day #14 - Leave Bryce, drive out to see Zion National Park. Spend night in La Verkin.
Day #15 - Leave La Verkin, drop off rental car at SGU and return to Hartford, CT.

Does all of this seem a bit excessive for two weeks? Any advice would be appreciated!
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Old 08-05-2016, 04:34 PM
 
Location: Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ
1,621 posts, read 1,646,903 times
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Well, you do have quite a bit on your plate. You do realize that AZ is much bigger than CT so distances and driving time(s) are going to be your biggest limitation. Have you tried to plot any of this on Google maps?

Day 3 for example. It will take two hours to get from Tucson to Phoenix. To get from Apache Junction (Superstitions) at least another two hours to get to the Theodore Roosevelt dam, depending on which way you go. I won't make any other comments about the other days, this is just an example.

The biggest glaring thing I would change is to go from Canyon de Chelly to Monument Valley on the way to the Grand Canyon, otherwise you are driving way out of the way to go back.

Welcome to AZ and enjoy your trip. Just remember, it is a terrible place, lol.
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Old 08-05-2016, 07:21 PM
 
Location: Central Connecticut
441 posts, read 305,622 times
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It sure is a lot crammed into one trip. I understand, though. There's so much to see! I think you might enjoy your vacation better if you slowed down a little and saved some things as an excuse for another trip.

You shouldn't have a problem with a rental. Last May, we picked up our renal in Tucson and dropped it off in Denver. We reserved a car from Hertz.
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:40 PM
 
1,995 posts, read 1,440,206 times
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Not only is that an aggressive schedule, Keep in mind that flagstaff alone is almost a mile and a half in elevation. You two better be used to doing some aggressive hiking at 6,000 + ft or combined with the rest of your schedule that will be extremely tiring.

As for Camelback, that and piestawa peak are usually pretty packed and take about an hour to an hour and a half. Both are great hikes if you've never done em right in the city. Depending on the time of day going to and from the superstition mountains, just know that rush hour traffic sucks here, (6-9am & 3-7pm) not something you want to waste time sitting in if you can avoid it. The botanical gardens can be done briskly in 5-10 minutes or you can spend hours walking slow and appreciating each plant. Definitely possible, I would just keep that as something to play be ear and see how much time you have, and how much you want to spend.

With all the driving you are doing, and hiking, you can climb down to the bottom of the grand canyon. NOW that's a TOUGH HIKE. You would definitely need water, and most people need to rest the night at the hotel down at the bottom before coming back up the next day. I would look into that, or consider spending a day at each north and south rim.


Personally Monetuma's castle is nothing special, but its if its another sight you are trying to see, then cool.

As for the meteor crater, theres what looks like a logging trail across the street about a mile before you get there. You would need something that sits higher than a car but theres a really cool area that has one hell of a view up top.

I would look into Mt. Humphreys. Its the big mountain in Flagstaff, probably the best hike, and I'm sure the most scenic when you get up (atleast in AZ). It may or may not be open when you go, you may or may not be able to hike, but theres dirt roads near there, and Flagstaff may have some snow on the ground, probably on the peak when you get there, but that would be early in the season.
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Old 08-05-2016, 09:44 PM
 
Location: Amongst the AZ Cactus
7,074 posts, read 5,108,522 times
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On the question "Does all of this seem a bit excessive for two weeks? ", it depends what your goal is on this trip. If it's to see as many things as possible and get a taste of a bit here/there and perhaps returning some time in the future to explore what you enjoyed most in more depth, I'd say not at all. We did similar trips, planning to return to places we enjoyed/wanted to see more in depth and it worked out great for us. We actually did 5k driving trips with more on the schedule than you have in 17 day chunks.

Another thing.....I think you'll often find the way to the destinations out here in the southwest you have in mind are often as enjoyable/have great scenery along the way as the destination itself. So while some might see being in a car for hours getting from one place to another as wasted time, I don't see it that way at all based on our experience. Then again some people enjoy sitting by a hotel pool/the same piece ocean for a week at a time(not us!) so to each their own what constitutes an ideal vacation/trip.

