The Perfect 5-Day Itinerary For Zion, Bryce, Grand Canyon, and Antelope Canyon

Johnny

The American Southwest has long been one of the most consistently beautiful places in not just America, but the world. This was still considered the frontier not more than a century ago, and the landscapes remain as wild and adventurous as ever. While I’ve focused all my travels on places outside of my home country, in no way have I forgotten or choose to neglect what America has to offer.

For someone that’s been to over 50 countries, the Southwest is as unique and stunning as any places I’ve seen. The National Parks here are simply wonderful and rival even the most alien landscapes. After the mainstays of American tourism like New York and LA, I always tell my foreign friends to take a road trip through the Southwest. Haven’t had any complaints as of yet!

Sunset at Horseshoe Bend

Sunset at Horseshoe Bend

I could easily spend a few weeks in this area of the country that includes Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico, and California, visiting the many many national parks. Sadly, I only had five days (Friday to Tuesday). Nevertheless, I managed to get a good taste of some of the most well known and stunning parks in the area.

Be sure to also read my Joshua Tree, Death Valley, and Red Rock Canyon Itinerary for those looking to drive westward from Las Vegas, or combine those amazing national parks with this itinerary!

If you have closer to two weeks or more to travel, then make sure to read my ultimate american road trip itinerary which combines this itinerary, Joshua Tree+Death valley, Arches national park, Canyonlands, and Monument Valley!

 

Five day Itinerary for a Southwest trip


Full disclosure, we are a couple in our early 30s and would consider ourselves quite active/fit. We had hiked Machu Picchu right before this trip no problem and we are totally okay with a fast itinerary. If you have kids, or are not as keen for such an involved itinerary, this itinerary may seem rushed to you!

Read Also On Johnny Africa:  The Perfect Puglia, Italy Road Trip Itinerary

 

Best time to Visit The Southwest

The southwest is accessible year round. Some places are closed during the winter like the North Rim in the Grand Canyon. The summer season starting on Memorial Day to Labor day is the high season as kids are on summer vacation. We went in late October when the weather was still warm but the swathes of tourists were not present.

Some of these parks can see an extreme amount of tour groups in the summer high season between Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day (late May to Early Sep). I also think winter would be an amazing time to visit as well. Snow falling on Bryce Canyon would be a completely different experience.

 

Itinerary Map

Full Itinerary

StartEndPark visitedWhere I Stayed
Day 1Las Vegas Airport, NVSt. GeorgeN/AHoliday Inn St George
Day 2St. George, UtahBryce, UtahZion National ParkBryce Canyon Log Cabins
Day 3Bryce, UtahPage, AZBryce National Park, Horseshoe BendBest Western Lake Powell
Day 4Page, AZTusayan, AZAntelope Canyon, Grand CanyonThe Grand Hotel
Day 5Tusayan, AZPhoenixGrand Canyon, SedonaSedona Rouge

Day 1: 

  • Land in Las Vegas Airport at night
  • Drive 2 hours to St George, Utah

Day 2:

  • Drive early morning to Springdale
  • Visit Zion National Park
  • Hike Angels Landing
  • Hike through the narrows
  • Have dinner in Springdale
  • Drive to Bryce Canyon City

Day 3:

  • Early morning hike to Bryce Canyon
  • Drive to various viewpoints in Bryce Canyon National Park
  • Drive to Lake Powell in the mid afternoon
  • Visit Glen Canyon dam before arriving in Lake Powell
  • Visit Horseshoe bend for sunset

Day 4:

  • Visit Antelope Canyonj in the morning
  • Drive towards Grand Canyon in Arizona
  • Arrive in Grand Canyon in the early afternoon
  • Visit the numerous view points
  • Dinner and the night in Grand Canyon

Day 5:

  • Early morning views of the Grand Canyon
  • Drive south towards Sedona
  • Quick hike through Sedona
  • Lunch and some wine tasting in Sedona
  • Drive to Phoenix at night for a late night flight back home
southwest zion bryce grand canyon itinerary map antelope canyon

Map of my itinerary through the southwest

 

Parks Visited

 

Read Also On Johnny Africa:  Ultimate Guide To Hiking The Rainbow Mountain Of Vinicunca
ParkLocationAdmission Cost
Zion National park

Zion National Park

Springfield, Utah$15
Bryce National Park

Bryce National Park

Bryce, Utah$30
Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend

Page, ArizonaFree
Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Page, Arizona$30
Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

Arizona$30

 

Day 1-2: Zion National Park


Zion is one of the most famous national parks in the country. With over two million visitors a year, this was a great start for the trip

Las Vegas International Airport is the closest airport to Zion (2.5 hours). We spent our first night in St. George, as it was too late to drive the entire distance to Springdale, the nearest city to Zion. We did leave very early the next day so we could beat the crowds.

