For Memorial Day Weekend I took a road trip to Utah and Arizona with three friends from work. We visited Zion National Park in Utah and Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in Arizona. There was no shortage of beautiful scenery on this trip that’s for sure! The red rock canyons, turquoise river, and desert landscapes are a photographer’s dream. Luckily my crew was patient so they didn’t mind stoping and taking a thousand pictures!
We left Newport Beach at 4:30 a.m. Saturday morning and headed straight to Zion. By 1 p.m. we started our hike up Watchman Trail, a shorter hike, but still a great view! Since it was a holiday weekend everything was moving a little slower because of traffic and longer lines, but once we were on the trail we had plenty of space. I fell in love with Zion it’s definitely a place I want to spend more time! Several friends recommended hiking The Narrows and after looking at photos I am so bummed we didn’t do it this time, but now I have something to look forward to next time. There were a lot of cute hotels and restaurants in Springdale, which seems like the best place to stay if you are spending multiple days hiking.
The next leg of the trip was a two and a half hour drive to Page, AZ where our hotel was for the night. We woke up at 4:30 a.m. again on Sunday to make it to Horseshoe Bend before the crowds descended. Even though we were a little sleepy in the morning, standing on the edge of a 300+ foot cliff quickly woke us up. Seeing Horseshoe Bend for the first time gave me the chills and I just felt closer to God because of how beautiful it was. It makes you wonder how something this amazing was created. It was my favorite part of the trip and next time I hope to catch the sunset over the bend!
Our final stop was Lower Antelope Canyon. Since we got an early start we were one of the first groups to arrive. For those of you that haven’t done this road trip before your best bet is to do it on a non-holiday weekend and take a day or two off. If you must go on a holiday weekend make sure to get an early start with EVERYTHING. None of the tours were taking reservations for the weekend due to the high volume of traffic coming in, but we were lucky enough to sneak in with one of the first groups. Keep in mind summer in Arizona is extremely hot, so the temperature can easily creep up to the 100s by noon, but the best lighting in the canyon is also later in the day so you have pick your poison on that one.
Antelope Canyon was just as beautiful in real life as it is in pictures. The only bummer part about the tour was the amount of people in our group so it was a little difficult to take our time with photos. Luckily the tour guides are super knowledgeable on camera settings and the best places throughout the canyon to take pictures so just ask for help when you need it. You can choose between Dixie Ellis Canyon Tours or Ken’s Tours, you are required to go with a tour company to see the canyon and entrance costs about $25. I do not recommend going to Lower Antelope if you can’t handle steep inclines or stairs. To get in and out of the canyon there is a steep, uneven, metal staircase and narrow canyon walls that you have to squeeze through. To figure out what photos I wanted I looked up all of the places we went to on Instagram beforehand to see what people were posting and to get photo ideas!
My goal for summer is to become a weekend warrior and plan more two-day trips so I don’t have to miss work. Taking time off work is a struggle everyone deals with and I’m trying to find the best destinations that allow for enjoyable trips without missing days. Road trips are great because it eliminates the hassle of flying and if you live somewhere with several boarding states then you have plenty of out-of-town options! Stay tuned for my upcoming summer adventures and tips on how to make the most out of weekend travel!