You have some beautiful sights scheduled with great scenery along the roads you'll take to get there.
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Old 08-05-2016, 10:55 PM
 
Location: Out there somewhere...a traveling man.
40,171 posts, read 49,361,117 times
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It's doable but days 3 and 7 are going to be real tight. You'll need to leave at or before sun up and finish around sun down to catch a bit of each place those 2 days.
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:18 AM
 
4,192 posts, read 12,220,850 times
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quick comments on your specific itinerary......

day 2 - Tumamoc Hill does nor have good sunset views as mountains block views to the west, but it's worth a quick hike for people-watching and city views....

day 3 - way too crowded....slow dirt road to Roosevelt Lake....long return to Phx from lake....

days 5 and 6 - may not need two full days there.....

day 7 - we call it the Meteor Crater....that's a very long day, lots of driving

day 11 - don't need a whole day for Horseshoe Bend - one hour max

be ready for a ton of long driving....make reservations confirmed....take a day off in there somewhere and do nothing....be flexible....there will be problems and unforeseen problems....pick up a federal lands pass before leaving home ($80) and it will save you a ton.....

more later!
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Old 08-06-2016, 12:39 AM
 
1,426 posts, read 1,971,328 times
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I suggest going to the Desert Museum in Tucson during the cooler late afternoon or early evening hours. That is the only time I saw a lot of the little creatures out and about...and not just the ones in the exhibits but the real coyotes and javelina right outside the part that you can see from inside the park. Call ahead for hours. Then it is a hop skip and a jump to Gates Pass for a Sunset. Then a dinner at Mi Nidito (President Clinton ate there while he was in office and tons of other famous people. Very good!
I am ambitious and could start the day hiking early in the morning at Sbino and still do the rest.

Have fun!
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:46 AM
 
Location: Beacon Falls, CT
368 posts, read 317,929 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by teddyearp View Post
Well, you do have quite a bit on your plate. You do realize that AZ is much bigger than CT so distances and driving time(s) are going to be your biggest limitation. Have you tried to plot any of this on Google maps?

Day 3 for example. It will take two hours to get from Tucson to Phoenix. To get from Apache Junction (Superstitions) at least another two hours to get to the Theodore Roosevelt dam, depending on which way you go. I won't make any other comments about the other days, this is just an example.

The biggest glaring thing I would change is to go from Canyon de Chelly to Monument Valley on the way to the Grand Canyon, otherwise you are driving way out of the way to go back.

Welcome to AZ and enjoy your trip. Just remember, it is a terrible place, lol.
I know there will be lots of driving involved; I just hope I don't get down there and become overwhelmed within the first week. The way I see it, most of the sights I want to see will be worth the time it takes to get there. That being said, I did decide to cut out Canyon de Chelly and the Roosevelt Dam. They're too far out of the way. Bisbee and Tombstone were originally on the bucket list as well but that drive would be about an hour and a half south of Tucson and back and from what reviews I've read, a lot of people are turned off by how "commercialized" they are, despite the historical significance.
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Old 08-06-2016, 08:48 AM
 
Location: Beacon Falls, CT
368 posts, read 317,929 times
Reputation: 641
Quote:
Originally Posted by Loriact View Post
It sure is a lot crammed into one trip. I understand, though. There's so much to see! I think you might enjoy your vacation better if you slowed down a little and saved some things as an excuse for another trip.

You shouldn't have a problem with a rental. Last May, we picked up our renal in Tucson and dropped it off in Denver. We reserved a car from Hertz.
You're not kidding. Had the plans been set in stone a few months earlier, I would have tried to get a permit for the Wave. Between that and all of the other sights we won't get to see (Mount Lemmon, Havasu Falls, Tombstone, Bisbee, Yuma, Canyon de Chelly, the Hoover Dam, Four Corners and probably so much more), there's definitely enough to warrant a second trip! Good to hear about the rental. Thank you!
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