Road Trips

Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon Itinerary – 5 Day AZ Road Trip

Mar 20, 2022

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Arizona has a lot to see, whether it’s national parks, canyons, urban sprawl, hot pink skies, or the famous saguaro cactus. Wow, don’t you wish there were a way to see it all? There is! One of the most bucket-list-worthy Arizona adventures you can embark on is a Phoenix Sedona Grand Canyon itinerary!

This sort of road trip features the best of AZ, with the perfect balance of adventure time and sightseeing. Sounds yummy, right?

In this blog, I’m pulling from my experience as a local to help you plan an epic Phoenix Sedona Grand Canyon trip that’ll have you see some of the best destinations Arizona has to offer and then some!

And as if these three epic spots weren’t enough, the in-between destinations are even better. So don’t worry, you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about very soon.

When you’re done with this blog, you should read these Southwest guides:

Sooooo, let’s begin! First, we’ll start with some details on how to plan your trip then we’ll jump into the itinerary.

Disclaimer: This blog contains affiliate links which means I earn a small percentage of every purchase at no cost to you

Planning Your Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon Trip

  • 🌵When to Go: February to May. Summer is a bit too hot!
  • Distance from Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon: About 230 miles
  • Trip Length: 5 Days 
  • ✈️Fly: For the best tickets, check KAYAK. Fly into Phoenix, AZ, to start your trip!
  • 🚗Rental Car: KAYAK can help you find the best rental car prices! You will not need a 4×4.
  • 🚐Rental Campervan: Rent a campervan using Outdoorsy!
  • 🏨Stay: We’ll discuss where to stay for each day in your itinerary!
  • 🎟Fees: Red Rock pass for Sedona ($5) and National Park entry ($35). Bypass both fees with an America The Beautiful Pass ($79.99).

The Phoenix to the Grand Canyon drive time is about 4 hours, but this trip is best enjoyed when split into 5 days. 5 days will give you enough time to see all the best AZ attractions without rushing.

Arizona Trip Map

Here is a map I made for you to reference! You can click here to see a live version of that map that you can reference during your road trip.

Arizona Road Trip Map

Your Phoenix Sedona Grand Canyon Itinerary

  • Day 1 – Sedona
  • Day 2 – Flagstaff
  • Day 3 – Grand Canyon National Park
  • Day 4 – Back to Phoenix area
  • Day 5 – Superstition Mountains

Now that you understand how to best road trip Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon National Park, we’ll discuss the itinerary! The best scenic drive from Phoenix to Grand Canyon National Park will be along the I17, including stops in Sedona and Flagstaff.

That’s why your itinerary is organized the way it is! Let’s dive in!

Each day is split into morning, afternoon, and evening itineraries.

Day 1 Phoenix to Sedona, AZ

Morning to Afternoon

After arriving in Arizona through the Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport, grab your rental car and make your way north to Sedona. You’ll get your first mountain views while passing through Black Canyon during your drive.

BUT, the real magic begins when you enter Sedona.

Once there, you’ll be greeted with your first views of Sedona red rock formations—what a treat! Ultimately passing through Sedona and taking the Red Rock Scenic Byway will be the best scenic drive from Phoenix to Grand Canyon National Park.

So you won’t want to skip this!

Once you’ve gotten to Sedona, opt for a hike! There are a plethora of Sedona hiking trails you can explore like:

  • Devil’s Bridge Trail – 4.2 mile round trip hike from Dry Creek Road. Brings you to a natural bridge you can walk on. 
  • Cathedral Rock Vortex – An iconic hike to one of the best red rock views! Hike is 1.4 miles round trip.
  • Soldier Pass – Great trail for adventurous hikers. Features secret arches, 7 Sacred Pools, and more! 4 miles round trip.

Afternoon to Evening

Alas, your Phoenix, Sedona and Grand Canyon itinerary continues! Red Rock Crossing is a famous Sedona sunset hike and is worth the visit.

You’ll be in awe of the view you get of Cathedral Rock from afar! The most beautiful orange and red light dances on the rocks: a sight you will never forget.

The easiest way to get here will be through the Crescent Moon Day Use Site ($11). If you come here earlier, you can spend the day swimming before sunset hits.

After spending a day hiking in Sedona, it’s time to move on to Flagstaff! You’ll spend one night in Flagstaff before heading to the Grand Canyon.

Day 2 Halfway Point in Your Phoenix Sedona Grand Canyon Itinerary

View of Humphreys Peak during a Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon trip

Morning

Before you depart, you can do a morning hike in Sedona to kick off the day! Doe Mountain Trail for sunrise is an easy option.

Alternatively, you can hike to Birthing Cave, which is also excellent for sunrise. If that doesn’t suit you, then head straight to Flagstaff.

I love Flagstaff for many reasons. It’s a cute ski town, has great places to eat, and is COVERED with wildflowers every spring. But, OH! I almost forgot: it’s a famous hiking city too.

But before we get into all of that, start your day in Flagstaff at a Flagstaff staple: Macy’s European Coffeehouse. So grab a latte or hot apple cider, a muffin, or scone, and enjoy!

Macy’s is located in the heart of Flagstaff, allowing you to explore the downtown area when you’re done.

