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Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

Have Young Children? Want to Travel? Read This First

A trip to Washington’s three national parks—plus a visit to Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument—takes you through rugged Pacific coastline and high alpine terrain as well as lush temperate rainforest, glaciers, waterfalls, and some of the largest remnants of ancient forests in the U.S.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 312

Suggested Duration: 8 Days

Start & End Point: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Parks Visited: North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park

Best Time To Go: Apr - Oct

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Washington State

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

For those coming from out of state, the nearest airport is Seattle-Tacoma International, where you can start your journey by picking up a rental car. Depending on when your flight gets in, you can rest up at a nearby hotel for the night or make the 85-mile, 1½-hour drive to Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where you can spend the night.

Shutterstock

Day 2: North Cascades National Park

Stop Locations: North Cascades National Park, WA

From Sedro-Woolley, drive east for 46 miles along Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, to the entrance of North Cascades National Park. Take your first stroll through an old-growth forest on the Skagit River Loop (1.8 miles), which starts at the visitor center near the town of Newhalem, about 9 miles from the entrance, then devote the rest of the day to driving through the park on Route 20, stopping at various overlooks. Exit the park and continue through the scenic Methow Valley and on to Chelan (about 190 miles from the park’s western boundary) to stay the night.

Another option would be to exit the park the way you came in, at the western entrance near Newhalem, then head west toward Arlington (about 60 miles away, via Routes 20 and 9).

Shutterstock

Days 3-4: Mount Rainier National Park

Stop Locations: Mount Rainier National Park, WA

From Chelan, get an early start to drive to Ohanapecosh, the southeastern entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. When you arrive, take a drive on the spectacular Sunrise Road (about 30 miles round-trip), which reveals the “back” (northeast) side of Rainier. Book a room in nearby Ashford (about 19 miles east of the park’s Nisqually entrance) and make that your base for the next two nights.

The next day, energetic hikers will want to tackle one of the four- to six-hour trails that scale the park’s many peaks. Less ambitious visitors can take one of the shorter hikes in the Paradise Inn area or join a ranger-led walk through wildflower meadows. Another option is to hike to Panorama Point (a strenuous 4-mile round-trip), near the foot of the Muir Snowfield, for breathtaking views of the glaciers and high ridges of Rainier. Finish your day with dinner at the Paradise Inn, where you can watch the sunset on the peak.

Dreamstime

Day 5: Mount St. Helens and the Olympic Foothills

Stop Locations: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, WA

Today, drive south to spend the day visiting the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, where you can enter from the west side via Route 504 and see the destruction caused by the 1980 eruption. After leaving the monument, follow Route 504 back to Interstate 5 and head north to Olympia, winding through scenic Puget Sound countryside, skirting the Olympic foothills, and periodically dipping down to the waterfront en route to Port Angeles, where you’ll spend the night.

Dreamstime

Days 6-7: Olympic National Park

Stop Locations: Olympic National Park, WA

The next morning, launch into a full day at Olympic National Park. From the Port Angeles entrance, drive 17 miles south to Hurricane Ridge, where you’ll find several trails taking you through meadows and subalpine forest. The Hurricane Hill Trail (3.2 miles round-trip) delivers panoramic views of the mountains and ocean. Afterward, head back to Port Angeles for the night.

On Day 7, follow U.S. 101 west to La Push, a skinny satellite of coastal land that’s part of the national park (69 miles from Port Angeles). From La Push, hike 1.4 miles to Third Beach for a taste of the wild Pacific coastline. Back on U.S. 101, head south to the town of Forks and then east to the Hoh Rain Forest, also part of Olympic National Park. Explore the moss-covered alders and big-leaf maples, then follow a circular route on U.S. 101 to Lake Quinault, winding west toward the coast, then back to the lake and the national park. Check into the Lake Quinault Lodge, then drive up the river to access one of several trails—the Graves Creek Trail is a popular choice—through the lush Quinault Valley.

Dreamstime

Day 8: Heading Home

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Catch your flight back home from Seattle–Tacoma International, about 130 miles (a 2½-hour drive) from Olympic.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

Jesse Wong

Have Young Children? Want to Travel? Read This First

This itinerary takes you through Zion’s massive sandstone cliffs and narrow slot canyons, the hoodoos (odd-shape pillars of rock left by erosion) of Bryce Canyon, and the overwhelming majesty of the Grand Canyon, close to 300 river miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 650

Suggested Duration: 10 Days

Start & End Point: St. George, UT

Parks Visited: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Best Time To Go: Mar - Nov

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Canyon Country

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

Plan to fly into and out of St. George Municipal Airport in St. George, Utah. It’s close to all three parks, with Zion a little more than an hour away.

From the airport, head east toward Zion National Park, about 46 miles. Depending on how much daylight you’ve got, you can start exploring the park—enter at the south entrance and head to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center—or find a room for the next three nights in Springdale, the bustling town just outside the park (1.1 miles from the south entrance).

Shutterstock

Days 2-3: Zion National Park

Stop Locations: Zion National Park, UT

Start your day at the visitor center, just inside the south entrance, south of the junction of the Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Then explore the Drive, either in your own vehicle or via the park’s free shuttle, which runs during the summer months (a round-trip ride takes about 80 minutes). Intrepid hikers will want to tackle the Narrows, Zion’s infamous 16-mile-long gorge cut by the Virgin River, which requires hikers to spend more than half of their time walking, wading, or swimming in the fast-flowing river. For everyone else, Zion offers plenty of other hiking options. The Emerald Pool trails (about 1 mile each) take you on a fairly easy hike from Zion Lodge, about 3 miles from Canyon Junction, to Lower and Upper Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

Spend the next day exploring the Kolob Canyons, in the northwestern corner of the park about 40 miles from Canyon Junction. Take the Kolob Canyons Road 5 miles to its end at the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, where you’ll get fabulous views of the surrounding red rock canyons. For a spectacular 5-mile hike, drive about 2 miles back on the Kolob Canyons Road to the Taylor Creek Trail, which takes you past historic homesteaders’ cabins and through a narrow box canyon to the Double Arch Alcove, a large arched grotto.

