A road trip to the Grand Canyon is a must on your Sedona vacation. It is definitely on El Portal’s “What to See in Sedona” list, as it less than two hours from Sedona! At El Portal, we will help you get the most out of your visit to Grand Canyon National Park.
If you leave El Portal Sedona Hotel by 9:00 a.m. you can be back by 6:00 p.m. On your road trip to the Grand Canyon you will see Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, Cameron Trading Post, and Grand Canyon National Park. You make a “loop” by entering the Park at the East entrance, and exiting on Highway 180, home to El Portal Sedona Hotel.
View El Portal Grand Canyon Tour Map in a larger map
Road Trip to the Grand Canyon – Trip Highlights
- Sunset Crater National Monument
- Wupatki National Monument
- Cameron Trading Post
- Entrance to Grand Canyon National Park
- Desert View Drive, Hermit Road, Rim Trail
- Yavapai Observation Station
- Return to El Portal Sedona Hotel
Sedona Vacation – Include a Road Trip to the Grand Canyon
Before you enter the park you visit Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument is a cinder cone that is part of the San Francisco Volcanic Field. It is maintained by the National Park Service in close conjunction with nearby Wupatki National Monument. Sunset Crater was declared a National Monument by President Herbert Hoover in 1930.
Then you’re off to Cameron Trading Post. One thing you’ve probably discovered about the Grand Canyon is that there’s no quick way to get across it – you’ve got to go around it! That very fact, no doubt, troubled would-be settlers, travelers, and entrepreneurs back in the early 1900’s. Their road trip was a bone-jarring stagecoach journey that took days instead of hours. Folks soon discovered there were more riches to be found in tourism than in mining, so in 1911, a modest suspension bridge was constructed across the Little Colorado River Gorge at a lonely outpost on the Navajo Indian Reservation called Cameron. The Cameron Trading Post opened and soon established itself as integral commerce center for the Native American people who lived nearby.
Today, the Cameron Trading Post is enjoyed by visitors from all around the world as a gateway to the Grand Canyon. A visit to Cameron is more than just a routine stop on your tour; it is a cultural experience, an opportunity to learn about Navajo culture first-hand. The Cameron Trading Post sells hand-crafted jewelry of silver and turquoise, colorful rugs painstakingly crafted on looms handed down through generations, as well as pottery, baskets and paintings from many tribes throughout the Southwest. In the gallery you’ll find one of Northern Arizona’s most exquisite collections of Native made crafts. In addition to the retail store there is a convenience store, gas station and a restaurant that has earned a cult-like following among people from all over the area, who gladly drive hundreds of miles to enjoy the house specialty, the Navajo Taco.
Located in extreme northern Arizona, Grand Canyon National Park is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The Grand Canyon is 277 miles long and in some places is over 6,000 feet deep! Visitors see amazing rock formations, early petroglyphs, ancient ruins, learn the geological history of the area and more.
There are many scenic overlooks, accessible by car, that provide spectacular views of the Grand Canyon. Desert View Drive (Highway 64) follows the Canyon rim for 26 miles east of Grand Canyon Village to Desert View, which is the east entrance to the park. Desert View Drive is open to private vehicles throughout the year. Hermit Road follows the rim for 7 miles west of Grand Canyon Village to Hermits Rest. Hermit Road is closed to private vehicles from March through November. The park runs a free shuttle bus to many of the canyon overlooks for visitors’ convenience.
The Rim Trail is an easy hike that follows the rim from Pipe Creek Vista to Hermits Rest. The section between Pipe Creek Vista and Maricopa Point is paved, and mostly wheelchair accessible. Unpaved portions of the trail, between Maricopa Point and Hermits Rest, are narrow and close to the edge. Bicycles are not permitted on the Rim Trail.
The Yavapai Observation Station at Yavapai Point offers panoramic views of the canyon; including the Colorado River and Phantom Ranch. You can see the view from the Grand Canyon web cam.
The best light for viewing and photographing the Grand Canyon is early or late in the day. Mid-day sun tends to flatten the view and soften the colors. If you plan to see the Grand Canyon at sunrise or sunset, it is recommended that you be at the rim at least an hour before.
At the end of the day, you take Highway 180 South back to El Portal, Sedona’s luxury boutique hotel. This is less than a two hour, beautiful scenic drive. Call 1-800-313-0017 for additional details.