Help me plan my short Grand Canyon Roadtrip
June 18, 2012 11:18 AM   Subscribe

Metafilter, I need a road trip reality check and suggestions. I'm going on a short road trip to the Grand Canyon from June 28-June 30, departing from Riverside County in Southern California. I think I'm set on my plan for my trip to the Grand Canyon, but I'm looking for suggestions for the trip back.

I was thinking of taking the long scenic route back from the Grand Canyon and making a quick stop in Sedona. If we leave early-ish Saturday morning, is this doable while still getting back to Riverside County at a reasonable hour, say 9 PM at the latest? Is it even worth it to just spend a couple of hours in Sedona? Also, how difficult/twisty is the drive to Sedona from the Grand Canyon? Any alternative suggestions for a return trip itinerary are welcome. I'm traveling with two other people, and our only limitations are the aforementioned time limit of getting back Saturday night (sadly non-negotiable as one of my road trip buddies has to work Sunday morning), and nothing too expensive. Also, much as I'd like to go, I'm pretty sure visiting Jerome too would take too much time, and it looks to be a rather more difficult drive than I'm willing to attempt.

And in case anyone has any suggestions for our trip there, my current plan is to leave Riverside at about 7 AM Thursday morning, take the 15 to I-40, then take Route 66 when it splits off from I-40 at Kingman, and then continue on I-40 until it gets to AZ-64 to the Grand Canyon to arrive at our hotel in Tusayan in the early evening. We plan to stop at whatever sights catch our fancy on the way, but if anyone has any specific suggestions for anything weird and worth it on that route, I'd love to hear them. This is the first road trip I'm taking where I'm at the wheel, and the last time I went to the Grand Canyon was when I was 7 years old, so I want a reality check to make sure I'm not vastly underestimating actual travel times or setting unreasonable expectations. Thanks!
posted by yasaman to Travel & Transportation around Arizona (9 answers total)
Be sure to stop at the Meteor Crater off the I-40 near Winslow.
posted by Argyle at 11:39 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Sedona is not that far off the path from I-40. But I'm not sure you'll get anything out of it for just a couple of hours. You can come down I-64 back to I 40, and back track a hair to Sedona, drive through the red rocks, but don't bother with the town. (Just weird and touristy at this point.)

Roadside America has tons of cool things to see on your route. I've linked to the routing page.

I'm more inclined to stop in Lake Havasu City, go to a casino, eat a buffet, look at the Colorado river, check out London Bridge, then hit it back to I-15 and home.

You don't detour off the main roadways (which I DO NOT advise, especially if you have a time constraint) and you still get to see some pretty stuff and some goofy stuff.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:44 AM on June 18, 2012 [2 favorites]

Best answer: The drive to Sedona is very twisty but pretty! But when I went to Sedona for a few hours on the way to the Grand Canyon I found it boring and overly touristy. It was like any tourist town in the world but with more crystals The drive was cool, though.
posted by mskyle at 11:58 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

Bearizona in Williams, AZ (at the junction of I-40 and 64) is worth a visit. It's a drive-through wild animal park with bears, wolves, bison, deer, etc. We thought it'd be cheesy, but it was surprisingly fun.
posted by erst at 12:30 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]

How 'bout 40 E, then 93 N at Kingman AZ (through some beautiful but admittedly bleak landscape) to Boulder Dam to cross that new bridge that soars over the site, then on to Vegas and I-15 to home sweet home?
posted by DandyRandy at 12:53 PM on June 18, 2012

Oops, meant 40 W...
posted by DandyRandy at 12:54 PM on June 18, 2012

Best answer: The old Rt 66 from Kingman to Oatman has long been one of my favorite detours. Have you seen the movie Cars? It looks a lot like that.
posted by buggzzee23 at 8:29 PM on June 18, 2012

From the canyon you want to take 180 into flagstaff then 89A into sedona. The drive is the best part, the town is...kinda new agey lame. Then you want to continue on down to cottonwood, jerome, over mingus mountain to Prescott than to wickenberg and onto I-10 and home to riverside.

Jerome is much neater and more authentic old arizona than sedona. It is a one of kind town in a unique location. It alone is worth spending a day (or two) in. Prescott has some decent attractions as well.

My route might take you more than a day, most locals would consider the drive from the canyon to I-10 a good days journey. The highways are wide and well maintained but very, very windey and usually full of tourist and RV going about 10 mph. It can be infuriating. The route parallels I-17 and i-10 for most of it so if you aren't making decent time you can peel off to the interstate and get on home.
posted by bartonlong at 8:37 PM on June 18, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for the tips, everybody! I think I've got our route set now, and I'll propose some of the potential side trips like the Meteor Crater and Lake Havasu City to my road trip buddies.
posted by yasaman at 11:28 AM on June 22, 2012

« Older Help me make vegan fettucini alfredo   |   Best network/graph theory software for non-techies... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.