How we did a Grand Canyon trip in only 24 hours

Cody and I recently traveled to the Phoenix area for a conference.  We figured if we were traveling all that way, we may as well do a Grand Canyon trip, a place we had both wanted to see for a very long time.  The problem was that we landed at 9 AM Wednesday and needed to be back in Phoenix by Thursday night so we could be up for Sunrise Yoga on Friday!

If you know us, I’m sure you’re already assuming that my spreadsheet skills (#OsegardsTakeDisney2017) are what got us through a successful Grand Canyon trip in 24 hours, but the credit all goes to Cody! He planned the whole trip while I was too stressed finishing up teaching. He did a great job too!

Grand Canyon trip part 1 – Wednesday 

We landed bright and early (after an even EARLIER flight) and picked up a rental car. We hopped on the road and drove the four hours from the airport to the Grand Canyon National Park, with a quick pit stop for some travel snacks and lunch!

Grand Canyon Trip - Mather Point ViewOur first stop was the Grand Canyon Visitors center.  We went to the building first, and honestly we were underwhelmed.  It was crowded and touristy, and there was not enough water to go around, but luckily, Cody had a plan.  We made the quick walk over to Mather Point – which is sort of “the view” of the Grand Canyon. It was an amazing view, but it was so full of tourists and people who wanted to SEE the Grand Canyon and not EXPERIENCE the Grand Canyon.  Mather Point gave us some amazing views, but it was only worth a quick stop!

Next we explored the Grand Canyon village a little bit in search for some wifi to get a little bit of work done. We stopped for an hour to stretch and work at El Tovar hotel. The trek there took us through a lot of construction and plenty of tourist activities in a quaint looking village. While it might be a fun stop for families, it was not our cup of tea, so we traveled on.

Grand Canyon Trip Part 2 – Journey around the Canyon

Grand Canyon Trip - Pulling off to photograph another view!The next stop on our journey was a two and a half hour trek up the east side of the Grand Canyon/outside part of Navajo Nation. This was one of my favorite parts of the trip, because the views were spectacular.  It seemed like every 10 miles or so was another place to pull off the road and check out the views. It was totally worth slowing down our trip to stop for a view times.

Grand Canyon Trip - View out the hotel window...

Cody had hunted for a place for us to stay Wednesday night.  Being such an amazing place, the Grand Canyon and surrounding areas have high demand for lodging, and not as many options as you would think.  We were going to be out in the heat all day Wednesday and Thursday, so we really weren’t picky about high-class lodging. Most places were running $200+/night in the area, but Cody was able to snag us a great little place in Marble Canyon for $96.  Admittedly, it was not the fanciest place we’ve ever stayed, but the views were unbeatable.

Grand Canyon Trip Part 3 -Thursday

We asked the locals where the best use of our time on Thursday would be.  They suggested traveling towards Cathedral Wash Trailway, so off we headed!  Grand Canyon Trip - Glen Canyon Balanced RockWith our body clocks still on central time, we got on the road by 7 am before it got too hot!  We noticed on our map that Balanced Rock was right by the hike, so we stopped there first to grab some pictures.

Grand Canyon Trip - Glen Canyon Cathedral Wash Hike

Being up so early meant we had our adventures to ourselves!  We took the Cathedral Wash lower trail, which meant hiking down into the canyon!  It was AMAZING. The hike is a Moderate 3 rating hike (out of 5). Most of it was pretty awesome, except I chickened out towards the end by a big 30 ft drop. Cody for sure would have gone the rest of the way, but I’m a chicken!  We made it really close though, and we didn’t see a single person for our entire hike. It was incredible.

From there, we drove to another touristy area north of Page. The hope was to swim at the Coves on Lake Powell, but the area was closed.  So, we stopped by the beach area down the road for a hot second to cool off instead.  The water was crystal clear and again, the views were stunning!Grand Canyon Trip - Lake Powell

Grand Canyon Trip Part 4 – The Journey Back

It was time to head back to the Phoenix area, so we hit the road yet.  The road out of Page passes right by Horseshoe Bend. It was an incredible touristy location, but a quick ¾ mile hike takes you to the most stunning view of the Canyon where the river makes practically a 360 degree turn.  It was a windy area and there are no safety barriers in place, so you for sure have to make smart choices, but as you can see from the pictures – it was worth it!Grand Canyon Trip - Horseshoe Bend

After putting over 900 miles on our rental car, we wrapped up our roadtrip sprint  in under 24 hours!  The Grand Canyon was absolutely stunning and we will for sure be back again someday!