The Best Of The Southwest: Sedona To Lake Powell
This trip was a hiking and houseboating extravaganza. From the red rock energy of Sedona to the extraordinary experience of floating on Lake Powell, this adventure is other-worldly from start to finish. Oh, and we threw in a Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike, too.
3 Random Facts You Probably Didn't Know
Ghosts & Wine
Sedona gets all the hype, but the 40 minute drive to Jerome is worth it.
The largest no-kill animal sanctuary in the country is in Kanab, UT.
This sacred arch is one of the world's largest natural bridges.
What you need to know: We crammed a lot in to this itinerary. We intentionally started in Sedona to do some hiking warm-up trails before getting to the Grand Canyon since we live in state with no elevation. And saving Lake Powell for after the Grand Canyon was perfect since we were ready for a few days rest and some party/leisure time. We also tacked on Joshua Tree at the end since we missed stopping there on our 2018 California itinerary.
What to pack: In the summer the desert feels like… desert. It’s hot with minimal shade for most of the hikes. And I swear I almost died after walking 2 blocks in Phoenix. But it can cool off significantly at night. If you’re planning for the Lake Powell portion, don’t forget your swim/watersport essentials.
A note about us and how we travel: Our goal is to see all of the US National Parks, so our road trips are usually structured to include as many as we can fit in. We love hiking and exploring off the beaten path places. Unfortunately we haven’t mastered the art of camping yet, so we stay in hotels or park lodges. You’ll notice a lot of Hilton properties – we try to stick with one brand to accumulate the points and keep our status, but I won’t list a property if it sucked. We’re definitely not foodies, but I included some of our restaurant stops on the itinerary to offer options. Normally we look for something casual and local that has relatively healthy options and a full bar.
Renting A Houseboat
We had two experienced boaters in our group, but we still ran in to some issues. You will be given an insane amount of information at the marina. Have more than one person there to listen and/or take notes. Make sure you get very specific, detailed information about how & where to park the boat. More than once, we woke up and realized the boat had turned around completely overnight. The weather in the summer is unpredictable. Make sure you know how to interpret forecasts and avoid being caught out in lightning.
JUST WANT A QUICK RUNDOWN?
- Fly in to Phoenix or Vegas
- Highlight: Hoover Dam
- Drive to Sedona
- Highlight: ‘Energy vortex’ hikes with amazing red rock scenery
- Drive to the Grand Canyon (South Rim)
- Highlight: Hike rim-to-rim by starting down the S. Kaibab Trail and up the Bright Angel Trail
- Drive from The Grand Canyon to Lake Powell
- Rent a houseboat and hang out for a few days
- Highlight: Add a powerboat to explore more of the lake and surrounding areas
- Make your way back to Phoenix or Vegas to fly out
- *Option to detour to Joshua Tree National Park
FULL DAY-BY-DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: (June 6, 2019)
- Fly Tampa to Las Vegas
- Stay at the Home2 Suites by Hilton Las Vegas City Center
- Drive Las Vegas to Sedona (4.5 hrs)
- Detour to check out the Hoover Dam
- Walk the O’Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge
- Stop in Jerome for views and wine
- Stay 3 nights at the Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock
- Hike in Sedona
- Trail suggestions: Turkey Creek Trail, Baldwin Loop, Hiline Trail, Cathedral Rock Trail, Boynton Canyon/Vortex Trail, Templeton Trail (Red Rock Crossing Vortex)
- (*Yes – we skipped Devil’s Bridge, and we’re not sad about it)
- Wander Sedona, dinner at Open Range Grill
- More hiking in Sedona
- Loy Canyon and Robbers Roost Trail
- Wander around Tlaquepaque (Arts and Shopping Village Sedona)
- Hike the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim via S. Kaibab trail to Bright Angel
- Dinner at the El Tovar Hotel
- Tour the Grand Canyon rim, overlook spots
- Drive Grand Canyon to Lake Powell (2.5 hrs)
- Stop at Glen Canyon Dam
- Dinner at State 48 Tavern
- Stay at Hampton Inn & Suites Page – Lake Powell
- Wake up at sunrise to see Horseshoe Bend
- Pick up houseboat at Wahweap Marina from Stateline Marina Boat Docks
- Take powerboat out to explore Labyrinth Canyon
- Take powerboat out to get to Rainbow Bridge National Monument
- Recreate Lonely Island’s I’m On A Boat video to host epic 30th birthday party for one of our favorite people. (For several reasons those pictures aren’t posted here:)
- Return boat – Drive from Lake Powell back to Las Vegas (4 hr 15 min)
- Stay at same Home2 Suites again
- Drive Las Vegas to Palm Springs (4 hours)
- Stop to see Seven Magic Mountains
- Stop at Joshua Tree National Park Visitor Center
- Dinner/drinks at Revel Public House and 4 Saints
- Stay at Hilton Palm Springs
- Explore Joshua Tree National Park (Cholla Cactus Garden Trail)
- Drive Palm Springs to Phoenix (4 hr 15 min)
- Catch a Diamondbacks game at Chase Field
- Dinner/drinks at Hanny’s and Valley Bar
- Stay at Hilton Garden Inn Phoenix Downtown
- Fly Phoenix to Tampa
Every hike here was incredible. We even skipped Devil’s Bridge, and don’t regret it one bit.
One of the most serene and peaceful moments – exploring the hidden, secluded areas of Lake Powell.
We couldn’t resist a quick stop here. (*Not pictured, the busloads of people coming in behind us.)
The F*#king Grand Canyon!
A great spot to stop for the sunrise on the way down.
It’s waaaaaay down there somewhere.
View From The Top
It’s true – no picture can ever do it justice.
The only part of the trail that made me nervous.