Last February when we visited family in California, we were able to squeeze in a road trip to the Grand Canyon. Its one of those places I always felt like I had to go see in person, so I was lucky when my in-laws were down to take the trip. My husband, his brother, mom, father-in-law, grandparents and little old me crammed in a car together. It was a bit tight, but we worked in out.
We drove from El Centro, CA to Flagstaff, AZ, where we were going to spend the night.
Our first stop on the road was Sunset Peak, on route 17 a few miles outside of Phoenix. Its a rest station/viewing point at about 3000 feet elevation.
We continued to drive towards Sedona and stopped just outside to see the Bell Rock. The Sedona desert is amazing and I definitely fell in love. It was a bit rainy and muddy but I'm so glad we still tracked down the trail a bit and explored the Red Rocks.
We continued our drive to Sedona where we ate at Señor Bobs Hot Dogs (seriously good Burgers and Dogs ... just saying) and then headed to Downtown Sedona which is packed with little shops and restaurants. And everywhere you look, you got an amazing mountain view.
We spent the night in Flagstaff and woke up to snow.
When we were in Sedona we talked to some locals that told us we should drive up the 89 to the 64 and enter the Canyon from the east, instead of driving via the Grand Canyon Village, and I'm so glad we did. It lead us to 2 great Indian ruin sites (Wupatki National Monument), which is something I had never seen before. During the summer months, theres also trading posts along the route.
First Wupatki site
View from the top of the site
After checking out these awesome sites (and Manny's grandmother being asked if some tourists can take a photo with her because they thought she was "a real Indian") we continued to drive. We entered from the east side and took a quick stop at the Desert View Watchtower, only to be utterly disappointed. There was so much fog in the canyon, that there was nothing to be seen. It was raining and windy and we all were getting a bit frustrated. Luckily my father-in-law (our driver) was totally determined to find an amazing view. We continued to drive along the South Rim and stopped at every view point possible. The weather seemed to change every time we got out of the car - snow, hail, rain, strong winds, and quick moments of sunshine. But we did get to see some incredible views of the canyon and, all in all, it was a successful trip. But if I ever go again, I'll make sure its not winter.
Desert View Watchtower - with not much of a view due to fog
Hermits Rest view point with a little gift shop.
All in all it was a very fun trip and I felt very lucky to have such awesome in-laws that were down for the adventure.