Planning a road trip through the southwest US states of Nevada, Utah, and Arizona, but feel overwhelmed by all the options and how best to see them all in a short time? Well you’ve come to the right place, because this guide serves up the ideal 10-day road trip itinerary through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.
Picture yourself cruising down endless highways, surrounded by vast deserts and towering mesas, the horizon stretching out before you in a mesmerizing display of nature’s grandeur. This is a road trip like no other, where the rugged beauty of Nevada’s desertscapes seamlessly transitions into the iconic red rock canyons of Utah, before giving way to the enchanting landscapes of Arizona.
In this blog post, we’ll be your virtual tour guide, unveiling the hidden gems and must-see attractions that pepper this epic journey. From the glittering lights of Las Vegas to the ethereal glow of Antelope Canyon, every stop is a brushstroke in the masterpiece that is the Nevada, Utah, and Arizona road trip.
Keep reading to discover your perfect Nevada, Utah, Arizona road trip!
Table of Contents
Why Listen to Us? Our Experience Roadtripping Nevada, Utah, and Arizona
We love road tripping in Nevada, Utah and Arizona so much that we visit the Southwest every winter, and return often throughout the year. We’ve explored this region of the U.S. extensively and are thrilled we can bring you our expertise. We’ve taken our 3+ years of intensive experience in the southwest and condensed it into an efficient 10-day itinerary that will check off many bucket list experiences and expose you to new places you maybe haven’t heard of before.
Let us do the hard work for you of planning a 10-day Nevada, Utah, and Arizona road trip. This itinerary can be taken as is or modified to meet your needs.
Nevada, Utah, Arizona Road Trip At-A-Glance
- Day 1: Arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Visit Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
- Explore the Las Vegas Strip
- Visit Seven Magic Mountains
- Day 2: Drive to Bryce Canyon National Park
- Visit Valley of Fire State Park
- Visit Bryce Canyon National Park
- Day 3: Drive to Zion National Park
- Visit Zion National Park
- Day 4: Drive to Kanab, Utah
- Explore Kanab’s best short hikes (Sand Caves, Dinosaur Tracks, etc.)
- Day 5: Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
- Explore North or South Coyote Buttes or White Pocket
- Day 6: Drive to Page, Arizona
- Visit Highway 89’s most iconic sites between Kanab and Page
- Tour Antelope Canyon
- Sunset at Horseshoe Bend
- Day 7: Monument Valley
- Explore Monument Valley
- Day 8: Sedona
- Sunrise hike at Devil’s Bridge
- Morning hike to Birthing Cave
- Afternoon hike on Soldier Pass
- Day 9: Grand Canyon
- Sunrise at Yavapai Point
- Hike the South Kaibab Trail
- Drive Desert View Drive
- Drive Hermit Road to Hermit Point
- Day 10:
- Visit the Hoover Dam
- Hike the Railroad Tunnel Trail
- Kayak to Emerald Cove
- Return to Las Vegas
Day 1 – Las Vegas, Nevada
Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada! Not only is this dopamine-inducing city of lights and sounds a worthwhile road trip stop in Nevada in its own right, but it’s also the best base for flying in and out of the southwest in our opinion. Within just a few hours’ drive of over 5 national parks and situated near the Utah and Arizona state borders, Las Vegas is the perfect launchpad for our southwest road trip through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona!
Note: You can also fly into Phoenix and start this itinerary in Sedona (Day 8). The drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport to Sedona is about 2 hours and 10 minutes.
Once at the airport, you’ll need to rent a car for your Nevada, Arizona, and Utah road trip.
Wondering what kind of vehicle to rent for your road trip through the southwest US states of Nevada, Arizona, and Utah? Here’s our take: while a 2-wheel-drive vehicle is completely sufficient for this road trip if you are able to rent an all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive vehicle, you will have more options for some offroading adventures and side quests down dirt roads.
How to Spend a Half Day in Las Vegas, Nevada
After you check into your hotel in Las Vegas, head out for an afternoon of exploration. Here’s how we recommend spending a half-day in Las Vegas:
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area
Explore Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area. This incredible hiking destination is only 20 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. Some recommended hikes are Calico Tanks, Ice Box Canyon, and Lost Creek Trail. Note that a timed entry permit is required to access the main road in Red Rock Canyon NCA. You can make your reservation here.
