We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Crazy wedding weekend

Nashille
Level Contributor
86 posts
4 reviews
Save Topic
Crazy wedding weekend

OK, here's the mission ... a dear friend is getting married in Flag next Saturday. My husband and I -- who have never been to Arizona or the Grand Canyon -- are flying in for the wedding and would love to see the Canyon while we're there.

We arrive in Phoenix at 7 p.m. Friday night, have a rental car and plan to drive up to Flagstaff. The wedding is Saturday at 4:30 p.m., so we're thinking of getting up REALLY early that morning and driving up to the Canyon (sunrise??) Would spend as much time as we could, getting back to Flag by 2:30 or so, so we'd have time to shower and dress and get to the church in time for a good seat. Picnic up there would be good if we could pick up sandwiches somewhere. Is this crazy given summer crowds? Or do-able, even if slightly crazy?

Next day, Sunday, is free until our flight back, leaving Phoenix at 4 p.m. Wondering if we should see Sedona that morning -- any particular places there? Also wondering if we should stay somewhere besides Flag on Saturday night?

Any ideas of how to make this all work? We'd love to see the Canyon, dramatic scenery, red rocks, stars at night ... soak up as much as possible until we can get back there again. Don't know if we should take the shuttle bus. Don't know the best place to park if we do. Don't know where/when to eat -- my husband can not go without breakfast and lunch. Any and all suggestions greatly appreciated!

Cape Girardeau, Mo
Level Contributor
2,484 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

It is absolutely doable--a whirlwind to be sure, but I'd do it in a heartbeat. Most day trips from Las Vegas allow you only a bit over 3 hours on the ground to sightsee at the Canyon. You will have over twice that amount.

The good news, AZ does not observe daylight savings time, so 6AM Nashville time (your body) will be 4AM local time in Arizona. So getting up early is much easier. It is about 1:15 (depending on where in Flagstaff you are staying) to the Canyon. You could easily be there at 6AM and leave by 1:00 and be back for the wedding and have spent 7 hours at the Canyon. That's more than most day trippers get to spend. I would not worry about getting anything for a picnic, (wouldn't take the time) I would just pop into the deli in the Park and grab a couple of sandwiches. My wife and I thought they were quite good. Just grab a sandwich, drink and chips each and walk to the rim and sit down.

Sunday morning going to Sedona is a great idea. Again, get up as early as you can. Call Pink Jeep Tours today and book a Broken Arrow tour. It will give you the greatest amount of scenery and information from the guide in the shortest amount of time. It is 2 hours to Phoenix from Sedona, so with rental car return and security and check in, you ought to leave around noon for a 4pm flight.

Edited: 11:46 am, August 04, 2010
West Yellowstone...
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
Level Contributor
2,315 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

I live in Flagstaff and we have made many day trips to the canyon. It's definitely do-able. Yesterday, we left about 7:45 a.m., arrived at the east entrance to the park by about 9:15, stopped at Desert View for a bathroom break and to check the options at the snack shop there, drove to Grand View and hiked into the canyon for a ways, then back out, drove to the new visitor center area and poked around there for a bit, then to Grand Canyon Village where we had a leisurely lunch at Maswick Cafeteria then walked along the rim trail from near Maswisk to the Trailview Overlook Point and back and were back home by 3:15 p.m. (albeit desperately in need of a shower).

My point is, you can see enough to feel like you've gotten a good overview of the canyon in a half-day trip.

Driving through Sedona on your way to the airport on Sunday is a great idea! If you're into hiking, plan to leave Flagstaff early again and do a hike in the area before lunch in town and you'll still be at the airport in plenty of time for your flight.

Where are you staying in Flag? I can help with the best route to take to the canyon based on your hotel location.

West Yellowstone...
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
Level Contributor
2,315 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

BTW, I just wanted to add that I do not recommend Grand View as a first hike into the canyon, if you choose to descend below the rim at all. Bright Angel trail would be my recommendation for a first- timer, and not far. Doing so is definitely worth it if you are able-bodied as you get a totally different perspective even just a short distance below the rim, but it's hard to imagine what getting out will feel like as you're going in.

Also, if you are going up to the park before sunrise, please drive cautiously. The area is populated with elk and they like to stand on/near the roadways in the dark. They are beautiful to see, but it would put a significant damper on your trip if you were to hit one.

Nashille
Level Contributor
86 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

Am so glad to hear that it's all do-able. I'm getting really excited about the trip, and your ideas are all good!

Re the Pink Jeep Tour, it sounds great, but I'm also wondering about some time by ourselves just soaking up the scenery. Is there a hike you recommend in Sedona? Is Cathedral Rock too strenuous for two reasonably fit 50-somethings who like to walk every night but haven't scaled rocks in, oh, a lifetime :-)

BTW, we're currently booked at the Aspen InnSuites in Flagstaff -- I'm not at all sure about it, and have been trying for Priceline deals but haven't gotten any yet. I just hated to pay very much when we're planning to be out before sunrise ... Best route from there to the Canyon would be ....?

