I was born and raised in Tucson, AZ, and even though I left for college, Tucson is still where I have spent most of my life. Tucson is about 5 hours away from The Grand Canyon, and growing up here meant that for field trips, or weekend trips, that was a place we would visit. As a child I never really understood the beauty, or how amazing The Grand Canyon truly is; I just remember a big hole in the ground. So, a couple of weeks ago I realized I had 5 days off in a row, and came up with the idea to take a solo road trip to The Grand Canyon!
I started to do some research, and decided to make the trip 4 days. My initial plan was to leave early Tuesday morning, and make the drive to Sedona where I would spend the day, and then head to my hotel in Williams for the night. On Wednesday, I planned to go to The Grand Canyon, then head over to Winslow, spend the night then head back home. Luckily, this is exactly what ended up happening, but there were a few backtracks along the way!
Tuesday morning I started my journey early, and headed to Sedona. It is a 3.5 hour drive from Tucson to Sedona, and after making a stop in Phoenix, I arrived there around noon. When you drive into Sedona, it has the most beautiful scenery, especially if you take the Sedona Scenic Byway. The first thing I did when I got into town was the Sedona Trolley Tour, and I am so happy I did! There are two different tours, and if you book both, you get a discount. While on the tours, you learn a lot about Sedona, everything from the names of the rock formations, where to hike, and the history of the town. Each tour takes about an hour to do, but I do highly recommend it, especially if it is your first time visiting Sedona, and of course, make sure you give the driver a tip! After the tours, I walked around town for a couple of hours going through all of the little shops, including the year round Christmas store!
After walking around for a couple of hours, it was time for my Pink Jeep Tour. Honestly, I hadn’t really heard of Pink Jeep Tours before I started my research for the trip, but they are so much fun! I booked the Broken Arrow Tour at sunset, which is the tour that made Pink Jeep popular, and it is still the most popular tour there is! I was there by myself, so I ended up sharing a jeep with a family which was a lot of fun! The thing I liked most about Pink Jeep, is you aren’t just driving around the entire time; we made three different stops where we were able to walk around for a little bit before getting back into the jeep. The tour lasted a little over 2 hours, but it flew by! Definitely book a tour when in Sedona, and again – remember to tip your driver!
Once the tour was done, I drove to my hotel in Williams, AZ. I chose to stay in Williams because it was only 1 hour from Sedona, and 45 minutes from The Grand Canyon. There really isn’t much to do in Williams, so I just got some dinner, and headed to the hotel room to do some more research on what the best trails were for The Grand Canyon, and if there was anything else I should be doing. I did find that there is a Grand Canyon Railway that goes from Williams to The Grand Canyon, and while I really wanted to do that, I didn’t want to spend all day there. If you take the train, it leaves at 9:30am, and doesn’t get back until 5:45pm; you have to stay the whole time, there is no option to go back at different times throughout the day. Due to that, I decided not to take the train, instead I drove there, and that may have been a mistake. The line to get into the park was so long, but finally I paid the fee and drove through the gates, then it came time to find a parking spot. I am not even kidding; it was so crowded that I drove around for 30 minutes trying to find somewhere to park. Finally I found a spot, and went over to the Mather Point where I was able to get some good pictures. I only spent maybe 15 minutes there taking it all in because it was so crowded. There were so many people on the trails, and at all of the viewpoints that to me it wasn’t worth staying there, instead I decided to head out and go to Winslow.
On my way out of The Grand Canyon, I saw a sign for Bearizona. At that point it looked really crowded as well, so I just went to my hotel and called it a night. Once again, Winslow doesn’t have much to do, except to stand on the corner of course! As the Eagles song goes, “Well, I’m a standin’ on a corner in Winslow, Arizona and such a fine sight to see, It’s a girl, my Lord, in a flatbed Ford slowin’ down to take a look at me”. Due to this song being so popular, Winslow actually has a Standin’ On The Corner Park where there is a statue of a man with a guitar on the corner that you can take a picture with! After going to the park, I once again went to my hotel and did some research on what my last day of activities should include.
Bearizona was on my mind from the time I saw the sign for it, so I decided to backtrack and make the hour drive to go check it out. I had absolutely no idea what it was, and when I got there, I was so surprised! The cost does seem a little pricey, instead of paying per car like most attractions that you drive thru, you pay per person in the car, but trust me, it is so worth it! Like I said, I had no idea what to expect, so when the lady taking the money said “Make sure to keep your windows up, especially in the wolf section and the bears”, I had no idea what she was talking about. It turns out, Bearizona is a drive thru Wildlife Park, I mean how cool is that?! The animals are free to roam around, while you are slowly driving through the park. They are separated into sections, for instance, the wolves aren’t with the bears, and the bears aren’t with the deer, but other than that, they are just roaming about! There must have been something on the hood of my car (I swear I didn’t hit anything!) because most of the animals came up to it and were sniffing around, which made the experience really great for me; I got some amazing pictures of the animals, that I will post below for you. After you finish the section that you drive thru, there is an actual zoo for you to walk around if you want, or you can drive around the loop again. It isn’t as big as a normal zoo, but that’s because they have what I like to call “the modern day Jurassic Park” for you to enjoy before the zoo.
I spent most of the day at Bearizona, so I decided to just head towards home after leaving. I kept seeing signs for Meteor Crater on the side of the road, so I decided to stop and see it. I have always known it was in Arizona, but I never knew exactly where it was, and while I didn’t have any particular interest in going to see it beforehand, I am glad I did. Meteor Crater is literally just that, a meteorite impact crater, and nothing else. I spent about 30 minutes there before I left, but they have a little museum to walk around and learn crater history of the world. If I am being honest, I wouldn’t go back again and again, it is something that I am glad I was able to see, there just isn’t enough to see to make the trip multiple times.
After stopping to see Meteor Crater, I headed back home, and just like that, my solo road trip was over! I am so happy I went, and I am pretty sure Sedona became my new favorite place to visit. If you are ever in AZ, take this road trip route to see the best of, and let me know if there is anything I should visit the next time I go for an AZ road trip!