Las Vegas Strip
Walk the the Las Vegas Strip. Our favorite area to explore is between Planet Hollywood and Treasure Island because there are many casinos and resorts close by and you can see several iconic casinos like the Bellagio and the Venetian. But for the ultimate Las Vegas Strip adventure, we recommend walking the 5-mile urban hike along Las Vegas Boulevard from the Stratosphere to Mandalay Bay, popping into any casinos, restaurants, or attractions that catch your eye as you go!
Seven Magic Mountains
Drive Las Vegas Boulevard approximately for about 30 minutes south of the Las Vegas Strip to the Seven Magic Mountains, a unique art installation in the desert by Ugo Rondinone in collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art. These colorful stacked rock towers are a popular photography spot. Even better – Seven Magic Mountains is free to visit.
Where to Sleep in Las Vegas
Where to Eat in Las Vegas
Day 1 At-A-Glance
- Arrive in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Explore Las Vegas for an afternoon
Day 2 – Valley of Fire State Park and Bryce Canyon National Park
On Day 2 of your Nevada, Utah, Arizona road trip, I recommend spending the morning at Valley of Fire State Park, about an hour east of Las Vegas, and then crossing the state line into Utah to spend the afternoon in Bryce National Park.
Morning (Half Day) in Valley of Fire State Park
Make sure to bring plenty of water and stay hydrated while traveling in the southwest and especially while hiking in Valley of Fire State Park!
Valley of Fire State Park Entrance Information
When embarking on an adventure to the stunning Valley of Fire State Park, it’s important to have all the practical details at your fingertips. Here’s a quick rundown of the entrance information you’ll need to make the most of your visit:
Admission Fee: As you arrive at the park, be prepared to pay an admission fee. The standard fee for a Nevada-plated vehicle is $10, and $15 for non-Nevada vehicles. However, please note that fees can change, so it’s a good idea to check with official sources for the most current information before your visit.
Operating Hours: Valley of Fire State Park is open year-round. However, it’s always wise to double-check current operating hours and any potential closures or restrictions before planning your trip. This way, you can ensure a seamless experience.
Payment Methods: Whether you’re a fan of good old-fashioned cash or prefer the convenience of plastic, you’re in luck. The park accepts both cash and credit cards for entry fees, providing you with flexibility in how you settle your admission. Note, it’s always a good idea to bring cash just in case there are any issues with the credit card system.
Visitor Center Resources: As you enter the park, swing by the Visitor Center. Here, you can grab a park map and any pertinent information that will enhance your exploration. It’s a valuable pit stop for getting oriented and making the most of your visit.
Armed with this essential entrance information, you’re ready to embark on a memorable adventure through Valley of Fire State Park.
1. Atlatl Rock
Atatl Rock is a popular stop within the park, known for its petroglyphs (ancient rock carvings). The Atlatl Rock itself has a staircase leading to a viewing platform, allowing visitors to get a closer look at the intricate carvings depicting prehistoric life.
2. Fire Wave Trail
This is a relatively short 1.3 mile hike that leads to one of the park’s most iconic and photographed spots, the Fire Wave. This incredible wave-like sandstone formation is a kaleidoscope of reds, oranges, and creams. It’s especially stunning in the early morning light.
3. White Domes Trail
This short 1-mile trail takes you through a diverse range of landscapes, including narrow canyons, dramatic sandstone formations, and even a short slot canyon. The colors and textures here are mesmerizing!
4. Elephant Rock
This is another famous rock formation in the park that’s aptly named due to its resemblance to an elephant. It’s a fun spot for photos, and it’s easily accessible from the main road. Elephant Rock is fragile, so please do not climb it!
Afternoon (Half Day) in Bryce Canyon National Park
Here’s how we recommend spending an afternoon and evening in the park as part of your Utah National Parks road trip from Las Vegas.
Bryce Canyon National Park Entrance Information
Welcome to Bryce Canyon National Park! The entrance fee to Bryce Canyon National Park is $35 per vehicle, or free if you have the America the Beautiful National Parks Pass.
1. Scenic Drive to Bryce Point
Drive the Bryce Canyon Road from the Visitor Center to Bryce Point. We recommend driving all the way to Bryce Point first and then stopping at each of the overlooks and viewpoints that will be along the right-hand side of your vehicle as you drive back towards the Visitor Center.
2. Lower Inspiration Point
Stop here on your drive back in the direction of the Visitor Center for a view over Lower Inspiration Point and the Grand Staircase! It’s also worth the short walk on the Rim Trail to Upper Inspiration Point nearby.