Thanks for everyone's help so far -- you guys are great!!!

Edited: 1:27 pm, August 04, 2010
Nashille
Level Contributor
86 posts
4 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

Anyone think we should fit Walnut Canyon into our second day (as we head back to Phoenix)? I just read about it and the cave dwellings sound fascinating.

Sounds like there are LOTS of wonderful choices for our Sunday morning, and I'm not sure how to make best use of the time. I guess we have from 8 a.m. to noon (unless we get up earlier, which we might ...)

Sedona, AZ
Destination Expert
for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
Level Contributor
59,765 posts
243 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

walnut Canyon is cool, but not as a trade off for Sedona. I'd recommend the Pink jeep tour followed by a visit to the Chapel of the Holy Cross and a short hike on Bell Rock

West Yellowstone...
Destination Expert
for Flagstaff, West Yellowstone
Level Contributor
2,315 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

Your hotel is right on Rt. 66, so you're well-positioned. I'd still recommend heading to the east entrance of Grand Canyon- if you head east on Rt. 66/Santa Fe Ave. it will take you there. Just keep going east and it will pass the mall on the right hand side, then leave town and you will have the opportunity to experience some nice high-desert scenery along the way. It begins to be referred to as Hwy. 89 outside of town. When you reach Cameron, turn left on AZ 64 which goes straight to the entrance gate of the park. Pick up your map and seasonal newspaper publication from the ranger when you pay ($25) to get in and the passenger can start navigating which overlooks you'd like to stop at. Keep driving to the west, finishing with lunch, be it a picnic or at one of the restaurants, in Grand Canyon Village and exit through the south entrance and head back to Flagstaff via Tusayan, changing highways at Valle to US180 to Flagstaff and you'll end up back downtown.

I'm going to say you can probably squeeze in Walnut Canyon, but at the expense of time in Sedona. If you do a real rush tour, you can accomplish the loop around Island Trail and be on your way again in about an hour or so. This does not allow you much, if any, time in the visitor center, but you will receive a small amount of reading material when you pay your entry fee ($5/person). The monument opens at 8. I'd plan on 15 minutes to get there from your hotel and to be there as soon as they open the doors. You pay your entry fee in the Visitor Center, and you do have to pass through it to access the Island Trail. The Rim Trail is currently closed for repairs. The Island Trail does require some stair descending in and back out again, but it's not too major and I believe reasonably-fit people can do it with no problem, just take your time.

Adding this to your itinerary will have you in Sedona around 10 a.m., time for a short hike and lunch before you must depart for the PHX airport. Although there are two options for getting between Flagstaff and Sedona, I would highly recommend the route down US89A (take I-17 out of Flagstaff and then exit pretty quickly at exit # 337, turn right off the exit ramp then quickly left at 89A. The drive should be taken cautiously as it entails a steep elevation change and some tight turns, but you will be rewarded with magnificent views.

There are many wonderful hikes in the Sedona area. I suggest researching them here at Trip Advisor under the Sedona "Things To Do" and see which can be accomplished in your short time frame and will suit your energy level. Just note that you will need a Red Rock Pass for parking your vehicle at the trailheads of most of the popular hiking spots. Some trailheads have a pay box, others do not and require that you purchase a day pass elsewehere, so with your short time allotment, I suggest you know in advance what your needs will be. Lunch after this may be rushed, or you could grab some sandwiches to eat on the trail or in the car as you drive to Phoenix.

Exit Sedona through The Village of Oak Creek and you will be back on I-17, about 2 hours' drive from Sky Harbor.

Cape Girardeau, Mo
Level Contributor
2,484 posts
53 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

If you get to Sedona at 10 as suggested above, you will not have time to do anything of substance. 4 hours is without a doubt too little time, but 2 it is basically doing nothing more than driving through. Unfortunately you have so little time that you can't do much as you already know. The 2 biggest attractions for travelers in Arizona are the Grand Canyon and Sedona. I would concentrate on the top two destinations and leave all the rest for another visit.

9. Re: Crazy wedding weekend

-:- Message from TripAdvisor staff -:-

This topic has been closed to new posts due to inactivity. We hope you'll join the conversation by posting to an open topic or starting a new one.

To review the TripAdvisor Forums Posting Guidelines, please follow this link: http://www.tripadvisor.com/pages/forums_posting_guidelines.html

We remove posts that do not follow our posting guidelines, and we reserve the right to remove any post for any reason.

Removed on: 2:21 am, February 01, 2011