Driving at sunset from Sedona to the Grand Canyon.

Traveling from Sedona to the Grand Canyon

Dan Turner

Sedona and the Grand Canyon are Arizona’s most popular scenic destinations. The Sedona area is famous for its towering red rock formations and vortex energy. It attracts spiritual seekers, hikers, mountain bikers, and artists. The Grand Canyon, recognized as one of the world’s seven natural wonders, lures millions with its incredible size, stratified rock layers, and breathtaking views from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.

Visiting Sedona and the Grand Canyon on an Arizona road trip makes for an excellent itinerary full of beautiful Southwestern landscapes. The drive between them travels through scenic countryside with exciting stops.

How Far is Sedona From the Grand Canyon?

Sedona and the South Rim of the Grand Canyon Village, an ideal day trip, are approximately 115 miles apart when taking the most convenient road trip route. The driving time is around 2 hours 15 minutes without stops. From Sedona to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, it’s approximately 215 miles or 4 hours driving.

The Best Route from Sedona to the Grand Canyon

The most popular and picturesque drive from Sedona to the Grand Canyon heads through Oak Creek Canyon on AZ-89A to Flagstaff, then west on I-40 and north on AZ-64. This Grand Canyon road trip includes sights like the prehistoric cliff dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument and vistas of the San Francisco Peaks. It brings you directly to the Grand Canyon Visitor Center on the South Rim.

  • Head north on AZ-89A through Oak Creek Canyon toward Flagstaff
  • Continue north on I-17 to I-40 west toward Williams
  • Head north on AZ-64, which dead ends into the South Rim
  • Follow signs for the South Rim entrance to Grand Canyon National Park

Top Attractions & Stops Between Sedona and the Grand Canyon

Allow 2-3 days to leisurely drive between Sedona and the Grand Canyon, enjoying exciting stops along the way:

Spend a Day in Sedona

Before heading north to the Grand Canyon, enjoy Sedona and spectacular Oak Creek Canyon on the drive up. In Sedona, take a tour of the ancient cliff dwellings at Red Rock State Park, see the vibrant red rock formations of Cathedral Rock and Devil’s Bridge on hiking trails, relax creekside at Slide Rock State Park, or get a “vortex” experience. Oak Creek Canyon offers excellent swimming holes and viewpoints of the towering canyon walls.

Visit Ancient Cliff Dwellings at Walnut Canyon National Monument

Stop at Walnut Canyon National Monument near Flagstaff to explore the ancient cliff dwellings of the Sinagua people tucked within limestone cliffs. If you climb the Island Trail, homes, ladders, rooms, and artifacts are visible inside the dwellings. It’s an informative glimpse into how these Native American tribes adapted to their environments.

 

Pull-quote, "Hundreds of SINAGUA people once farmed the fertile volcanic soil here."

 

Sunset Crater Volcano & Wupatki National Monuments

Explore two volcanic landscapes along this route: the black lava flows of Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument north of Flagstaff and Wupatki National Monument with blowholes from underground volcanic activity. Hundreds of Sinagua people once farmed the fertile volcanic soil here, all well adapted to their environments.

Grand Canyon South Rim

At the Grand Canyon National Park entrance, stretch your legs along the Rim Trail out to Mather Point for that first jaw-dropping view of The Abyss and layers of rock. Continue driving along the South Rim for more overlooks like Desert View Watchtower, or take a ranger-guided tour to learn about geology and ecosystems.

Spend More Time at the Canyon

From the South Rim, you can walk deeper into the canyon along the famous Bright Angel Trail, ride a mule train along the rim or river, take a helicopter tour for bird’s eye views, or even stay overnight at Phantom Ranch on the canyon floor. At Desert View, you’ll find the best sunrises and sunsets. Extend your visit to see more of Grand Canyon’s miles of overlooks.

Tips for Driving from Sedona to the Grand Canyon

Driving this incredibly scenic 115-mile route through verdant Oak Creek Canyon, the pine forests around Flagstaff, the high desert landscape of the Navajo Nation, and finally descending into the Grand Canyon makes for an unforgettable Arizona road trip adventure.

