Most scenic route from Sedona to Grand Canyon

The picturesque Highway 89A, which winds through Oak Creek Canyon and passes through some of Sedona’s top hiking trails and campgrounds, begins the journey from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. Everyone has Sedona and the Grand Canyon on their must-see when traveling to the state. The Grand Canyon is a natural beauty that showcases millions of years of earth’s history and is a popular travel destination for both domestic and foreign tourists. 

Sedona Loop Hike
Sedona Loop Hike

Many people come to the United States—not just Arizona—to see it. Additionally, Sedona’s stunning red rock formations and its vibrant art scene are almost equally well-known. Being only three hours drive from Sedona, the South Rim of the Grand Canyon makes for a manageable day trip or road trip. It is about 100 miles from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, needing about 2 and half hours of driving. However, you can enjoy the best scenery along this path the entire day.

Highlights

  • Schnebly Hill Road
  • Oak Creek Canyon
  • Grand Canyon Loop
  • Snow Bowl Road

Sedona, AZ

Starting in Sedona. Sedona is famous as one of the gorgeous small towns in the United States, with hundreds of red rock formations and several stores loaded with works of art surrounding it. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose from various routes that wind through stunning red rock formations, ranging from strolls around towering rock formations of diverse kinds to challenging ascents to their summits. 

Numerous painters were inspired by these rocks’ distinctive shapes and hues, which is evident in the town’s numerous art galleries. Sedona’s streets consist of specialty and souvenir businesses with a Southwest theme. There are many places to eat in the area with stunning views, resorts, hotels, and motels that can accommodate travelers of various financial abilities.

Schnebly Hill Road

Schnebly Hill Road ascends Bear Wallow Canyon for seven miles on a gravel road before reaching the Schnebly Hill Vista, where you may take in the expansive views of the Sedona Valley. Utilize the numerous pullouts to take in the picture. See Munds Mountain Wilderness along the way for the chance to go in a loop around Forest Roads 179F, 179, 793, and 647 to discover more than 20,000 acres of riparian habitats, desert, woodlands, and forest. Numerous overlooks provide stunning views of Munds Mountain, Bear Wallow Canyon, and the surrounding red rock formations. The trail dips to a saddle at the beginning of Jacks Canyon that separates Schnebly Hill and Munds Mountain after remaining level for the next quarter mile. A signposted trailhead for Hot Loop is on the left just before the saddle. To the left, the Jacks Canyon Trail descends. Two more trailheads got marked after 150 yards of further descent.

Oak Creek Canyon

Follow US Highway 89A as it leads to Oak Creek Canyon. The 12-mile-long, 2,000-foot-deep Oak Creek Canyon follows a fault line for more than 12 miles. This lovely trip, which travels through Flagstaff’s lush woods and explores the magnificent red-rock deserts, rare rock formations, and rainbow-colored sandstone cliffs on the route to Sedona, thoroughly explores this dip in elevation.

You enter the Coconino National Forest while traveling south on US-89A. Utilize the numerous picnic spots, such as the Lindbergh Spring Roadside Park, where you may eat by one of the immense ponderosa pine woods in the world. Remember that a Red Rock Pass or an America the Beautiful Pass must be visible on all parked cars along the route or at trailheads during the drive.

You will be rewarded with breathtaking views of the Mogollon Rim, the stunning reds and whites that color the canyon, and the gigantic firs that populate the nearby forests when you arrive at the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook in a few miles. A brief circular walk goes to the spot where the canyon abruptly descends 2,000 feet for a better vista. From here, it is simple to study geology and observe how the temperature changes as you travel south and start to see the arid, cactus-filled desserts.

Grand Canyon Loop

Continue to the Grand Canyon Loop from Oak Creek Canyon. The snow-capped San Francisco Peaks and Kaibab National Forest are present in this breathtaking journey that spans two billion years of planet history. You won’t soon forget the Grand Canyon’s striking contrasts of light and shadow on its cliffs, buttes, and spires. Traveling north on US-180, you may view the historic volcanoes of the San Francisco Peaks as you drive through ponderosa pine forests and gorgeous open meadows. 

A single dormant volcano, the San Francisco Peaks, formerly resembled Mount Fuji before exploding sideways and being leveled by glaciers to create the formation we see today. You go seven miles from Flagstaff to the town of Fort Valley. For breathtaking vistas of the San Francisco Peaks, take Snow Bowl Road.

To the north, the trail passes through the lava fields of Slate Mountain and Red Mountain. Take Forest Road 191 for a spin. After a 2.4-mile roundtrip trek, you might reach the summit of Slate Mountain, where you’ll get a reward for your hard work with stunning views of the San Francisco Peaks, Red Mountain, Kendrick Mountain, the Grand Canyon, and Painted desert.

Snow Bowl Road

Arizona’s tallest mountain at 12,633 feet, and the vistas are truly magnificent. Move on to Snow Bowl Road. From US-180, Snow Bowl Road (Forest Road 516) leads to a breathtaking view of the San Francisco Peaks. The Snowbowl ski area provides recreation all year round. Take the chairlift up to 11,500-foot Agassiz Peak. You can reach Humphreys Peak after a 9-mile round trip climb. This ecosystem in the alpine region is unique and vulnerable. On Humphreys Peak, you must stick to the approved routes because some places are off-limits to pedestrians.

Every season of the year offers breathtaking vistas along the journey. The snow covers the trees throughout the winter, and there are ski slopes with deep powder. Wildflower meadows are vibrant in spring and summer, and as fall approaches, Aspen trees’ green leaves start to turn golden. If you have the time, the Snowbowl offers its magnificent Skyride in the summer, from which you can view the Grand Canyon roughly 70 miles away on a clear day. Along with breathtaking views, the area is home to various animals, such as wild turkeys, mule deer, and Arizona elk.

And Finally, Grand Canyon Village, AZ

Sites and attractions enhance the majesty of the Grand Canyon, and most people arrive at Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park to view the canyon. You can spend the night in one of the well-known lodgings in Grand Canyon Village. While there are several places to stay overnight, the most renowned (and elegant) is El Tovar, which sits immediately on the rim of the canyon and offers a view. 

The Fred Harvey Company owned the lodge when it first opened in 1905 as a hotel and restaurant. Travelers’ opinions of the Grand Canyon (and the greater Southwest) have changed from being seen as “the Wild West” to an elite adventure destination because of the company’s reputation for high standards. El Tovar is now the jewel in the crown of national park accommodations. Stay in one of the 78 guest rooms, explore the lobby to discover more about the building’s history, and eat in the El Tovar Dining Room for dinner with a view.

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