Discover the ultimate American Roadtrip

Canyons of <strong>Arizona & Nevada</strong>

Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Phoenix - Nevada

From narrow canyons to vast gorges that are a riot of seemingly impossible geological colour, a road trip from Arizona to Nevada is a thing of beauty. On a route of unspoiled wonder, where the scale of what time has wrought dazzles the senses, every stop is sure to leave you in awe of the drama of nature’s finest theatres.

Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 1: Camelback Mountain 1/13

Camelback Mountain

You don’t have to venture far on your road trip to encounter the first must-see landmark. Camelback Mountain – named for its ‘hump’ and ‘head’ – lies in the Phoenix Metropolitan area, just between the East Village and Paradise Valley. Head here to rock climb or hike its challenging trails. Make it all the way onto its 2,700ft ‘hump’ and you’ll be rewarded with a 360-degree panorama of Phoenix and beyond. Nearby you’ll find the beautiful Sonoran Desert, while Scottsdale is home to acclaimed resorts, plus great shopping, dining and nightlife.

Phoenix, Arizona 85018

https://www.phoenix.gov/parks/trails/locations/camelback-mountain

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 2: Tuscon 2/13

Tuscon

The first World City of Gastronomy – a title bestowed by UNESCO – Tucson is also home to a thriving arts scene and a clutch of galleries and museums. Just outside the city, in the foothills of the Santa Catalina mountains, you’ll find Sabino Canyon. Formed over 10 million years ago, there are stone bridges criss-crossing the creek, secluded swimming holes and walking trails that range from the easy to the extremely challenging. You can also take a guided tram tour, hopping off when you fancy.

5700 North Sabino Canyon Road, Tucson, Arizona 85750

https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/coronado/recreation/recarea/?recid=80532

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 3: Goldfield Ghost Town 3/13

Goldfield Ghost Town

Sitting near the wonderfully named Superstition Mountains, the town was the centre of a gold rush back in 1892 – only to just as quickly close down as the gold dried up. Close to the Apache Trail, the Ghost Town of today is largely a reproduction of how the town would have looked at the end of the 19th century, from the church to the saloon, the apothecary to the bordello. Take a carriage ride, see the old mine seams and witness gunslingers in action.

Goldfield Ghost Town, Apache Junction, Arizona

http://goldfieldghosttown.com/

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 4: Red Rock State Park 4/13

Red Rock State Park

Sedona is famed for its towering red rock formations, with the official Red Rock State Park home to one of Arizona’s iconic landmarks – the spectacular Cathedral Rock. Head to the park’s visitor centre where you can learn about the history of the area and sign up for guided walks and hikes that explore other highlights of the 280-acre preserve. Nearby you’ll find the quirky Chapel of the Holy Cross – a small, contemporary church built into the side of the mountain that boasts breathtaking views.

4050 Red Rock Loop Rd, Sedona, Arizona, 86336

https://azstateparks.com/red-rock/

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 5: Flagstaff 5/13

Flagstaff

Drive through the Coconino National Forest to reach Flagstaff – a friendly and pretty town scented by the nearby pine forest and just a short hop, skip and jump from fantastic skiing areas. There’s old western history to be uncovered here, a university town vibe, brilliant coffee and plenty of places to enjoy great food. For something a little different, head just out of town to the Lowell Observatory, where Pluto was first sighted back in 1930.

Flagstaff, Arizona

https://www.flagstaff.com/

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 6: Grand Canyon 6/13

Grand Canyon

The world’s most famous canyon, this is where the Colorado River cuts through the American west to create one of the wonders of the planet. A total of 277 miles long and up to a mile deep, it’s a geological masterpiece, with great vantage points along both the North and South rims. The rocks shift in shades of red and rust, and you can learn plenty from the knowledgeable rangers, as well as in the museums and visitors’ centre. Best of all though is the Skywalk, a glass platform at Eagle Point that hovers 4,000 feet above the canyon.

