The Ultimate Weekend Southwest Road Trip Itinerary
Your southwest weekend road trip guide to seeing the top sights along the Utah/Arizona border, including: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Bryce Canyon, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, and Seven Magic Mountains
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Planning a southwest road trip for the weekend? Check out this Arizona & Utah itinerary to hit all the best spots in your short amount of time. If these spots aren’t already on your bucket list, they should be! They are each so beautiful and unique, and you can see them all in one weekend! Here’s how:
PTO Days Needed: 0-1
There are 3 major airports nearby:
Las Vegas (210 miles to Kanab, UT)
Salt Lake City (317 miles to Kanab, UT)
Phoenix (359 miles to Kanab, UT)
For my trip, I flew into Las Vegas, rented a car, and drove to Kanab, UT on Friday night. The itinerary below is based on flying in Friday night and flying back Sunday night.
Day 1: Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend
First Stop: Lake Powell
Wake up early and head over to Page, AZ (74 miles from Kanab, UT) for today’s activities. I recommend starting with checking out Lake Powell– only a few miles away from Antelope Canyon. One of the best ways to get a great intro to Lake Powell is to take a boat tour!
You can book an hour-long boat tour through Antelope Point Marina for only $30/person! This is a quick and affordable way to get out on the lake and soak in the awesome views as you meander through the canyons. I would love to come back sometime in the summer and spend a whole weekend on the lake! It’s seriously awesome.
Also, you can bring your own snacks and drinks onboard! There’s a convenient store at the dock right next to where you board the boat where you can stock up.
Next Up: Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is one of the coolest places I have been to, and is a popular item on many traveler’s bucketlist! It is definitely a must-see if you are in the area. We did Lower Antelope Canyon since it is slightly more adventurous and typically less crowded. Either one you choose though will be amazing!
Things to Know about Antelope Canyon:
Antelope Canyon is made up of two different slot canyons: Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is the more famous of the two (and more crowded) and is above ground. Lower Antelope Canyon is not as crowded, and is below ground- you have to descend down 5 flights of stairs and squeeze through narrow passageways throughout the canyon while you gradually ascend back up to ground level
Since it is on Navajo land, the only way to see Antelope Canyon is through a guided tour, which you need to book ahead of time. Tours run about every 20 minutes, with about 15 people per group.
There are only two tour outfitters for Lower Antelope Canyon- Dixie Ellis and Ken’s Tours. We chose Dixie Ellis and had a great experience. The price comes out to $38 each, which includes the Navajo Reservation Fee.
If you enjoy photography and want to bring along your nice camera, you have the option to book a longer, more expensive photography tour of Lower Antelope Canyon
Check the weather patterns beforehand, and pick a time where the sun is directly above in order to have the best lighting. We did our tour at 1:15pm in early December- which gave us great lighting for pictures!
If you are going in the high season (or on a holiday weekend) be prepared to wait in line for up to 1-3 hours to enter the canyon. Thankfully, going in December we had no wait time at all! Although there are no light beams shining through to the ground in winter months, there is still light shining through on the canyon walls and it still looked completely amazing!
Last Stop: Horseshoe Bend
After your Lower Antelope Canyon tour, grab some food somewhere in Page, AZ before heading to Horseshoe Bend to watch the sunset. There are several restaurant options in Page- we opted for a Mexican restaurant that our Lower Antelope Canyon tour guide recommended (El Tapatio)- it was great! Make sure you give yourself enough time to get to Horseshoe Bend for sunset!
Things to Know Before Visiting Horseshoe Bend:
Horseshoe Bend is about a 10 minute drive from Page, AZ- right off of Hwy 89
Get there an hour before sunset to make sure you get a parking spot in the lot, and have enough time to walk down and get a spot with a view. If you’re visiting in the high season (Spring/Summer) the parking lot may be full, so you might have to park on the street.
It’s a quick, half-mile hike down on a clearly marked path to get to Horseshoe Bend. There will probably be a good amount of people there (especially if you go in the high season), but no worries- there is a lot of room to spread out on the surrounding rocks to get an unobstructed view (and to get great pictures!)Although sunset at Horseshoe Bend was beautiful, the sunrise view is equally amazing. You can always customize this itinerary to switch up the order you do things if you would rather catch the sunrise here!
In order to maximize your weekend, I recommend going to sleep early (there is not much to do at night anyways) and waking up early to fit in all that you can!
Things to Know Before Visiting Bryce Canyon National Park:
Best spot to watch the sunrise- Bryce Point. (If you put this in your Google Maps, it will take you right to it)
Park in the parking lot and then follow the short walking trail to the overlook area to catch the most beautiful view of the canyon
Getting there early for the sunrise means that you don’t have to pay the $30 entrance fee to the park!
After the sunrise, head to Sunset Point Overlook, and do the Navajo Loop hike. This 1.5 mile trail takes you on several switchbacks through the “hoodoo” formations that Bryce Canyon is known for, as well as through “Wall Street”- a narrow canyon with a towering Douglas Fir tree growing in between. When you get down to the bottom, you have the option to extend the hike by taking “Queens Garden” trail for an extra 1.7 miles. This combination has been called the “World’s Best 3-Mile Hike”, for good reason!
There is so much to see in Bryce Canyon- you could spend the entire weekend here! I definitely want to go back someday. If you have more time, I would spend at least the whole day here
The entrance to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park costs $8 (they do accept credit cards)Once you get in, turn right on the road and park at the first parking lot to access what looks like one of the biggest sand dunes in the park. Be prepared for a slightly strenuous, sandy walk to the top of the dunes!
On the way out of the park, you drive on this long, straight road with a beautiful view of the mountains in the background- great photo op!
Last Stop- Seven Magic Mountains
Seven Magic Mountains is a temporary art installation 30 minutes outside of Las Vegas, consisting of seven towers of colorful, stacked boulders. If you are flying out of Las Vegas, it’s worth it to make a quick trip to check it out!
Things to Know:
If you have the time before your flight home, catch the Seven Magic Mountains at sunset for an even more colorful view!
Where to Stay for your Weekend Southwest Road Trip:
We decided to make Kanab, UT our basecamp, as it is in the middle of all these sites. We stayed at the Quality Inn & Suites, which was affordable, comfortable, and had free breakfast- but there are a lot of other hotel options in the area as well!