Like all the parks in this area, Zion is very organized and developed as far as the tourist infrastructure goes. There is a shuttle that runs through Springdale to pick up people to drop off at the entrance of the park. We parked our car near the entrance since we arrived so early. Within the park, there is another free shuttle that regularly runs to/from the 8 stops in the park.

Since we only had a day here, we wanted to hit up the most famous and iconic areas: Angel’s Landing, and the Narrows. For the shuttle, this was the Grotto and the Temple of Sinawava stops.

 

Angel’s Landing Hike

After getting off at the Grotto stop, we proceeded to hike straight up to the top of the mountain for the famous Angel’s Landing views. We read numerous blogs as well as heard from many people we met how difficult the hike was. We packed loads of water, and were expecting a strenuous hike. In reality? This hike was easy.

Perhaps, it’s because I had just hiked up Montana Picchu in Peru, which at 8000m was much more difficult. The hike up Angel’s landing offered some amazing views make no mistake, but we were up in less than 1 hour.

Near the top, there is a hike along a very narrow ridge with nothing but air on each side. This can be quite scary because you are literally semi-tight roping across the ledge of the mountain with only chains to hold on to. For those scared of heights, I would not recommend this! Walking along the ridge itself wasn’t that difficult, but there’s no reason to speed through this part of the hike as a misstep will almost surely result in falling towards where Angel’s don’t live.

angel's landing top area

Near the top of Angel’s landing!

Once we got to the top, the views were absolutely stunning! There’s a reason this is one of the most famous hikes in the country. The views of Zion Canyon are hard to beat. There were a ton of people at the top but we managed to find a somewhat isolated spot to eat lunch and just soak in the views. After 1 hour or so, we hiked back as we still had the Narrows hike afterwards. Most people thought we were crazy to hike both Angel’s landing and the Narrows in one day but I’ve done far worse in my travels.

Angel's Landing

At the top of Angel’s Landing

The Narrows Hike

We took the shuttle two more stops to the Temple of Sinawava stop at the very end of the shuttle route. This is the beginning of the Narrows hike which is basically walking in between the canyons of Zion. There’s a flowing stream throughout the entire hike and you’re basically walking in knee to waist deep water the entire time. Our lack of planning really festered here as we did not have the right shoes or pants.

The park actually rents waterproof shoes for this specific hike but we decided we were too cool for that (for whatever reason), and we ended up hiking in our sneakers. We saw other people that were doing this too, but after that first dip in the somewhat freezing water, I knew it was going to be a rough hike. The water is not warm in October but eventually, my feet either lost feeling or got used to the cold water and I wasn’t as bothered.

 

 

  



Booking.com

 

 

 

 

 

The current was strong however, and there were times I almost slipped on the rocks which would have resulted in me swimming.

Narrows Zion Park

The Narrows

The entire hike reminded me of the Canyons in Isalo National Park in Madagascar. In fact, all of Zion National Park and much of the American southwest reminded me of Isalo. The rock formations, colors, and even some of the foliage were all similar in nature. However, Isalo does have numerous species of lemurs to look at which of course, Zion does not!

Narrows Zion National Park

The view of the Canyons of the Narrows hike

This is an out-and-back hike. We hiked for 2-3 miles through the cold water until we couldn’t handle it anymore. I heard there were a few great stops if we went further into the Narrows but that will have to be for a better prepared day!

 

Driving to Bryce

We took the shuttle back to the entrance. It was 5pm at this point, so we proceeded to the nearest bar to have a few happy hour beers. There aren’t many good options for food in Springdale. Utah has strange alcohol laws where they can only serve beers up to 3.2%. I only saw beers on the menu with low alcohol levels or absurdly high levels (double IPA at 9%). Naturally, I had one of the strong ones which in hindsight is not a smart idea as the driving limit is 0.05% which is essentially a single sip of beer. Nevertheless, we drove the 2.5 hours through Zion Canyon to Bryce Canyon under a perfectly clear night sky with an endless sea of stars.

 

Day 3: Bryce National Park


Bryce and Zion are so close, that they are very commonly done together. Bryce Canyon is the perfect example of how erosion affects landscapes. It’s famous for its phantom-like rock spires, also known as “hoodoos” that dot the landscape for miles. There are many hiking trails throughout the park with varying degrees of difficulty. It’s a big park, and like Zion, there is a free shuttle that drops people off at the main points of attraction.

 

 

  



Booking.com

 

 

 

 

Bryce National Park

Bryce National Park

We started driving early in the morning to various lookout points on the map  that were deeper into the park before driving back and starting our hike. There were so many hiking options that all sounded amazing. It was tough to decide on what to do as we only had the day.

We settled on starting the hike at Bryce Point, and ending it at Sunset Point. We stopped through the wall of windows, the peekaboo loop trail, amphitheatre, Thor’s hammer, and numerous lookout points with amazing views of the hoodoos.

