This past December I went on an American Southwest road trip with my travel crew. The trip would be three quick days through four states and include multiple hikes, sightseeing, lots of scenic driving and tons of fun along the way. It’s funny how things work out, this wasn’t a trip we had been planning. In fact, we were planning to go to Denver, Colorado when airline tickets were at a record low of $85 round trip. But when we went to purchase the tickets the day after talking about it, the prices had doubled so we put that plan on the back burner and mapped out this American Southwest road trip instead.
We set off for Arizona after a full day of work on Friday, pulled up to our first hotel around 3am, excited to be in the snow at the Grand Canyon.
We stayed at The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon and I would absolutely recommend it to anyone looking to stay in the area. The hotel is beautiful with an indoor pool and hot tub and room amenities like a Keurig, bathroom essentials and a rubber ducky. I wish we could have stayed more than one night. We even woke up to a holiday craft fair in the lobby and enjoyed breakfast burritos and coffee in the lodge by the fire before starting our hike.
Once at the Grand Canyon you’ll need to park in the general lot and catch the free shuttle bus to your trail head.
We chose to hike the South Kaibab Trail because if you can only do one hike at the Grand Canyon, this is the one everyone recommends you should do. I have to agree! It’s a seven mile hike to the bottom of the canyon, but you can stop and turn around at any point. Since we started the hike around 11am we only went down four miles before turning around. Remember, the whole way back is uphill, so if you’re going to go to the bottom start early (6 or 7am) or plan to stay the night down there. You can backpack your belongings down and camp or rent a space in the lodge. If you choose the latter plan to book a year in advance.
In December it was freezing cold and snow and ice covered the sides of the trail. If you’re going to hike this time of year consider buying clamp ons for your hiking shoes so you don’t slip on the ice. We had them, but didn’t end up needing them. If we had started earlier in the day, we would have. As you descend into the canyon the temperature warms up so dress in layers.
This is such a beautiful hike with plenty of photo opportunities and lookout points to take in just how grand and vast this natural wonder of the world really is. Take your time, look up and enjoy it while you are in it. After the hike take a few minutes to stop inside the visitors center for souvenirs.
After the hike we grabbed a quick bite to eat and hit the road for Page, Arizona for day two of our American Southwest road trip.
By the time we got in our room we were all exhausted and excited for the next day of adventure at Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and the thrilling gambling town of Mesquite.
Day 2 - Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and the thrilling gambling town of Mesquite