Arizona Camping Road Trip

 

Hey Hey Hey! Our yearly Escape Campervan adventure strikes again.  In late April-early May we hit the road again for an adventure on wheels.  The destination this year? – an Arizona Road Trip!  So what happens when you pack 4 New Englanders into a campervan and put them in the desert?  You’re just going to have to keep reading to find out!

Where did we go?  What did we do?  Was it hot and sandy and prickly and strange?   Here is an overview of our itinerary, route, and destinations as we drove around the state for 11 days.  And yes – it was very hot, sandy, prickly and strange.  And we LOVED it and had a fantastic time.

A general overview of our route, campground to campground

Day 1 – Wednesday, April 25Escape Campervan in Phoenix – Pick up our , and head to the Grand Canyon (~3 hour drive)!  Camping for two days at Mather Campground within the park.

Day 2 – Thursday, April 26 – Hike the Grand Canyon.  We hiked from the South Rim (down the South Kaibab trail) —-> Colorado River and to Phantom Ranch  ——-> Back up to the South Rim (up Bright Angel Trail).  What a challenging day! ~20 miles of hills, heat, and scenery.  Do NOT attempt this as a casual hiker.   We are all endurance athletes who have done similar things before.  There are no bail out options once you commit and especially once you get to the floor of the canyon, so if you are heading down, you need to get yourself back out.  There are plenty of day hike options, or you could stay at Phantom Ranch and the campground there if you want to try this out over a couple of days.

 

Day 3 – Friday, April 27 – Head from the Grand Canyon to Page, AZ.  Stopped off at the Desert View Watchtower along the Grand Canyon’s South Rim, Horseshoe Bend for a photo op, and to a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon.  Stopped to check out Glen Canyon Dam, and then camped for the night at Wahweap campground on Lake Powell.

 

Day 4 – Saturday, April 28 – Start the day with coffee and sunrise over Lake Powell.  Head over for a Lower Antelope Canyon tour, and then drive out to Monument Valley (~2 hour drive).  Drive the 17 mile scenic drive around the monuments (wow!).  Camp at the View Campground overlooking the monuments.

Day 5 – 7, Sunday April 29- Tuesday May 1 –  Coffee and sunrise over Monument Valley, then a trail run through the monuments on the Wildcat Trail.  Drive from Monument Valley to Sedona.  Stop off to check out the Tuba City dinosaur tracks, Wupatki National Monument, and Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument along the way.  Camp at Pine Flat Campground in Coconino National Forest.  Hike Devil’s Bridge, Cathedral Rock, and a trail run along oak creek on the West Fork Trail.  We ended up leaving Sedona area a day early due to some bad weather coming in (40’s – 50 degrees and rainy), so our plans were altered a bit and we didn’t end up spending time up in Flagstaff as we had hoped.  Next time!

Day 7-8 (Tuesday May 1 (evening) – Wednesday May 2) – After morning running and hiking in Sedona, drove South outside of Phoenix to avoid the cold rain hitting Sedona Tuesday night and Wednesday.  Stopped for beers at Verde Brewing Company and at Pedal Haus in Tempe.  Camped at the Lost Dutchman State Park.  Hiked the Siphon Draw Trail up to the Flatiron right from the park.

Day 9-10 (Thursday May 3-Friday May 4) – Head further south toward Tucson for two nights of camping at Catalina State Park.  Explore the murals and craft breweries of Tucson.  Head to Saguaro National Park (East – Rincon Mountain District), for the scenic drive and a hike on the Loma Verde trail, among the giant cacti.

Day 11 (Saturday, May 5) – Campervan drop off and drive home.  What a trip!!  There is NEVER enough time on vacation.

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