3. Navajo Loop and Queen’s Garden Trail
The 3.1-mile Navajo and Queens Garden Loop Trail is our favorite for seeing the highlights of Bryce Canyon National Park’s iconic orange hoodoos. It’s short and easy enough for families with kids with 649 feet of elevation gain, and makes the most of an afternoon visit to the park!
4. Sunset at Sunrise Point
After your hike, catch the sunset at either Sunrise Point or Sunset Point. Both are near each other, just a short walk apart from the same parking lot, and provide slightly different views and angles.
Altitude Sickness at Bryce Canyon National Park
Note that Bryce Canyon National Park sits between 8,000 and 9,000 feet of elevation above sea level, which means you will likely feel the impacts of the altitude. Symptoms most frequently include shortness of breath, headache, and fatigue. Drink a lot of water and take your hike slow and steady if you find you’re feeling altitude sickness! And don’t worry, your symptoms should recede as your body adjusts or when you descend back down to lower elevations.
Where to Sleep in Tropic, Utah
Where to Eat in Tropic, Utah
Day 2 At-A-Glance
- Drive from Las Vegas to Valley of Fire State Park (1 hour)
- Explore Valley of Fire State Park (4 hours)
- Drive to Bryce Canyon National Park (3.5 hours)
- Explore Bryce Canyon National Park (4 hours)
- Overnight in Tropic, Utah
Day 3 – Zion National Park
On the morning of Day 3 of your Nevada, Utah, Arizona road trip, drive from Bryce Canyon City to Zion National Park, about 1 hour and 50 minutes apart.
Spend a Day Exploring Zion National Park
Zion National Park Entrance Information
Today you will be adventuring into Zion National Park! The park entrance fee is $35, but we recommend buying an America the Beautiful National Park Pass, which will save you money if you go to every park on this road trip through Nevada, Utah, and Arizona.
Getting Around Zion National Park
While you can drive your own vehicle on the Zion Scenic Byway and the Kolob Canyons regions of Zion National Park, private vehicles are NOT allowed in Zion Canyon itself during the shuttle season. The shuttle season, according to the National Park Service, is generally May through November and during the holiday season. When we visited in April of 2023, the shuttle was running, however. So, if you plan on visiting Zion National Park most times of the year, you will need to plan for one of two options for getting around Zion Canyon: taking the shuttle, or renting an e-bike (electronic bike).
Zion Canyon Shuttle Option
The free Zion National Park shuttle is the most popular way to get around Zion Canyon. It makes multiple stops throughout the canyon and runs every few minutes.
The shuttle system consists of two main routes:
- Zion Canyon Shuttle: This route takes visitors along the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive, stopping at key trailheads, viewpoints, and attractions. It runs from the park’s south entrance through the main canyon to the Temple of Sinawava, where you can access the trailhead for The Narrows hike.
- Springdale Shuttle: This route connects various lodging properties and campgrounds in the town of Springdale to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center, providing visitors with convenient access to the park’s entrance and shuttle system.
Shuttles run frequently throughout the day, allowing visitors to hop on and off at different stops. The system operates from early morning until evening, accommodating both early birds and those who prefer to explore during the cooler hours of the day.
The shuttle system is designed to accommodate visitors with disabilities. Accessible shuttle buses equipped with ramps or lifts are available to ensure that everyone can enjoy the park’s attractions.
If you plan to use the shuttle system, park your vehicle in Springdale’s designated parking areas or at the Visitor’s Center in Zion Canyon (but note parking fills up quickly). Many accommodations in Springdale also offer shuttle service to the park entrance.
Our favorite way to explore Zion Canyon is renting an e-bike in Springdale and biking into Zion National Park. Because private vehicles are not allowed in the canyon, the only vehicles you have to worry about sharing the road with are the shuttles. Each trailhead has a bike rack you can lock your e-bike to, so you can thoroughly explore each stop the shuttle goes to, plus any other location you feel inspired to check out during your ride!
We rented e-bikes from Zion Adventures on our most recent trip to Zion National Park and it was the PERFECT way to spend the day.
1. Rent an e-bike and explore Zion Canyon
This is the best way to see Zion Canyon in my opinion, as it allows you to explore independently of the shuttle system. You can still do all the activities listed in this itinerary via the shuttle.
2. Bike the Pa’rus Trail
This 1.6-mile one-way trail starts at the Visitor’s Center and provides a great overview of Zion’s unique landscapes. This is also the route you should take to bike into Zion Canyon.