Bryce canyon views arch

Ridiculous views of Bryce Canyon

I’ve never seen anything like Bryce Canyon before. The hoodoos are amazing. They kind of remind me of the chimney rock formations in Cappadocia, Turkey, with a more orange, and dramatic feel. There were far less people in Bryce than Zion, and many times where there were no people around us. All in all, I think Bryce was our favorite park on the trip.

 

Day 3: Horseshoe Bend


Horseshoe bend is an incredibly dramatic section of the Colorado river. It’s one of those wonders that was carved out over millenia by the waters of the Colorado River as it made its way down through Grand Canyon. It’s located a few minutes outside of Lake Powell and is just 15 minute walk from the parking lot to the view points. I wouldn’t classify this as a hike of any sort. It’s just a park the car, and check out the views. What a view it is!

Horsehshoe Bend

The Horseshoe Bend

I’ve seen numerous photos of this place but it is SO much bigger and more stunning in person. It’s cheesy to say pictures do it no justice, but it’s never been more true than here as I stood at the edge of the canyon in awe. We were recommended to visit during sunset as the sun lights up the canyon’s rock with a orange/yellowish hue and really bringing out the colors of the rocks.

Horseshoe bend sunset

Sunset at Horshoe Bend

Again, no hikes are required but it’s just an amazing place to take some (many) photos. There are a lot of visitors to Horseshoe Bend, but it’s such a big area, it’s easy to find an are away from the crowds.

Dinner at Big John’s Texas BBQ

After soaking up the views at Horseshoe Bend, we had dinner at Big John’s BBQ. Not sure any meat loving person can hate good BBQ, and Big John’s was delicious. Their ribs and brisket were absolutely amazing. Definitely the best meal we had on our trip. They even had locals dressed in country gear, playing country music for the majority foreign clientele to reaffirm their ideas of the USA.

 

Day 4: Antelope Canyon


No trip is complete to Arizona without a trip to the famous Antelope Canyon. It’s become infinitely more popular in recent years as social media and high end photography have really been able to highlight the beauty of the slot canyons. Created by rushing and powerful water, Antelope Canyon was discovered many centuries ago by Najavo tribes and given the English name ‘Antelope’ due to the many antelope that grazed here during the winter season.

Antelope canyon

Looking up at the Antelope Canyon

Because Antelope Canyon is located in Navajo territory, it is 100% mandatory to book a tour through the local operators in the area. The cost is around $30 per person. All tours essentially take the same route walking through the slot canyons. There are two areas, the upper Antelope canyon and the lower Antelope Canyon. I elected with the upper canyon but I’m told both will blow your mind (and I believe it).

Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

The light beams in Antelope Canyon are, to me, what makes this place is so unforgettable. They only occur at certain times of the day and only last for a short while but when they shine through the openings up top it’s truly a sight to see.

Antelope Canyon

More Antelope Canyon

Tours run regularly on the hour, and more often during busy seasons. Tours last over an hour and there’s minimal hiking involved. Just follow the path, and enjoy the incredible views. This place is a photographers heaven, and there are tours specifically for those looking to take the best photos.

 

Day 4 Afternoon: Grand Canyon


After our morning jaunt in the Antelope Canyon, we left Page and drove south to the Grand Canyon. The drive two hours through some very scenic terrain. The Grand Canyon is probably the most iconic of all the American National Parks. It’s almost like a right of passage to visit this park for all park enthusiasts. It is the largest canyon in the world at almost 2000 square miles. The next largest canyon is the Fish River Canyon in Namibia, which seemed huge at the time, until I came to the Grand Canyon.

Grand Canyon storm

Storm rolling through over the Grand Canyon

South Rim

There are two sides to the Grand Canyon, the North Rim and the South Rim. They are 4 hours away from each other so doing both in the same day is tough. The north rim is only open during the summer season which means I could only go to the South Rim.

Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon

The South Rim is the much more popular of the two and offers the most breathtaking views. Like most of the other parks in the area, sunrise/sunset is the best time to see the Canyon. As the sun comes closer to setting or rising the sun will illuminate off these canyon walls in an array of colors. The golden hours of the desert are truly golden, and the Grand Canyon is no exception. The Grand Canyon reminded me in some ways of my trip to Cappadocia in Turkey. The rock formations are similar in color and design (minus the rock chimneys of course!)

Grand Canyon sunset

Some wine from the bottle over a stormy sunset at the Grand Canyon at Lipan Point!

The Grand Canyon is highlighted by numerous viewpoints all around the park. They are all located within a few miles from each other and a car is perfect for this purpose. Like the other parks, there is a free shuttle bus that goes through the park. Each viewpoint is just exactly that, a viewpoint. They give different perspectives of the canyon but they’re all similar to each other so you don’t need much time at each place. There is no hiking involved at the viewpoints but some viewpoints have areas where you can go off trail. I ended up driving to most of the viewpoints but my favorites were Lipan Point, Grandview Point, and Mohave Point.

