What’s hands-down the best way to travel from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon? Road trip!
Technically, you can get from Phoenix to the Grand Canyon National Park in about a 4 hour drive—if you want to high-tail it over there with zero stops and without catching any traffic on the highway.
But if you decide to take your time you can get there in about 4 and a half to 5 hours.
There are lots of amazing things to see and do in the wide-open space of the Wild West between these 2 hot spots, so I highly recommend taking your time to explore by making a multi-day road trip out of it.
So that’s why I’ve put together this 4-day itinerary for you so that planning your road trip route is a lot easier and you can hit all the coolest spots along the way.
Day One: Phoenix to Sedona
Phoenix is a vibrant place. As the 5th-largest city in the United States, you won’t have any problems finding great restaurants, shopping, and hiking.
However long you decide to stay is up to you, but this is your starting point. When you’re ready to take off, start by grabbing a yummy Southwestern breakfast burrito and a large coffee, and hit the road!
Hop onto State Route 179 and head north towards the magical red rocks of Sedona. It takes just over an hour’s drive to get there. Then get your hiking gear ready and hit the trails!
Sedona is best known for being a center of enlightenment—there are over 400 hiking trails that take you through the majestic red rock formations and Sedona’s famous vortexes.
The vortexes radiate their own magnetic energy that is said to support healing and self-discovery. They’re truly something special that you need to experience for yourself!
I highly recommend hiking to Cathedral Rock, the most accessible of Sedona’s vortexes. Getting to the top requires a bit of effort but it’s so worth it!
While you’re at it, don’t miss my post all about the Best Hikes in Sedona.
Also, be sure to catch the sunset at Red Rock Crossing, which I guarantee will be one of the most spectacular you’ll ever see.
For more of my Sedona guides, check out:
Day Two: Sedona to Flagstaff
Take in a final breath of Sedona energy and start making your way to the charming ski town of Flagstaff.
If you thought that Arizona was all blistering heat and cactus, you’re wrong! Situated at an elevation of 7,000 feet, Flagstaff is dotted with pine trees, wildflowers, log cabins, and, in the winter, snow!
Just 80 miles from Sedona, downtown Flagstaff is so charming and adorable!
It’s full of historic buildings and is intersected by the famous Route 66. Check out the various local breweries and just have fun exploring. You can also find a lot of great museums on Route 66 if that’s more your thing.
If you’re in the mood for more hiking, the Inner Basin Trail is one of the most popular hiking areas in the state. The aspens are a beautiful sight to behold and are especially stunning in the fall.
For a real trip back in time, you need to take the self-guided 1-mile Lava Flow Trail.
As you can see, Flagstaff is full of surprises, so you definitely don’t want to miss it!
Day Three: Flagstaff to Williams to the Grand Canyon
In less than an hour, you can get from Flagstaff to Williams, Arizona. Coined as the “gateway to the Grand Canyon,” you may want to take an hour or two to check out some lovely pieces of Americana.
The town is full of highway memorabilia and shops dating back to the 1900s.
Once you arrive at the Grand Canyon, it won’t take long to understand why it makes the list as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
Stretching 227 miles long, 18 miles wide, and 1 mile deep, it’s simply spectacular!
To really get the most out of your visit, it’s worthwhile stopping by the Grand Canyon Visitor Center located on the South Rim. There’s a lot to see and do at the National Park, so this will help you get your day organized; whether you want to explore by booking one of the Grand Canyon tours or on your own.
Once you’re at the Visitor Center, hop on the (free) Red Route bus loop that takes you around to some of the Grand Canyon’s most scenic viewpoints. Hopi and Pima are just a couple of my absolute favorites.
You’ll also want to make a stop at the Grand Canyon Village at the South Rim to get a true feel of the park’s history.
Among the village’s historic relics is the El Tovar Hotel that dates back to 1905. It’s the oldest hotel of the Canyon’s Rim hotels that’s still in operation, so it’s a pretty cool place to stay if you’re looking for Grand Canyon hotels!
Day Four: Back to Phoenix With a Stop in Prescott
After crossing the Grand Canyon off your bucket list, it’s time to start making your way back to Phoenix.
But first, make time for a fun little stop in the historical western town of Prescott. To give you an idea of what to expect, True West Magazine named Prescott Top True Western Town.
Whiskey Row is a real treat—it’s lined with old-fashioned saloons, galleries, shops, and restaurants.
When you get back to Phoenix, enjoy more of that Southwest city charm if you have the time. Simply relax and unwind while you reminisce on your Grand Canyon State adventure.
That completes my Phoenix to Grand Canyon road trip guide. I have no doubt you’re going to get some really awesome posts for all of your social media accounts over the course of those four days. It’ll be the road trip of all road trips!
If you’re a new Tessie owner like me, be sure you map out your stops ahead of time and know how to charge a Tesla (it’s easy!).
Hitting up other parts of Arizona? Be sure to peep my Arizona content below or check out more ideas for things to do in Lake Havasu.
If you end up at these spots, be sure to tag me in your Stories (@wtfab)!
Planning a trip to Arizona? Be sure to explore my other Arizona content here.
The 16 Best Day Trips from Phoenix
What to do in Tempe, AZ: Travel Guide
Jerome Ghost Town: 9 Things to do in Jerome
Sedona Itinerary: An In-Depth Sedona Travel Guide
Best Hikes in Sedona
Top Things to See in Sedona
Top 10 Fun Things to do in Scottsdale
The Best Hiking in Phoenix
The best month to visit Phoenix is from November to April when the weather will be at its best.
Yes, Phoenix is definitely worth visiting. There are so many beautiful places to see and explore. You won’t regret it.
It is recommended to spend at least 3 to 5 days in Phoenix to really explore what the city has to offer.
Elise Armitage is an entrepreneur and founder of What The Fab, a travel + lifestyle blog based in California. At the beginning of 2019, Elise left her corporate job at Google to chase her dreams: being an entrepreneur and helping women find fabulous in the everyday. Since then, she’s launched her SEO course Six-Figure SEO, where she teaches bloggers how to create a passive revenue stream from their website using SEO. Featured in publications like Forbes, Elle, HerMoney, and Real Simple, Elise is a firm believer that you can be of both substance and style.