Before I get to the good stuff and fill you in on the 5 exciting stops for the ultimate Northern Arizona roadtrip, let me go back and tell you how the story started. A couple months ago we were contacted by Toyota about joining them on a road trip to Northern Arizona. Now I have been living in Arizona for quite a while but there are some big things that I just haven't been to see yet, so of course I said YES!!!
For the trip I was given a 2018 Silver Toyota Highlander SE. What a beauty! This vehicle will seat 7 comfortably and came with all of my normal "must have" features and a few that I will be getting in my next personal vehicle. A few of my new favorite features were:
- Blind Spot Monitor (BSM)
- Rear Cross-Traffic Alert (RCTA)
- Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist (LDA w/SA)
Now let me say that this vehicle was super comfy to drive and the long road trip to over this adventure weekend proved that to me. No back pain at all! That's a huge win for me! 🙂
Heading down the Arizona Highways to SEDONA
The first city on our roadtrip was Sedona, Arizona. If you have never been, it is incredible. And if you have been, then it is still incredible. Sedona is an artsy town with many places promoting natural healing and wellness solutions. It is also known for the multiple Sedona vortex locations around the area that you can visit and incredible hiking views. All around just a very neat place to explore if you are visiting Arizona.
We stayed at the Sedona Rouge Hotel & Spa. We were greeted with some lovely Arizona Monsoon weather as soon as we made it to our room. The sky opened up and it poured rain and hail for 20 minuted. Glad we were indoors and luckily the storm passed pretty quickly. Our room was beautifully decorated and had two large beds, , a small seating area, dresser and a wardrobe along with a huge patio with very comfortable patio furniture.
360 View - Take a look around our room:
Stop #1: Cress on Oak Creek at L'Auberge de Sedona
Our first exciting stop on this epic road trip to Northern Arizona was one of the top Sedona restaurants with a view, Cress on Oak Creek Sedona which is located in the L'Auberge de Sedona Hotel. They have tables that are right on Oak Creek...now when I say on Oak Creek I mean just that. They have the seating built partially above the water. It is gorgeous and is really the best seating in the whole place. We were treated to a 3 course meal filled with good conversations, new friends and of course delicious food!
Cress On Oak Creek Prices
The Cress on Oak Creek prices are a bit steep but the experience was pretty top notch and for any special occasion would be a perfect splurge!
Cress On Oak Creek Menu
Here is the menu that we dined from that evening. We each chose one item from each section and even received a few extra items compliments of the chef, which was a real nice surprise!
The next city on our Northern Arizona roadtrip was a few hours away in Page, AZ so an early start was a must! Heading north out of Sedona is an incredible drive amongst the red rocks and lush green trees. A tight schedule meant we didn't have much time to stop at any of the viewpoints that are along the way, but we along the way we did notice a few Sedona activities for kids that looked like a lot of fun! Slide Rock and the Rainbow Trout Farm Sedona were just a short drive north of town just to name a couple.
Stop #2: A Private Slot Canyon Tour of Secret Canyon
Next stop on this road trip was one that truly blew me away. We went on a tour with Horse Shoe Bend Tours to take a private tour of Secret Canyon. This trip was special because the we were able to take a couple of the other Toyota vehicles off-roading thru the desert before making a short walk to the slot canyon entrance. Talk about fun right?!?
After a fun ride thru the desert we arrived at the parking area for Secret Canyon. From there it was a relatively short walk to the entrance of the slot canyon. We were the only group in the canyon and had exclusive access for about an hour. It was so nice to be able to take our time and get all the photos that we were hoping for.
Our guide spent some time talking about the rock formations and the flash flooding that does occur in the canyons. Once we reached the end of the canyon we found an open area filled with little stacked rock statues that other travelers had made during their visit. We headed back into the canyon and were able to spend the last bit of our time here exploring independently and getting the last of our desired photos and video.
Stop #3: Private Viewpoint of Horseshoe Bend, Arizona
Back on 89A, we headed a short drive down the road...passed the Horseshoe Bend Overlook in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. We turned off the highway onto a narrow dirt road and from there we drove a bit until we were about 100 meters from the edge of Glen Canyon overlooking Horseshoe bend from a private are that is just south of the crowded public view point.
We had about an hour at Horseshoe Bend to take picture and just take in the gorgeous view that was in front of us. Such an incredible view...pictures just don't do it justice. During the time there we were able to watch an Arizona monsoon storm roll past, while also seeing some people down below in the water kayaking Horseshoe bend. I can only imagine how inspiring the views are from down in the water.
Stop #4: Into the Grand Restaurant
After the long day (...you remember 4 hour drive from Sedona to Page, off-roading thru the desert, hiking to Secret Canyon and finishing up at Horseshoe Bend!) so by then time evening came we were getting pretty hungry. For dinner we went to probably the most fun restaurant in Page AZ called Into The Grand, which specialized in Navajo Tacos and showing some of the Navajo dances and songs. Such a fun show to watch and the food was pretty amazing! We tried the original Navajo Taco and a cheese steak Navajo taco. They were so good, but the cheesesteak one was definitely my favorite!
After a long and adventure filled day, we headed back to our "home" for the night. We met up again with most of our fellow travelers and sat on the hotel patio around a gas fire pit. Conversations flowed smoothly as we chatted about the day, and of course past travels and future plans. Of course other Northern Arizona activities were mentioned, like camping at the Grand Canyon or hiking on some of the canyon trails.
Stop #5: Kayaking Lake Powell
The last day of our journey would keep us in Page, Arizona for a few more hours for one last bit of excitement. Around mid morning we went to Antelope Point Marina to rent a double sit on top kayak to take out on the water for a bit before it got too hot under the summer sun.
We were hoping to get the the water side of the famous Antelope Canyon but we underestimated the amount of waves coming off the speed boats going by and also the wobbliness of a sit on top kayak. Unfortunately, our Lake Powell kayaking story ended with a dump into the lake and a swim to shore.
Sorry no pictures...didn't wanna risk the phone and I didn't have a waterproof case. So it was a good thing we had everything stored in a dry bag, since we ended up in the water!
Now even though we were unsuccessful this time...I did have a lot of fun and I am looking forward to another trip up to Lake Powell for more kayaking, but next time in my own kayak. The marina had many different rentals available to fit whatever you might be interested from houseboats to pontoon boats to paddle boards.
Pick your favorite and Pin for later!
We left Page, Arizona and set out for the long drive back to Phoenix, Arizona. From Page the drive is about 4.5 hours, so we made a few stops along the way to stretch and once for lunch because we were pretty much starving by the time we were done attempting to kayak.
Driving thru the Arizona countryside we saw a few monsoon storm, and the rocky terrain of Page morph into the tall pine trees of Flagstaff then to the red rocks of Sedona and finally to the desert landscape of the Phoenix area valley. After a long day of driving it was good to home to relax.
***Disclaimer: This trip was hosted by Toyota and we were guests at many of the activities during the trip, but as always, all opinions are my own.***