Storm, Grand Canyon

I think the photos actually come out better with a storm in the distance

 

Where to eat and stay

There are a handful of acommodation options within the park itself. They are mostly expensive and are booked up well in advance. We stayed at a hotel just outside of the canyon in the town of Tusayan. We had dinner and brunch at the El Tovar hotel in the Grand Canyon. Excellent food with great views of the canyon (almost made me want to pay the $300 a night to stay at the place).

 

Day 5: Sedona


On our last day, we drove to the Grand Canyon early in the morning to catch the sunrise. We went to some of the viewpoints we did not go to the previous day. After breakfast at El Tovar (great brunch), we drove two hours south to the town of Sedona.

red rock state park sedona arizona

Red Rock state park in Sedona

As if we hadn’t seen one amazing place after the other, Sedona was a great way to finish the trip. The town is holds some old school Western charm, and is surrounded by these big red mountains. We did a short hike at the Red Rock National Park just outside of Sedona which wasn’t difficult at all, but offered fantastic views of the giant rock formations.

We finished with lunch at Hideaway House which had great food and amazing views of the mountains. There’s lots of restaurants, wineries, and things to do in this town, we could have easily stayed a few nights. I can see why so many tourists and retirees flock to this part of the country.

hideaway house sedona

The views of the red mountains from Hideaway House in Sedona

After lunch, we made a quick visit to one of the nearby wineries before driving the two hours to Phoenix for our night flight out.

All in all, a great trip that we could have and should have been stretched over a week. If I could have chosen one place to spend more time in, it would definitely be in Sedona. Nevertheless, 4-5 days is enough to see an overview of the area!

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Showing 93 comments
  • Avatar
    Cris Brown
    Reply

    Hello, I was looking at your 5 day trip to Zion National Park and ending in Sedona and I am thinking of doing this with my sister. We are concerned about how hard is it to do this. We are older and don\’t really want to hike in depth but want to go see the beauty of these parks. Can you tell me if the parks offer some kind of guided tour while there. Or can you just do on your own if you are not able to walk for long distance? Are the narrows hard to get to?

    Any guidance will help us. Are the park admissions charged by the car?

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Cris, the Angel’s landing hike can be challenging for sure but there are many other viewpoints in Zion that don’t require such a strenous hike. You can’t park your car in Zion but Bryce and the Grand Canyon is all driveable (pay per car). For Bryce and the Grand Canyon, you don’t have to walk at all if you don’t want to. You can drive right up to the viewpoint and walk a few steps and it will be there. Hope that helps!

  • Avatar
    Debbie Pribell
    Reply

    Heading to Zion and Bryce this summer, thanks for the insights.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thanks Debbie! Glad it was of help!

  • Avatar
    Jason
    Reply

    Hi Johnny this trip looks awesome – me and my cousin will be following closely next month. Just a question about renting the gear for Narrows hike. Where in the park can you get the shoes? Would that be before or after Angel’s landing hike? Thanks!

  • Avatar
    Jason
    Reply

    Hi Johnny – this trip looked awesome. My cousin and I are planning on following closely next month! Question: you mentioned you wish you rented gear for the Narrows hike in Zion – where in Zion is this available? Do you rent the gear before Angel’s Landing hike or after? Thanks!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hey Jason there are places to rent it at the entrance of the park. I think there may have been a place to rent it at the entrance of the narrows as well but can’t say for certain. Def don’t do what we did and go straight up with regular shoes!

  • Avatar
    Maria
    Reply

    Hi Johnny:

    We are think this itenaray but my only chance is in December. I know it will be cold. But is still a good idea? Which will the best places to go to the weather and does which are not a great idea. We will be spending New Years eve around there.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Maria, yes it will be cold especially in the Bryce area but it is still totally doable. You will have shorter days so you’ll need to maximize your time but I think it is fine. If you’re lucky enough to see some snow, expect some stunning scenery!

  • Avatar
    Dhaval
    Reply

    Hi Johnny,

    Nicely done! one quick question. I am interested to visit above places do you think its too much walk for kids ( 3 year & 5 year). which place I should avoid and include in my trip.

    In advance, appreciate your response

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi dhaval, I think you could do many of the things we did but I do not recommend the angels landing hikes. For Bryce there are much easier hikes than what I did so that should be OK. Horseshoe Bend and antelope canyon are not real hikes. Grand Canyon was more of a drive to various viewpoints and soak in the views.

    • Avatar
      NANCY H Mullins
      Reply

      Will we need a 4wheel drive week of September 28 – October 6? I was hoping for a convertible? Any comments will be appreciated.

      • Johnny
        Johnny

        Hi Nancy, a 4×4 is not necessary. The roads are paved and there’s no off roading you’ll need to do. I’d totally go with the convertible!

  • Avatar
    Chris
    Reply

    Hey Johnny!
    My Fiancé and I are planning on doing this in October for our honeymoon. We fly into Las Vegas on a Saturday and leave Phoenix the following Saturday. And suggestions on how and where to extend our trip? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hey Chris! Fantastic news. I think if you have more time and want a more luxury experience of sorts, definitely stay in Sedona for a few nights. There are some fantastic properties that I’ve listed in the post for you to stay at. And of course take a day to also visit monument valley which is stunning!