At the end of the day, leave the park via the beautiful Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and its historic mile-long tunnel. You’ll pass through slickrock country, with huge, petrified sandstone dunes etched by ancient waters, and head to Bryce Canyon, where you’ll spend the night (you’ve got a few lodging options, both inside and just outside the park in the town of Bryce Canyon).

Shutterstock

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Start your tour of Bryce Canyon National Park at the visitor center, about 1 mile past the park entrance. Central to your tour of Bryce Canyon is the 18-mile-long main park road, where numerous scenic turnouts reveal vistas of bright red-orange rock. If you’re visiting in the summer, the free Bryce Canyon Shuttle will take you to many of the park’s most popular attractions. Trails worth exploring include the 1-mile Bristlecone Loop Trail and the 1.3-mile Navajo Loop Trail, both of which will get you into the heart of the park.

At the end of the day, leave the park and head toward Kanab, 78 miles (about 1 hour, 25 minutes) away, to spend the night en route to the Grand Canyon.

Dreamstime

Day 5: En Route to the Grand Canyon

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon Village, AZ

Today, you’ll drive from Kanab to Grand Canyon National Park, about 210 miles away. Check into a hotel in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim or in Tusayan, a few miles to the south, for the next two nights. If you’ve got time, hike (or take the shuttle) to Yavapai Point, just west of the visitor center in the South Rim Village, to catch the sunset.

Dreamstime

Days 6-8: Grand Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

If you didn’t make it yesterday, begin today’s tour with a stop at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, near Mather Point in the South Rim Village, for the latest maps and information. While you’re there, check out the Historic District, with its early-19th-century train depot and other buildings, many built by the Santa Fe Railroad. Get your bearings with a drive (or, if you’re visiting early spring–late fall, a free shuttle ride) on the 7-mile-long Hermit Road. Take a hike on the Rim Trail, a nearly flat path (much of which is paved) that hugs the edge of the canyon from the Village to Hermit’s Rest, 2.8 miles to the west.

On your second day in the park, tackle the upper section of one of the “Corridor Trails”—South Kaibab or Bright Angel—which start at the South Rim and meet in the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the canyon (the third Corridor Trail, North Kaibab, connects the bottom of the canyon to the North Rim). Bright Angel, the easier of the two, is one of the most scenic paths into the canyon; the trailhead is near Kolb Studio, at the western end of the Village.

Note that visitors are strongly advised against attempting to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back in one day, which means you’ll have to pick a place to turn around before you reach the end of the trail. On Bright Angel, that spot would be Indian Garden Campground, about 4.8 miles from the trailhead, or Plateau Point, which is another 1.5 miles past Indian Garden.

For your last day in the park, take an interpretive ranger-led program; they cover a wide variety of subjects, including geology, history, and wildlife so pick up a list at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Afterward, you can spend the night in (or near) the park again, or start your drive back toward the airport in St. George. The town of Fredonia, Arizona (200 miles; 3 hours, 40 minutes from the South Rim) would be a good stopping point for the night.

Dreamstime

Day 9: Heading Home

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

The St. George Municipal Airport is 74 miles (1 hour, 22 minutes) from Fredonia.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

Have Young Children? Want to Travel? Read This First

A trip to Washington’s three national parks—plus a visit to Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument—takes you through rugged Pacific coastline and high alpine terrain as well as lush temperate rainforest, glaciers, waterfalls, and some of the largest remnants of ancient forests in the U.S.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 312

Suggested Duration: 8 Days

Start & End Point: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Parks Visited: North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park

Best Time To Go: Apr - Oct

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Washington State

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

For those coming from out of state, the nearest airport is Seattle-Tacoma International, where you can start your journey by picking up a rental car. Depending on when your flight gets in, you can rest up at a nearby hotel for the night or make the 85-mile, 1½-hour drive to Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where you can spend the night.

Shutterstock

Day 2: North Cascades National Park

Stop Locations: North Cascades National Park, WA

From Sedro-Woolley, drive east for 46 miles along Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, to the entrance of North Cascades National Park. Take your first stroll through an old-growth forest on the Skagit River Loop (1.8 miles), which starts at the visitor center near the town of Newhalem, about 9 miles from the entrance, then devote the rest of the day to driving through the park on Route 20, stopping at various overlooks. Exit the park and continue through the scenic Methow Valley and on to Chelan (about 190 miles from the park’s western boundary) to stay the night.

Another option would be to exit the park the way you came in, at the western entrance near Newhalem, then head west toward Arlington (about 60 miles away, via Routes 20 and 9).

Shutterstock

Days 3-4: Mount Rainier National Park

Stop Locations: Mount Rainier National Park, WA

From Chelan, get an early start to drive to Ohanapecosh, the southeastern entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. When you arrive, take a drive on the spectacular Sunrise Road (about 30 miles round-trip), which reveals the “back” (northeast) side of Rainier. Book a room in nearby Ashford (about 19 miles east of the park’s Nisqually entrance) and make that your base for the next two nights.

The next day, energetic hikers will want to tackle one of the four- to six-hour trails that scale the park’s many peaks. Less ambitious visitors can take one of the shorter hikes in the Paradise Inn area or join a ranger-led walk through wildflower meadows. Another option is to hike to Panorama Point (a strenuous 4-mile round-trip), near the foot of the Muir Snowfield, for breathtaking views of the glaciers and high ridges of Rainier. Finish your day with dinner at the Paradise Inn, where you can watch the sunset on the peak.

