After our relaxing day in Sedona and a fantastic breakfast at our B&B, we got up early and hit the road for the Grand Canyon.
Our hosts at the Sedona Bear Lodge, Myles and Masumi, gave us a good tip: If you’re driving from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, don’t strictly follow Google Maps.
Instead of taking I-40 to Route 64 to Route 180, drive through Flagstaff and take Route 180 the entire time. It’s only ten minutes longer, but the views along the way will be well worth it.
Their advice paid off. The views along Route 180 were spectacular! They reminded us of the Pacific Northwest and the Great Plains all in one, with endless lines of trees, long stretches of empty highway, and snow-capped mountains.
The drive to the Grand Canyon’s South Entrance should have taken a little over two hours, but with massive crowds packing the Canyon it took an extra 45 minutes to get in the gate (tip: don’t visit a major national park on Easter weekend). We pulled in to the visitor center to use the bathroom and immediately regretted it. The parking lot was jammed, there were people everywhere, and Jolyn had to wait in line to use the ladies’ room. Our tour of the southwestern national parks was off to an inauspicious start; we felt like we were stuck in traffic on the Long Island Expressway.
Fortunately, that feeling didn’t last long. On a tip from Myles, we headed straight for Shoshone Point, an unmarked spot just about 6 miles from the visitor center. (Okay, MAYBE we snuck a quick look at the canyon rim before going there…) This ended up being just what we needed, as on a busy day, we had the place completely to ourselves. And with good reason – Shoshone Point was nowhere to be found on the park map provided to us at the gate, nor was it marked along the road. However, if you enter it into Google Maps on your phone, it does show up and will bring you there. It’s just past mile marker 244. You will see a small parking lot with a gate just past the parking area. Park here, and walk past the gate on the trail, and off you go! You will take an easy 20-minute walk and emerge in front of a breathtaking view of the Grand Canyon. And most likely, you’ll have it all to yourself. We took in the view from various parts of Shoshone Point for about an hour, and during that whole time, we only saw a few other people in our last ten minutes there. Shoshone Point ended up being a source of peace and quiet when we really felt like we needed it! We even saw some elk eating on the walk back and were able to get pretty close without disturbing them.
We stopped at a few other rim points along the way, including Grandview, Moran, and Navajo Points. However, there were none that we enjoyed more than the secluded Shoshone Point. We highly recommend it for any stops in the Grand Canyon!
We ended up doing the Desert View Drive, which we liked a lot. Although we didn’t have a lot of time at the Canyon, we felt like one full day was enough to get the basic overview of it. That being said, if our schedule allowed, we would love to spend a few more days hiking into the canyon and securing reservations to Havasu Falls (we were not able to get them on short notice, as we booked our trip just about a month before going). If you only have one full day at the Grand Canyon, the Desert View Drive is the way to go.
From there, we drove up the Page, Arizona to our campsite for the night. That’s where we’ll catch up with you next!