  • There are few gas stations, restaurants, or cell service once you enter the Navajo Reservation along Highway 64. Fill up in Williams.
  • AZ-64 North dead ends at Grand Canyon Visitor Center. At the end of your canyon visit, you’ll have to backtrack on AZ-64 to return to Sedona.
  • Oak Creek Canyon on AZ-89A is twisty, with steep drop-offs. Go carefully.
  • Built-in GPS navigates the route well, but pick up a paper Arizona road map, too.
  • Check seasonal road closures at the parks before your trip
  • Visit in spring or fall to avoid extreme Arizona heat

 

Sedona to the Grand Canyon pull quote.

 

With incredible natural beauty, adventures from hiking to white water rafting, insights into native cultures, and awe around every turn, a road trip from Sedona to Grand Canyon offers the ultimate tour of Arizona’s gorgeous landscapes. You’ll see the best of the Southwest by taking a few days to go on a road trip between these top destinations.

Must-See Stops on the Way from Sedona to the Grand Canyon

As you travel from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, you should take advantage of several must-see stops and attractions along the way. These destinations offer unique experiences and breathtaking views, adding to the overall adventure of your trip.

Slide Rock State Park

One of the most popular stops is Slide Rock State Park, where you can cool off on the natural water slide or take a refreshing swim in Oak Creek. The park is renowned for its picturesque red rocks and crystal-clear waters, making it a perfect place to relax and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Oak Creek Canyon

Exploring the winding trails in Oak Creek Canyon.

Oak Creek Canyon is another must-visit destination along the route. This scenic canyon offers stunning viewpoints and hiking trails that allow you to immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. Take a stroll or challenge yourself with a more rigorous hike and be rewarded with breathtaking vistas, unique flora, and fauna.

Flagstaff

When passing through Flagstaff, take the opportunity to explore this charming town. Known for its breweries, Route 66, and scenic gondola rides, Flagstaff has something for everyone. Grab a bite to eat at one of the local eateries, visit the historic sites along Route 66, or enjoy a leisurely gondola ride to take in the panoramic views of the surrounding mountains.

Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument

Visiting Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument and Wupatki National Monument is a must for those interested in geology and history. These unique attractions showcase volcanic landscapes and ancient Native American ruins, offering a glimpse into the region’s rich geological and cultural past. Explore the trails, marvel at the intriguing formations, and delve into the stories that shaped the area.

These must-see stops from Sedona to the Grand Canyon will enhance your journey, providing memorable experiences and opportunities to connect with nature and history. Plan your trip accordingly, allowing ample time to explore each destination and create lasting memories.

Outdoor Adventures on the Sedona to Grand Canyon Route

Embarking on a day trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon opens up a world of exciting outdoor adventures. With its breathtaking landscapes and diverse terrain, this route offers opportunities for nature lovers of all kinds.

One of the highlights of the Sedona to the Grand Canyon route is the abundance of hiking trails. Near Sedona, the West Fork trail is popular, with its picturesque views and the opportunity to wander through a scenic slot canyon. If you’re up for a challenge, consider conquering Humphrey’s Peak in Flagstaff, the highest point in Arizona. The rewarding views from the top make the strenuous hike well worth the effort.

If you’re short on time and want to make the most of your visit, consider joining a day trip tour from Sedona to the Grand Canyon. These tours often include transportation, guided hikes, and insider knowledge from experienced guides. It’s a convenient way to explore the highlights of the Grand Canyon while leaving the logistics in the hands of experts.

Once you reach the Grand Canyon, the adventure continues. The national park offers hiking trails, ranging from strolls along the rim to more challenging treks into the canyon. Take the chance to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon from different viewpoints, each offering a unique perspective on this natural wonder.

Dining and Shopping Along the Sedona to Grand Canyon Route

A hearty steak dinner is one of the many dining options on a trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon.

