Road Trips | Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, Petrified Forest National Park

August 2016:

We drove around the Grand Circle, which spread over Arizona and Utah in the U.S.A, for four days. These two states and the Navajo Nation, which is included in these two states, have different time zones, so I had to be aware of this when I made the travel plans.


1st day: Dallas Fort Worth International Airport – Flagstaff Pulliam Airport – Williams
2nd day: Grand Canyon – Horseshoe Bend – Page
3rd day: Antelope Canyon – Monument Valley – Kayenta
4th day: Petrified Forest National Park – Flagstaff Pulliam Airport – Dallas Fort Worth International Airport


1st Day: Fri, August 12
We left Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and went to Flagstaff Pulliam Airport via Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and then went to Williams.

We went to Williams by rental car and checked in at Grand Canyon Railway Hotel Williams. This was a convenient hotel which was located by Grand Canyon Station.

Grand Canyon Railway

We had dinner at South Rims Wine & Beer Garage in Williams while watching the sunset, and then we strolled in the town.

13:20 Leave Dallas Fort Worth International Airport
16:13 Arrive at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport
17:30 Arrive at the hotel
18:30 Dinner


2nd day: Sat, August 13
We went sightseeing at the Grand Canyon and stopped by Horseshoe Bend, and then went to Page.

We arrived at Grand Canyon Visitor Center and bought breakfast at the cafe, and ate it at Mather Point while viewing the Grand Canyon.

Mather Point

After that, we went to South Kaibab Trailhead by taking the free shuttle bus. We decided to hike as far as we could get in about two and half hours on this trail.

Early point of the trail

We rested at Cedar Ridge.

Cedar Ridge
Cedar Ridge

Cedar Ridge

On the way, we passed mule tours a few times.

Mule tour

We arrived at Skeleton Point. When we got here, there were hardly any visitors. We were able to see the Colorado River in the distance, so it was an amazing view.

Skeleton Point

We decided to return here. It was easy to get to because it was a descent, but it would be an ascent to return. There was hardly any shade on the South Kaibab Trail, and the surrounding rocks were heated, so it was hard to ascend.

After that, we drove around some viewing points and went to Horseshoe Bend.

Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend

We checked in at Courtyard by Marriott Page at Lake Powell and had dinner at Big John’s Texas BBQ. I set my watch one hour ahead before going to bed because we would enter Navajo Nation the next day.

07:00 Grand Canyon Visitor Center
08:00 Mather Point
09:00 Start hiking on the South Kaibab Trail
10:00 Cedar Ridge
11:00 Skeleton Point
14:15 Finish hiking
19:00 Horseshoe Bend
19:30 Check in at the hotel
20:00 Dinner


3rd day: Sun, August 14
We participated in two tours of Antelope Canyon, and then went to Monument Valley and took part in that tour. We had reserved the tours beforehand.

We checked out from the hotel and went to the reception area of the upper tour of Antelope Canyon. Our tour guide was a Navajo woman, and we got in the jeep and drove on the unpaved road to the valley entrance.

Entrance of Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon was located at ground level, so it was easy to walk.

The sunlight lit the dust from the valley gap, so the rays were beautiful in some places.

Upper Antelope Canyon

After finishing the upper tour, we went to the reception area of the lower tour. It was very crowded, so we finally entered the valley about an hour after our reservation time. The lower canyon was located below, so we climbed up and down on a ladder. At this time, the sunlight was directly above us, so the valley was lit up amazingly.

This tour took longer than expected, so we hurried to the next destination without lunch.

You can drive and sightsee by yourself in Monument Valley, but it is private land, and car rental insurance doesn’t cover it, so we reserved the tour.

Monument Valley View
Three Sisters
Hogan (dwelling of the Navajo people)
Souvenir shop in the hogan

Totem Pole
Ear of the Wind
Sun’s Eye
John Ford Point
Big Hogan

After the tour, we went to Monument Valley View and waited for the sunset.

We checked in at Hampton Inn Kayenta and had dinner in the facility. We ordered Navajo foods like fried bread and stew. We were in the Navajo Nation, so drinking alcohol was prohibited, but there were non-alcoholic beers and mojitos.

08:30 Start the upper tour
10:00 Finish the tour
11:30 Start the lower tour
13:00 Finish the tour
16:00 Start the Monument Valley tour
19:30 Finish the tour
20:00 Sunset of Monument Valley
21:00 Check in at the inn
22:30 Dinner


4th day: Mon, August 15
We went sightseeing at Petrified Forest National Park and departed from Flagstaff Pulliam Airport.

We checked out from the inn and went to Petrified Forest National Park. The time zone would change, so I set my watch an hour earlier than the previous night. We entered the national park from the north gate and looked at Painted Desert.

Painted Desert

This national park was rich in mysterious landscapes, so we weren’t bored while driving. We stopped by Blue Mesa in the middle of the park. We had no time to walk the trail.

Blue Mesa

We stopped by Crystal Forest and walked the short trail. The petrified woods, like jewels, were scattered here and there.

Crystal Forest
Petrified woods

We stopped by Giant Logs, which was located at the south gate,  and walked the short trail. There was “Old Faithful,” which was the biggest petrified log in this park.

Old Faithful on the Giant Logs trail

We had to arrive at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, so we left the national park in the morning.

06:30 check out from the inn
09:45 Arrive at Petrified Forest National Park, Painted Desert
10:30 Blue Mesa
10:50 Crystal Forest
11:00 Giant Logs
11:15 leave Petrified Forest National Park
15:00 leave Flagstaff Pulliam Airport
21:08 Arrive at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport


The Grand Circle is vast and has a lot of places where you can sightsee, so the four-day stay was too short. Each place we visited had distinctive features, so we felt excited every day.

We were overwhelmed in the Grand Canyon because of the immensity. If we have another chance, I want to look at the sunrise and sunset and hike to the valley bottom.

Antelope Canyon was a mysterious place in which we felt the power of the sun. I think that it is essential to reserve a tour when the sun is directly above.

During the tour in Monument Valley, we listened to the song of the Navajo guide. However, we couldn’t stroll wherever we wanted. If we have another chance, I want to rent an SUV suitable for the desert and drive ourselves.

In Petrified Forest National Park, we were never bored because the scenery had a lot of faces, which included the red landscape of Painted Desert, the bluish vista of Blue Mesa and the desolate view of rolling petrified woods.