Dreamstime

Day 5: Mount St. Helens and the Olympic Foothills

Stop Locations: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, WA

Today, drive south to spend the day visiting the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, where you can enter from the west side via Route 504 and see the destruction caused by the 1980 eruption. After leaving the monument, follow Route 504 back to Interstate 5 and head north to Olympia, winding through scenic Puget Sound countryside, skirting the Olympic foothills, and periodically dipping down to the waterfront en route to Port Angeles, where you’ll spend the night.

Dreamstime

Days 6-7: Olympic National Park

Stop Locations: Olympic National Park, WA

The next morning, launch into a full day at Olympic National Park. From the Port Angeles entrance, drive 17 miles south to Hurricane Ridge, where you’ll find several trails taking you through meadows and subalpine forest. The Hurricane Hill Trail (3.2 miles round-trip) delivers panoramic views of the mountains and ocean. Afterward, head back to Port Angeles for the night.

On Day 7, follow U.S. 101 west to La Push, a skinny satellite of coastal land that’s part of the national park (69 miles from Port Angeles). From La Push, hike 1.4 miles to Third Beach for a taste of the wild Pacific coastline. Back on U.S. 101, head south to the town of Forks and then east to the Hoh Rain Forest, also part of Olympic National Park. Explore the moss-covered alders and big-leaf maples, then follow a circular route on U.S. 101 to Lake Quinault, winding west toward the coast, then back to the lake and the national park. Check into the Lake Quinault Lodge, then drive up the river to access one of several trails—the Graves Creek Trail is a popular choice—through the lush Quinault Valley.

Dreamstime

Day 8: Heading Home

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Catch your flight back home from Seattle–Tacoma International, about 130 miles (a 2½-hour drive) from Olympic.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

Jesse Wong

There’s a Good Chance Your Summer Vacation Will Be Disappointing. Here’s What to Do

This itinerary takes you through Zion’s massive sandstone cliffs and narrow slot canyons, the hoodoos (odd-shape pillars of rock left by erosion) of Bryce Canyon, and the overwhelming majesty of the Grand Canyon, close to 300 river miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 650

Suggested Duration: 10 Days

Start & End Point: St. George, UT

Parks Visited: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Best Time To Go: Mar - Nov

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Canyon Country

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

Plan to fly into and out of St. George Municipal Airport in St. George, Utah. It’s close to all three parks, with Zion a little more than an hour away.

From the airport, head east toward Zion National Park, about 46 miles. Depending on how much daylight you’ve got, you can start exploring the park—enter at the south entrance and head to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center—or find a room for the next three nights in Springdale, the bustling town just outside the park (1.1 miles from the south entrance).

Shutterstock

Days 2-3: Zion National Park

Stop Locations: Zion National Park, UT

Start your day at the visitor center, just inside the south entrance, south of the junction of the Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Then explore the Drive, either in your own vehicle or via the park’s free shuttle, which runs during the summer months (a round-trip ride takes about 80 minutes). Intrepid hikers will want to tackle the Narrows, Zion’s infamous 16-mile-long gorge cut by the Virgin River, which requires hikers to spend more than half of their time walking, wading, or swimming in the fast-flowing river. For everyone else, Zion offers plenty of other hiking options. The Emerald Pool trails (about 1 mile each) take you on a fairly easy hike from Zion Lodge, about 3 miles from Canyon Junction, to Lower and Upper Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

Spend the next day exploring the Kolob Canyons, in the northwestern corner of the park about 40 miles from Canyon Junction. Take the Kolob Canyons Road 5 miles to its end at the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, where you’ll get fabulous views of the surrounding red rock canyons. For a spectacular 5-mile hike, drive about 2 miles back on the Kolob Canyons Road to the Taylor Creek Trail, which takes you past historic homesteaders’ cabins and through a narrow box canyon to the Double Arch Alcove, a large arched grotto.

At the end of the day, leave the park via the beautiful Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and its historic mile-long tunnel. You’ll pass through slickrock country, with huge, petrified sandstone dunes etched by ancient waters, and head to Bryce Canyon, where you’ll spend the night (you’ve got a few lodging options, both inside and just outside the park in the town of Bryce Canyon).

Shutterstock

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Start your tour of Bryce Canyon National Park at the visitor center, about 1 mile past the park entrance. Central to your tour of Bryce Canyon is the 18-mile-long main park road, where numerous scenic turnouts reveal vistas of bright red-orange rock. If you’re visiting in the summer, the free Bryce Canyon Shuttle will take you to many of the park’s most popular attractions. Trails worth exploring include the 1-mile Bristlecone Loop Trail and the 1.3-mile Navajo Loop Trail, both of which will get you into the heart of the park.

At the end of the day, leave the park and head toward Kanab, 78 miles (about 1 hour, 25 minutes) away, to spend the night en route to the Grand Canyon.

Dreamstime

Day 5: En Route to the Grand Canyon

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon Village, AZ

Today, you’ll drive from Kanab to Grand Canyon National Park, about 210 miles away. Check into a hotel in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim or in Tusayan, a few miles to the south, for the next two nights. If you’ve got time, hike (or take the shuttle) to Yavapai Point, just west of the visitor center in the South Rim Village, to catch the sunset.

Dreamstime

Days 6-8: Grand Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

If you didn’t make it yesterday, begin today’s tour with a stop at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, near Mather Point in the South Rim Village, for the latest maps and information. While you’re there, check out the Historic District, with its early-19th-century train depot and other buildings, many built by the Santa Fe Railroad. Get your bearings with a drive (or, if you’re visiting early spring–late fall, a free shuttle ride) on the 7-mile-long Hermit Road. Take a hike on the Rim Trail, a nearly flat path (much of which is paved) that hugs the edge of the canyon from the Village to Hermit’s Rest, 2.8 miles to the west.

On your second day in the park, tackle the upper section of one of the “Corridor Trails”—South Kaibab or Bright Angel—which start at the South Rim and meet in the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the canyon (the third Corridor Trail, North Kaibab, connects the bottom of the canyon to the North Rim). Bright Angel, the easier of the two, is one of the most scenic paths into the canyon; the trailhead is near Kolb Studio, at the western end of the Village.

