The #1 Grand Canyon To Joshua Tree National Park Itinerary


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When it involves exploring one of the best pure magnificence on the Southwest Coast, there may be a lot to uncover from The Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree National Park.

The iconic Grand Canyon, one of many Seven Natural Wonders of the World, is a mere 361.2 miles from Joshua Tree National Park, which is known for its rock formations and distinctive Joshua tree inhabitants.

road winding through Joshua tree national park california

It takes about 5.5 hours to drive between the 2 parks, crossing state borders between Arizona and California, so it is sensible you’re going to wish to cease alongside the way in which and make a nationwide park street journey of it.

We’d suggest you intend at the very least 10-14 days to do a street journey from The Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree, to essentially benefit from the websites on this area.

In this information, we share our highlights of those two iconic nationwide parks, and share some concepts for what to see on the way in which from the Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree.

The Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree National Park Itinerary

As talked about, the gap between The Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree is kind of a protracted one, so we suggest breaking it up and seeing another well-liked websites within the area on the way in which.

Above is a map of the place we visited on our Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree street journey.

We stopped in Flagstaff, Sedona, Kingman, Pirate Cove, and at last Joshua Tree.

There had been different locations we might have stopped, which I’ll point out in additional element under.

1. Stop 1: Grand Canyon National Park South Rim

pink Hopi Point sunset Grand Canyon

Before we dive into the stops between The Grand Canon and Joshua Tree, let’s rapidly speak about why you shouldn’t rush off from the Big GC.

Most folks go to The Grand Canyon for the West Area, the place you will see the well-known Grand Canyon Skywalk.

However, there are another websites within the nationwide park which might be price exploring.

For instance, in The Grand Canyon South Rim, there’s a beautiful path known as the Bright Angel Trail, which is what we did earlier than setting off on our street journey.

girl walking on snow Grand Canyon
Bright Angel Lodge, Grand Canyon

It was beautiful to go to the Grand Canyon within the winter – the whole lot was slower and the later dawn and early sundown instances meant we may very well be extra easeful. 

Hiking did show to be troublesome as all trails taking place into the canyon had been coated in ice and snow.

girls walking on bright angel trail covered in snow
Bright Angel Trail – Grand Canyon
girls walking on snow on Bright Angel Trail
Bright Angel Trail

We managed a bit hour journey down the Bright Angel Trail transferring at a sluggish tempo up in opposition to the canyon wall to make sure we had been protected and guarded.

It was nice enjoyable and as soon as once more the women enthusiasm to tackle the problem together with their accountability with it amazed me.

There’s one thing in regards to the quiet repetitiveness of strolling. It has an uncanny potential to harden but soften you on the similar time.

It hardens your bodily physique, your stamina and your resolve, but it opens up an area so that you can dwell extra gently.

To ponder and marvel.

It’s about simplifying, eradicating all distractions and disconnecting from issues that matter.

All that issues is the scrunching of the gravel beneath your toes, the quiet rustle of the breeze, the awe inspiring pure environment and the humorous conversations you may have together with your youngsters.

There’s no have to delay time with them for different calls for. You can pay attention, study extra about them and naturally reply all their curious questions as greatest you may.

As Savannah mentioned to me, “”I like listening to the sound of strolling over the path.”

I like how she acknowledges the tranquility and worth of that already.

family walking on paved south rim trail at grand canyon
South Rim Trail

The South Rim Trail was one other simple one to stroll and benefit from the beautiful canyon views.

We took benefit of the 2 scenic drives alongside the South Rim for beautiful views and sunsets.

Do not miss the Desert View Drive and the Desert View Watchtower.

The views there have been my favourite with the pink and reddish rocks and the brilliant inexperienced Colorado River snaking by the canyon.

We even had a rainbow seem!

colorado river running through grand canyon. View from Desert View watchtower
Desert View watchtower
colorado river running through grand canyon. View from Desert View watchtower

We cherished all of the Elk lazing about within the snow coated forest on our final day when the snow was actually coming down and we needed to head out.

The deer certain didn’t care and weren’t going wherever.

elk sitting in the snow

Stop 2: Horseshoe Bend

Tips for visiting Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is a little bit of a detour from path to take from The Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree, but it surely’s solely about an hour’s drive North and properly price it.

Located near the border with Utah, Horseshoe Bend is a pure surprise that defies easy description.

This iconic scene was created by a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River, which carved into the sandstone and made picturesque scene.

There is a hike to Horseshoe Bend, which we don’t suggest within the winter, as there may be an fringe of the 1,000-foot cliff! We share extra suggestions in our full information to visiting Horseshoe Bend, Arizona.

Stop 3: Williams

train running through Williams az

Located simply 54 miles South of The Grand Canyon is the small city of Williams, which is a superb cease for lunch or a espresso. It takes about an hour to drive there from The Grand Canyon.

