Sedona to Grand Canyon (Indian dwellings, national monuments & road trip highlights)
One of the fantastic drives from Sedona to the Grand Canyon covers some of the most scenic landscape that you’ll enjoy on this road trip. Visiting Sedona is such a unique landscape with other worldly Red Rock features that just out straight into the sky, spiritual vortexes and a creative community that inspires everyone to visit. Your trip from Sedona and on to the Grand Canyon is filled with so many natural and beautiful landscapes to also discover on this road trip north to the national park.
You can do this road trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon as a day trip from Sedona or spend time over night at many of the popular attractions along the way to see more of the fantastic landscapes, parks and national monuments worth visiting on your drive to the Grand Canyon. One of the most popular and affordable places to base yourself would be at Flagstaff while you explore the surrounding area on your way to the Grand Canyon
Road trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon – South Rim
Sedona to the Grand Canyon FAQ
How to get from Sedona to the Grand Canyon?
The drive from Sedona to the Grand Canyon is less than 115 miles (185 KM) and is only 2 ½ hours in a normal drive to the South Rim entrance. Although, you might want to stop and visit many of the stunning parks and landscapes that make this road trip worthwhile before heading into the Grand Canyon. The drive to other parts of the Grand Canyon is as follows
Sedona to East Rim of Grand Canyon is 153 miles or approximately 2.45 minutes
Sedona to West Rim of Grand Canyon is 240 miles or approximately 4 hours 10 minutes
Sedona to North Rim of Grand Canyon is 236 miles or approximately 4 hours 20 minutes
Suggested day trip tour – Sedona to Grand Canyon
What is the most direct route to the Grand Canyon?
The most direct tour to the south rim of the Grand Canyon is about 109 miles (approximately two hours) from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. The best route to take is to get on Hwy 179 to Hwy 17 going north to Flagstaff .Then take Interstate 40 to Hwy 64 which will take you directly to the South Rim entrance
What are the most Scenic Routes going to the Grand Canyon?
There are two scenic routes you can take: one from Hwy 89A going north to Flagstaff passing the Midgley Bridge and through Oak Creek Canyon with gorgeous overlooks on the tour. Or, you can follow our tour below going through the Hwy 179 to the I-17 and through the historic areas of Montezuma Castle and well and then Highway 179 to Flagstaff area.
Leaving Sedona Area – two choices to get to the Grand Canyon
If you have explored some of the key attraction of Sedona and even the most picture worthy landscapes to photograph in Sedona, you’ll be impressed with the other worthwhile stops along the way to the Grand Canyon. The most scenic route takes you through highway 89A through the rugged Oak Creek Canyons and then into Flagstaff which is slower but very scenic and beautiful. The other alternative is to go south through Oak Creek and Bell Rock area and connecting back to the main Interstate Highway 17.
A visit to Montezuma Castle and Well
If you love ancient civilizations, don’t pass up on visiting Montezuma Castle and well which is just off Highway 17 and both sites are impressive national monument. Created by the ancient Sinagua people, both sites are really stunning and if you have more time, also visit the Petroglyphs just a short drive from Montezuma Well area.
Either route is a winner and will end up in the city of Flagstaff which is a fantastic city to explore and stay as a hub to visit many other monuments and parks before getting to the Grand Canyon. Continuing from Montezuma Well drive north on Highway I-17 for approximately 54 miles or 54 minutes to get to the city.
Here’s a quick video tour exploring the Montezuma Castle below
Next is the Montezuma well further down from the castle, a short drive to the park area and hike through the well with these cliff dwellings combined with some pueblos in the same loop tour.
Here’s a tour of the Montezuma well area
Drive from Flagstaff to South Rim Grand Canyon
The drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon is about 80 miles or 1.5 hours north taking Highway 180 North. Most of the public services, hotels and restaurants along with Grand Canyon Village is located in the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. You can easily base yourself in Flagstaff and do a day trip to the Grand Canyon since accommodations and services are cheaper and plentiful compared to the national park area. While visiting Flagstaff, there are many other fantastic parks, landscapes and historic sites you can easily visit along the way or a short detour and drive.
A visit to Flagstaff
While many consider Flagstaff as a transit hub to the Grand Canyon or Sedona, the city is really is a great destination in itself and to check out some of the fantastic parks and monuments in the area. The historic downtown area is fun to explore along with some hip shopping, bars and dining venues that are fun to hang out in. A short drive from Flagstaff is the ancient Sinagua sites and parks you can visit to include Walnut Canyon, Waputki National Monument and Sunset Crater National Monument.
