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If you're planning a trip, chances are that you are reading a lot of blogs and seeing a lot of itineraries. What makes our itinerary the only one you'll need? Well, we organize & lead trips for groups of people all day long. We haven't just been somewhere once. We have been there many times. We don't just find typical tourist things- we find adventure.
Three days might not seem like a lot of time to some people. But for people like me (and maybe you?), we grab every chance we can to go explore new places & have adventures to fuel our days.
I have been to Arizona 7-8 times, but this last trip I feel like I perfected all of my favorite places in the most efficient timeline possible.
If you have a free weekend, let my creativity & experience lead you on some wild days.
Please note: this itinerary is best April-September as jet skiing is typically limited and COLD October-March.
Day 1: Summary
Visit the best rock store (ever!)
Sedona- hike Cathedral Rock Trail
Drive to Page
Day 1: Details:
Leave early from Phoenix and head towards Sedona. I recommend stopping at Snooze for breakfast. Their veggie hash sweet potato dish is absolutely out of this world. They have many allergy-friendly options as well, making it tasty & healthy.
Next, head north to Rare Earth Gallery. I don't really have words or pictures to do this store any justice. It is packed with the most beautiful, ornate, wonderful stones & gems & fossils from around the world. Even better than that, it's incredibly organized and everything has little labels and descriptions which makes this not just fun to look at, but an overall educational experience mixed with a bit of a museum feeling. They have fossilized megladon shark teeth, to a marble statute 12 feet tall, to stone chakra bracelets. Prices range from as low as $7-8 up to half of a million and everything in between. And to top all of this off, the staff is so incredibly nice. I've always had amazing experiences.
Okay now you should have some sort of goodie from Rare Earth (I cannot leave without something), head up to Sedona.
Most people have heard of Sedona, and it's a very popular place to visit. If you don't arrive early enough, you often have a hard time finding parking at some of the more popular hikes. But don't worry, I found a spot away from massive crowds. In fact, I was there on a Saturday and in my spot, I saw not a single person in the hour I was there.
Once you're in Sedona, grab lunch and then head over to the Cathedral Rock Trailhead.
Trail details: 1.2 miles round trip
Elevation gain: 741 feet (this is the killer!)
This is a short hike, but a pretty steep one where you will be scaling some angled large boulders. It's nothing crazy in my opinion- definitely challenging and fun, but some people I saw there were afraid of heights stayed back around the halfway point.
So most importantly you will need good hiking shoes. You will want plenty of water (or water backpack!), a snack, and a hat, sunglasses and/or sunscreen. There is little shade and Sedona can get very hot, even though it's usually 15-20 degrees cooler than Phoenix.
Near the top of this hike, almost everyone will head right over to the main point. Instead, go left and climb higher in-between the large boulders to the very left. Once you get to this spot, you will have incredible views and a lot of terrain on the back side to explore.
After this hike, the rest of the drive will feel great! Sedona has plenty of places to stop for a snack or a refreshing drink.
Drive to Page, AZ- about 2.5-3 hours. The sun set while we were driving and it was absolutely breathtaking against the massive red canyon walls.
We stayed in the Baymont by Wyndham Page Lake Powell. The prices were affordable and it was right along the dam scenic drive, which most of the other hotels weren't. It was absolutely stunning.
Pro tip: This is along a time zone change, so your phones might automatically flip back and forth. Just keep an eye on it! You will not actually change time zones staying in Page, but throughout the weekend you might venture over the line and get confused.
Day 2: Summary
Jet ski on Lake Powell
Sunset at Horseshoe bend
Day 2: Detail
I travel- a LOT- and this jet skiing experience was probably in my top 10 most fun, carefree, amazing things to do. My brain was on a high the entire day and my soul felt like it was on FIRE.
Jet skis can get pretty expensive to rent, but I found some for around $200/day (plus trailering to the lake if you don't have a trailer) from Carl's Marine Rentals. A couple named Randy & Donna actually own it (or as I called Randy- "Not Carl") and they were the nicest, most responsive company on Lake Powell. They also are open more year round than some of the other ones.
There are some jet skis you can find for over $1000/day, so if you want something really top of the line, by all means, you go for it! But I stuck with the company above. They went above and beyond to help teach us how to drive the jet skis safely, and were punctual and efficient.