Note that visitors are strongly advised against attempting to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back in one day, which means you’ll have to pick a place to turn around before you reach the end of the trail. On Bright Angel, that spot would be Indian Garden Campground, about 4.8 miles from the trailhead, or Plateau Point, which is another 1.5 miles past Indian Garden.

For your last day in the park, take an interpretive ranger-led program; they cover a wide variety of subjects, including geology, history, and wildlife so pick up a list at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Afterward, you can spend the night in (or near) the park again, or start your drive back toward the airport in St. George. The town of Fredonia, Arizona (200 miles; 3 hours, 40 minutes from the South Rim) would be a good stopping point for the night.

Dreamstime

Day 9: Heading Home

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

The St. George Municipal Airport is 74 miles (1 hour, 22 minutes) from Fredonia.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

There’s a Good Chance Your Summer Vacation Will Be Disappointing. Here’s What to Do

A trip to Washington’s three national parks—plus a visit to Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument—takes you through rugged Pacific coastline and high alpine terrain as well as lush temperate rainforest, glaciers, waterfalls, and some of the largest remnants of ancient forests in the U.S.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 312

Suggested Duration: 8 Days

Start & End Point: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Parks Visited: North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park

Best Time To Go: Apr - Oct

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Washington State

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

For those coming from out of state, the nearest airport is Seattle-Tacoma International, where you can start your journey by picking up a rental car. Depending on when your flight gets in, you can rest up at a nearby hotel for the night or make the 85-mile, 1½-hour drive to Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where you can spend the night.

Shutterstock

Day 2: North Cascades National Park

Stop Locations: North Cascades National Park, WA

From Sedro-Woolley, drive east for 46 miles along Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, to the entrance of North Cascades National Park. Take your first stroll through an old-growth forest on the Skagit River Loop (1.8 miles), which starts at the visitor center near the town of Newhalem, about 9 miles from the entrance, then devote the rest of the day to driving through the park on Route 20, stopping at various overlooks. Exit the park and continue through the scenic Methow Valley and on to Chelan (about 190 miles from the park’s western boundary) to stay the night.

Another option would be to exit the park the way you came in, at the western entrance near Newhalem, then head west toward Arlington (about 60 miles away, via Routes 20 and 9).

Shutterstock

Days 3-4: Mount Rainier National Park

Stop Locations: Mount Rainier National Park, WA

From Chelan, get an early start to drive to Ohanapecosh, the southeastern entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. When you arrive, take a drive on the spectacular Sunrise Road (about 30 miles round-trip), which reveals the “back” (northeast) side of Rainier. Book a room in nearby Ashford (about 19 miles east of the park’s Nisqually entrance) and make that your base for the next two nights.

The next day, energetic hikers will want to tackle one of the four- to six-hour trails that scale the park’s many peaks. Less ambitious visitors can take one of the shorter hikes in the Paradise Inn area or join a ranger-led walk through wildflower meadows. Another option is to hike to Panorama Point (a strenuous 4-mile round-trip), near the foot of the Muir Snowfield, for breathtaking views of the glaciers and high ridges of Rainier. Finish your day with dinner at the Paradise Inn, where you can watch the sunset on the peak.

Dreamstime

Day 5: Mount St. Helens and the Olympic Foothills

Stop Locations: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, WA

Today, drive south to spend the day visiting the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, where you can enter from the west side via Route 504 and see the destruction caused by the 1980 eruption. After leaving the monument, follow Route 504 back to Interstate 5 and head north to Olympia, winding through scenic Puget Sound countryside, skirting the Olympic foothills, and periodically dipping down to the waterfront en route to Port Angeles, where you’ll spend the night.

Dreamstime

Days 6-7: Olympic National Park

Stop Locations: Olympic National Park, WA

The next morning, launch into a full day at Olympic National Park. From the Port Angeles entrance, drive 17 miles south to Hurricane Ridge, where you’ll find several trails taking you through meadows and subalpine forest. The Hurricane Hill Trail (3.2 miles round-trip) delivers panoramic views of the mountains and ocean. Afterward, head back to Port Angeles for the night.

On Day 7, follow U.S. 101 west to La Push, a skinny satellite of coastal land that’s part of the national park (69 miles from Port Angeles). From La Push, hike 1.4 miles to Third Beach for a taste of the wild Pacific coastline. Back on U.S. 101, head south to the town of Forks and then east to the Hoh Rain Forest, also part of Olympic National Park. Explore the moss-covered alders and big-leaf maples, then follow a circular route on U.S. 101 to Lake Quinault, winding west toward the coast, then back to the lake and the national park. Check into the Lake Quinault Lodge, then drive up the river to access one of several trails—the Graves Creek Trail is a popular choice—through the lush Quinault Valley.

Dreamstime

Day 8: Heading Home

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Catch your flight back home from Seattle–Tacoma International, about 130 miles (a 2½-hour drive) from Olympic.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

Jesse Wong

10 Secret Greek Island Getaways for Those Who Want to Get Lost

This itinerary takes you through Zion’s massive sandstone cliffs and narrow slot canyons, the hoodoos (odd-shape pillars of rock left by erosion) of Bryce Canyon, and the overwhelming majesty of the Grand Canyon, close to 300 river miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 650

Suggested Duration: 10 Days

Start & End Point: St. George, UT

Parks Visited: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Best Time To Go: Mar - Nov

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Canyon Country

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

Plan to fly into and out of St. George Municipal Airport in St. George, Utah. It’s close to all three parks, with Zion a little more than an hour away.

From the airport, head east toward Zion National Park, about 46 miles. Depending on how much daylight you’ve got, you can start exploring the park—enter at the south entrance and head to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center—or find a room for the next three nights in Springdale, the bustling town just outside the park (1.1 miles from the south entrance).

