Driving to Arizona
We spent our fifth day driving from San Diego to Page, Arizona taking the I-8 route up through Sedona. We definitely want to come back and visit Sedona sometime soon. It’s gorgeous! It’s like a more green version of Zion National Park, with more civilization. Brighton also compared it to a desert Park City.
We stopped there for lunch-dinner at the Hideaway House. They label themselves as “curious casual Italian.” I created my own pizza and Brighton got the burger (go figure! haha). They were both good, but our server seemed distracted and didn’t check in with us enough.
We finally arrived at our hotel for the night in Page, the Hampton Inn & Suites. It’s a brand new hotel— only 4 months old (right now). The beds were just so unbelievably comfortable, and exactly what we needed after a long day of driving.
Hampton Inn & Suites
294 Sandhill Road, Page, AZ 86040
We chose to stay in Page because it was a place we haven’t been before, so we could avoid the I-15 traffic of Las Vegas, but most of all so we could see Horseshoe Bend.
Page, AZ 86040
Horseshoe Bend is a bend in the Colorado River that’s part of the Navajo Sandstone, which reaches from Arizona to Wyoming. At the edge of Horseshoe Bend, you look down 1,000 feet down the sandstone to the river. At 1.5 miles round trip, the trip is more of a short walk than a hike but I recommend bringing a wide-angle lens (we were unprepared this trip) and shoes with good grip. I had neither, but hey! I am here 🙂
Even at sunrise, it was super busy with tourists taking pictures. I can only imagine what sunset there looks like, and how many people gather to get their perfect photo.
For more information, go to this NPS hiking guide.
Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park Visitor Center
Indian Rte 42, Oljato-Monument Valley, AZ 84536
About 2 hours away from Horseshoe Bend is Monument Valley. This view has been famed in movies for being the classic “American West” backdrop. It’s located on the Navajo Nation Reservation, and they operate a park with a visitor center that you can enter and wander. There is a 17 mile dirt road that takes you through their scenic byway. The cost to enter is $20, and they do not take the Annual National Parks pass because it’s not part of the NPS.
It’s definitely worth a visit if you’ll be in the area. The huge “monuments” can also be seen from outside of the park, but their scenic drive gives you an up-close view of the scene.
After our drive through Monument Valley, we drove for about 7 hours back to Salt Lake. By the time we arrived home, it was snowing. What a dramatic change- from sunny beaches, to windy desert, to snowy mountains!