Over my grad school spring break in March my husband and I spent a quick 3 nights and 4 days in Arizona. We stayed in beautiful Sedona to do some hiking in the Red Rocks and made a day trip to the Grand Canyon. It was the perfect break from a stressful semester!
We flew from Minnesota into Phoenix and then rented a car to make the drive to Sedona. It took a little under 2 hours and we arrived just as the sun was setting. We checked into our room at Sedona Rouge. We loved our room in the updated Almeria wing. The room was spacious, clean and well-equipped with a patio door to the beautiful courtyard. We loved the location of the hotel, just outside of uptown Sedona. While Uptown is full of restaurants and shops it was jam-packed with people and traffic every time we drove through. We liked being at a hotel just outside of the main action. For dinner our first night, we headed to The Hudson. The décor was fun, the drinks tasty and we enjoyed the bruschetta board and tacos.
We started the day with a hike to Devil’s Bridge. I had seen photos of this natural sandstone bridge you can walk out onto and it quickly shot to the top of my vacation to do list! There are multiple ways to get to this hike. Either, you can park at Dry Creek Road trailhead and walk on a dirt road meant for jeeps (aka zero views) or park at Mescal trailhead and take the Chuckwagon trail to Devil’s Bridge trail. We used the Mescal trailhead and this is the route I highly recommend! Chuckwagon trail was practically empty. We saw maybe 5 other people until we met up with the Devil’s Bridge trail! It was an easy mile surrounded by beautiful views everywhere you looked.
Devil’s Bridge was a bit more challenging but nothing extreme. The very last part of the trail before you hit the bridge was a short stretch of steep climbing but there are basically steps in the rocks so it wasn’t difficult to do. At the bridge we gazed out at the red rocks and took turns with other hikers taking pictures and walking out onto the bridge. It’s a popular hike for a reason!
We stopped for lunch at 89Agave in uptown Sedona. It seemed a little overpriced but we enjoyed eating tacos and drinking margaritas out on the patio. Next stop was Cathedral Rock. This hike is more of a climb! Unfortunately, we didn’t make it to the end of the hike because the last part is a rock climb up a crevice in the rocks. I was confident I could make it up but was honestly not sure how to get down so we enjoyed the views from just below the top. I was disappointed we didn’t complete it but it was still fun to get to where we did. We stopped at Chapel of the Holy Cross on the way back to our place. It was so cool to see this church built into the rocks! For dinner we walked across the road to Pisa Lisa for some wood-fired pizza, beer and wine! DELICIOUS (: Then back to our hotel for some drinks at the bar!
We set off for the Grand Canyon early the next morning and upon arrival we were greeted with SNOW. Being true Minnesotans, we didn’t let that stop us from hiking down into the canyon on the South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point. Unfortunately, there was zero oohing or aahing happening. With the snow and fog, we could barely see anything but it was still an experience to check hiking into the Grand Canyon off our bucket list.
After our hike, we met up with a friend from home who’s living in Arizona now and also was visiting the canyon for the day! We headed to Mather Point where the view was slightly better but still incredibly fogged over. We walked along the Rim Trail in alternating wind and freezing rain to the geological museum. Our persistence paid off and we were FINALLY able to get real canyon views! We went back to our original hike on the South Kaibab Trail to check out what we missed that morning. It was beautiful. I’m so happy we got a chance to see the clear canyon. We piled back into the car and cranked the heat for our drive back to Sedona. When we arrived back in town we got ready then went to a late dinner at Bella Vita Ristorante. It’s tucked back behind the Sedona Pines Resort with a beautiful patio I wish it would have been warm enough to sit out on. I’m still drooling over the pasta and wine. It was the perfect dinner for our last night in Sedona.
Our last day we packed up and drove back down to Phoenix for our afternoon flight. We couldn’t leave Arizona without a visit to In-N-Out Burger of course so we stopped at the Tempe location for lunch. With some time to kill before our flight, we tasted some local beers at Four Peaks Brewing Company and then were off to the airport!
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon or Sedona? If not, is it on your bucket list? What hikes around the US should we make sure to add to our growing list?! Recommendations appreciated!