You could have already stopped in Williams to take the Grand Canyon Railway to the park, but when not, make sure to cease off right here on the way in which again.

It’s well-known for its quirky Route 66 points of interest, from traditional Americana-style boutique shops and diners, to Pete’s Route 66 Gas Station Museum.

Stop 4: Flagstaff

View of the Meteor Crater, Flagstaff, Arizona
View of the Meteor Crater, Flagstaff, Arizona

From Williams, journey 33 miles to Flagstaff in Arizona (35 minutes of driving) the place you may spend a few days exploring all of the websites.

Flagstaff is a metropolis surrounded by nature. It’s the place you will see San Francisco Peaks and the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort.

It’s additionally an important place to go stargazing because it’s a licensed dark-skies metropolis. Who is aware of, you could even spot a UFO!

Stop 5: Sedona

family hiking the Bell Rock Path -
Hiking to the Bell Rock Vortex

No journey to Arizona is full with out visiting Sedona in Arizona. It’s well-known for its vortex websites, that are therapeutic power pockets

From Flagstaff, Sedona is a forty five minute drive (29 miles) and might simply be seen in a day or two.

Aside from the vortex websites, Sedona can be filled with crimson sandstone formations and winding rivers. It’s a desert paradise with breathtaking sunrises and sunsets.

Sedona is one in all my favourite locations within the USA. We spent 5 days there and loved mountain climbing to spectacular viewpoints and soaking in these crimson rock views.

Stop 6: Seligman

old cars outside gas station in Seligman

You’ll wish to flip again on your self a bit to move to Seligman, a 109 mile journey from Sedona (about 2 hours driving).

This is a novel place in that it’s a census-designated place (in different phrases, it’s a ghost city), on the northern border of Yavapai County.

What makes Seligman distinctive is the quirky present outlets, that are bursting with bric-a-brac gadgets and Route 66 memorabilia.

Stop 7: Kingman

Kingman Diner

From Seligman, head in direction of Kingman, which is about 72 miles from Seligman and takes simply over 1 hour to drive.

Kingman is one other tiny city on Route 66 and is the place you will see the Route 66 Museum, set contained in the Powerhouse Visitors Center.

Check out the Locomotive Park and the Kingman Railroad Museum to study in regards to the city’s railroad historical past.

Take a detour as much as Hackberry General Store, a museum alongside the well-known Route 66 that includes rustic, nostalgic gadgets from the Nineteen Seventies.

Stop 8: Mojave National Preserve

sand dunes in Mojave National Preserve

The Mojave National Preserve is about 1.5 hours drive from Kingman (83 miles) and is properly price a cease.

The Mojave National Preserve is a sprawling protect that’s made up of the towering sand dunes of the Kelso Dunes and historical rock formations within the Clark Mountains – the geological range of the area is nothing wanting awe-inspiring.

Beyond its pure wonders, the Mojave Desert boasts a vibrant historical past, with proof of historical human presence evident in petroglyphs left behind by indigenous tribes.

We stayed at Pirate Cove Resort whereas we explored Lake Havasu City and Mojave National Preserve.

Stop 9: Lake Havasu City

parasailer on Lake Havasu City

Drive South to Lake Havasu City, a 72 mile journey that takes about 1.5 hour to drive from Mojave National Preserve.

The metropolis is famend for the long-lasting London Bridge, which was transported and painstakingly reconstructed right here, creating a novel juxtaposition of Old World appeal in opposition to the rugged desert backdrop.

Beyond this architectural marvel, Lake Havasu City has tons of outside actions to occupy your self with, from leisurely beachcombing to adrenaline-pumping water sports activities.

The metropolis additionally has a vibrant cultural scene, and there may be at all times a bar with dwell music, loads of artwork galleries with common occasions, bustling native markets, and extra, making it a worthwhile vacation spot to spend a number of days.

Stop 10: Joshua Tree National Park

Joshua trees in the desert

After a two evening break at Pirate Cove Resort on the border of Arizona and California we headed to Joshua Tree National Park, a 2 hour drive from Lake Havasu City (149 miles).

Just like we fell in love with the Saguaro Cactus in Tucson, we fell in love with the Joshua timber right here.

What beautiful timber that may be seen all through the National Park amongst the outcropping of rocks. The surroundings is exclusive and spectacular.

We loved a number of brief hikes: the Hidden Valley Trail, the place cattle rustlers used to cover their stolen cattle, and the Barton Damn.

girl on trail with joshua trees
Joshua tree nationwide park
girl on rocks on Hidden Valley Trail

The sundown from Key Views was out of this world. I’m so glad we determined ultimately minute to show again type the actually lengthy Pinto Basin Drive to go right here as a substitute.

key views Joshua Tree National Park

Following your intestine takes you to your coronary heart’s happiness.

