If you want to take a break from the scorching heat of Arizona’s capital city, a trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon might be what you’re looking for. The next route is incredibly beautiful, so your journey will be as big as your (albeit epic) destination.
The journey from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes 4 hours and 30 minutes. Take time to cool off in Lake Pleasant and Slide Rock State Park, view Montezuma Castle and the red cliffs of Sedona along the way and explore scenic Flagstaff.
This path is really different from all the others in the United States, so read on to get an idea of what you’re getting into.
How far is the Phoenix Grand Canyon and how long does it take to get there?
A drive from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon takes about 225 miles and can be done in 4 hours and 30 minutes if you drive through Sedona (and you have every reason to!). In fact, you can leave whenever you want and reach the canyon on the same day.
In that sense it is one of the most unique and beautiful routes in this part of America and certainly the best in Arizona. Instead of trying to squeeze it all in one day, stop along the way and visit as many locations as possible.
Another reason to share the trip is that you will most likely be in traffic at least once. Phoenix is a huge city and can really reach a long distance during your trip, and Sedona is the educational definition of a tourist city, so you can expect moderate to heavy traffic most of the year.
Start with a quiet walk on the I-17 from Arizona and head towards the Grand Canyon.
Best route from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon
The best road from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon is the Red Rock Scenic Byway – although you can get there an hour faster if you avoid this road and Sedona in general, you’ll definitely miss it as it’s probably the most scenic route of the whole trip.
Directions from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon
Take Interstate 17 from Phoenix through the Phoenix Sonoran Nature Reserve and Lake Pleasant. Travel through Black Canyon City and across the Verde River, visit Montezuma Castle National Monument and relax at The Crack in Beaver Creek.
After passing Montezuma take State Route 179 (or Red Rock) and follow the road through the picturesque village of Oak Creek. Driving through Red Rock State Park and the Chapel of the Holy Cross, you’ll arrive in Sedona, a great place to stop if you haven’t already done so (and even if you have!).
Leave the city and follow another scenic route, 89A National Road, through Slide Rock National Park and along various footpaths to Flagstaff. From here take Route 40, which runs parallel to the historic road, and then turn right onto Route 64 – stay on this road until you reach Kaibab National Forest and Grand Canyon National Park.
See the houses built by the Sinagua at the Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona.
David Byron Keener/Shutterstock.com
Best stops between Phoenix and the Grand Canyon
Short or long, this scenic route will attract your full attention, so you’ll have to stay somewhere and cover as much ground as possible. These are some of the best hotels on this great route:
Discover the unique and beautiful Sedona
With its characteristic red rock formations, Sedona is an excellent destination for a good trip to Arizona. As a tourist attraction, the city offers many quality hotels, but the Adobe Grand Villas stand out from the rest.
With its unique Adobe-inspired design and attention to detail, the rooms in this resort are simply amazing – they’re all very different in their aesthetics, so every return will give you a completely new experience. The rooms are also equipped with fireplaces and offer a beautiful view of the desert and the colourful garden.
Hiking and canyoning can do a lot for you. The swimming pool and spa at Adobe Grand Villas allow you to relax and have the opportunity to experience an adventure the next day. You can enjoy a 3-course menu on site at the Adobe Grand Restaurant and be greeted with freshly baked bread before unpacking your luggage.
Impressive location – most of Sedona’s main attractions are within walking or driving distance from the hotel. The price you pay for a room at Adobe is much higher than most other hotels in Sedona, but the quality of your stay is also higher.
Relaxing in the Grand Canyon in the style of
When choosing a hotel in the GC (or near a larger national park) it is important not to make hasty decisions and choose a lousy hotel – after all, you are on holiday and there is more to do than just walking and sightseeing. The beautiful hotel in this ticked area is the Grand Canyon Hotel.
From elegant and comfortable rooms to an incredible relaxation area (with countless decorations, a fireplace and a golden piano), this resort is a few steps ahead of its local design competitors.
