Welcome to Arizona Roadtrip Part 2 – if you haven’t seen Part 1 check it out here.
After saying goodbye to the family Joel and I headed north on I-17 toward Flagstaff. Our first stop was just off the highway, Montezuma’s Castle National Monument. Here you can view one of the best preserved cliff dwellings in North America. There’s plenty of parking and a little museum where you can check out the history of the native people. For a couple dollars you can head down a path, through the trees, to check out the Sinagua ruins. The ruins are up in the cliffs – we brought along our trusty binoculars and were able to look up into them. It’s probably not a pit stop for everyone, but for a couple of nerds like us we thought it was awesome.
We continued up I-17 and made a detour onto the Red Rock Scenic drive into Sedona, AZ. I had found this kitschy Alien themed restaurant along our route so we decided to check it out. The Red Planet Diner is a pretty fun place, aliens and sci-fi decorations everywhere. We had a fun time and the food was decent diner food.
After our out of this world lunch (I’m so sorry) we continued the scenic drive. At the time the road was closed partway up, and didn’t meet back up with I-17. But we wanted to see the beautiful scenery and didn’t mind driving back down and see everything twice.
Along the route we stopped at a store called Sun Silver West. They have all kinds of Western and Traditional art, and Joel and I were drooling over all of it. We love the Western/Native American style and artwork and there was plenty to see here. I bought a great little basket as a keepsake from our trip, but we could have thrown down some serious cash on beautiful jewelry, rugs and paintings.
I would highly recommend taking this scenic route. There are fantastic views along the way and plenty of places to stop at little parks, cafes and overlooks.
Once we made our way back to I-17 we drove up to Flagstaff. We knew we wanted to make it to the Grand Canyon that night but had one stop in Flagstaff we couldn’t miss. Heading west out of Flagstaff on Rt. 180 toward Winslow, AZ, you can find an abandoned town called 2 Guns. Joel loves abandoned places and he had visited this place on tour a few years ago.
There used to be a campground here and now all that’s left are a few buildings and an empty pool. We enjoyed wandering around the area and checked out some of the graffiti.
That night we stayed in Williams, AZ, known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, along Historic Route 66. I wish I would have snapped some pics of our evening. We saw a (fake) gun fight in the streets, browsed shops full of cowboy gear and Rt. 66 paraphernalia, and had a delicious barbecue dinner. It’s a fun place to stop, with a lot to see and do.
The next morning we started early. One of the main reasons we stayed outside the Grand Canyon was so we could visit Bearizona. Bearizona is a drive through wildlife park full of all of our favorite animals, and we’ve been wanting to come here since we heard its fantastic name.
We got to the park right when it opened because that’s when all the animals are most active and being fed. We went into this experience with low expectations thinking that the animals would be to far away and we wouldn’t see everything, but we were so wrong. All the animals were out and very close to the driving path.
We saw big horn sheep, goats, American bison, and white bison.
Now this is where we had to roll up the windows – the next areas had Timber and Arctic Wolves. It was amazing to be so close to these animals, I don’t think I’ve ever seen wolves in person. They just kinda stare into your soul.
The last area was the bears of Bearizona – and there were so many bears! They were everywhere, we drove around this area multiple times to see all of them.
These are two very happy road trippers. After driving through the park we visited the “zoo” like area and gift shop.
There were some very rowdy bears cubs in an enclosure, I could have watched them roll around in the grass all day.
After we wrapped up at Bearizona we were ready to head up to the Grand Canyon. I love love love – did I mention love? the National Parks. National and State Parks in the US are some of my favorite places to visit, there are so many different ones to see across the country and I was super excited to visit this one. We went to the South Rim visitor center to start out adventure for the day. The great thing about the Grand Canyon is once you pay and get into the park you can park your car and use their bus transit system to visit the sites along the South Rim.
This was my first visit to the Grand Canyon and it did not disappoint. The pictures don’t really do it justice. We traveled West along the red route taking the bus to 8 different overlooks, we walked between some and bused to others. I highly recommend this if its your first visit. There’s a lot to take in at the Grand Canyon and this way you get to see some awesome spots and get ideas for what to do on your next visit.
After a long day at the Grand Canyon we drove back to LA a little sun burned and a lot tired. I’m looking forward to going back to the Grand Canyon and camping/hiking there. I can’t wait to explore more of the South West in general there’s a lot to see and do.
Thanks for checking out my first adventure in the South West. Don’t forget to check out our youtube channel and subscribe to this blog for more adventures.
xoxo – Loee