Zion National Park
We landed in the evening to LAS (Nevada) since it’s the closest to Zion. We rented a car and drove straight to our hotel which we would stay there for 3 nights. We stayed at the Driftwood Lodge and loved it there!
We had 2 full days in Zion. Since it was the beginning of October it gets cold in the morning, but during the day very hot.
We woke up every morning at 6:30, and took the 8-9 am shuttle.
The shuttle is tricky, it costs $1 but gets sold out in a second. You need to buy tickets either a week prior, or a day before the moment they open the selling which is at 11 am EST.
The first day we did Angels Landing which has incredible views and is very steep. The first half there are plenty of switchbacks, and the second half there are chains you hold on to make your way up. Don’t do this is you are afraid of heights.
If you can get a stick that folds, since the second half you need to climb, it would be useful for the switchbacks and going down in the end. We didn’t use one, and my feet were achy.
There are plenty of restaurants in town, but they didn’t take reservations, so got there at around 5 pm to make sure we got a table. There are great restaurants in town, we loved the one in our hotel, super recommended!
The second day we did The Narrows which is a trail in water and is so much fun! For this you should and need to rent special boots and a stick. We rented them a day before (right after finishing Angels Landing). There are plenty of stores to rent the equipment, we rented from Zion Outfiter. The hike was not hard at all, and since it’s between boulders, it stays pretty cool the whole time. We wore each of us a light jacket.
Regarding food during the day, we bought sandwiches at Cafe Soleil- delicious and they pack it well for the hike. Bring snacks too! We each had a camelpak which we filled up with water before, but there are also water points to do that in the park.
Don’t forget you need a pass for National Parks- buy one Annual (cheaper than a one time pass), it’s good for 4 people.
The third morning, we woke up early and made our way to Bryce National Park.
Bryce National Park
We drove from Zion National Park to Bryce in the morning, and parked in the Canyon itself (no shuttles needed of you have a car). We did the Queens Garden & Navajo Loop trails which were beautiful, not hard just the way up has switchbacks which are tiring. We wanted to do the Peekaboo trail but we were still tired from Angels Landing, and it was very hot outside, so we kept it easy. In this trail we saw a bunch of hoodoos which is the main thing to see in Bryce with great views.
We stayed at The Lodge at Bryce Canyon just for one night. Super recommended since it’s literally inside the canyon. There is an option in the lodge to stay in a cabin or at the lodge itself. We had a cabin to ourselves with a fire place which was really nice. We had a late check in at 4 pm so after finishing the hike, we drove to Rainbow Point from the lodge. There are some nice view points on the way back to the lodge on the right hand side, so you can stop and take pictures.
The sunset was insane, and the best place to see it is in Bryce Point. It got really cold because Bryce as oppose to Zion is about 4K ft of elevation higher.
We woke up super early for the sunrise which was beautiful and so worth it. It was so cold though.... if you stay in the cabin, it’s located 2 minutes from the rim, so you can walk outside with your pjs and a blanket and see the sunrise.
Most people pair this trip with Canyons and Moab (Arches etc...) but we visited family in Scotstale Arizona, so made our way South instead of East. We left Bryce Canyon the next morning to Page (~2.5 hour drive) which is a great midway point if you want to eventually get to the Grand Canyon.
We drove from Bryce to Page, where we stayed the night at Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas. Since Covid, Antelope Canyon is closed, but there is a way to get to the lower part of Antelope Canyon by kayak/jet-ski/motorboat.
You do not want to rent kayaks from Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas since it’s too far away from Antelope Canyon. We bought sandwiches before hand from Slackers and next door was a place where we rented a kayak. The place also loaded the kayak on the car and we drove to a certain access point to start the kayak- they will tell you what that place is called.
Make sure to reserve a kayak in advance since it was totally sold out when we got there. We were lucky to find a place with their last kayak.
It was about an hour each way by kayak to get to Antelope Canyon. This was one of the most amazing experiences. You can hike in Antelope Canyon for about 30-40 minutes, and eventually you willl reach a fork which you can continue but you will see pretty much the same views. Also while kayaking you can take breaks and swim in the lake.
After returning the kayaks, we drove to Horseshoe Bend for the sunset.
The best place to see the sunset. We drove her after Antelope Canyon. Most people pair these together. There is like a 20 min walk (accessible by wheelchair so it’s an easy walk) until you reach the view point. The view is incredible and definitely worth it.
We went out for dinner in the area, and the next morning made our way to the Grand Canyon.
We drove to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, that’s where most of the tourists go. We had to drive through Flagstaff because the main road to the National Park was closed due to Covid. It usually should take ~2.5 hours, but it took us ~3.5 hours because of the detour. We stayed at the El Tovar hotel which is on the mountains in the Grand Canyon Village (inside the National Park).
We booked a 30 minute helicopter tour with Papillon Grand Canyon Helicopter Tours which pretty much covered the whole Grand Canyon which was great!
The hotel has a restaurant which was pretty good, considering that there aren’t many options in the village itself.
Parking was annoying, not many options so we parked outside the hotel but it was fine, since you can walk on the rim and enjoy the walk (~10 minute walk).
From the Grand Canyon, we made our way to our final destination- Scottsdale Arizona, to visit family.