We think a Grand Canyon vacation is America’s greatest road trip. It’s one big scenic drive. In fact, there are so many scenic drive opportunities it’s hard to limit our favorites.
Inside Grand Canyon National Park, whether riding on the shuttle or in your own car on the South Rim, every drive is a scenic drive. Same goes with the seasonally-open North Rim, which is situated about 1,000 feet higher than the South Rim.
But Grand Canyon National Park is only the beginning.
The terrain surrounding Grand Canyon, through which visitors travel through on their way to and from the country’s most popular natural wonder varies from deserts and canyons to unusual rock formations, to mountains, deserts and ancient ruins. There are scenic drives in all directions.
If your itinerary allows, we recommend that visitors travel different routes to and from Grand Canyon National Park. The best way to experience the spectacular and unique country that surrounds and makes up the Grand Canyon is to drive through it.
Historic Route 66 dates back to 1926, the year highways were first marked in this country, has its longest stretch in, you guessed it, Arizona. Start at Kingman, AZ, and travel north on Highway 66. You’ll drive through ghost towns and old mining towns, Peach Springs, and old town that is home to the Hualapai Indians and that was once a terminal of the Santa Fe Railroad, to Grand Canyon Caverns and Seligman, where the route rejoins the Interstate.
Another fantastic scenic drive is Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona. This is a 15-mile drive that offers beautiful views from Oak Creek Canyon to the top of the Mogollon Rim.
The Red Rock Scenic Byway starts in Sedona and head south to Highway 179. This stretch is only eight miles but the drive is full of striking red rock country.
This region is also home to some spectacular mountains. Drive the San Francisco Peaks Scenic Road, from Flagstaff, northwest to Valle, AZ, while en route to Grand Canyon’s South Rim. This is a beautiful scenic byway.
Monument Valley, AZ & UT
Monument Valley, which straddles the southern border of Utah and northern border of Arizona, is often called America’s most scenic drive. It’s full of spectacular, towering red rocks (“monuments”) that just out of an otherwise vast and stark “Mars-like” landscape. The best vantage is to travel south from Mexican Hat, UT, into Kayenta, AZ. It’s about 47 miles and is worth the side trip if you can swing it.
Let the exploring begin!