      • Avatar
        Chrid

        Johnny,
        Wanted to let you know that my wife and I did this on our honeymoon. We had an absolute blast! Our favorite part was Zion and next time we go back we are definitely going to rent the stuff for the narrows. The whole trip was amazing and mid October was perfect timing. Crowds were not bad at all. Thank you so much for this itinerary because without it we would not have known what to do.

      • Johnny
        Johnny

        Hi Chris! Glad it helped you guys out and that you had a good time!

  • Avatar
    Whitney
    Reply

    We are coming from Louisiana (driving) and we are wanting to stay in a tent the entire trip (6 days roughly) the week of thanksgiving. Do you think staying in a tent during this time is doable? We are very outdoorsy and just came back from Thailand so we are just trying to save money by staying in a tent instead of hotels

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hey Whitney, I think thanksgiving will be colder but probably not frigid. I think Zion will definitely be doable but Bryce might be too cold as it is much higher elevation. Grand Canyon should be fine as well!

  • Avatar
    Breana
    Reply

    Hi Johnny,

    Thanks for sharing your itinerary. What car rental company did you use? $160 for 5 days is super cheap. Im getting quoted around $500. Also is driving doable? How are the roads?

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi breana, I think I may have just gotten lucky during my trip but I was not charged the crazy drop fees. However, it is totally fine to start/end the trip in the same airport. It will just take maybe 2 hours extra driving!

  • Avatar
    Josh Koop
    Reply

    Just Wow! What a quick trip! Though now you gave me a hint of a cool week long layout even if my family and I can only finish 2-3 of these places I now have a good plan to use to set us up!

  • Avatar
    MJ
    Reply

    Thank you so much for writing this, it’s so incredibly helpful!! Couple questions:

    1- id like to stretch this itinerary out to 6 or 7 days, especially because I’m not super fit. Which portion would you suggest I extend? And is there anything you would change about this itinerary in hindsight?

    2- would you say this is a safe trip for a female to do solo this fall? I’d be looking at lodging options, not tenting, if that changes anything.

    Thanks!!
    MJ

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hey MJ if I had another 2 to 3 days I’d probably spend an extra night in Zion, Bryce, and grand Canyon! It is totally fine for a solo female to do the trip. I met quite a few of thesebwhile I was there. Enjoy!

  • Avatar
    Tyler
    Reply

    Great blog, and great itinerary. Zion and Horseshoe Bend have always been on my bucket list. You think these hikes are doable anywhere between January-March or would I be dealing with snow?

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hey Tyler, totally doable in Jan-March. I think these parks with the snow would be an incredible sight. Sure you’ll have to bundle up more but I think during the day time the weather should be okay to hike.!

  • Avatar
    Lauren Beck
    Reply

    All in all about how much did you budget for this trip. Trying to pretty much do the same thing and was wondering what price range I should be looking at. Also is there a pass for all the places you went or did you buy individual park passes? Thanks!!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Lauren, I can’t say for certain the price but I don’t think it was much. For two people including car rental, hotels, food, gas, entrance fees etc, I would say it was under $1,000 for the 4 nights. I bought individual passes for the national parks but if I went back, I’d probably just buy the America the Beautiful pass which will get you into Zion, Bryce, Horseshoe Bend, and Grand Canyon. Antelope Canyon is a separate ticket

  • Avatar
    Michelle
    Reply

    Hi Johnny – great blog and love your itinerary. Did you fly in/out of Las Vegas? The price for flights and car rental is higher for one ways on both. Sorry if I missed this!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Michelle, I flew out of Phoenix. At the time the prices were not that different which is why I did it. However, there is no problem to fly in/out of vegas. Just budget a few mor ehoru’s of driving vs Phoenix and that’s all you’ll need!

    • Avatar
      Michelle
      Reply

      Thanks! Where did you stay overnights on Days 2 and 3?

      • Johnny
        Johnny

        Night two was in Bryce Canyon and night 3 was in Page, Arizona!

  • Avatar
    Jill
    Reply

    This was so helpful to me! Working on the family vacation now and you pretty much did most of the work for me! I appreciate you!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      awesome jill! Glad to have helped and enjoy your trip with the fam!

  • Avatar
    Carrie
    Reply

    Hi Johnny, great article! Could I ask if we can do this during winter, roughly end Dec/early Jan?

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Carrie! Yes totally can do it during the winters too. Just remember your days will be shorter so you’ll need to be more strategic with your planning as well as potential snowy conditions when driving. Otherwise, I think you may find some incredibly stunning scenery if it is snowing in these places. Enjoy!