3. Hike the Emerald Pools Trail
Bike or ride the shuttle to Stop 6: The Grotto to hike the 3-mile round trip Emerald Pools Trail to see several waterfalls. The best time to see the waterfalls is in the spring when the snow is melting.
3.1 Hike Angel’s Landing (by permit lottery only)
If you have a permit to hike Angel’s Landing, you’ll start your hike at Stop 6: The Grotto. You can find more information about obtaining a permit to hike Angels Landing here.
4. Stop at Weeping Rock
Bike or ride the shuttle to Stop 7: Weeping Rock. The short path to Weeping Rock is one of our favorite spots in the park because you get to go behind the waterfall! The paved trail leading up to the waterfall is steep but short.
5. Visit the Temple of Sinawava
Bike or ride the shuttle to Stop 9: The Temple of Sinawava. This is where the popular full-day Narrows hike starts, as well as the short and pleasant Riverside Walk trail. In spring, look for the ribbon waterfall on the cliffs!
6. Stroll the Riverside Walk
With only one day in Zion National Park, you don’t have enough time to hike the Narrows, but the 1.9-mile round trip paved Riverside Walk is a good alternative since you can still get a sense of what the canyon is like as it narrows around the Virgin River. If you are able to extend your Nevada, Utah, Arizona road trip at all, I definitely recommend spending an extra day in Zion National Park!
Where to Sleep in Springdale
- Driftwood Lodge
- Flanigan’s Resort and Spa
- AutoCamp Zion
- SpringHill Suites by Marriott Zion National Park
Where to Eat in Springdale
- Oscar’s Cafe: big portions and local favorite
- Camp Outpost: rotisserie and veggies served fast in a charming outdoor space
- Cafe Soleil: great sandwich choice and located right next to the park entrance
Day 3 At-A-Glance
- Drive from Bryce Canyon City to Zion National Park (1 hour 50 minutes)
- Explore Zion National Park (all day)
- Overnight in Springdale
Day 4 – Kanab, Utah
On the morning of Day 4, drive from Springdale, Utah, towards nearby Kanab, just an hour away. The route between the two towns offers unique hikes, slot canyons, state parks, and even dinosaur footprints!
Kanab is one of our favorite destinations in the southwest, and we keep coming back year after year since there is so much to see and do here!
How to Spend a Day in Kanab, Utah
1. Belly of the Dragon
Start your adventure at the Belly of the Dragon, just 17 miles northwest of Kanab. It will be on your route from Springdale to Kanab. This short (1.8 miles round trip), unique hike goes through a dark manmade drainage tunnel underneath Highway 89 called Belly of the Dragon. The hike itself is easy, but there is a bit of a scramble you have to make down into the drainage wash at the start of the tunnel. There are some footholds that make this easier.
2. Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon
Peek-A-Book Canyon (aka Red Canyon) is one of the most popular slot canyons to hike in Utah, since it’s short at just 0.7 miles round trip, fairly easy, and close to the town of Kanab. What is a slot canyon, you may be wondering? It’s a narrow canyon carved out by water over millions of years. Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon is a photographer’s dream, with the curvy canyon walls creating unique textures and angles. Deep sand can make the road to the start of the canyon impassable at times, and a 4WD high-clearance vehicle is recommended if you want to drive. Alternatively, just park in the lot called “Red Canyon Slot Aka Peek A boo trailhead” on Google Maps, right off of Highway 89, and hike the 4×4 road 4 miles to the mouth of the canyon. This makes the hike about 9 miles round trip, so plan your day accordingly.
Note: We’ll be visiting Antelope Canyon, which is much more beautiful in my opinion, later in this itinerary, so don’t worry if you have to skip this one due to timing or vehicle constraints!
3. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park in Utah is a hidden gem for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. Unlike the towering red rock canyons for which Utah is famous, this park offers a unique landscape of rolling sand dunes, tinged with a soft coral hue. The dunes stretch as far as the eye can see, creating a surreal and mesmerizing vista.
The main attraction here is, of course, the dunes themselves. These wind-sculpted formations offer a playground for adventure seekers, whether you’re into sandboarding, off-roading, or simply hiking along the sandy ridges.
Entrance to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park requires a fee of $10 per vehicle.