Nothing better than a relaxing dip in the pool or jacuzzi after a long day outdoors. The large swimming pool and jacuzzi will allow you to fall asleep – in addition, you can enjoy a glass of wine and a romantic dinner in the fantastic local restaurant. If you still have the strength to move, let off steam in the gym before you go to sleep.
This hotel is also very accessible, everything is taken into account – since many mediocre resorts in the GC area charge obscene amounts just because they are close to the national park, the Grand Hotel is an absolute bargain in all possible options.
Meet and photograph the beautiful fauna of the Bearizona Wildlife Park.
Places of interest on the road from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon
Wait until you have at least a week to explore the road instead of diving directly into the GC. These are just some of the countless places worth visiting during your trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon:
- Phoenix Sonoran Reserve – With its many hiking trails and vast expanse of cacti and other desert plants, this reserve is living proof that the desert can be as beautiful as any field or meadow.
- Pleasant Lake Regional Park – As one of the largest bodies of water in the region, Pleasant Lake is one of the most important water sports and water activity locations in Arizona.
- Sunset Point – Overlooking Black Canyon City and, as the name suggests, with beautiful views of the sunset around the mountains.
- Montezuma Castle National Monument – This first example of a residential complex testifies to the ingenuity of the Sinaguan people.
- Red Rock State Park – the combination of unique rock formations, lush greenery and the picturesque Oak Creek Gorge explains why this is the largest ecological education park in the state.
- Chapel of the Holy Cross – Due to its unique construction and location among the donkeys of Sedona, this chapel is a landmark regardless of religious belief.
- Sedona – the parks of Tlackepack, the vineyards, the red rocks and the art and shopping village – all contribute to making this city the heart and soul of Arizona.
- Coconino National Forest – with a relief that goes from desert to mountain, this forest alone guarantees days of research.
- Slide Rock State Park – has all-natural water slides and beautiful red rocks that make this route so special.
- Flagstaff is a big city stuck between several sights, one even more picturesque than the other.
- The Nut Canyon National Monument is another example of the ingenuity of Sinagua who used the unique shape of the canyon to create his pueblo.
- National Monument SunsetVulcanoNational Monument SunsetVulcano – this monument protects the beautiful sunset crater, which has not erupted for about a millennium.
- Bearizona Wildlife Park – if you take a short detour through Williams, you can take great wildlife photos as you walk through the park.
- Williams is a dynamic and artistic city that embodies the spirit of historical route 66.
- Kaibab National Forest – The entrance to the Grand Canyon is characterized by beautiful perennial pines in the middle of the Aspen Sea.
- Vermillion Rocks National Monument – This area shows the desert at its best with its beautiful combination of battlements, sandstone formations and canyons.
Spread over several days you can make some great detours that you can enjoy – a few extra hours to admire the Prescott, the horseshoe curve and other deviations from the route will do wonders for an already breathtaking tour.
Best time to travel from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon
, which are accustomed to warm weather. A visit to Grand Canyon National Park in the summer gives you the opportunity to explore the park even more.
Objectively speaking, there is no better time of year for a trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon, but a visit at different times of the year can have several advantages.
Although the park certainly remains beautiful in winter, a visit at this time of year can be difficult to recommend – apart from the limited accommodation available, you generally only have access to the southern slope, and although every effort is made to keep the roads as clean as possible, low temperatures and high altitudes can make travel difficult.
Of course the crowds in the canyon will be bigger in summer, but even then the temperatures will be higher. The good news is that it’s generally warmer in Phoenix than on any other part of the course (with the exception of a few lows at the GC). So, if you’re used to the heat of the capital, you should have no problem going north once you’ve left the city.
If you want to avoid extreme crowds and temperatures, autumn and spring are perfect for a road trip from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon. The only problem is that after a particularly snowy winter you want to avoid a visit at the beginning or middle of spring, because the snow is probably at high altitude well before April.