Shutterstock

Days 2-3: Zion National Park

Stop Locations: Zion National Park, UT

Start your day at the visitor center, just inside the south entrance, south of the junction of the Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Then explore the Drive, either in your own vehicle or via the park’s free shuttle, which runs during the summer months (a round-trip ride takes about 80 minutes). Intrepid hikers will want to tackle the Narrows, Zion’s infamous 16-mile-long gorge cut by the Virgin River, which requires hikers to spend more than half of their time walking, wading, or swimming in the fast-flowing river. For everyone else, Zion offers plenty of other hiking options. The Emerald Pool trails (about 1 mile each) take you on a fairly easy hike from Zion Lodge, about 3 miles from Canyon Junction, to Lower and Upper Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

Spend the next day exploring the Kolob Canyons, in the northwestern corner of the park about 40 miles from Canyon Junction. Take the Kolob Canyons Road 5 miles to its end at the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, where you’ll get fabulous views of the surrounding red rock canyons. For a spectacular 5-mile hike, drive about 2 miles back on the Kolob Canyons Road to the Taylor Creek Trail, which takes you past historic homesteaders’ cabins and through a narrow box canyon to the Double Arch Alcove, a large arched grotto.

At the end of the day, leave the park via the beautiful Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and its historic mile-long tunnel. You’ll pass through slickrock country, with huge, petrified sandstone dunes etched by ancient waters, and head to Bryce Canyon, where you’ll spend the night (you’ve got a few lodging options, both inside and just outside the park in the town of Bryce Canyon).

Shutterstock

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Start your tour of Bryce Canyon National Park at the visitor center, about 1 mile past the park entrance. Central to your tour of Bryce Canyon is the 18-mile-long main park road, where numerous scenic turnouts reveal vistas of bright red-orange rock. If you’re visiting in the summer, the free Bryce Canyon Shuttle will take you to many of the park’s most popular attractions. Trails worth exploring include the 1-mile Bristlecone Loop Trail and the 1.3-mile Navajo Loop Trail, both of which will get you into the heart of the park.

At the end of the day, leave the park and head toward Kanab, 78 miles (about 1 hour, 25 minutes) away, to spend the night en route to the Grand Canyon.

Dreamstime

Day 5: En Route to the Grand Canyon

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon Village, AZ

Today, you’ll drive from Kanab to Grand Canyon National Park, about 210 miles away. Check into a hotel in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim or in Tusayan, a few miles to the south, for the next two nights. If you’ve got time, hike (or take the shuttle) to Yavapai Point, just west of the visitor center in the South Rim Village, to catch the sunset.

Dreamstime

Days 6-8: Grand Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

If you didn’t make it yesterday, begin today’s tour with a stop at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, near Mather Point in the South Rim Village, for the latest maps and information. While you’re there, check out the Historic District, with its early-19th-century train depot and other buildings, many built by the Santa Fe Railroad. Get your bearings with a drive (or, if you’re visiting early spring–late fall, a free shuttle ride) on the 7-mile-long Hermit Road. Take a hike on the Rim Trail, a nearly flat path (much of which is paved) that hugs the edge of the canyon from the Village to Hermit’s Rest, 2.8 miles to the west.

On your second day in the park, tackle the upper section of one of the “Corridor Trails”—South Kaibab or Bright Angel—which start at the South Rim and meet in the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the canyon (the third Corridor Trail, North Kaibab, connects the bottom of the canyon to the North Rim). Bright Angel, the easier of the two, is one of the most scenic paths into the canyon; the trailhead is near Kolb Studio, at the western end of the Village.

Note that visitors are strongly advised against attempting to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back in one day, which means you’ll have to pick a place to turn around before you reach the end of the trail. On Bright Angel, that spot would be Indian Garden Campground, about 4.8 miles from the trailhead, or Plateau Point, which is another 1.5 miles past Indian Garden.

For your last day in the park, take an interpretive ranger-led program; they cover a wide variety of subjects, including geology, history, and wildlife so pick up a list at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Afterward, you can spend the night in (or near) the park again, or start your drive back toward the airport in St. George. The town of Fredonia, Arizona (200 miles; 3 hours, 40 minutes from the South Rim) would be a good stopping point for the night.

Dreamstime

Day 9: Heading Home

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

The St. George Municipal Airport is 74 miles (1 hour, 22 minutes) from Fredonia.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

10 Secret Greek Island Getaways for Those Who Want to Get Lost

A trip to Washington’s three national parks—plus a visit to Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument—takes you through rugged Pacific coastline and high alpine terrain as well as lush temperate rainforest, glaciers, waterfalls, and some of the largest remnants of ancient forests in the U.S.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 312

Suggested Duration: 8 Days

Start & End Point: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Parks Visited: North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park

Best Time To Go: Apr - Oct

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Washington State

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

For those coming from out of state, the nearest airport is Seattle-Tacoma International, where you can start your journey by picking up a rental car. Depending on when your flight gets in, you can rest up at a nearby hotel for the night or make the 85-mile, 1½-hour drive to Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where you can spend the night.

Shutterstock

Day 2: North Cascades National Park

Stop Locations: North Cascades National Park, WA

From Sedro-Woolley, drive east for 46 miles along Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, to the entrance of North Cascades National Park. Take your first stroll through an old-growth forest on the Skagit River Loop (1.8 miles), which starts at the visitor center near the town of Newhalem, about 9 miles from the entrance, then devote the rest of the day to driving through the park on Route 20, stopping at various overlooks. Exit the park and continue through the scenic Methow Valley and on to Chelan (about 190 miles from the park’s western boundary) to stay the night.

Another option would be to exit the park the way you came in, at the western entrance near Newhalem, then head west toward Arlington (about 60 miles away, via Routes 20 and 9).

Shutterstock

Days 3-4: Mount Rainier National Park

Stop Locations: Mount Rainier National Park, WA

From Chelan, get an early start to drive to Ohanapecosh, the southeastern entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. When you arrive, take a drive on the spectacular Sunrise Road (about 30 miles round-trip), which reveals the “back” (northeast) side of Rainier. Book a room in nearby Ashford (about 19 miles east of the park’s Nisqually entrance) and make that your base for the next two nights.