As you embark on your day trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, you’ll be delighted to discover an array of dining and shopping options. These stops provide opportunities to refuel and indulge in local flavors and pick up unique souvenirs to commemorate your journey.

Dining Options

Williams: A charming town on Route 66, Williams offers a taste of nostalgia and a chance to experience the iconic highway. Here, you’ll find a variety of dining establishments, from classic American diners serving hearty meals to cozy cafes offering freshly brewed coffee and homemade pastries.

Flagstaff: As you venture through Flagstaff, you’ll be greeted with a vibrant food scene. Flagstaff has something to satisfy every palate, from local breweries and gastropubs to international cuisine and farm-to-table restaurants. Try regional specialties and indulge in culinary delights during your visit.

Sedona: Back in Sedona, you’ll have an abundance of dining options to choose from. Sedona has it all, whether you’re craving Southwestern cuisine, fine dining with panoramic views, or casual eateries serving comfort food. Treat yourself to a delicious meal and soak in the scenic beauty of the red rock surroundings.

Shopping Opportunities

Along the Sedona to Grand Canyon route, you’ll have plenty of opportunities for retail therapy and souvenir hunting. Here are a few places worth exploring:

Williams: Stroll along the main street in Williams and browse the charming shops offering unique gifts, clothing, and local artwork. You may find the perfect memento to remember your Sedona to the Grand Canyon day trip.

Flagstaff: Explore the downtown area of Flagstaff, where you’ll discover a mix of boutiques, vintage shops, and art galleries. From handmade jewelry to Native American crafts, there’s no shortage of treasures.

Sedona: You’ll find a diverse shopping scene catering to locals and tourists in Sedona. From upscale art galleries and jewelry stores to New Age shops and outdoor gear retailers, there’s something for everyone. Stroll through the vibrant shopping districts and indulge in some retail therapy.

Accommodation Options for a Sedona to Grand Canyon Trip

When planning a day trip from Sedona to the Grand Canyon, you may wonder about the best accommodation options. While it is feasible to travel back to Sedona for overnight stays, there are also lodging choices near the Grand Canyon that can enhance your experience.

If you prefer to stay close to the Grand Canyon, hotels and campgrounds are available. These options provide convenient access to the park, allowing you to make the most of your time exploring this natural wonder. Whether you’re looking for a cozy hotel room or the adventure of camping under the stars, you’ll find suitable choices near the Grand Canyon.

Another option is staying in Flagstaff, a larger city along the route. Flagstaff offers various accommodation choices to suit different budgets and preferences. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly motels, you’ll find plenty of options to rest and recharge before continuing your journey.

Coming Back: The Grand Canyon to Sedona

Benefits of Staying Near the Grand Canyon or Flagstaff:

  • More time to explore the Grand Canyon: By staying near the Grand Canyon or Flagstaff, you’ll have extra time in the morning to visit the park before the crowds arrive.
  • Enjoy the sunset and sunrise views: Staying overnight allows you to witness the awe-inspiring beauty of the Grand Canyon during sunrise and sunset when the colors are most vibrant.
  • Convenience and comfort: Accommodation near the Grand Canyon or Flagstaff provides convenience and comfort after a long day of driving and exploring.
  • Opportunity for stargazing: Flagstaff is known for its dark skies, making it an ideal location for stargazing enthusiasts.

Key Takeaways

  • Sedona to Grand Canyon’s South Rim is a 115-mile scenic drive, about 2 hours and 15 minutes.
  • Top stops include Oak Creek Canyon, Flagstaff, Walnut Canyon’s ancient cliff dwellings, Sunset Crater Volcano, and Grand Canyon overlooks & trails
  • Allow 2-3 days to make the most of sights and activities along this route
  • AZ-64 North takes you directly to the Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center on the South Rim entrance
  • Backtrack on AZ-64 from Grand Canyon to return to Sedona

Traveling from Sedona to the Grand Canyon is an unforgettable road trip that offers breathtaking landscapes, exciting adventures, and cultural experiences. Whether you drive, take a tour, or explore alone, this journey will leave you with memories to last a lifetime.

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