  • Avatar
    Matthew
    Reply

    Great write-up on our favorite area of the country. Doing both Angels Landing and the Narrows is ambitious! Antelope Canyon is getting busier and more expensive, a ticket for a midday tour of Upper can cost around $75 these days. Thanks for the great read.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Wow that is a crazy price, I didn’t know they had surge pricing like that! Good to know

  • Avatar
    Bryce Allison
    Reply

    Great write up Johnny! We are following your itinerary quite closely and are doing this trip 5/8 to 5/14/2019. Great ideas and we hadn’t initially considered Antelope Canyon so thanks for the heads up on that! Also, thanks for the Sedona suggestion. We were hoping to go to Joshua Tree and Death Valley but will do that another time, too much driving for the time we are there. BTW, this is for our 35th Wedding Anniversary. Cheers – Bryce

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Bryce, happy to hear it was helpful and congrats on the anniversary! Make sure to read my Joshua Tree and Death valley itinerary for ideas as well for your next trip. Enjoy!

  • Avatar
    Ian Pittendreigh
    Reply

    Hi – Really enjoy your blog – Do you think it’s necessary to book accomodation or is there plenty to choose from outside the parks themselves?

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Ian, if you are visiting during peak season I would not chance it and book ahead of time. There aren’t that many lodging options in some of these parks so better to just book ahead vs getting there and having to visit numerous hotels to see if they have avail!

      • Avatar
        ian

        Thanks – We’ll take your advice and book ahead!

  • Avatar
    Varun
    Reply

    Great post. I am doing the reverse route solo next month.

  • Avatar
    Mark Campbell
    Reply

    I don’t know you Johnny but THANK YOU. My wife and I are celebrating ten years this July. Zion and the Grand Canyon are on her bucket lists so I’m working to surprise her. This gives me a fabulous starting point. Neither of us are hikers per se but we are both fit. We are planning to fly from NC to Vegas or Phoenix and go from there.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thanks Mark, glad to be of help and what a great idea for your wife! Make sure to also read the Joshua Tree & Death valley post for additional ideas! Enjoy your trip!

  • Avatar
    Hueh Fen Siew
    Reply

    Is antelope X good as they say upper and lower antelope canyon tours tend to be crowded. . Tq

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      I think Antelope Canyon is one of those overly touristy places but it stil has to be done. There are very few places in the world like the slot canyons there. It is not “crowded” either because they keep a limit on how many people go on a tour. You’ll be fine!

  • Avatar
    Dawn Womack
    Reply

    Hi Johnny fabulous photos and great information, I’m planning on arriving in Las Vegas in September and wanting to see Zion, Bryce and Grand Canyon I have 7 days which is the best way to do this
    Thank you

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi dawn! I would just follow my itinerary but would spend another day in Zion, another day in Bryce, and another day in the Grand Canyon. That will bring your itinerary to 7 days!

  • Avatar
    TIGIST BELACHEW
    Reply

    I LOVED your blog. Thank you so much! I have been wanting to Grand Canyon for years and finally planning for it for March 2019. We did Machu Picchu and rainbow mountain last year and it was incredible. I always traveled with friends and families in the past and I can’t seem to get a full commitment for this trip so I’m considerating just planning a solo trip. I’m a bit nervous since I never traveled alone. Will it be okay to travel alone as a woman? Honest thoughts?

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thank you! Yes it is definitely fine to travel alone. These are safe places and sparesly populated at that. The hikes are also quite simple and the paths are well marked. If you are going to do some intense multi day hikes, then of course it’s better to go with people but for the most part, the hikes are quite straight forward. I find it harder to meet other travelers in America however as it doesn’t seem to cater much to solo travelers (no hostels, etc. in the towns). If you are okay with that, then would say it is totally fine!

    • Avatar
      TIGIST BELACHEW
      Reply

      Thank you so much! I’m going end of this month and following your itinerary. Wish me luck! 🙂

  • Avatar
    Hueh Fen Siew
    Reply

    Hi Johnny.
    Such a lovely detailed blog.
    We are planning to go March 16-21
    Was wondering if we can drive safely to Bryce and Zion
    We are from overseas and is not sure of the weather and driving conditions
    Can we drive to south canyon and Sedona first before going to Bruce abd Zion. Would be very happy to hear from you. Tq

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi hueh, it is very safe to drive between Zion and Bryce! And yes, you can certainly visijt the grand Canyon and Sedona first. Just do my itinerary in reverse order and you will be fine!

      • Avatar
        Hueh Fen Siew

        Thank you so much. We have planned to do so. Praying fir good weather.

  • Avatar
    Aijaz Abbas
    Reply

    Hi, My wife and I are planning make this trip on Dec 21 through Dec 26. We are wondering would it be ok weather wise to visit this area? We live in Northeast and do want to spend some quite time in relatively warmer place.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi there, I think the weather will not be hot, and certainly not the warm weather reprieve from the Northeast. But it will still be warmer than the weather in the northeast, and if snows, the scenery at places like Bryce Canyon will be out of this world. I think a lot of people specifically try to go to Bryce in order to catch the hoodoos with snow. Alternatively, I would visit Death Valley and Joshua Tree which will likely be a bit warmer than the parks in Utah!