4. Best Friends Animal Sanctuary
Spread across thousands of acres in one of the most scenic parts of Utah, the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary is home to a diverse range of animals, including dogs, cats, horses, pigs, birds, and even wildlife. The sanctuary’s mission is to provide a safe and loving environment for animals in need, whether they’ve been rescued from shelters, have special needs, or are simply looking for a forever home.
You can participate in guided tours, where you’ll learn about the individual stories and personalities of the animals, and even have the chance to spend quality time with them. For animal lovers, this experience is truly heartwarming and unforgettable.
The sanctuary also offers a variety of programs and workshops, including adoption events. On a recent visit to Kanab, we played Kitten Bingo, where adoptable kitties roamed around while players got to compete for fun prizes. It was as cute as it sounds.
5. Sand Caves
Located near the Moqui Caverns on Highway 89, the Sand Caves are what remain from the location’s former life as a sand mine. The tunnels are visible from the highway, and there’s a large parking area in front of them. Be careful on the rock as you climb up to the caves – it can be slick. Once in the caves, explore the tunnels and have fun with the cool photo opportunities!
6. Dinosaur Tracks
Step back in time at the Dinosaur Tracks site, where ancient history comes to life. Preserved in the rock are the footprints of creatures that roamed this area millions of years ago. This is one of my favorite short hikes in Kanab because you are able to see an incredibly rare remnant of the past on a short and not-too-strenuous hike. The trailhead is located on Highway 89, and the parking lot is shared with the Utah Port of Entry and Nomad Cafe. If you visit, please do not deface or remove the tracks. Always practice leave-no-trace principles, especially in fragile locations like the Kanab dinosaur tracks.
Where to Sleep in Kanab
- Best Friends Roadhouse
- Quality Inn Kanab National Park Area
- Canyons Boutique Hotel – A Canyons Collection Property
Where to Eat in Kanab
Day 4 At-A-Glance
- Drive from Springdale to Kanab (1 hour)
- Visit Belly of the Dragon (1 hour)
- Hike to Peek-A-Boo Slot Canyon (1 hour to 4 hours depending on the distance hiked)
- Visit Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park (1 hour)
- Visit Best Friends Animal Sanctuary (1 hour)
- Explore the Sand Caves (30 minutes)
- Hike to Dinosaur Tracks (1 hour)
- Overnight in Kanab
Day 5: Vermillion Cliffs National Monument
Kanab is one of the best towns to stay in when visiting the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, located in northern Arizona. The Vermillion Cliffs are best known for the otherworldly rock formations that comprise this vast wilderness.
The Wave (North Coyote Buttes)
The Wave is the most famous feature of Vermillion Cliffs National Monument. This curvy, textured sandstone rock formation is only accessible by a permit, which is issued via lottery by the Bureau of Land Management. If this place is on your bucket list, check out our detailed blog post about how to get permits for the Wave and what to expect on the ~7 mile hike. Note that permits are very difficult to get yearround, so we recommend visiting South Coyote Buttes (permit also required, but easier to get) or White Pocket (both described below) as alternatives.
South Coyote Buttes
Like it’s sibling to the north, South Coyote Buttes is an area of unique sandstone rock formations, including petrified sand dunes (Cottonwood Teepees) and delicate towers. And, like North Coyote Buttes, South Coyote Buttes requires a permit to visit. This one is easier to obtain since the demand is lower than for the Wave. Plus, South Coyote Buttes actually has a lot more to see, with two distinct areas (Cottonwood Cove and Paw Hole). Note that you will need a 4×4 high clearance vehicle and experience driving in deep sand to get to to South Coyote Buttes. If you do not have one, you can arrange a guided tour with Dreamland Safari Tours.
Tucked away in the remote Vermilion Cliffs National Monument, White Pocket is a geological wonder that feels like a landscape from another planet. The swirling, marbled sandstone formations create a dreamscape of surreal beauty. Think Dr. Seuss meets Candy Land. The vivid contrasts of red, white, and yellow rock, combined with the smooth, undulating patterns, make this a photographer’s paradise. A permit is NOT required to visit White Pocket, however, you will need to drive through deep sand in a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle to get to White Pocket. No 4WD? No problem – book a tour with Dreamland like we did! You can read about our White Pocket guided tour experience here.
Day 5 At-A-Glance
- Explore Vermillion Cliffs National Monument (all day)
- Overnight in Kanab
Day 6 – Page, Arizona
Today, drive east on Highway 89 from Kanab, Utah, to Page, Arizona. Along the way, you’ll be stopping at a few hikes and scenic spots!