The next day, energetic hikers will want to tackle one of the four- to six-hour trails that scale the park’s many peaks. Less ambitious visitors can take one of the shorter hikes in the Paradise Inn area or join a ranger-led walk through wildflower meadows. Another option is to hike to Panorama Point (a strenuous 4-mile round-trip), near the foot of the Muir Snowfield, for breathtaking views of the glaciers and high ridges of Rainier. Finish your day with dinner at the Paradise Inn, where you can watch the sunset on the peak.

Dreamstime

Day 5: Mount St. Helens and the Olympic Foothills

Stop Locations: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, WA

Today, drive south to spend the day visiting the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, where you can enter from the west side via Route 504 and see the destruction caused by the 1980 eruption. After leaving the monument, follow Route 504 back to Interstate 5 and head north to Olympia, winding through scenic Puget Sound countryside, skirting the Olympic foothills, and periodically dipping down to the waterfront en route to Port Angeles, where you’ll spend the night.

Dreamstime

Days 6-7: Olympic National Park

Stop Locations: Olympic National Park, WA

The next morning, launch into a full day at Olympic National Park. From the Port Angeles entrance, drive 17 miles south to Hurricane Ridge, where you’ll find several trails taking you through meadows and subalpine forest. The Hurricane Hill Trail (3.2 miles round-trip) delivers panoramic views of the mountains and ocean. Afterward, head back to Port Angeles for the night.

On Day 7, follow U.S. 101 west to La Push, a skinny satellite of coastal land that’s part of the national park (69 miles from Port Angeles). From La Push, hike 1.4 miles to Third Beach for a taste of the wild Pacific coastline. Back on U.S. 101, head south to the town of Forks and then east to the Hoh Rain Forest, also part of Olympic National Park. Explore the moss-covered alders and big-leaf maples, then follow a circular route on U.S. 101 to Lake Quinault, winding west toward the coast, then back to the lake and the national park. Check into the Lake Quinault Lodge, then drive up the river to access one of several trails—the Graves Creek Trail is a popular choice—through the lush Quinault Valley.

Dreamstime

Day 8: Heading Home

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Catch your flight back home from Seattle–Tacoma International, about 130 miles (a 2½-hour drive) from Olympic.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

Jesse Wong

16 Uniquely Delicious Ice Cream Flavors to Try this Summer

This itinerary takes you through Zion’s massive sandstone cliffs and narrow slot canyons, the hoodoos (odd-shape pillars of rock left by erosion) of Bryce Canyon, and the overwhelming majesty of the Grand Canyon, close to 300 river miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 650

Suggested Duration: 10 Days

Start & End Point: St. George, UT

Parks Visited: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Best Time To Go: Mar - Nov

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Canyon Country

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

Plan to fly into and out of St. George Municipal Airport in St. George, Utah. It’s close to all three parks, with Zion a little more than an hour away.

From the airport, head east toward Zion National Park, about 46 miles. Depending on how much daylight you’ve got, you can start exploring the park—enter at the south entrance and head to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center—or find a room for the next three nights in Springdale, the bustling town just outside the park (1.1 miles from the south entrance).

Shutterstock

Days 2-3: Zion National Park

Stop Locations: Zion National Park, UT

Start your day at the visitor center, just inside the south entrance, south of the junction of the Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Then explore the Drive, either in your own vehicle or via the park’s free shuttle, which runs during the summer months (a round-trip ride takes about 80 minutes). Intrepid hikers will want to tackle the Narrows, Zion’s infamous 16-mile-long gorge cut by the Virgin River, which requires hikers to spend more than half of their time walking, wading, or swimming in the fast-flowing river. For everyone else, Zion offers plenty of other hiking options. The Emerald Pool trails (about 1 mile each) take you on a fairly easy hike from Zion Lodge, about 3 miles from Canyon Junction, to Lower and Upper Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

Spend the next day exploring the Kolob Canyons, in the northwestern corner of the park about 40 miles from Canyon Junction. Take the Kolob Canyons Road 5 miles to its end at the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, where you’ll get fabulous views of the surrounding red rock canyons. For a spectacular 5-mile hike, drive about 2 miles back on the Kolob Canyons Road to the Taylor Creek Trail, which takes you past historic homesteaders’ cabins and through a narrow box canyon to the Double Arch Alcove, a large arched grotto.

At the end of the day, leave the park via the beautiful Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and its historic mile-long tunnel. You’ll pass through slickrock country, with huge, petrified sandstone dunes etched by ancient waters, and head to Bryce Canyon, where you’ll spend the night (you’ve got a few lodging options, both inside and just outside the park in the town of Bryce Canyon).

Shutterstock

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Start your tour of Bryce Canyon National Park at the visitor center, about 1 mile past the park entrance. Central to your tour of Bryce Canyon is the 18-mile-long main park road, where numerous scenic turnouts reveal vistas of bright red-orange rock. If you’re visiting in the summer, the free Bryce Canyon Shuttle will take you to many of the park’s most popular attractions. Trails worth exploring include the 1-mile Bristlecone Loop Trail and the 1.3-mile Navajo Loop Trail, both of which will get you into the heart of the park.

At the end of the day, leave the park and head toward Kanab, 78 miles (about 1 hour, 25 minutes) away, to spend the night en route to the Grand Canyon.

Dreamstime

Day 5: En Route to the Grand Canyon

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon Village, AZ

Today, you’ll drive from Kanab to Grand Canyon National Park, about 210 miles away. Check into a hotel in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim or in Tusayan, a few miles to the south, for the next two nights. If you’ve got time, hike (or take the shuttle) to Yavapai Point, just west of the visitor center in the South Rim Village, to catch the sunset.