  • Avatar
    Tyler Flood
    Reply

    That was a really intensive trip. How do you manage this high rhythm? You have a lot of stamina and strength I guess

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      hi Tyler! I guess you can say we felt like we had so much to see and do in such little time and we would rather go and see it all, as opposed to take a relaxing approach to it all. Definitely not for everyone but we are two active people so it works for us 🙂

  • Avatar
    Cannon Law
    Reply

    Nice plan. definitely gonna use some points from it, thanks! by the way, pictures from Antelope Canyon are gorgeous!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thanks! Glad it helped you with your trip!

  • Avatar
    Lilly Shihannan
    Reply

    Hi Johnny! Your blog is amazing, thanks for sharing your travel tips!

    I want to visit all the national parks as set out in your itinerary. The only difference being that I want to camp as oppose to staying at lodges. I have 7 days. Do you happen to know where is the best place to camp to watch sunrise /sunset? Any recommendation as to operators etc? Also if you have a chance to go back to these canyons, where else would you recommend to visit? Apologies for asking so many questions ;P

    Many thanks.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thanks Lilly! Unfortunately, I’m not that familiar with the camping options but I do know it is very popular option for most people. I know REI does tours that involve glamping but are not cheap and likely do not visit all the parks I went to in one trip. I will say that I immensely enjoyed my sunset at horseshoe Bend and would recommend that. As for sunrise, we never work up early enough for it 🙂

  • Avatar
    Janelle
    Reply

    This is so helpful! My husband and I are planning a very similar trip on an equally short timeline. Swapping Bryce for Monument Valley.

    Maybe you answered this and I missed it, but would you mind sharing a roundabout of the total cost of the trip? We’re trying to decide how much we’ll need to budget between lodging (at low rate hotels), transport, and park fees!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Janelle! Excluding flights, I would say the total cost is somewhere around $1k or so.

      Car rental: $160 for 5 days
      Gas: $80
      Lodging: $400 (about $100 average per night for 4 nights)
      Park fees: you can see the amounts in the post but around $125 for Zion, Bryce, antelope, grand canyon
      Food: we didn’t eat anything fancy except for a meal at the grand Canyon so we’ll say $300 here for food and drinks.

      Total is just shy of $1k here. Hope that helps!

      • Avatar
        Brandon

        How the heck did you only spend $160 on a car rental? Rental websites are showing $4-500 for this.

      • Johnny
        Johnny

        Hi Brandon, to be honest, I think i just got very lucky with the reservation I had during that period. I think if it is outrageous expensive, I would just pick up and drop off in Vegas. Car rentals there are dirt cheap and with this itinerary, it is only an extra 2 hours from Sedona to Vegas (vs Sedona to Phoenix)!

      • Avatar
        Brandon

        Thank you for the reply

  • Avatar
    Jaci Diamond
    Reply

    Hi-your itinerary looks amazing…I am thinking of a trip in November when we would have a week. If we fly into Vegas and add the extra days to Bryce/Zion, convenient hotel you recommend staying for two nights Zion? Two nights Bryce?

    Thanks!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Jaci, would definitely recommend 2 nights in each place if you have the time! I didn’t have it unfortunately. Don’t know what your budget is but we were really keen on the Driftwood Lodge in Zion. Very quite affordable when we were looking (around $120-150 a night). For Bryce, where we stayed was fantastic at the Bryce Canyon Log Cabins. Room was huge, built like what you’d expect staying in the southwest and close to the park.

      Enjoy your trip!

  • Avatar
    Ellie
    Reply

    HI Johnny. Great blog. I want to arrange a similar trip but I have limited time. I had been looking at hiring a car in Vegas and dropping off in Phoenix so I can visits Sedona…. is Sedona worth seeing vs the one way car rental fee??

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thanks Ellie! I honestly LOVED Sedona even though I was only there for maybe 10 hours. I did the Red Rock hike and spent some time in the city and absolutely loved it. For us, we actually a similar rate to dropping off in Phoenix versus dropping off in Vegas. Nomrally this won’t be the case so it really depends on how much you’re willing to spend. Alternatively, it is 4 hours from Sedona to Las Vegas airport (which is only 2 hours more than to Phoenix) so if you can swing that, there’s no need to drop in Phoenix. Hope that helps!

      • Avatar
        Ellie

        Really helpful, thanks Johnny. Sounds like the Sedona wineries will be needed afternoon low alcohol Utah beer.
        I have limited time to fit everything in on the trip. Do you think a day in Zion and more time around Bryce / horseshoe bend / lake Powell is a good idea?
        I LOVE a good sunset- any recommendations on the best spots for sunsets? Thanks

      • Johnny
        Johnny

        I def prefer Bryce over Zion although both parks are amazing. For sunsets, you can’t go wrong with anywhere in the above. Horseshoe bend at sunset is a must for sure and the pics as you’ve seen from my post are amazing. In Bryce, literally anywhere will have nice sunsets because you are above it all and will be able to see the chimneys with the sun setting no matter what.