How to Spend a Day in Page, Arizona
1. Toadstool Hoodoos
The Toadstool Hoodoos hike is a captivating adventure in the Utah desert. This trail leads to a collection of sandstone formations that resemble toadstools, shaped by years of natural erosion. It’s a relatively short hike, just over a mile each way, making it accessible for hikers of different skill levels. The trailhead is conveniently located off Highway 89, near the renowned Vermilion Cliffs. As you walk through this distinctive landscape, you’ll encounter towering sandstone pillars with mushroom-like caps. The interplay of light and shadow on the textured surfaces offers great photo opportunities.
2. Paria Townsite
The Paria Townsite is one of our favorite locations Tim and I have ever been to. If you’ve seen photos of or visited the “Rainbow Mountains” of Peru, imagine a mesa with horizontal rainbow-colored stripes. That’s what Paria Townsite looks like. Plus, this spot has remains of an old settlement (the townsite) which makes it fun to explore against the colorful backdrop. While any vehicle can make the dirt road to Paria Townsite, you should not attempt the drive if it’s rained recently.
3. Glen Canyon Dam
An engineering marvel standing tall against the backdrop of the Colorado River, Glen Canyon Dam is second only to the Hoover Dam in impressiveness. The museum is worth a visit to learn the history of the dam, its construction, and its uncertain future.
4. Take a tour of Antelope Canyon
A world of ethereal beauty awaits in Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon sculpted by the gentle touch of water. As sunlight filters through the narrow passages, it paints the sandstone walls with a palette of soft, shifting hues. This is why Antelope Canyon is considered one of the most beautiful slot canyons in the world.
Antelope Canyon is part of the Navajo Nation and all visitors must be accompanied by a Navajo guide. You should book your tour in advance to ensure your spot. You have the option to tour Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon. We toured Upper Antelope Canyon, and plan to visit Lower Antelope Canyon on a future trip so we can compare the experiences!
5. Sunset at Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is a must-see natural wonder located near Page, Arizona. This iconic formation is a U-shaped curve in the Colorado River that has been carved over millennia. The hike to Horseshoe Bend is relatively short, about 0.7 miles each way, making it accessible for most visitors. The trailhead is well-marked and easily accessible from U.S. Route 89. Standing at the edge, you’ll be awe-struck by the sheer scale of the canyon and the emerald waters below – but be careful and keep an eye on kids! There are no guardrails and a misstep near the edge could have fatal consequences.
Where to Sleep in Page
- Hampton Inn & Suites Page Lake Powell
- Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell
- Best Western View of Lake Powell Hotel
- La Quinta by Wyndham Page at Lake Powell
Where to Eat in Page
Day 6 At-A-Glance
- Hike Toadstool Hoodoos (2 hours)
- Visit Paria Townsite (1 hour)
- Visit Glen Canyon Dam (45 minutes)
- Take a tour of Antelope Canyon (2 hours)
- Watch the sunset at Horseshoe Bend (2 hours)
- Overnight in Page, Arizona
Day 7 – Monument Valley
From Page, drive 2.5 hours to Monument Valley. Here, you can take a Navajo-guided tour of Monument Valley, or drive the scenic route through Monument Valley in your own vehicle. We recommend going with a Navajo guide, however, so that you can learn more about the significance and history of the place to the Navajo people. Additionally, there are several sites that can only be visited with a Navajo guide, and in my opinion, these are some of the most interesting and unique in all of Monument Valley. We booked a Delux Tour with Goulding’s Monument Valley to see these additional locations, which is $89 compared to $77 for the Standard Tour.
Admission to Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is $8 per person per day. If you are self-driving the scenic loop, you’ll just pay when you enter through the gate.
Tip: After exploring the Monument Valley scenic loop, head a bit further east to Forrest Gump Point for an iconic view you’re sure to recognize from the movie!
From Monument Valley, it’s a scenic 3.5-hour drive to Sedona where you’ll spend the night!
Where to Sleep in Sedona
- Residence Inn by Marriott Sedona
- Arroyo Pinion Hotel, Ascend Hotel Collection
- Sedona Pines Resort
- Element Sedona
Where to Eat in Sedona
- Elote Cafe (reservations required, book 60 days in advance)
- Hideaway House
- Red Rock Cafe
- Coffee Pot Restaurant
Day 7 At-A-Glance
- Drive from Page to Monument Valley (2.5 hours)
- Self-drive or take a Navajo-guided tour of Monument Valley (3 hours)
- Visit Forrest Gump Point (30 minutes)
- Drive to Sedona (3.5 hours)
- Overnight in Sedona
Day 8 – Sedona, Arizona
Sedona is a hiker’s paradise, and for your full day in Sedona, we recommend three different hikes that will give you a great taste of the red rock landscape for which Sedona is famous.