They will drop you off at Wahweap Marina, which is on the very west side of the lake (or for those directionally challenged: the left side). Once out on the lake, head through the winding through the canyons to Navajo Canyon.
We stopped for lunch at Antelope Point Marina where we had some of the best truffle fries I've ever had. You can load up here on any drinks or snacks you might want with you for the rest of the afternoon.
The lake will have mile markers to help keep you on the right track. Navajo Canyon is right before mile marker 12, so if you hit 12 miles you have gone too far. This is a wide offshoot from the main lake, with massive towering cliffs. Depending on the water levels, you can take additional mini off shoots from this.
On this lake, you can also access antelope canyon from Lake Powell. There is a waterway that you can take until you hit the shore, and then you can hike through the rest of the canyon. If you go see Antelope Canyon at the main tourist point, it's $65 per person and you're herded like cattle through the canyon. This is a much better experience if you're up for a little hike!
Back near Wahweap Marina, swing by the white cliffs to the north west. There are white sandy dunes and there are caves you can explore over here too!
We got off the lake around 4 p.m. and headed back to the hotel for a bite to eat and a little rest. Then we headed towards Horseshoe Bend. The best photos are right before or during golden hour- the 1-2 hours before sunset. There are often big crowds for the sunset, so find a nice place to settle in and wait for those golden beams.
Day 3: Summary
Explore Cathedral Wash
Visit the Grand Canyon
Return to Phoenix
Try Bahama Bucks
Day 3: Detail
I personally start every day with coffee, so if you choose not to, that's on you I guess ;)
Eat breakfast on the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook. We climbed onto the cliff edge and ate breakfast (and drank coffee, obviously) here every morning and I still can't get over how perfect and peaceful it was.
Next, head to Marble Canyon- this is a city with the most stunning view driving into it. You will find yourself in a flat plane with massive canyon walls around you on all sides. The drive is about an hour from Page. You will have to pay a $30 entrance fee into Lee's Ferry, which is part of the park system. A few miles into the park, you can pull over at Cathedral Wash Trail.
Cathedral Wash is a massive river bed that is dried out. I prefer this over Antelope Canyon. While not quite as narrow and smooth, we had the entire hike to ourselves, we didn't have to have a guide, and we felt like true explorers! Bring plenty of water and a snack. You will want good hiking socks & shoes to, as some parts will be 20-30 ft drops that you have to scramble up and down!
You will see several different layers, colors & types of dirt from over the years. I was hoping to find a fossil but didn't. But if you're going to find one, I definitely feel like this would be a great spot for it!
One of the coolest things on this trail was the spot where the 30 ft waterfall used to spill over, and you can see all of the watermarks! I included the picture in the 3rd day itinerary- it is the 3rd one shown.
After your hike, you'll be ready to rest for the car ride to the Grand Canyon- it's just a little over a 2 hour drive. Honestly, TGC isn't my favorite place to visit, but I feel like it's one of those things you want to do at least once. It is gorgeous for sure, but I like more interactive sites. It's almost too big. There are some trails you can find to hike if time allows, but for the purpose of this trip, it's really just a drive along the southern rim. I did hop out and find a few jutting out rocks to climb and take some great views in from.
The canyon has a ton of trails that you can walk or bike along. We did walk about a mile down to see different spots & views.
After this, head back towards Phoenix. It's about a 3 hour drive.
You must (*MUST*) stop at Bahama Bucks. It's a shaved ice shop, but honestly that is an underwhelming description of what I deem to be heaven. My favorite is the Pina Colada with the cream. But I've also enjoyed birthday cake (with cream) and strawberries with cream. Whatever flavor you get, the cream on top just makes it perfection.
You might end up with a brain freeze, gut rot, and a diabetic coma, but if you hate it, we cannot be friends. It's that good. End the trip on a high note and reward yourself for all of the amazing hikes you just got in!
From here, you can catch a late night flight. We actually got some shut eye at the airport, then on the plane, and then I went to work the next day, so I truly only missed one day of work and was able to do ALL of this in one weekend.
I hope you find yourself catching a 3 day weekend in Arizona- if you do, please let us know if you were able to use any tips from our itinerary.
As always, we hope to see you on Instagram where you can follow us for more adventure!
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