Grand Canyon, Arizona & Nevada

https://www.nps.gov/grca/index.htm

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 7: Horseshoe Bend 7/13

Horseshoe Bend

With a name inspired by its unusual and distinctive shape, this natural phenomenon is the point where the Colorado River bends dramatically within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. To get to Horseshoe Bend itself it’s a one-and-a-half-mile round trip on foot from U.S. Route 89 – then take your time soaking up the magnificent views from the steep cliffs above and snapping Instagram-worthy images.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, 4304 Bullfrog, Lake Powell, Utah 84533

https://horseshoebend.com

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 8: Antelope Canyon 8/13

Antelope Canyon

Perhaps the most photogenic canyon in the whole of the US, Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, some five miles long, known for its vividly coloured twists of rock. This otherworldly landscape looks like it has melted, the result of water shaping the rocks over millennia, and is split into two parts – The Corkscrew and The Crack. You’ll have to arrange a licensed guide to take you to either the Upper or Lower Canyon as they’re part of a Navajo Tribal Park, but there’s plenty of time to explore once you’re there.

Antelope Canyon, Arizona

https://antelopecanyon.az

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 9: Virgin Valley Heritage Museum 9/13

Virgin Valley Heritage Museum

A true oasis in the desert, Mesquite straddles the Nevada–Arizona border and boasts no fewer than six golf courses if you feel like getting into the swing of things. Experience a taste of the area’s rich pioneer history at the Virgin Valley Heritage Museum where you can uncover stories of gold mining, ranch life and more. Head out to Little Finland to see intricate formations of deep red Aztec sandstone, then recharge your batteries with a soothing mineral bath at one of the town’s sumptuous spas.

35 W Mesquite Blvd, Mesquite, Nevada 89027

https://www.mesquitenv.gov/departments/museum

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 10: Valley of Fire 10/13

Valley of Fire

Crossing into Nevada, have your camera ready for the Valley of Fire state park. The rock formations beggar belief, with red sandstone whipped into peaks, contrasting with strata of paler rock. Look out for Native American petroglyphs, delicate rock arches that seem set to tumble (don’t worry – they’ve stood for thousands of years) and petrified trees. It’s a dream to drive across, through a landscape that has passed for distant planets in many a Hollywood film. Stargazers will be in their element – the heavens are a tapestry of celestial objects when the sun goes down.

Valley of Fire State Park, Nevada

http://parks.nv.gov/parks/valley-of-fire

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 11: Red Rock Canyon 11/13

Red Rock Canyon

Stand face to face with the resplendent formations of Red Rock Canyon and it can be hard to believe you’re less than 20 miles from the neon delights of Las Vegas and its famed Strip. The sandstone walls here tower over 3000 feet and there’s a one-way loop you can drive through to see it all, or park up to follow a trail or go rock-climbing. It’s one of nature’s most breathtaking playgrounds, sprinkled with Mojave magic. The official website details the trails – ranging from simple to strenuous.

Red Rock Canyon, Las Vegas, Nevada

https://www.redrockcanyonlv.org/

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 12: Lake Mead 12/13

Lake Mead

Just 25 miles outside Las Vegas, Lake Mead National Recreational Area offers more than 550 miles of shoreline and year-round outdoor adventure. Whether it’s swimming, water skiing, boating or fishing, it’s all possible in this spectacular setting. Spend a night camping under the stars and paddle through the Black Canyon in a kayak. There are plenty of river tours of the Colorado River, most of them starting off at the Hoover Dam.

10 Lakeshore Rd, Boulder City, Nevada 89005

https://www.nps.gov/lake/index.htm

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Canyons of Arizona & Nevada

Stop 13: Hoover Dam 13/13

Hoover Dam

An engineering marvel, the Hoover Dam tamed the mighty Colorado River to provide much-needed water supplies and hydroelectric power for the parched south-west, creating Lake Mead in the process. Rising 726 feet above the canyon floor, five million barrels of cement, 45 million pounds of reinforced steel and more than 20,000 workers were involved in the dam’s creation. Today, the iconic art-deco influenced structure continues to provide a spectacular contrast to the stark landscape, with tours starting from the visitor centre.

Nevada 89005

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