How To Extend This Grand Canyon to Joshua Tree Road Trip

If you’ve got extra time at your disposal and wish to discover extra nationwide parks and nature websites, then you may prolong your journey by the next methods:

Tips For Road Tripping in an RV

aerial view of Pirates Cove Resort Needles California (3)
Pirates Cove Resort Needles
  • If you may assist it, don’t go away your slides out to your RV throughout a snowstorm. As we had been accessing Goldie whereas we had been staying within the Yavapai Lodge, we had put our slides out and saved them out. What a trouble sweeping off all of the snow that had gathered on prime of them when it was time to go away. We couldn’t shut them till it was all off.
  • Don’t keep in an RV park in excessive climate. It’s simply not well worth the danger of a possible pipe burst within the journey trailer. Once we noticed the temperatures had been going to dip into the teenagers and as little as 5F, we knew it was time to go away the Grand Canyon. We know Goldie can deal with a low of 23 however we didn’t wish to danger going decrease and her breaking. We’d then be screwed with no house and a ruined America Unplugged RV journey. So we bailed out of there three days earlier.
caravan and truck driving through the snow
  • I don’t like leaving the van to remain in a resort, but when I do, get one with free parking.
  • California gas is dear!! As quickly as we crossed the border from Arizona to California the gas went from $2.40 to $4.40. We put the automotive in reverse to fill her up in Arizona! That’s an insane value distinction. The crowds have additionally returned. There are extra folks in California than my total nation of Australia, so that you wager we’re noticing it.
  • Get your personal meals from grocery shops and pack a picnic. There are often picnic areas with picnic tables in most of those stops – it’s an effective way to economize.
  • If you’ve got youngsters, make sure to take them on the Range Programs. The ladies embraced the Junior Ranger applications within the Grand Canyon and the Joshua Tree National Park. I like how this program engages youngsters to the expertise they’ve with nature. Through it they study all in regards to the natural world, however extra importantly the way to worth nationwide parks and why they need to.

Where To Stay Between The Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree

Below are the place we stayed after we visited The Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree.

Yavapai Lodge

trees in front of a lodge in the snow

We jumped out of Goldie for 3 nights to expertise Yavapai Lodge. We needed to see if it was a very good choice for you whenever you go to the Grand Canyon! Guess what? It is.

Even although I missed Goldie, I did like our keep at Yavapai Lodge. It’s a fundamental resort room however the rooms had been clear and cozy – you gained’t be in them a lot – and the service was wonderful.

We actually loved the Yavapai Tavern in the principle foyer space and ate there a few  nights and watched the Super Bowl. You can sit by the hearth and use their foyer Wi-Fi.

They don’t have it within the rooms as a result of Grand Canyon – exit and discover it.

It’s additionally centrally positioned between the Village and the Visitor Center. You might stroll (or bike) to both (possibly a mile every means), however there’s a shuttle cease right here.

It’s additionally proper subsequent to the most important basic retailer within the park.

Pirate Cove Resort

rvs beside river at Pirate Cove Resort Needles California (2)

Pirates Cove Resort is in the course of the desert on the Colorado River. It’s spectacular surroundings and excellent for many who love off-roading, atv adventures, tenting and boating.

Pirates Cove is about up for summer time enjoyable with its outside adventures and river seaside. Sadly, it was too chilly for us to essentially get pleasure from it and it was very quiet.

Although we left on the day an occasion was beginning for the weekend that was going to draw 1,200 folks!!

This RV resort is very large. Our camp web site was remoted and two miles away from the principle space the place the eating places are. It was so fairly and peaceable.

I cherished watching the dawn over the river early every morning. It was implausible to remain by the Colorado River after seeing the masterpiece it carved up within the Grand Canyon.

The Colorado River is the border between Arizona and Colorado. It’s additionally the time zone change from Mountain to Pacific. I cherished rising early and having an early dawn and sundown.

Twentynine Palms RV Resort

Twentynine Palms is a pleasant RV resort with cottages simply exterior the Joshua Tree National Park.

There are a great deal of facilities together with a very heat indoor pool, sauna and health middle.

Final Thoughts

two girls sitting on bench looking at grand canyon views.
South Rim Grand Canyon

As we had been watching the spectacular sundown in Joshua Tree National Park, I watched my ladies soak it up and play on the similar time.

I”m so grateful they’ve the chance to be with nature on this means. They gained’t understand but the calming affect it has on their life.

Sunset in Joshua Tree National Park, California
sundown in Joshua Tree National Park

I hope they without end perceive how nature can convey them a lot pleasure and peace and the way simple it’s to entry it throughout the typically utter confusion of life.

I’m grateful I get to spend this time with them and present them the websites between The Grand Canyon and Joshua Tree.

Nature helps to show them into fierce warriors wrapped in a mild softness.

woman looking at view of Hermits Rest Drive Grand Canyon

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