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Phoenix to Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon Road Trip

Discover the best of Arizona along this awe-inspiring 563-mile road trip stopping at Southwest hot spots on the way.


Couple relaxing in a hammock in Sedona
Red Rock Relaxation in SedonaCourtesy Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

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You could drive from Phoenix directly to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park in less than 4 hours. But you would miss some of Arizona’s most fascinating towns and the spectacular adventures they offer.

Along the way lie towns like Prescott with great lakeside activities and a lively downtown district. Cottonwood is home to an incredible state park and a vibrant wine scene as evidenced by its neat rows of deep green grapevines racing up and down dry rolling hills. From there, you can see the red rocks of Sedona. Once there, hike on Sedona’s less-crowded trails to discover why this artsy town is so memorable. Then stop in Flagstaff, a vibrant university town known for its seven natural wonders.

As you drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon, the soil turns red, hinting at what’s to come. Discover our top picks in this section. 

Map

Start: Phoenix, Arizona

Biking in Lost Dutchman, Arizona State Parks
Biking in Lost Dutchman State ParkArizona State Parks

Rising Phoenix 
Get to know the cosmopolitan side of Arizona in Phoenix where there is an activity for every interest. Here are the top seven things to do

Lost Dutchman State Park
Get a rare insider’s view of the Superstition Mountains when you hike on easy to difficult trails through this corner of the Sonoran Desert. It’s just 40 miles east of Phoenix. Plus 9 more Arizona State Parks near the Grand Canyon.

Gilbert’s Foodie Paradise

The Farm at Agritopia in Gilbert, Arizona
The Farm at AgritopiaCourtesy Discover Gilbert

Gilbert, Ariz. has remained true to its agricultural roots, serving up some of the country’s most inventive farm-to-table cuisine. Among Gilbert’s lush green spaces is a 400-acre farm in the Agritopia neighborhood.

Desert Haven at Salt River

Baskets and pottery at the Huhugam Ki Museum at Salt River
Baskets and pottery at the Huhugam Ki MuseumCourtesy of Discover Salt River

Located on the eastern border of Scottsdale, Ariz., you’d never guess you’re in a city when you visit the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community in the Talking Stick Entertainment District. This community is filled with small-town charm and unique attractions. 

Perfect Prescott

Paddleboarding on Watson Lake
Paddleboarding on Watson LakeCourtesy of Prescott Tourism Office

From great hiking and kayaking to a fun downtown scene, here are the top 5 reasons to explore Prescott.

Unexpected Oasis at Cottonwood

The deck at Page Springs Cellars
The deck at Page Springs CellarsCourtesy Page Springs Cellars

Take a stroll through this charming historic downtown packed with wine tasting rooms and restaurants before heading to a rare solitude-fueled national monument.

Get Centered in Sedona

Hiker on Schuerman Mountain Trail in Sedona
Hiker on Schuerman Mountain Trail in SedonaCourtesy of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Sedona’s Secret Seven
While everyone is hiking Sedona’s vortexes—the iconic rock formations believed to be special energy centers—we have a tip for you. Follow the locals to Sedona’s secret seven, a collection of stunningly beautiful hiking trails with all the solitude but none of the traffic of the vortexes.

Wine Tasting Near Sedona
The Verde Valley is home to a handful of winemakers. Here are three ways to experience this wine-producing area near Sedona: Alcantara Vineyards, Classic Water-to-Wine Tour and Page Springs Cellars.

Swimming at Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, Arizona
Swimming at Slide Rock State Park near Sedona, ArizonaSedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau

Slide Rock State Park
Wear your jeans to slide down a slick natural water chute or put on your bathing suit to wade in a sparkling creek at Slide Rock State Park seven miles north of Sedona. Plus 9 more Arizona State Parks near the Grand Canyon.

Phenomenal Flagstaff

Hiker in Walnut Canyon National Monument near Flagstaff
Hiker in Walnut Canyon National Monument near FlagstaffFlagstaff Convention and Visitors Bureau

Natural Getaway in Flagstaff
Surrounded by the world’s largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest, Flagstaff’s uncrowded trails offer solitude, easy social distancing, a lot of trees and outstanding views. Here are seven things to do

Starry Nights at Lowell Observatory
Visit a legendary landmark where Pluto was discovered and scientists continue to unravel the mysteries of the universe. 

Bears, Brew and Trains in Williams

The Grand Canyon Railway snakes itself through a forest south of the canyon.
The Grand Canyon Railway snakes itself through a forest south of the canyon.Xanterra Parks & Resorts

Williams is a southern gateway to the Grand Canyon and a historic stop on Route 66. A wildlife park, scenic train ride and a thrilling zipline adventure await.

Bearizona Drive-thru Wildlife Park
See bears, wolves, buffalo and more in this drive through park among the pine forests of north Arizona. 

Grand Canyon Brewing Co.
Savor a Sunset Amber Ale at the new Grand Canyon Brewing Co. location. There’s a tasting room and restaurant with burgers, brats and pizza. Take a tour of the brewery. 

Take the Train to the Grand Canyon
Park your car in Williams and take a scenic ride on the Grand Canyon Railway into the heart of Grand Canyon National Park.

Grand Canyon National Park

Hiker at Plateau Point in the Grand Canyon
Hiker at Plateau Point in the Grand CanyonGrant Ordelheide

Stop at Grand Canyon Visitor Center
Hidden secrets await in Tusayan.

Bring the Gypsy Guide App
Enjoy the freedom of driving your own car while traveling with an entertaining guide that doesn’t take up space. Learn more at gypsyguide.com/tour/grand-canyon-south-rim/

48 Hours in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Get ready for adventure. Here are some of our favorite things to do while at the South Rim from biking in solitude to exploring some of the rim’s most historic treasures.

Flight over the Grand Canyon with Maverick Helicopters
Flight over the Grand Canyon with Maverick HelicoptersMaverick Helicopters

Fly Above the Grand Canyon with Maverick Helicopters
Take a helicopter tour of some of Grand Canyon South Rim’s most popular sights. View Marble Canyon and Point Imperial as you fly through the canyon and climb above the North Rim. Learn more at www.maverickhelicopter.com

Front entrance to Yavapai Lodge in the Grand Canyon
Front entrance to Yavapai Lodge in the Grand CanyonCourtesy Delaware North

A Grander Stay at Yavapai Lodge
Sleep well and sustainably about a mile from the rim. The Yavapai Lodge’s restaurant, tavern and nearby market and shuttle stop make navigating the rim easy.

Tori Peglar's family hiking down the Bright Angel Trail into the Grand Canyon
A family hiking down the Bright Angel Trail into the Grand CanyonTori Peglar

Into the Deep
Read a family’s story about hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and discovering there’s more than meets the eye.