Epic Southwest Trip from Los Angeles

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Thursday Night:

8:00pm: Rent a car ($362) – This is a long trip so I didn’t want to put the miles on my 2001 Ford Truck. Plus, it was great to drive something fun! I rented a 2019 Chevy Camaro from Budget at the Long Beach airport. I did get the loss damage waiver which covered my 100% for any dent, scratch or damage created to the car at $17 per day which did bring the total up a little bit. I don’t typically get the extra insurance, but with the length of the trip, elected to go with a little extra safety net.

12:30am: Hotel in Las Vegas ($41) – After a 4-hour drive in the night, you’ll need a quick pit stop to catch some Zzzzz’s before hiking in Zion on Friday. Stayed at the Westgate in Las Vegas and was able to find a great deal on the app HotelTonight ($30 for the night). Nothing fancy, but it got the job done.

Friday:

800am: Breakfast on the go ($28) – Stopped off at Whole Foods while in town, grabbed some premade breakfast burritos, some water and a coffee and hit the road.

930am: Gas ($48) – It’s only a 2.5-hour drive from the deserts of Las Vegas to the mountains of Zion National Park, but you’ll probably be running close to E by now.

1045am ($5): Grab a coffee as you arrive in Springdale, UT – After the drive from LA to Vegas to Zion, once you arrive it’s good to just stopped and admire the scenery. Grab a coffee at a local spot called Hoodoo’s general store. Sit on the bench outside and bask in the views.

MMmmmm Oat Latte

1130am: Zion National Park ($35) – Hike all afternoon. Check with the employees at the entrance on what trails might be closed and any hike that they recommend. They’ll be able to tell you the best trails with the least amount of people. We were able to get in Upper Emerald’s Trail and Canyon Outlook in before sunset. Angels Landing Trail is the most popular. It’s difficult and will take 3-6 hours.

Upper Emerald Pools Trail – Zion National Park

700pm: Check into your hotel ($70) – We found a great rate on Hotels.com for La Quinta. It was located just 5 mins from the park’s entrance, had a large spacious suite style room and comes with a complimentary breakfast buffet.

830pm: Dinner out in Springdale ($58) – There’s nothing better than pizza and beer (or wine) after a long day hiking. Check out Pizza & Noodle, which is walking distance from the hotel. Perfect!

 Saturday:

640am: Wake up for a sunrise hike (Free) – Grab a coffee to go in the breakfast buffet and head back in to Zion. We were recommended by the gentleman at the front desk to hike Watchman’s Trail. Since we were there in the off season, there was no one on the trail with us. A moderate 3.5-mile hike that ends with some pretty spectacular views.

930am: Light breakfast in town ($22) – We decided to go to a cool like coffee shop called the Deep Creek Coffee Company. Oat latte and avocado toast was perfect after the morning hike. Another option could be to head back to the free buffet that closes @ 11.

12pm: Hit the road to Page AZ and stop off at Coral Pink Sand Dunes (Free) – We 100% stumbled on this and were glad we did. You can rent ATVs to drive around, but we elected to pull off before the main entrance and have this section of dunes to ourselves. You feel like a kid again in a coral pink sand box.

Coral Pink Sand Dunes

**** Call way ahead to try and secure a lunch appt @ Amangiri. Gorgeous 5-star resort that is on the way. They occasionally take outside reservations ****

4pm: Check into your hotel ($70) – This was a complete coincidence to stay at a La Quinta again, but it had one of the best rates in town. Clean rooms, nice lobby that is geared for the business traveler, it is a clean comfortable place to stay. No complaints.

7pm: Dinner @ Fiesta Mexicana ($50) – Read a couple reviews and this one seemed to be the best in town. It was pretty good. Their rice is made with chicken stock, so was not able to eat it, but the rest of the food was really good. Don’t get the margarita though, they were just Ehhh. 

9pm: Snacks in the lobby back at the hotel ($12) – Grab some Oreos, chips and water for the room. Hang out and relax a bit, you have a big day tomorrow!

Sunday:

700am: Horseshoe bend ($15 parking) – Got to the parking lot about 15 mins after sunrise and since it was the off season there were hardly any other people there. The parking lot was probably like 5% full. Short walk to an overlook of horseshoe bend.

900am: Coffee and a sub sandwich ($22.50) – Head back into Page and grab a coffee @ LP Espresso. We decided to get a Subway sandwich too for after Lower Antelope Canyon. Knew we would be hungry.

