Arizona, the desert state of the USA, most commonly known as the “Copper State,” is famous for its Saguaro Cacti and abundant minerals.
However, that’s not the only thing it is known for!
The red rocks of Sedona and the renowned Grand Canyon are considered the highlight of the state, giving it the name “The Grand Canyon State.”
If you plan a trip to Arizona, a road trip from Sedona to Grand Canyon is a must! It is a refreshing drive where you get to experience amazing scenery and stops along the way.
We have put together a complete guide for your road trip from Sedona to Grand Canyon, how long it takes, and what fun things you can do along the way.
So, fasten your seatbelts as you journey through the tall pine trees, majestic mountains, and desert plains from Sedona to Grand Canyon!
The distance from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim is almost 108 miles or 174 kilometers.
Sedona to Grand Canyon North Rim is 236 miles or 380 kilometers.
If you go directly from Sedona to Grand Canyon, it takes almost 2 hours if you take I-40 and Highway 64 through the town of Williams. This route will take you to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
However, if you want to go to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, via US-89N it will take a little more than 4 hours.
Sedona is one of the closest airports to the Grand Canyon, though this scenic airport only takes private charter flights. Coming internationally, you may still want to start your journey in Phoenix, Arizona; the journey from Phoenix to Sedona is also an incredibly scenic 2-hour drive.
Regardless of your route from Sedona to Grand Canyon, you will come across plenty of scenic views and stops on your way. Depending on how many places you stop and whether you stay the night at Williams or Flagstaff, the drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon can take anywhere from several hours to a couple of days.
As we mentioned earlier, there are several amazing places to stop during your road trip from Sedona to Grand Canyon. Therefore, we have rounded up some of the best stops for a fun and fantastic road trip to the South Rim.
As you drive out of Sedona, you’ll find the Grasshopper Point Swimming and Picnic Area on Route 89A.
It is part of the Coconino National Forest and is a famous spot for tourists and locals to go for a swim, enjoy a relaxing picnic, or simply hang out before heading off toward the Grand Canyon.
Grasshopper Point has a proper arrangement for picnic tables; however, given the crowd, they get filled very quickly. Therefore, if you go early in the morning, you might easily get a good spot.
There are also several trails in the park, the Allen’s Bend, Casner Canyon trail, and the Huckaby trail.
So, relax and unwind amidst the park’s red rock cliffs before your big drive!
You’ll find the Oak Creek Canyon almost 2.5 miles ahead of Grasshopper Point on Route 89A.
It is a true work of nature with many trees and a rushing creek. There are plenty of camping sites, picnic areas, and hiking trails for the visitors to have a great time.
Apart from the spectacular views, you’ll find small shops selling native American jewelry and other arts & crafts items made by the locals who reside there. Make sure to grab some as souvenirs!
Before you leave this scenic place, we recommend visiting the Oak Creek Canyon Vista, where you can have a panoramic view of the canyon.
Also, make sure to visit Oak Creek Canyon early in the day if you want to have a peaceful stay because it gets crowded later on.
Once you’re done relaxing in Oak Creek Canyon, make your way to the Slide Rock State Park at a 5-minute drive.
It is listed as one of the best secret swimming holes in Arizona, and what you’ll find in this park is far more fun and enjoyable than anything you have experienced along your drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon!
Apart from the amazing view, Slide Rock Park has an 80-feet long water slide made of slippery sandstone. You can swim in the creek, wade your way through the water, and make memories on the world-famous slide!
However, the sandstone under the water gets a bit slippery; therefore, we advise you to go only if you have the proper gear with you.
Also, the park is packed with people during the summer, so plan your trip during the off-season.
By the time you set off from Slide Rock State Park, you would have picnicked and swum to your heart’s content! From here starts the real long drive towards the Grand Canyon.
However, we’re not done with the places to see on your way! Just 23 miles from the park, you’ll arrive at the city of Flagstaff, also known as the gateway to the Grand Canyon and San Francisco Peaks.
It sits at a height of 7000 feet and is surrounded by the world’s largest ponderosa pine forest. Flagstaff alone has many places to visit; therefore, you can easily spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful city.
You can go to Downtown Flagstaff to grab a bite of the most delicious food, enjoy a coffee or a beer and rest at one of the hotels for the night because the next day is going to be quite adventurous!
While in Flagstaff, you can spend time visiting the Flagstaff Arboretum, which has almost 750 plant species. It is open from May through October and has guided tours, kids’ activities, and special events.
The next place to visit in Flagstaff is the Arizona Snowbowl, where you can take a peaceful chairlift ride amidst the spectacular views of snow-capped mountains and color-changing Aspens.
If you visit during the winter, you can enjoy skiing and snowboarding, and if you plan a trip in the summer or fall, you can hike or stroll along the trails. No matter what time of the year you visit, there’s a lot to do!
Another great place to see is the Lowell Observatory. This is the place where Pluto was discovered! So, get hold of that telescope and explore the great wonders of space!
And, if you’re a fan of history, the Museum of Northern Arizona should definitely interest you! It has captivating exhibits of artifacts and lifestyles of the Native Americans.
After spending a few days in Flagstaff, you can continue your Grand Canyon road trip.
