Visiting the Grand Canyon is one of those picture-worthy life events that everyone should experience. If you’re going to scratch the Grand Canyon off your bucket list, you might as well explore the jewels that are on the way too. Below you’ll find some fun stops.
What Are the Routes To The Grand Canyon And How Long Are They?
The drive from Flagstaff to the Grand Canyon is fairly short and typically takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes. This, however, depends on the traffic. To avoid doubling the drive time, try to schedule your trip outside of peak hours. Grand Canyon peak times are between 10 am and 3 pm, so as with most traveling, the earlier the better. Planning to arrive early also gives you more time to explore areas of the Grand Canyon in addition to discovering some of the things you can do along the way.
Two common travel routes include taking Highway 180 to 64 (the shorter route) or 89 to 64 (about 20 minutes longer). Either way, you will experience breath-taking views.
The highway 180 route begins with a clear view of Humphrey’s Peak, Arizona’s tallest peak. Then you’ll find yourself surrounded by a forest of ponderosa pines as you drive through Coconino’s National Forest, which also contains volcanic peaks and tundras.
The view from highway 89 consists of mostly flat lands with no flora. However, the bare landscape makes for a mountainous view.
So whether you decide to take the short way or long way there, you won’t regret the view. If you plan to arrive before 10 am, you’ll have the most pleasant experience: a smooth clutter-free drive and a majestic panorama.
What Are Some Things To Do Along The Drive From Flagstaff AZ To The Grand Canyon?
Even with the awesome geographical views on the way to the Grand Canyon, there are still a few attractions you would want to stop and enjoy.
Chapel of The Holy Dove
Twenty-five minutes from Flagstaff on highway 180 sits a small chapel built by Dr. Watson Lacy. He owned a ranch and decided to erect the chapel on it; It’s made from volcanic rock and petrified wood and was completed in 1962. The chapel has become a traditional stop for travelers to post prayers and random notes.
Cameron Trading Post
On highway 89 just a small distance from where 89 and 64 intersect is the city of Cameron, Arizona. Here you can experience a part of U.S history. At this location in the early 1900s , Native American tribes like the Navajo and Hopi traded dry goods for wool, blankets and livestock. Today, visitors can buy Native American crafts and souvenirs. Cameron Trading Post also has an ice cream fountain, an art gallery, a convenience store and a nice lawn with shade from cottonwood trees.
Kaibab National Forest
On the 180 route just 23 minutes from the Grand Canyon, you won’t want to pass by the Kaibab National Forest, home to graceful landscapes and wildlife. If you decide to hike one of its many trails (which is highly recommended) your eyes will be met with a symphony of beauty. You’ll find various forests of ponderosa pines and yellow aspens along with colorful wildflower patches. Enjoy the sound of bubbling springs and lakes. You might even find an excellent view of the Grand Canyon from a few of the trails. Also, you just may spot a black bear or white tail deer.
The forest has trails that vary in difficulty, some of which are suitable for the whole family.
Elden Pueblo Archeological Site
This site was home of the Sinagua Indians between 1070 and 1275. Located in Coconino National Park, the site provides historical findings of the Native American tribe and allows the public to explore them. View excavations and remnants of a trading post where they traded with other tribes from as far away as California and Mexico.
What Are the Best Restaurants On The Way?
El Tovar Lodge Dining Room
There’s always a place to stop and grab lunch on the road to the Grand Canyon, but El Tovar might bring you more interest for the dollars you spend. Located in the historic town of El Tovar, it has American cuisine made from local, organic, sustainable sources. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner that accommodates carnivores and vegetarians.
Some menu highlights include the vegetarian Mushroom Gruyere Burger made with Gruyere and Bleu cheeses, the Navajo Taco (vegetarian option), and the Tri-colored Cheese Tortellini.
This restaurant offers late lunch and dinner in a calm atmosphere with casual dining, a bar, and delicious Americana. Enjoy your typical American favorites like pizza, soup and sandwiches. If you’re brave, try an elk burger and beer.
Now you’re sure to avoid road trip boredom with these great places to visit before you reach the capstone of your trip.