Tale of Three Canyons
Spring Break, 2015
Each year that we host exchange students in our home, we allow them to choose a destination for their Spring Break trip. We have been to San Francisco and Northern California twice, the Island of Kauai once and this year we drove the canyons.
Here was our itinerary:
Day 1:Fly from Seattle to Las Vegas – One night at the New York, New York in Las Vegas
Day 2: Drive from Vegas to Zion, day trip exploration.Drive from Zion to Bryce Canyon (2 hours) and spent the night at the Bryce canyon Best Western ( 2 nights)
Day 3: Explored and hiked Bryce Canyon for the whole day. Spent our second night at Bryce Canyon
Day 4: Drove from Bryce Canyon to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon – Spent the night in Cameron, AZ – Watched the sunset at the Rim.
Day 5:Explored the Grand Canyon and took a short hike below the rim. (We could have stayed here an extra night) Drove to Flagstaff for the night.
Day 6:Drove to Sedona for the day on our way to Phoenix. Hiked to Bell Rock, just south of Sedona. Spend the night in Phoenix (2 nts) to see family.
We could have drove straight to the airport in Phoenix or spent a night in the Sedona area.
Cost break down:
Airfare: $420 per person Seattle to Las Vegas returning from Phoenix
Car rental: We chose a 4-wheel drive intermediate car in case of snow. It did snow while we were in Bryce canyon! $1,100.00
Hotels: Prices varied depending on location. Las Vegas and Flagstaff were the cheapest. Bryce the most pricey. We spent about $800 for lodging.
Park Pass: Annual National Park Pass – $80 (this allowed us to enter the Grand Canyon multiple times without worrying about cost. And it is good for a year.)
We bought several lunches from grocery stores to picnic while we were hiking in the canyons. This saved time and money. The official tourist season for the National Parks starts on May 1st, so several restaurants and shops were closed in the Bryce canyon area. The shuttle bus was not running either. The busses were running at the south rim and in Zion N.P. The north rim of the Grand Canyon was closed, but would have been very accessible between Bryce and the south rim for a quick peek and a bite of lunch.
Speaking of which, lunch was hard to find between Bryce Canyon and the south rim of the Grand canyon. We opted for gas station, convenience food picnic in the car, since there is nothing between Springdale, Utah and Cameron, AZ. This store was located in Lee’s Ferry.
The weather this time of year ranged from snow (33 degrees at night) to a balmy 85 in Phoenix. It averaged about 55 degrees and windy. Bring layers for hiking and plenty of water.
This was a great trip for a week of sightseeing. Our students were able to see sites that could not compare to anywhere else in the world. Each canyon had its own flavor and special features. It seemed to me that Bryce was the least crowded, but that may be because it is so spread out. Bryce was the favorite of our family. Not only can you view it from the rim, but it is very accessible to hike down through the slot canyons and trails. The Hoodoos, take on a whole new look from the bottom.
Remember the altitude. We are bottom dwellers, here in Seattle. The canyons can range in altitude from 6,000 – 9,000 feet above sea-level. Take it slow and steady. Stay hydrated and have plenty of quick energy snacks to keep you on your feet.
Interested in following in our tracks? Let me know and I can set up the whole trip for you and customize it to your family.