The next stop that we suggest is the Grand Canyon Deer Farm, almost 25 miles ahead of Flagstaff on Interstate 40 on Route 66.
This place is an absolute delight if you have kids with you. The park is spread across an expanse of 10 acres and is home to several friendly animals. There are five deer species, including reindeer, sika deer, and Coues deer. Then there are wallabies, llamas, coatimundi, bison, peacocks, cockatoos, goats, camels, and porcupines.
But that’s not all! You can get up close and personal with the animals by feeding them, walking them, and petting them.
The Grand Canyon Deer Farm is the ultimate animal wonderland for all animal lovers out there!
If you’ve not had enough of the animals, don’t worry, as just 7 miles from the Deer Farm, you will reach the Bearizona Wildlife Park.
The park offers the visitors a drive-thru experience, where you can drive along the path and look at the animals in their natural habitat. There’s also a walk-thru facility, which starts right after the drive-thru portion. Here you will find the Bearizona Barnyard, where you can pet-friendly farm animals and walk through pathways viewing the animal enclosures.
The Bearizona Wildlife Park is home to black bears, Alaskan Tundra wolf, American bison, Arctic wolf, bighorn sheep, bobcats, deer, pythons, grizzly bears, jaguars, Fennec fox, red fox, mountain elks, and reindeer, to name a few.
So, the animals you couldn’t find at the Deer Farm, you can find at the Bearizona Wildlife Park! If you’re tired or don’t feel like getting out of the car, you can drive through the park while looking at the animals. On the other hand, if you’re feeling frisky, you can walk through the park.
Regardless, you will have a stellar time with the animals in the park and the barnyard.
Just as you exit the Bearizona Wildlife Park and get back on Historic Route 66, you must drive for approximately 3 miles before reaching the Canyon Coaster Adventure Park.
This park is full of thrill and excitement as you experience various fun rides and have the time of your life. First, there’s the 1-mile Canyon Coaster with a 35 feet tall track that takes you through a hair-raising ride with dips, twists, and 360 degrees corkscrews.
Next, there’s Summer Mountain Tubing, where you can slide down the mountain in tubes! There is also Winter Snow Tubing, where you can slide down a snow mountain in tubes! The snow is made using snowmakers so that you can enjoy this experience from November till Easter.
If you’re famished after all the fun activities, you can head to the Bar and Grill and grab a slice of pizza, bite into a juicy burger or sandwich, or munch on a variety of salads. At the Canyon Coaster Bar and Grill, there’s something for everyone!
After an adrenaline-rushing experience at the Canyon Coaster Adventure Park, it’s time to make your way to Williams.
Although it is a small town, there are many things to do there! For instance, the Historic Route 66 Museum is a great place to visit if you’re interested in the history of Route 66. It has several murals from the past, pictures of groups of people that traveled this road, and the path the Native Americans took for trading purposes.
The museum also has a separate building that houses 29 electric cars from the 19th century. In short, you will find many interesting details about the route’s history and other information.
Once you’re done taking a trip down the past, it’s time to go to the Grand Canyon Railway Station. From here, people take a train to Grand Canyon, enjoying the scenic view and other amenities.
So, if you’re up for a train ride, get a ticket and take the 2.5-hour railroad trip all the way to the Grand Canyon.
Or, you could continue your road trip from Sedona to Grand Canyon in your own car.
Whether staying at Williams for the night or continuing after a quick bite and refueling, it will take hardly 5 minutes to enter Grand Canyon Avenue. From here, it’s almost 60 miles to reach Grand Canyon National Park’s, South Rim.
Grand Canyon National Park’s South Rim is also known as the Desert View Entrance and is at the easternmost side. This is from where you can have your first glance at the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River.
You have now successfully reached your destination: The Grand Canyon.
Here, you will find many hotels and campgrounds where you can stay around Grand Canyon Village. At the same time, you explore the amazing attractions at the park and surrounding areas. It can take anywhere from 1 to 3 days to experience everything at the Grand Canyon, after which you can head back to Sedona, or continue your journey around the southwest.
Although Arizona is known for its arid climate, this incredible US road trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon South Rim is breathtakingly beautiful. And while the scenic drive is almost 2.5 hours, you can extend it by visiting the many stops along the way, including swimming holes, picnic spots, wildlife, and adventure parks.
We hope this detailed guide on what to do and where to stop on your Sedona to Grand Canyon road trip will come in handy when you plan your visit to Arizona!
More Handy Arizona Road Trip Tips
If you’ll be exploring further around the Copper State, here are a few more travel tips and inspiring articles:
- Take note of time zones if you’re traveling beyond Arizona! Arizona stays on MST year-round, while neighboring Nevada is on PST/PDT. Utah works with MST but switched to MDT in the summer, putting them an hour ahead.
- If you enjoy this drive, you may also want to check out our complete collection of scenic drives to undertake in the state of Arizona.
- Seen all the obvious big attractions in Arizona? Get off the beaten path and discover these hidden gems of Arizona.
- Sticking around the city of Phoenix? Check out these spectacular day trip ideas.
- Never forget an important road trip item again! Pop over here for our road trip essentials – including a downloadable road trip checklist ready for your next family adventure.
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