There are multiple places in and around Arizona, but here are a few of my personal favorites. This list includes the Grand Canyon and some others that I have been to on more than one occasion and have always loved to come back to. My favorite times to visit Arizona is Spring(March to May) and Fall(September to early November) when the temperatures are more mild which makes hiking tolerable. Summer is packed with visitors and temperatures can reach a blazing 90°F / 32°C! Stay away during summer. Trust me, your car will also thank you.
The Grand Canyon
The Grand Canyon is a glorious place. It’s not hard to see why it would be considered one of the 10 wonders of the world. It’s really important to take some time to see this nature wonder. This place is expansive and driving from one rim to the other takes about 4 hours. The west rim is most known for the Skywalk which allows you to walk over a glass bridge to see the depths of the canyon. Most visitors tend to visit the South rim since it’s open year round and many viewpoints are easily accessible. Most photographs of the Grand Canyon are from the South rim. The North rim is closed part of the year due to snow, but if you’re looking for a more remote experience, the North rim is your place. It opens May 15th through October 15th annually. There’s many places to hike and camp and also very close to Utah. A trip to Zion’s National Park in Utah and should not be missed if you’re visiting this rim.
South Rim Viewpoints:
- Desert View
- Mather Point
- Moran Point
- Yavapai Point
- Yaki Point
- Grandview Point
- Lipan Point
- Pima Point
- Powell Point
Antelope Canyon is easily one of my favorite places. Hidden underground, it’s hard to believe such a beautiful place exists. The winding canyon varies in colors from warm reds to cooler purple tones depending on the season and time of day. Lower and Upper Canyons are down the road on opposite side of each other. You will need to reserve a guided tour in order to visit either. Tours can be booked online or on site subject to availability. Since the canyons are narrow in many places, a small group of 10 may already seem crowded. If you are visiting in the summer months, you may be lucky enough to see the light beams in the Upper Canyon! The best time to see this is around 11am-1pm. Bring a wide angle lens to capture as much of the canyon as possible! I wouldn’t recommend changing lens inside the canyon though as sand particles seem to be everywhere here.
Upper Antelope Canyon
The more popular of the two, most likely due to the famous light shafts that beam through midday. Tours to the upper canyon is more expensive especially during the hours that you’ll most likely find these light shafts. The upper canyon is wider in my opinion and easier to walk through. Though with more ground space, there’s also alot more people that come through as well! The walls are more narrow at the top so this canyon appears to be much darker than its counterpart.
Lower Antelope Canyon
I find the lower canyon to be less crowded than the upper canyon. Though it may be less popular, I actually like the lower canyon a wee bit more. The lower canyon is more winding with narrow passages and some very grand entrances. The walls are high and wide with a lot of light space shining through. The ground is not as level and some climbing is involved. It’s a bit easier here to sneak a photo free of tourists. As with the upper canyon, the colors here vary as well depending on sunlight but nonetheless, is still magical. I find the colors to appear more purple later towards the evening and warmer around noon.
Horseshoe Bend is very close to the Antelope canyons and should not be missed! It is south of Page, Arizona on highway 89 between mile markers 544 and 545. There is a parking lot on the side of the road full of cars that can’t be missed. It’s very easy to get to and the hike in cooler conditions is more tolerable. I have been before in March and again in September. The hike is about a little over half a mile one way and takes about 30-45 minutes to get there casually strolling. Bring some water, afterall it’s still in the middle of a desert.
Zion National Park, Utah
The drive from Page to Zion is absolutely stunning! The canyons are the most beautiful shade of a rusty orange-ish red. The mountains are tall and grand and drive from the entrance is long, winding and breathtaking. My only regret is that I just wish I had more time to explore the park. We stayed for 1 day and it just wasn’t enough time. Get there early and stay overnight. They were a couple of places to lodge inside the park.
If you’re looking for more springtime adventures, try here for my list of places to visit this spring. Enjoy!