How to Spend 1 Day Hiking in Sedona, Arizona
1. Sunrise hike at Devil’s Bridge
Devil’s Bridge is one of the most popular hiking trails in Sedona, Arizona, and for good reason. The 4-mile hike leads to a natural sandstone arch that spans over 50 feet.
We recommend tackling Devil’s Bridge trail for sunrise because that will give you the best chance of having some relative solitude on the trail. Devil’s Bridge stays busy pretty much constantly, but sunrise will be somewhat less crowded.
The trail itself is well-maintained and easy to follow, but it can get steep at times.
If you’re feeling bold, and the line isn’t too long, you can walk out onto Devil’s Bridge for the ultimate Sedona hiking photo op. We waited in line for about an hour for this photo, which is the most we’ve ever waited for a picture. But, to us, it was worth it! Also, the. bridge is not as scary or narrow as it looks in photos. However, definitely avoid the edges because a fall would be deadly.
2. Morning hike to Birthing Cave
After your sunrise hike at Devil’s Bridge, the next stop on your Sedona hiking itinerary is the iconic Birthing Cave! This is one of the most picturesque caves in Sedona, and it’s only a 2-mile roundtrip hike!
This cave gets very busy, and although it is large, there is very little actual surface that is flat enough to sit or stand on. The cave is essentially an oval, so most of the cave wall is curved at a steep grade. Definitely be careful where you walk inside the cave and wear grippy hiking boots so you don’t slip and fall!
3. Afternoon Soldier Pass Hike
In the afternoon, hike my FAVORITE hike in the Coconino National Forest: Soldier Pass! This 4.5-mile round-trip trail features several landmarks you will want to stop and take photos or simply admire. First, you’ll come across the Sinkhole, also known as Devil’s Kitchen. This geological wonder is a collapsed underground chamber, creating a deep opening.
Approximately halfway through the hike, you’ll reach the Seven Sacred Pools. These natural pools, carved into the red rocks, offer a peaceful oasis amidst the desert landscape. Take a moment to relax and appreciate the tranquility of these serene pools. If you’re lucky, you will see them filled with water!
Our favorite highlight of the Soldier Pass hike is the Soldier Pass Cave. This hidden gem tucked away amidst the rocks offers a fascinating exploration opportunity. It’s a bit of a scramble to get up inside the cave, but once you’re in, it feels like a hidden world. The photo opportunities are absolutely mindblowing here too.
After your hike on the Soldiers Pass Trail, drive 2 hours north to Tusayan, the gateway to Grand Canyon National Park.
Additional Sedona Resources:
Where to Sleep in Tusayan
- Holiday Inn Express Grand Canyon
- Squire Resort at the Grand Canyon
- The Grand Hotel at the Grand Canyon
- Grand Canyon Plaza Hotel
Where to Eat in Tusayan
Day 8 At-A-Glance
- Sunrise hike at Devil’s Bridge (2 hours)
- Morning hike to Birthing Cave (1 hour)
- Afternoon hike on Soldier Pass (3 hours)
- Drive to Tusayan (2 hours)
- Overnight in Tusayan
Day 9 – Grand Canyon
On the morning of Day 9 of your Nevada, Utah, and Arizona road trip, drive north from Tusayan to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, about 20 minutes away.
Grand Canyon National Park Entrance Information
The entrance fee for Grand Canyon National Park is $35 per vehicle. You can purchase your entrance in advance or in person when you arrive. There are no timed entry reservations required at this time. You can read more about the entrance to the park on the NPS website.
Grand Canyon National Park Shuttle System
To manage traffic and the flow of visitors at this popular national park, there is a shuttle system on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. There is no parking available at certain trailheads, so you’ll need to park at the Visitor’s Center in Grand Canyon Village and take the shuttle from there. You can find out more about the shuttle program, including the shuttle stops and timetable, on the NPS website.
What to Do in One Day in Grand Canyon National Park
1. Sunrise at Yavapai Point
Start your day by driving to Yavapai Point and parking in the lot there. We think Yavapai Point is the best place to enjoy the sunrise in the Grand Canyon, because it’s a spacious overlook where other visitors can spread out, and there are some really cool photo opportunities.