Dreamstime

Days 6-8: Grand Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

If you didn’t make it yesterday, begin today’s tour with a stop at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, near Mather Point in the South Rim Village, for the latest maps and information. While you’re there, check out the Historic District, with its early-19th-century train depot and other buildings, many built by the Santa Fe Railroad. Get your bearings with a drive (or, if you’re visiting early spring–late fall, a free shuttle ride) on the 7-mile-long Hermit Road. Take a hike on the Rim Trail, a nearly flat path (much of which is paved) that hugs the edge of the canyon from the Village to Hermit’s Rest, 2.8 miles to the west.

On your second day in the park, tackle the upper section of one of the “Corridor Trails”—South Kaibab or Bright Angel—which start at the South Rim and meet in the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the canyon (the third Corridor Trail, North Kaibab, connects the bottom of the canyon to the North Rim). Bright Angel, the easier of the two, is one of the most scenic paths into the canyon; the trailhead is near Kolb Studio, at the western end of the Village.

Note that visitors are strongly advised against attempting to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back in one day, which means you’ll have to pick a place to turn around before you reach the end of the trail. On Bright Angel, that spot would be Indian Garden Campground, about 4.8 miles from the trailhead, or Plateau Point, which is another 1.5 miles past Indian Garden.

For your last day in the park, take an interpretive ranger-led program; they cover a wide variety of subjects, including geology, history, and wildlife so pick up a list at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Afterward, you can spend the night in (or near) the park again, or start your drive back toward the airport in St. George. The town of Fredonia, Arizona (200 miles; 3 hours, 40 minutes from the South Rim) would be a good stopping point for the night.

Dreamstime

Day 9: Heading Home

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

The St. George Municipal Airport is 74 miles (1 hour, 22 minutes) from Fredonia.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

16 Uniquely Delicious Ice Cream Flavors to Try this Summer

A trip to Washington’s three national parks—plus a visit to Mount St. Helen’s National Volcanic Monument—takes you through rugged Pacific coastline and high alpine terrain as well as lush temperate rainforest, glaciers, waterfalls, and some of the largest remnants of ancient forests in the U.S.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 312

Suggested Duration: 8 Days

Start & End Point: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Parks Visited: North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park

Best Time To Go: Apr - Oct

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Washington State

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

For those coming from out of state, the nearest airport is Seattle-Tacoma International, where you can start your journey by picking up a rental car. Depending on when your flight gets in, you can rest up at a nearby hotel for the night or make the 85-mile, 1½-hour drive to Sedro-Woolley, Washington, where you can spend the night.

Shutterstock

Day 2: North Cascades National Park

Stop Locations: North Cascades National Park, WA

From Sedro-Woolley, drive east for 46 miles along Route 20, also known as the North Cascades Highway, to the entrance of North Cascades National Park. Take your first stroll through an old-growth forest on the Skagit River Loop (1.8 miles), which starts at the visitor center near the town of Newhalem, about 9 miles from the entrance, then devote the rest of the day to driving through the park on Route 20, stopping at various overlooks. Exit the park and continue through the scenic Methow Valley and on to Chelan (about 190 miles from the park’s western boundary) to stay the night.

Another option would be to exit the park the way you came in, at the western entrance near Newhalem, then head west toward Arlington (about 60 miles away, via Routes 20 and 9).

Shutterstock

Days 3-4: Mount Rainier National Park

Stop Locations: Mount Rainier National Park, WA

From Chelan, get an early start to drive to Ohanapecosh, the southeastern entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. When you arrive, take a drive on the spectacular Sunrise Road (about 30 miles round-trip), which reveals the “back” (northeast) side of Rainier. Book a room in nearby Ashford (about 19 miles east of the park’s Nisqually entrance) and make that your base for the next two nights.

The next day, energetic hikers will want to tackle one of the four- to six-hour trails that scale the park’s many peaks. Less ambitious visitors can take one of the shorter hikes in the Paradise Inn area or join a ranger-led walk through wildflower meadows. Another option is to hike to Panorama Point (a strenuous 4-mile round-trip), near the foot of the Muir Snowfield, for breathtaking views of the glaciers and high ridges of Rainier. Finish your day with dinner at the Paradise Inn, where you can watch the sunset on the peak.

Dreamstime

Day 5: Mount St. Helens and the Olympic Foothills

Stop Locations: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, WA

Today, drive south to spend the day visiting the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, where you can enter from the west side via Route 504 and see the destruction caused by the 1980 eruption. After leaving the monument, follow Route 504 back to Interstate 5 and head north to Olympia, winding through scenic Puget Sound countryside, skirting the Olympic foothills, and periodically dipping down to the waterfront en route to Port Angeles, where you’ll spend the night.

Dreamstime

Days 6-7: Olympic National Park

Stop Locations: Olympic National Park, WA

The next morning, launch into a full day at Olympic National Park. From the Port Angeles entrance, drive 17 miles south to Hurricane Ridge, where you’ll find several trails taking you through meadows and subalpine forest. The Hurricane Hill Trail (3.2 miles round-trip) delivers panoramic views of the mountains and ocean. Afterward, head back to Port Angeles for the night.

On Day 7, follow U.S. 101 west to La Push, a skinny satellite of coastal land that’s part of the national park (69 miles from Port Angeles). From La Push, hike 1.4 miles to Third Beach for a taste of the wild Pacific coastline. Back on U.S. 101, head south to the town of Forks and then east to the Hoh Rain Forest, also part of Olympic National Park. Explore the moss-covered alders and big-leaf maples, then follow a circular route on U.S. 101 to Lake Quinault, winding west toward the coast, then back to the lake and the national park. Check into the Lake Quinault Lodge, then drive up the river to access one of several trails—the Graves Creek Trail is a popular choice—through the lush Quinault Valley.

Dreamstime

Day 8: Heading Home

Stop Locations: Sedro-Woolley, WA

Catch your flight back home from Seattle–Tacoma International, about 130 miles (a 2½-hour drive) from Olympic.