Here’s a beautiful tour of Flagstaff and the surrounding areas
Walnut Canyon National Monument
Less than 9 miles east of Flagstaff, the Walnut Canyon National Monument is impressive and fun to explore and even hike around. The ancient Sinagua people carved into the shallow rock areas to build stone faced homes to live in and protect themselves from the outside elements and intruders in the area. It is a fascinating discovery tour of the area and exploring the caves and cave dwellings made by the ancient people here and along with enjoying the beautiful landscape, history and culture of this ancient Indian tribe.
A fun trail routes around Walnut Canyon in this video below
Wupatki National Monument
Another ancient Sinagua village that is more Pueblo style as an ancient village that you can also explore around the monument. Wupatki National Monument strikes an impressive outline into the desert scape of the area. You can take a fun loop trail from Highway 89 north through this 34 mile side detour to see the various ruins around the national monument. Walking around the monument, you’ll pass fascinating sites at the monument to include the pueblo ruins, the ball court along with many other small scale pueblos on this 34 mile route that connects back to Highway 89.
Exploring the gorgeous Waputki National Monument pueblo
Sunset Crater National Monument
You take the same 34 mile scenic detour off Highway 89 to see this huge black cinder cone that juts out into the skyline with lava flows that can be found in the surrounding landscape. This is a fascinating national monument that you can hike through various trails and get a glimpse of this unique landscape, lava and views from the surrounding area. For more information, check out the Sunset Crater National Monument website here for visiting this fascinating natural monument.
After visiting this wonderful and historic sites, the drive north continues from US 89 North to AZ 64 W. Total distance from Wupatki National Monument to the Grand Canyon is 51.1 miles or about a 50 minute drive to the South Rim entrance of the Grand Canyon.
Sunset Crater, Lava flow trail highlights
Grand Canyon South Rim Visitors Center
The Grand Canyon South Rim Visitors Center is the must do first stop to orient yourself to the park, pick up brochures and map, check out some information or even talk to a ranger. From here you can easily do some easy hikes or visit some of the most iconic spots around the South Rim area to include: Mather Point, Grand Canyon Village, South Rim trail, Maricopa Point, El Tovar Hotel, Yaki Point and many other look out points to the canyon area.
Checking out the visitors center at the South Rim
There are some fantastic tours can do at the Grand Canyon for one-of-a-kind experience in the park to include:
Helicopter ride around the South Rim area from Above – A grand 45 minute tour of the canyon from above and to famous landmarks like the Painted Desert, Kaibob national forest and the Dragon Corridor
Grand Canyon Railway experience – A nostalgic train ride on classic vintage train cars on a roundtrip experience from Williams
Day tour from Sedona to Grand Canyon – A guided tour on a road trip with guide to Grand Canyon for a full day experience to the national park
Top places to explore in the South Rim area
One of the most scenic lookout points on the South Rim is Mather Point which juts out from the Canyon and directly into the South Rim with stunning views of the Grand Canyon. Mather Point is located just a five minute walk from the Visitors Center which makes it a very popular look out point to get to in the park.
South Rim trail
The Rim Trail is the most popular trail on the South Rim with paved roads to hike through with many lookout points to the Grand Canyon. The Rim Trail is flat and easy and runs about 13 miles from the Visitors center and Mathers point to the Bright Angel Trailheads and east to Hermits Rest. You can easily just walk the areas you choose for the best scenic views around the Rim trail that you choose.
Check out this amazing rim trail (you can take a shuttle bus for a return)
South Rim highlights to the Grand Canyon
Other Popular lookout points on the Rim Trail
There are many spectacular lookout points to enjoy on the 13 mile Rim Trail and this includes: Hopi Point, Powell Point, Yaki Point, Shoshone Point.
Tour the Grand Canyon village area below
Where to Stay in the Grand Canyon
There are lots of places to stay in the Grand Canyon, but you should book well in advance since the South Rim is a popular destination and the hotels are always booked well in advanced unless you stay outside of the park area and the more reasonable hotel lodgings are located south in the Flagstaff area.
Check out these top places to stay in the Grand Canyon here for reviews, availability and current prices.
Thunderbird Lodge – Modern lodge in a perfect location in the Village, comfortable rooms and nice amenities some with canyon views
El Tovar – the historic lodge in the village, classic, comfortable and excellent breakfast service
Yavapai Lodge – A classic lodge hotel and moderate in price with comfortable rooms and friendly service.
Affordable options – think about Flagstaff for hotels and inns to the Grand Canyon
If you plan on using Flagstaff as a base trip to the Grand Canyon, check out these top reviewed hotels here for availability and current prices here.
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Conclusion to a road trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon
If you decide to do the road trip, it can be easily done on a day trip, but if you do have time to explore, these other sites above are definitely worth placing on your bucket list journey on the way to the Grand Canyon.
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