2. Hike the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point
After sunrise, you can leave your car at the Yavapai Point parking lot and hop the shuttle to the South Kaibab Trailhead. From here, hike about 2 miles round trip to Ooh Aah Point, one of the most impressive (and best-named) viewpoints in the park. Note that this trail goes below the canyon rim, and there is a considerable amount of elevation loss (and then gain) on the round-trip hike. Bring lots of water and salty snacks so you are prepared!
3. Desert View Drive
Return to your car on the shuttle, and then drive east along the South Rim on Desert View Drive. This scenic drive is a great way to get a sense of the park’s scale, compare viewpoints, and search for unique shapes in the rocks! We recommend stopping at as many stops as you can, and going all the way to the historic Desert View Watchtower.
4. Drive Hermit Road to Hermit Point
From the Desert View Watchtower, retrace your route all the way back to the Visitor’s Center and take Hermit Road to explore the western half of the South Rim. Stop at the viewpoints that lead to Hermit’s Rest, another historic location in the park where you can get a sense of what early tourist visits to the Grand Canyon might have been like.
Day 9 At-A-Glance
- Sunrise at Yavapai Point
- Hike the South Kaibab Trail
- Drive Desert View Drive
- Drive Hermit Road to Hermit Point
- Overnight in Tusayan
Day 10 – Hoover Dam and Return to Las Vegas
From Tusayan, it’s a 4 hours drive to return to Las Vegas. Leave Tusayan in the morning and spend the afternoon exploring Lake Mead National Recreation Area.
What to Do in a Half Day at Lake Mead National Recreation Area
With a half-day at Lake Mead National Recreation Area, you have time for two of the below ideas, maybe all three if you can time it well. We’ve done all three and think history buffs will love visiting the Hoover Dam and hiking the Railroad Tunnel Trail, while nature enthusiasts will love hiking the Railroad Tunnel Trail and kayaking to Emerald Cave.
1. Visit the Hoover Dam
The Hoover Dam stands as a testament to human ingenuity and a marvel of modern engineering. Located on the border of Arizona and Nevada, this colossal structure harnesses the power of the mighty Colorado River. Visitors to the Hoover Dam can embark on a comprehensive tour that offers a fascinating look into its construction and operation. The guided tours provide insights into the history, engineering feats, and the dam’s critical role in supplying power and water to the region. As you stand atop the dam, the view of Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the United States, stretches out before you. The visitor center provides educational exhibits, detailing the incredible efforts that went into building this iconic structure during the Great Depression.
2. Hike the Railroad Tunnel Trail
You can start the hike of the Railroad Tunnel Trail from the Hoover Dam Visitor’s Center. This trail takes you through the historic railroad tunnels that were in use during the time of the dam’s construction. It’s a fun, easy walk along an elevated path next to Lake Mead, providing great water views throughout. The hike is about 8 miles round trip and with the exception of the tunnels themselves, there is little shade on the trail, so bring a hat and sunscreen!
3. Kayak to Emerald Cave (aka Emerald Cove)
For a cool kayak excursion to some of the greenest waters you’ll ever see, take a guided paddle tour to Emerald Cave (sometimes also called Emerald Cove). Tours start at Willow Beach and from there, it’s a 4-mile round-trip kayak paddle to the cove. This spot is very popular, so expect to deal with other kayakers and tour groups.
Day 10 At-A-Glance
- Visit the Hoover Dam
- Hike the Railroad Tunnel Trail
- Kayak to Emerald Cove
- Return to Las Vegas
When is the Best Time to Go On a Nevada, Utah, Arizona Road Trip?
We recommend exploring the southwest and roadtripping Nevada, Utah, and Arizona in the fall, winter, and early spring months. As long as you aren’t here in the summer when temperatures are dangerously hot, you can’t go wrong!
Another thing to know is that the weather varies greatly across all of these destinations based on elevation and climate. For example, it can be 70 degrees and sunny in Las Vegas, but 30 degrees and snowy in Bryce Canyon National Park.
Final Thoughts on Nevada, Utah, Arizona Road Trip
This 10-day road trip itinerary through the best sights of the US Southwest is designed to maximize your adventures! In just 10 days, you can visit several national parks, hike some of the most scenic areas of the desert, and explore three otherworldly states.
To help you further plan your trip to the US Southwest, don’t miss these blogs!