For our April vacation we visited Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Page Arizona, and Bryce and Zion National Parks. This was my first time visiting, and even with my limp (that's another story), I enjoyed the trip immensely.
We landed in Phoenix, rented a SUV and drive to Montezuma's Castle in Sedona. This is a National Park, with cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people from over 600 years ago. Well worth a stop. Next stop, Bell Rock, near beautiful Sedona. There are plenty of hiking trails, but due to my limp, we did not take a long hike. The red rocks of this area are breathtakingly beautiful.
We ended our first day, at the South Rim, Grand Canyon, Yavapai Lodge. This Lodge is not on the rim, but I highly recommend it. I believe this was the only National Park where we either could get Wi-Fi in the room or my At&T 3G service worked on my iPad. My AT&T 3G was basically useless in the National Parks. The Verizon iPhone was able to get internet connections, but not the iPad. Most of the parks have wireless in the lobby, but not in the room. The 2nd day we took advantage of the South Rim shuttle bus and stopped at all the shuttle stops. We did walk a couple of miles between a couple of the stops, along the rim. This is an excellent way to see the grand canyon. Photos cannot do this park justice.
Our next stop was Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, in Page, Arizona. Horseshoe Bend is just off Rte. 89 about 4 miles south of Page. Horseshoe Bend is approximately a 1/2 mile walk from the parking lot, down a sandy hill, to the canyon. The only way to see the Horseshoe is to be at the very edge of the rocks. Posted signs advise not to stand on the edge of the rocks. I crawled up a rock, laid down and peeked over the edge. Looking over the edge was terrifying. Upper Antelope Canyon can only be visited with a Navajo Guide. We used Antelope Slot Canyon Tours, Rob was our tour guide. Be sure to book in advance, although, I believe you can get a tour the same day by visiting the canyons and selecting one of the guides at the parking lot. The slot canyons are gorgeous. We stayed at the Marriott in Page.
Onward to Bryce, which is about 1.5 hours from Kanab. The Hoodoos, tall spires of rock, are amazing. I believe Bryce had the highest elevation, ranging from 8000 to almost 9000 feet. We did traverse one of the trails into the canyon, not going very far.
From Bryce, to Zion. At Zion, you are in the Canyon. At Bryce and the Grand Canyon, you are on the rim. Zion has many level of hikes to suit everyone. We took several easy walks, and one moderate one to the Upper Emerald Pools and Kayenta Trail - remember, I had a limp! This trail was approximately 3 miles, ascending about 500 ft. For the truly adventurous, Zion has some great hikes. We also visited the ghost town of Grafton, outside of Zion in the town of Rockville. We had one lunch at the Whiptail Grill in Springdale, UT. We were able to take the shuttle from Zion, to the town of Springdale, at the first stop is the Whiptail Grill. I highly recommend the Whiptail.
Last stop, Las Vegas. It's been a long time since I was last in Vegas. I don't feel it has improved with time. We stayed at the Mandarian Oriental, which was very plush.
At all the parks, we stayed in the park using Xanterra Lodging. The rooms were very nice, although there isn't TV or Wi-Fi available in the room. The restaurants were excellent.
I hope you enjoy my photographs, which can be seen under GALLERY, TRAVEL.
Montezuma's Castle: http://www.nps.gov/moca/contacts.htm
Bell Rock: http://hikearizona.com/decoder.php?ZTN=274
Antelope Canyon: http://www.antelopeslotcanyon.com/
Grand Canyon: http://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm
Bryce Canyon: http://www.nps.gov/brca/naturescience/hoodoos.htm
Zion - Upper Emerald Pool trail - http://www.zionnational-park.com/zion-emerald-pools-trail.htm
Park Lodging: http://www.xanterra.com/
Grafton Ghost Town, Rockville UT - http://www.americansouthwest.net/utah/zion/grafton_ghost_town.html
Springdale, UT Whiptail Grill - http://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g61001-d663973-Reviews-Whiptail_Grill-Springdale_Utah.html