1015am: Lower Antelope Canyon Tour ($120) – Was able to secure some tickets through TripAdvisor. You’ll meet up with your guide who will take you through the canyon. You will learn about how the canyon was formed and the types of rocks in the area. Your guide will do a good job on helping people keep pace through the canyon while still allowing time to take pictures. Probably the single coolest part of the trip!

Posing hard in the Lower Antelope Canyon

1215pm: Head off to the Grand Canyon – Eat your sub (we went back to our hotel) and hit the road. If the North Rim is open, this will be a much closer to get to and is less visited.

100pm: Fill up the tank ($40)

230pm: Enter the Grand Canyon ($35 or free if you paid for the annual pass in Zion) – Jaw dropping when you witness the size of the Grand Canyon. There are many hikes and trails you can take. Depending on what time you got here will depend on how much you can explore. Go for a hike and take some pics before heading to lunch. We were recommended to go to the geology museum although we didn’t have time.

530pm: Late lunch before sunset ($26) – We ate at the Bright Angel Lodge. Grabbed a burger and some tea at the lodge. There is some history exhibits here as well. Then go catch sunset.

640pm: Head out after sunset in the Grand Canyon and drive to Vegas when it gets dark.

930pm: Check in Las Vegas ($292) – We elected to go a little fancy here. Stayed at The Palazzo on the strip. Got the King Suite (for only a $4 upgrade) but it’s the resort fee’s that add up. $45 a night!

Entrance to The Palazzo Hotel

1130pm: Late dinner ($51) – Grabbed a late dinner at Lakeside in the Wynn. Really cool spot, if it’s not too cold outside, eat on the patio and watch the show against the waterfall.

Monday:

900am: Coffee + Juices ($25) – Breakfast of champions. Luckily this was located right off our elevator, so it wasn’t a long walk.

Double Matcha??!!

100pm: Lunch @ Urth Café ($55) – Located in the Wynn, this is my go-to lunch spot if I am around this area in Vegas. You can kind of get anything and everything is fresh. Grilled veggie panni with a side salad and matcha latte for lunch. Yes please! 

315pm: Head off to the Valley of Fire Start Park ($12) – Located about 1 hour and 15 mins from the strip (the directions said almost 2 – not sure why) we got there about a couple hours before sunset. Mistake! This place was cool. You come around the bend from the entrance and its memorizing. Wish I spent another couple hours here at least. Especially if it’s not that hot, you can literally hike almost everywhere. Great photo opportunity spots here!

Valley of Fire State Park

930pm: Dinner @ Tao ($71) – Usually you will need reservations for this place. This is the Wynn’s most iconic restaurant that also has a nightclub and day club, it features rose petals in a tub as you walk in, amazing Asian cuisine, oh and a 60’ Buddhist statue.

40′ (I think) Buddha statue

Tuesday:

830am: Breakfast ($32) – Head down to the hotel’s spa area. Sit down @ one of the 4 restaurants in the spa for breakfast. We went with the Canyon Ranch Grille but was told, afterwards, Truth & Tonic was maybe a better spot.

930am: Relaxation time ($412 for 2 facials + gratuity) – This was our treat to ourselves. Lot of hiking. Lot of driving. Now time for a lot of relaxing! You can get access to the spa without getting a treatment for $50 Mon-Thurs and $100 Fri-Sun. But for $120 more we elected to get a 50 min custom facial. There are a few co-ed areas that you can hang with your significant other and multiple steam rooms, saunas, aroma rooms in your locker room.

100pm: Check out and hit the road back home.

145pm (free): Stop off at Seven Magic Mountains on your way out of town. This is a colorful art exhibit just outside of Vegas on the East side of the 15 freeway. Photo op level 10!

Seven Magic Mountains off the 15 just outside of Vegas

330pm: Coffee and stretch ($5.50) – You can see a trend here huh? LOL. An iced almond milk latte is much needed for that final push into LA.

600pm: Fill it up one last time ($55) – Return your car full and before you checked it out so that you don’t occur any additional penalties.

That’s it! You made it! You’ve just successfully completed a pretty epic southwest road trip in only 4.5 days. From the trails of Zion National Park, iconic sites in Northern Arizona, the majestic scenery that is the Grand Canyon and the lights of Vegas that’s 1300 miles / four states and ONE unforgettable experience!

Total trip cost for two people = $2070

Memories made = PRICELESS

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