  • Avatar
    Bracha
    Reply

    Thanks for all the great info. What tour company did you use at Antelope Canyon? The prices I am seeing are $60+ a person, and I would love to find something less expensive.

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Bracha, I think you might be looking at organized tours to Antelope Canyon? Pretty much a way for someone to drive you to the canyon, go on the same tour as every other person because you HAVE to go on a tour with the native indians working there, and charge you more money.

      The official tours are $25-$30 per person. Just show up to the entrance of the park, and you pay when you arrive. Anything more than that means you’re over-paying.

      There is a photography tour option that is a bit more where you get your private guide that takes you to the best photo spots. Otherwise, for the standard tour of the place, the price should be $20-$30

      • Avatar
        viswanath vellaiappan

        Are you saying there is NO need to book for upper or lower antelope via https://navajonationparks.org/guided-tour-operators/antelope-canyon-tour-operators/ before going to antelope? I believe the slots are limited? Please explain.

        Also I notice you mentioning “Because Antelope Canyon is located in Navajo territory, it is 100% mandatory to book a tour through the local operators in the area. The cost is around $30 per person. All tours essentially take the same route walking through the slot canyons.” where do I book this?

      • Johnny
        Johnny

        I just rocked up and booked my tour in the morning at the entrance. Tours leave quite regularly so you shouldn’t have a problem with it. Maybe book in advance if youre visiting in peak summer season!

  • Avatar
    Bev
    Reply

    Hi Johnny! Do you have the names of the hotels you stayed at? Please advise. thanks!!!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Bev! Here is my list

      Night 1: St George Inn and Suites
      Night 2: Bryce Canyon Log Cabins
      Night 3: Best Western View of Lake Powell Hotel
      Night 4: Canyon Plaza Resort Grand Canyon

      I didn’t stay in nice hotels as they were just one night stays. More of a crash pad for most purposes. Definitely some nicer options available but i wanted to save costs! Enjoy!

      • Avatar
        Karla Bosch

        Thanks for all the info. My husband and I are headed out there for an 8 day trip and want to do the same itinerary plus maybe Lake Powell. Do you know if that’s worth seeing? We also don’t need high end hotels/motels as long as they are clean. Thanks for all your info. Extremely helpful.

      • Johnny
        Johnny

        Hi Karla! Lake Powell is where the horseshoe Bend and antelope canyon are so definitely highly recommend it! As for accommodation, our hotels were around $100 a night and we were very satisfied with what we chose!

  • Avatar
    Celia Salzmann
    Reply

    I have just over two weeks in the US and this area is most high on my list. Do you have any advice for what to do in this area if you had two weeks instead of 5-6 days? Thanks!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Celia! I wish I had two weeks to explore the area! I would definitely do the following

      – I would also consider going to Death Valley at the start of the trip. It is west of Las Vegas for a day or two as that park is really something special as well.
      – 1 more day in Zion
      – 1 more day in Bryce
      – From bryce, I would head towards Moab to visit Arches National Park for a night or two and then come back towards Page (For Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon)
      – 2 more days in Sedona

      There are so many possibilities, I hope that helps!

  • Avatar
    Mickey Howarth
    Reply

    Love your blog! This has been super helpful!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Thanks Mickey! Hope you have a great trip!

  • Avatar
    Chris
    Reply

    Is there any reason you ending in Phoenix vs Vegas besides it being an hour shorter of a drive?
    Would it be easier to drive the extra hour to keep rental and flight reservations to the Vegas airport?

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hi Chris, I chose phoenix because it was 2 hours from Sedona vs 4+ hrs to Vegas airport. I also didn’t find much difference in price for dropping off the car at a different airport, or flying home from a different airport. Could be different for everyone of course but jus twanted to maximize the little time I had!

  • Avatar
    Karen
    Reply

    Great write up Johnny! The parks look amazing. We are planning a similar trip but we have 1 week. Would you go to other parks with the extra time or would you spend more time at one of the parks you visited. I know you mention you wish you had more time in Sedona, just trying to get other ideas!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      Hey karen, that’s a tough question. If i had 3 more days, I would definitely stay a night or two in Sedona, and definitely a visit to the Wave Rock in Arizona. I’m bummed I didn’t go there during my trip but I actually didn’t even know about it until someone told me about it months later.

  • Avatar
    Victoria
    Reply

    Great pictures! Especially love your photos of the Grand Canyon! Will definitely add this to the bucket list when I visit the US!

    • Johnny
      Johnny
      Reply

      The Grand Canyon really surprised me too. I didn’t expect it to be so big so colorful as it was, especially given the sunset thunderstorm I saw. Enjoy your trip!

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