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How to Road Trip Arizona | Land of the Cactus Emoji

Updated: Dec 18, 2020

July 16th, 2019


As I sit here in Rasmus’ parent's lovely casita in Austin, Texas I am reflecting on our beautiful trip around Arizona. On an eight-day trek, Rasmus and I worked our way from Albuquerque over to Arizona and had a blast exploring and camping.

I grew up in the southwest and spent lots of time in Arizona (my mom is from Phoenix), but I have never appreciated the sunshine and painted skylines the way I did this go-round. Here’s my quick list of hits for road-trippers.


Sedona is iconic. If you have not been through Sedona— you don’t know the beauty that is the southwest. Rasmus and I got a VIP tour of the town by my grandparents, Maba and Paka Doc, who have a cabin north of Sedona in Oak Creek Canyon.

Sedona is famous for its red rock and rock formations. Just the drive through town gives you pause. Its famous rock formations can be seen from the road: “snoopy rock,” “coffee pot rock,” and “bell rock;” all of which look like their given name from a certain angle.

We had a wonderful three-mile hike to Devil’s Bridge. This is a great morning or midday hike. If you’re scared of heights you might have a hard time getting the picture. But it’s worth the trek!

My grandparents treated us to a lovely lunch at Mariposa — a Latin inspired grill, which I would definitely recommend. I had a killer quinoa burger and a side of cactus fruit fries, which is something you really only get in Arizona.

Grand Canyon

We spent a day and a night at the southern rim of the Grand Canyon. We stopped off at Mather Point and got some great shots, this way probably my favorite view of the canyon. We hiked down South Kaibab trailhead a way which is another famous view of the canyon. And we had late afternoon drinks at the El Tovar Hotel, which has been at the Grand Canyon since 1905, this is a must.

Getting around the Grand Canyon is super easy. After you pay the park fee, you drive your car over to the village and park. There are free buses provided that take you all across the Southern Rim. If you want to avoid the people get up early. The pictures really don’t do it justice, this is something you have to see in person! It’s absolutely astonishing.

Horseshoe Bend

This is a drive-by type of stop on your way to do the Antelope Canyon, you pay $10 to park at walk about 10 minutes into the site. In July, there are tons of people! Again, maybe you want to do this early in the morning. But it really is something to see. It is incredible the way that the water bends around the rock.

Antelope Canyon

Now don’t miss this if you are seeing the Grand Canyon! You are driving through the middle of the desert where the ground is brown and dead, and out of nowhere on the side of the road next to some temporary type buildings is a crack in the ground that drops about 300 feet.

From above you’d never suspect what lies below. This landmark is on the Navajo reservation and costs about $50 a person to see. We used a tour company called Ken's Tours, and they were great. A Navajo guide will take you down some ladders underground so you can see the famous slot canyons.

We did the lower canyon; there are two canyons: the lower and the upper. They say the lower canyon is easier, it took us about an hour to walk through. I loved being below the earth’s surface and wondering who had been there before me. This would have made for an incredible fortress.

These photos were taken on my iPhone but certainly look professional— it is just that photogenic.


Phoenix is the fifth-largest city in the nation, news to me! For some reason, all my friends/family are moving to Phoenix, so we have more reason each summer to visit. Personally, I love PHX for shopping. On your way South there is a fantastic little outlet mall — Outlets at Anthem. They’ve got my faves— GAP, Columbia, Nike, and Coach. Definitely don’t pass that up if you’re from a small town like me.

Our visit in July consisted of midday temperatures around 113 degrees; yes, Phoenix is famous for its heat. At least it's a dry heat, for some reason it doesn’t seem to bother me much. I also love Phoenix for its natural beauty, the Saguaro Cactus’ is super cool to me! They are so cool that Apple gave them their own emoji.

Salt River

My friend Kyle just bought his first house in Phoenix, and we had an awesome time visiting. And he and his girlfriend, Linda, treated us to a kayaking trip on the Salt River. This is a fun thing to do in AZ mid summer.

We entered the Salt River through Tonto National Forest and parked at Pebble Beach recreation site. I’ve done lots of floating and tubing, but I’ve never seen the locals throw marshmallows into the water! They do this for the wild horses; wild horses are known for coming down to the water to drink and eat the marshmallows. There were cars stopping our whole drive-in for horse crossings.


Flagstaff is a piney mountain town nestled a few hours north of Phoenix. I love the way this city is situated against the mountains. What strikes me the most is how you come straight out of the desert into a thicket of pine trees in just a few miles. Their downtown is lined with super cute high altitude sports shops and breweries. And they have a great ski mountain “Snow Bowl” for winter peeps, which doubles as a summertime playground for weekend warriors. Home to NAU, this college town is a great place to stop and get outside if you’re on the road.

If you are in the area and want to camp, or just want an awesome sandwich or craft beer be sure to stop by my uncle Tommy's campground— Woody Mountain Campground.

Arizona, you don't disappoint. Until next time! I still want to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim and see Havasupai Falls. What's your favorite place in AZ? I want to know! Comment below.

1 comentário

Experiencing the Grand Canyon from the river is unlike anything and getting to spend 18 days in the Big Ditch is an amazing experience that I highly recommend. We have yet to make it to Antelope Canyon but there are lots of other places to check out such as Buckskin Gulch which is an amazing slot canyon near The Wave.

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