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Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

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Roswell, Georgia
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Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

We'll be traveling from Sedona to GCNP where we will be staying for two nights. We'd like to stop in Flagstaff (although that might end up being a stop on our Winslow to Phoenix route). But definitely want to do the loop to see Sunset Crater and Wupatki ruins.

So...the question is whether we should go from Wupatki to GCNP via the East entrance or backtrack to Flagstaff to use the south entrance. According to the maps, it only adds about 30 minutes to our travel time to enter via the south entrance. If we use the Loop Road from the crater to the ruins, the drive on 89S will be scenery we've not seen. We will also exit GCNP thru the east entrance on our way to Page.

Advice and/or pros and cons?

Sedona, AZ
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1. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

What do you think you want to see or do at Flagstaff?

Unless you have a half day or more's worth of activities in mind for Flag, you could give it a mss. The Sunset Crater/Wupatki loop is a desirable detour on the way to GCNP. It will mean backtracking along the east rim road when you exit for Page, but IMO that's worth driving twice, or more,

Uden, The...
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2. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

What time of year are you coming?

You can drive through Flagstaff and take 180 and maybe visit Museum of Northern Az along 180. 180 is a great drive but not with snow and ice.

But if you definitely want to see Sunset Crater and Wupatki (and maybe even Walnut Canyon) I''d do as RedRox has said. Backtracking in this case really isn't a problem.

Tucson, Arizona
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3. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

I would go straight to the GC south entrance. You can always do the Wupatki / Sunset Crater loop (and Walnut Canyon) when you drive from Page to Winslow.

Roswell, Georgia
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4. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

Mike...that won't work because we will be going to Winslow from CdC. We do plan to see Walnut Canyon en route from Winslow to Phoenix.

Tet...we will be traveling in mid to late October.

So...just to clarify since it appears my initial post was not clear, here is some additional info about our route:

Sedona to GCNP

GCNP to Page

Page to MV

MV to CdC

CdC to Winslow

Winslow to Phoenix

To be honest, I don't know what I want or plan to do in Flagstaff...just thought it would be worth at least a stop for something! Maybe not.

Definite wants:

Sunset Crater/Wupatki

Meteor Crater

Walnut Canyon

Montezuma Castle/Well

Maybes:

Flagstaff

Petrified Forest/Painted Desert

Taliesan West

So if we decide to do Flagstaff, we could either do it between Sedona and GCNP or as we head back to Phoenix from Winslow.

Also...we will have 3 nights in Sedona, so we could either see Montezuma Castle as a day trip from there or on the way back to Phoenix. We don't have plane reservations yet because we think the fares will drop. Southwest has just started flying out of Atlanta, and they don't even have schedules posted past around August. We hope to get a red-eye flight late on the day we travel from Winslow to Phoenix.

So my original question was this:

Is it worth backtracking from Wupatki back to Flagstaff in order to enter GCNP via the south entrance since we plan to exit for Page via the east.

We have two choices from what I can tell on the map:

On the way from Sedona, we will pass thru Flagstaff and do the loop road to see Sunset Crater and Wupatki, then I have my dilema.

1. Leave Wupatki and take 89N to 64W and enter GCNP from the east. This will be the shortest route, but will also be the way we plan to head up to Page.

2. Leave Wupatki and take 89S to Flagstaff and take 180N to 64N and enter GCNP via the south. This is about 30 miles and 30 minutes longer but would not exactly be backtracking since we would not have used 89N to get to Wupatki.

Is it worth seeing anything that we might miss if we skip the south entrance? We have two nights in GCNP.

Sedona, AZ
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5. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

Skip the south entrance. That would be the least scenic route anyway. But if you insisted on backtracking anywhere, I'd do it on your route from GCNP to Page. You could back track down 89 to Wupatki/Sunset Crater from Caeron and then head back up 89 to Page.

Roswell, Georgia
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6. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

Thanks RR but you have me a little confused. I don't really need to backtrack anywhere. I just didn't know if there was a compelling reason to see both the east and south approaches.

If we do the loop to Sunset Crater/Wupatki when coming up from Sedona, is there anything of significance on 89 that we will have missed by doing the loop?

Sedona, AZ
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7. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

No, you won't mss anything. Using the east entrance is my preference anyway.

Roswell, Georgia
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8. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

OK...whew...glad that is settled! LOL

Roswell, Georgia
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9. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

Alright RedRox...one more question. Hopefully it will be the last for this portion of our trip!

Does it make the most sense to visit Oak Creek Canyon as we leave Sedona on our way to GCNP...keeping in mind that we want to see Sunset Crater and Wupatki on that same leg? Our other option is a day or 1/2 day trip from Sedona.

Also, what are the must do things in OCC?

Sedona, AZ
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10. Re: Sedona to GCNP - Which route?

Oak Creek Canyon is adjacent to Sedona and will be the first 15 miles of your drive to GCNP. Since you'll be at the park for two nights, you'll have a full day there in between and that is probably enough.

So allow an extra hour or two for some stops in OCC on your way to Wupatki.