Afternoon

There are many things to do in Flagstaff, but I recommend seeing an Arizona hidden gem: Grand Falls!

Grand Falls has to be one of the most underrated spots in Northern Arizona! Picture a giant waterfall cascading into the Colorado River, and you’ll be envisioning something half as good as Grand Falls.

This waterfall only flows when enough snowmelt from the mountains, so you need to time your Arizona road trip just right! This is another reason why spring is an excellent time to go.

Your drive to Grand Falls will take about an hour on a dirt road. Once there, you can explore the main viewpoint and take a ton of pictures!

Evening

If you have time, head to the Humphreys Peak area (Snowbowl), which is about a 30-minute drive from the center of Flagstaff. Once there, you’ll get to admire the San Francisco peaks and Arizona’s tallest mountain, Humphrey, in all of its glory!

Afterwards, head to dinner and call it a night.

At some point during the day you might want to stop at a grocery store to get some food and snacks for your day at the Grand Canyon!

Day 3 Grand Canyon National Park South Rim

Morning

If you wake up early enough and are comfortable making the drive up, get out of Flagstaff early and head to Mather Point! Mather Point is one of the best spots for sunrise in the Grand Canyon and is sure to be a showstopper!

Yavapai Point is another excellent choice too. 

Afternoon

The best views of the Grand Canyon come from hiking below the rim! An easy option is hiking South Kaibab Trail to Ooh Aah Point.

This is a 1.8 miles round trip journey. Beware that hiking down is the easy point, but hiking back up will be the real test!

You really can’t beat the views from South Kaibab, so if you were debating this trail or Bright Angel, go with South Kaibab!

Evening

Hopi Point will undoubtedly be busy when you get there to watch the sunset, but the views are spectacular! Expect the Canyon to glow in the most gorgeous purples, and reds that look like someone is hand-painting the view right before your eyes.

Another choice is to go to Mohave or Yavapai Point if you didn’t see one of them earlier in the day.

After your sunset mission, get some sleep! Tomorrow will be a long drive day.

Day 4 Make Your Way Back to Phoenix

Morning

A four-hour drive will lead you back to Phoenix, Arizona. Don’t worry, though, we’ll break your drive up a bit before you go!

BUT, if you want to make your way to Utah for an Arizona Utah road trip, you can do that too ;).

Before you officially leave, stop at one of the Grand Canyon viewpoints for one last look at the Canyon’s beauty! If you feel like you’ve seen enough, you can skip this and start your drive back to Phoenix. 

Afternoon

At about the 2 hours and 45-minute mark, you will have passed Flagstaff and Sedona. To see something new, head to Jerome!

Jerome is an old mining town located in the mountains. It’s known for its “haunted” destinations, among other things.

Stop here to walk about the charming main street area and grab some food! A popular destination is The Haunted Hamburger.

In about 2 more hours, you’ll arrive in Scottsdale, AZ! This is where you’ll spend the night and spend your last day in Arizona.

Once you’ve arrived, check in at your hotel! Before check-in, leave your luggage with the front desk and head over to Old Town if you have some time.

Evening

Old Town Scottsdale is an easy place to explore after all the driving you just did. You can head to dinner at one of their restaurants like Diego Pops or Canal Club, do some shopping, or walk around to some of the most Instagrammable places in Scottsdale.

Of course, if you’re in the mood for a drink, Old Town Scottsdale has an excellent nightlife!

Day 5 Last Day of Your Phoenix to Grand Canyon Road Trip

Morning to Afternoon

There are tons of fantastic day trips from Scottsdale, but for your last day in AZ, I suggest you head to the Superstition Mountains. The Supers are a mountain range unique to Arizona and often skipped over when folks visit!

This day trip from Scottsdale is about a 45 minute drive.

You can choose to hike around Flat Iron in Lost Dutchman State Park or take a boat ride in Canyon Lake. However, my favorite thing to do in the Superstitions, and what I recommend for your Arizona road trip, is taking a ride up towards Tortilla Flats and the Apache Trail.

The drive will blow you away and be a great way to see it!

Some popular hiking trails in these mountains include Peralta Trail and the Wave Cave.

Evening

Once you’re done in the Supers, you can head back to Old Town Scottsdale or your hotel. If you’re in the mood to do something else, drive to the Desert Botanical Gardens or catch the sunset at the McDowell Sonoran Preserve!

But, of course, you can also relax at your hotel and prepare to depart tomorrow.

Day 6 Depart Arizona

Depending on how much time you have today, you can totally do something else in the Scottsdale area like a sunrise hot air balloon ride (adventurous, ha!), or relax at your hotel before leaving.

But today is when you’ll be making your trip back home!

While there is so much more to see in Arizona, hopefully this road trip gave you a good taste of what the state has to offer! I know you’ll enjoy your Phoenix to Sedona to Grand Canyon trip!

If you are spending more time in the Southwest, check out my other Southwest guides! Here are some posts I recommend reading next:

Happy exploring :)!

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I'm a burrito loving explorer who got fired from corporate America and turned that into my dream career as a photographer and blogger. Now I'm here to help you explore life's magic. Thanks for stopping by!