The Northern Arizona Travel Guide is a resource for those planning a road trip in the region.
It is especially useful for trips originating in Las Vegas or Phoenix, or for those traveling on I-40.
All the popular attractions are included, such as Oak Creek Canyon, Historic Route 66, the Painted Desert,
Grand Canyon National Park, Monument Valley, Hoover Dam, Lake Powell, Prescott and Sedona, Arizona.
Many less famous destinations are also included. Details include descriptions and links to many references.
Indian Country, Lake Powell, North Rim of Grand Canyon, Utah Parks
This symbol indicates links into the American West Travelogue.
Part 3 features attractions of far northern Arizona. From Las Vegas or Flagstaff, the popular Grand Circle loop trip could include Lake Powell, the North Rim, and the popular Utah national parks, Bryce Canyon and Zion. A longer version of the loop trip could include Monument Valley and other northeast Arizona attractions.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park, Utah
Monument Valley and the surrounding area offer some of the southwest's most famous and unusual scenery.
From Canyon de Chelly, head north on US-191 into Utah, then west on US-163. A side trip east on US-160 leads
to Four Corners Monument, the country's only intersection of four states. West of Bluff, Utah, the Valley of
the Gods offers scenery similar to Monument Valley in a very remote and uncrowded area. Make a stop at
Goosenecks State Park, which offers the stunning panorama of the Goosenecks of the San Juan River.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park with all its famous landmarks is 25 miles west of the San Juan River crossing on US-163, or 25 miles north of Kayenta, Arizona. Gouldings Trading Post offers lodging, services, and tours. The new Monument Valley View complex within the Tribal Park offers a hotel (with outstanding vistas of the valley), restaurant, trading post, and guided tours. You may also take a self-guided tour on the park's 17 mile auto road which accesses some of the noted landmarks. Further access is by guided tour only. Visit time: drive through in a few hours or take a day or two to explore.
Navajo National Monument
The monument protects three ancient cliff dwellings. Daily tours are offered to Betatakin and Keet Seel
during the summer. The guided hike to photogenic Betatakin is five miles roundtrip. The hike out of the
canyon is strenuous. Keet Seel is considered one of the best preserved of all cliff dwellings. Very
limited guided tours of Keet Seel are available - 20 people per day. You must hike out to the site on
your own, 8.5 miles each way, and you may stay one night at the small campground near the ruin. The trip is recommended only for strong hikers (but is well worth the effort). Limited off-season tours are available. For more information, call (928) 672-2700 or visit the NPS site (below). Shorter scenic trails are also available. Visit time: for Betatakin, a half day; for Keet Seel, a very long, full day or overnight.
The Hopi people largely occupy a series of high mesas on their land in northern Arizona.
Most notable are the ancient towns of Walpi and Old Oraibi, one of the oldest continously occupied towns
in the country. The Hopi are skilled in various crafts including pottery, weaving, silver jewelry, and
Kachina dolls. The best place to start a visit is the Hopi Cultural Center on Second Mesa at the
intersection of Arizona-264 and Arizona-87.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area - Lake Powell
This Recreation Area's highlight is Lake Powell. Activities include houseboating, fishing, and water sports on a backdrop of spectacular scenery. Tours, accommodations, and services available in Page and at the marinas including boat tours, fishing guides, and watercraft rentals. Houseboat rentals must be made well in advance.
Rainbow Bridge, the world's largest and most photogenic natural bridge, is generally visited by guided boat tours across Lake Powell.
Nearby Antelope Canyon, one of the world's most photogenic slot canyons, is very popular. The upper canyon is completely level and easy to walk. Access is by two-hour tours starting in Page. The half-day raft trip down Glen Canyon below the dam is excellent. The scenery and environment is very similar to the bottom of the Grand Canyon. Easy rafting (no white water) and very easy logistics.
Tour reservations and activity information are available at the John Wesley Powell Museum in Page. See our Lake Powell Travel Guide for many other activities in the area. See Utah Loop below for additional information. Visit time: at least one full day for any water-related activity. Antelope Canyon can be toured in a few hours.
Grand Canyon National Park - North Rim
The North Rim is a more remote and less crowded alternative to the South Rim. It is convenient for
visitors coming from Las Vegas who wish to visit Utah's national parks as well or make a loop trip. High
elevation, 8,000 feet, produces beautiful forests and cool summer temperatures. Area generally open May to October. Views of Colorado River less available from North Rim. Visit time: at least one day due to remoteness.
Utah National Parks Loops
Southwest Utah offers excellent attractions for both tourist and recreationalists. Two of Utah's most popular national parks, Zion and Bryce Canyon, are an easy drive from Las Vegas, heading north on I-15. Zion National Park is 163 miles, about a three-hour drive. Bryce Canyon National park is an additional 87 miles, another two hours of driving. It is possible to do a long day trip to Zion but spending at least one night at each park would be much more enjoyable. From Flagstaff, the parks are accessed by heading north on US-89 (280 miles, 5 hours to Bryce, 245 miles to Zion).
Las Vegas visitors can also make an excellent loop road trip, the Grand Circle, heading south on US-93 via Hoover Dam to I-40 heading east to Flagstaff, with optional visits to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and/or Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon. From Flagstaff, US-89 takes you north to Page, Arizona and Lake Powell where there are numerous recreational opportunities. Route US-89a offers access to Lee's Ferry (Glen Canyon) and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon before reconnecting with US-89. (Generally, most people visit one rim or the other. The South Rim is more easily accessible and has the best vistas into the canyon. However it is very, very crowded. The North Rim is more remote and has far fewer visitors, creating a more pleasing outdoor experience.) Phoenix visitors may drive this loop by first driving to Flagstaff (I-17 north, 2+ hours).
From Page, US-89 continues north into Utah. Hikers and backpackers may want to visit the Paria Wilderness and Coyote Buttes about thirty miles north of Page. Both are available by reservation only. North of Kanab, Utah, the route gives access to Bryce Canyon National Park - east on Utah-12 - and Zion National Park - west on Utah-9 which eventually reaches I-15 with a quick and easy return to Las Vegas.
The Grand Canyon - Lake Powell - Bryce Canyon - Zion loop can be completed in less than a week. It is about 850 miles of driving. A week to ten days would be much more enjoyable and less rushed.
Visitors with more time, two weeks or more, can complete the spectacular larger Grand Circle loop. Continue east from Flagstaff on I-40, then north on US-191 towards the Four Corners area. This provides opportunities to visit Petrified Forest National Park with its outstanding views of the Painted Desert, Canyon de Chelly, Monument Valley, and other great locations. US-191 continues north into Utah to I-70, reaching two more great Utah national parks, Canyonlands and Arches. The loop then turns west through Utah's Capitol Reef National Park, then reaching Scenic Utah-12. This great route passes through the surreal landscapes of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument before reaching Bryce Canyon National Park from the east. From there you head south to Zion and the return to Las Vegas.
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Northern Arizona Travel Guide Index
- Hoover Dam, Historic Route 66, Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon, Verde Valley, Grand Canyon Skywalk
- Flagstaff, Grand Canyon - South Rim, Painted Desert / Petrified Forest, Canyon de Chelly
- Indian Country, Monument Valley, Lake Powell, Grand Canyon - North Rim, Utah Parks
- Travel Itineraries
Guides to Nearby Destinations