Fodor’s National Park Road Trips:

Fodor's National Park Road Trips:

Jesse Wong

These Are the 10 Scariest, Loopiest, Wildest Roller Coasters in the U.S.

This itinerary takes you through Zion’s massive sandstone cliffs and narrow slot canyons, the hoodoos (odd-shape pillars of rock left by erosion) of Bryce Canyon, and the overwhelming majesty of the Grand Canyon, close to 300 river miles long, 18 miles wide, and a mile deep.

At a Glance:

Miles Traveled: 650

Suggested Duration: 10 Days

Start & End Point: St. George, UT

Parks Visited: Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park

Best Time To Go: Mar - Nov

Dreamstime

Day 1: Welcome to Canyon Country

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

Plan to fly into and out of St. George Municipal Airport in St. George, Utah. It’s close to all three parks, with Zion a little more than an hour away.

From the airport, head east toward Zion National Park, about 46 miles. Depending on how much daylight you’ve got, you can start exploring the park—enter at the south entrance and head to the Zion Canyon Visitor Center—or find a room for the next three nights in Springdale, the bustling town just outside the park (1.1 miles from the south entrance).

Shutterstock

Days 2-3: Zion National Park

Stop Locations: Zion National Park, UT

Start your day at the visitor center, just inside the south entrance, south of the junction of the Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive. Then explore the Drive, either in your own vehicle or via the park’s free shuttle, which runs during the summer months (a round-trip ride takes about 80 minutes). Intrepid hikers will want to tackle the Narrows, Zion’s infamous 16-mile-long gorge cut by the Virgin River, which requires hikers to spend more than half of their time walking, wading, or swimming in the fast-flowing river. For everyone else, Zion offers plenty of other hiking options. The Emerald Pool trails (about 1 mile each) take you on a fairly easy hike from Zion Lodge, about 3 miles from Canyon Junction, to Lower and Upper Emerald Pool and waterfalls.

Spend the next day exploring the Kolob Canyons, in the northwestern corner of the park about 40 miles from Canyon Junction. Take the Kolob Canyons Road 5 miles to its end at the Kolob Canyons Viewpoint, where you’ll get fabulous views of the surrounding red rock canyons. For a spectacular 5-mile hike, drive about 2 miles back on the Kolob Canyons Road to the Taylor Creek Trail, which takes you past historic homesteaders’ cabins and through a narrow box canyon to the Double Arch Alcove, a large arched grotto.

At the end of the day, leave the park via the beautiful Zion–Mount Carmel Highway and its historic mile-long tunnel. You’ll pass through slickrock country, with huge, petrified sandstone dunes etched by ancient waters, and head to Bryce Canyon, where you’ll spend the night (you’ve got a few lodging options, both inside and just outside the park in the town of Bryce Canyon).

Shutterstock

Day 4: Bryce Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Bryce Canyon National Park, UT

Start your tour of Bryce Canyon National Park at the visitor center, about 1 mile past the park entrance. Central to your tour of Bryce Canyon is the 18-mile-long main park road, where numerous scenic turnouts reveal vistas of bright red-orange rock. If you’re visiting in the summer, the free Bryce Canyon Shuttle will take you to many of the park’s most popular attractions. Trails worth exploring include the 1-mile Bristlecone Loop Trail and the 1.3-mile Navajo Loop Trail, both of which will get you into the heart of the park.

At the end of the day, leave the park and head toward Kanab, 78 miles (about 1 hour, 25 minutes) away, to spend the night en route to the Grand Canyon.

Dreamstime

Day 5: En Route to the Grand Canyon

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon Village, AZ

Today, you’ll drive from Kanab to Grand Canyon National Park, about 210 miles away. Check into a hotel in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim or in Tusayan, a few miles to the south, for the next two nights. If you’ve got time, hike (or take the shuttle) to Yavapai Point, just west of the visitor center in the South Rim Village, to catch the sunset.

Dreamstime

Days 6-8: Grand Canyon National Park

Stop Locations: Grand Canyon National Park, AZ

If you didn’t make it yesterday, begin today’s tour with a stop at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center, near Mather Point in the South Rim Village, for the latest maps and information. While you’re there, check out the Historic District, with its early-19th-century train depot and other buildings, many built by the Santa Fe Railroad. Get your bearings with a drive (or, if you’re visiting early spring–late fall, a free shuttle ride) on the 7-mile-long Hermit Road. Take a hike on the Rim Trail, a nearly flat path (much of which is paved) that hugs the edge of the canyon from the Village to Hermit’s Rest, 2.8 miles to the west.

On your second day in the park, tackle the upper section of one of the “Corridor Trails”—South Kaibab or Bright Angel—which start at the South Rim and meet in the Bright Angel Campground at the bottom of the canyon (the third Corridor Trail, North Kaibab, connects the bottom of the canyon to the North Rim). Bright Angel, the easier of the two, is one of the most scenic paths into the canyon; the trailhead is near Kolb Studio, at the western end of the Village.

Note that visitors are strongly advised against attempting to hike to the bottom of the canyon and back in one day, which means you’ll have to pick a place to turn around before you reach the end of the trail. On Bright Angel, that spot would be Indian Garden Campground, about 4.8 miles from the trailhead, or Plateau Point, which is another 1.5 miles past Indian Garden.

For your last day in the park, take an interpretive ranger-led program; they cover a wide variety of subjects, including geology, history, and wildlife so pick up a list at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center. Afterward, you can spend the night in (or near) the park again, or start your drive back toward the airport in St. George. The town of Fredonia, Arizona (200 miles; 3 hours, 40 minutes from the South Rim) would be a good stopping point for the night.

Dreamstime

Day 9: Heading Home

Stop Locations: St. George, UT

The St. George Municipal Airport is 74 miles (1 hour, 22 minutes) from Fredonia.