brown valley during a grey cloudy sky

Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip: 10 EPIC Stops Along the Way!

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Looking to take a Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip? I’ve got all the best stops along the way, since we all know it’s all about the journey- not just the destination!

I’ve taken many road trips around Arizona and Utah flying into Las Vegas or passing through Sin City on my journey.

If you’ve read my blog before, I apologize because I’m gonna say it again.. I just love the desert! The Southwest draws me back time and time again.

Whether it’s going back to delve deeper into a popular National Park, or discovering something new down a long bumpy dirt road; there is always a new adventure to be had!

So keep reading below for all of the best stops and detours on a road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon!

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Planning your trip? Use my favorite resources!

Accommodation – Booking.com to find the best deals on hotels.
FlightsSkyscanner to look for the best prices and deals on flights.
Rental carsDiscoverCars to shop around at multiple car rental agencies.
Travel insurance Safety Wing; keep your trips insured to protect yourself while traveling.
Tours/experiences – Viator or Get Your Guide are excellent sources for tours.


How long is the road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon?

Driving directly from Las Vegas to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon takes 4 hours and 15 minutes directly and the route is 275 miles via US-93S and I-40E.

If you have a bit of extra time to spare, I highly encourage you to spend at least a day going off of the main route and going to a few of the places listed below.

A weekend or 2-3 days is needed to drive to and from the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas and squeeze at least one extra stop on the way. But 4-7 days would be more ideal!

Note that this itinerary will take you to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. This is the most accessible entrance open year round.


Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip: 10 of the Best Stops

I have divided this article into two sections below with maps.

The first 5 stops will be along the Northern Route driving from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon including Zion & Horseshoe Bend. And the last 5 stops will be along the Southern Route including Sedona & Flagstaff.

🗺 Both routes will take approximately 6 1/2 hours of driving one way with the included detours.

If you have 7-10 days you could do both the Northern and Southern journeys listed below and hit all the stops! Spend 2-3 days getting there, 2 days at the Grand Canyon, and then 2-3 days driving back to Las Vegas.

1. Valley of Fire State Park

This underrated Nevada State Park was relatively off the radar up until a few years ago. I highly recommend a short visit to this gem on your way out of the Las Vegas area. It is a one hour drive Northeast of the city.

You can easily spend just one morning or evening here seeing the major sights on your way from Vegas to the Grand Canyon. Find a downloadable map of the park here!

  • Elephant Rock: Just a short 0.3 mile hike to quite an amazing rock formation that resembles an elephant trunk. Nature is so fun right?! This is near the East entrance.
  • The Beehives: Right inside the park by the West entrance. Again aptly named, these are rock formations that resemble very large beehives. This area deserves a stop and walk around.
  • Mouse Tank Road Viewpoint: One of the most popular ‘Instagram’ spots in Valley of Fire, though I kinda hate that term haha. But I have to be honest I myself have gotten the perfectly posed photo, no shame! Get the picture perfect location here from Google Maps.
  • Pink Canyon: This is a short but sweet colorful and pastel narrow canyon. The trail is near the Fire Wave, but this is the specific location.
  • The Fire Wave: This is a must do in the park in my opinion. The wave like rock formation is really unique and makes for one of the best photo ops in the park. The trail to the fire wave is relatively easy at 1.5 miles round trip with 150 feet of elevation gain. Catching this at sunrise or sunset will afford you the best lighting for the red rocks to glow!

🏨 Check out these best hotels near Valley of Fire if you’re looking to spend the night. Camping is also available in Valley of Fire State Park.

road through the valley of fire nevada united states
Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada from Mouse Tank Road.

2. Zion National Park

Zion National Park is located in Southwestern Utah, a little over 2 hours from Las Vegas International Airport.

While it may be small, this park is so diverse and you can easily spend a few days exploring all the best parts and hiking the infamous trails of The Narrows and Angels Landing.

With just one day, pick one or two easy to moderate day hikes and make the scenic drive through the park via the Zion- Mt Carmel Tunnel. Find a downloadable map of the park here!

  • Hike The Narrows: Walk through a slot canyon in the Virgin River. Moderate difficulty due to the fact you walk through the river the entire time. You can walk as far as you’d like- so it could be anywhere from 2-10 miles round trip. No permits are needed.
  • Hike Angels Landing: Permits are needed, apply for a lottery on a 3 month rolling basis or try your luck one day before. Hard difficulty, this is not for those afraid of heights as there are steep drop offs with climbing. 4.5 miles round trip with 1,600 ft elevation gain.
  • Observation Point Hike: Just outside the park in East Zion. Fantastic views of Zion canyon, even overlook Angel’s Landing! Moderate difficulty. 7 miles round trip with 700 ft elevation gain. A great alternative to Angel’s Landing if you don’t like heights or couldn’t get permits. Read more about this hike on my post here!
  • The Watchman trail: Great for sunset. Moderate difficulty. 3 miles round trip with 635 ft elevation gain.
  • The Canyon Overlook Trail: The perfect short trail located in the Eastern side of the park.

🏨 Check out these best hotels near Zion if you’re looking to spend the night.

river in zion national park
Zion National Park.

3. Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park

I bypassed Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park many times over the years, until I finally stopped in November of 2022. I went for sunset and was so glad I took the time to visit!

At sunset, the coral pink color of the sand is the most vivid and I found myself in awe wandering around the dunes, snapping pictures left and right.

This state park makes for a great afternoon pit stop, no need to spend a full day here on your Las Vegas to Grand Canyon road trip.

  • Climb the sand dunes: There are no real designated trail around the dunes, since well they’re sand dunes! Spend an hour or so meandering around the dunes.
  • Try sand boarding or sand sledding: Allot yourself some time to do this, because it is just so much fun! I did this in Colorado at Great Sand Dunes National Park and had the time of my life! Sand boards (stand up) and sand sleds (sit down) are available for rent at the Visitor Center onsite on a first come, first serve basis. The rental fee is 25$ per board.
  • Go on an ATV Tour: Ride some backcountry trails and over the sand dunes in an ATV for a thrilling epic adventure with Coral Pink ATV Tours. They have a few different tours to choose from. This is such a good idea for a road trip stop for long lasting fun memories!

🏨 Check out these top rated hotels in nearby Kanab, Utah if you plan to spend the night.

🎟 There is a $10 day use fee per vehicle that must be paid upon your entrance to the park.

coral pink sand dunes at sunset
Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.

4. Kanab

Kanab, Utah makes for the perfect spot to spend a few extra days if you have the time on your road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and like off-roading adventures!

There are quite a few epic places you can reach from Kanab, but for some of them, you have to have a high-clearance 4×4 vehicle.

When I went to these places I had rented a Jeep via Turo in St. George on my Arizona Utah road trip. There are some Jeep rental agencies near Kanab, but these can get expensive. You also have to be comfortable driving in deep sand. Taking a guided tour is a great alternative to renting a vehicle!

  • Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon: 4×4, high clearance needed. Or take this tour from Kanab. A beautiful and unique slot canyon 40 minutes from town. This is a short hike just under one mile round trip. Remember to check the weather frequently prior to hiking in a slot canyon and never hike when it is supposed to rain for safety!
  • The Great Chamber aka Cutler Point: 4×4, high clearance needed. This massive arch feels like a true work of art by nature. The hike to it after the drive is pretty steep and sandy but short. This is a great tour option that combines both Peek-a-boo and The Great Chamber!
  • White Pocket: 4×4, high clearance needed. This is for those who want epic views like The Wave but can’t snag permits. White Pocket looks like you’ve seriously been transported to Mars, it’s such an incredible place. Sunset and sunrise really highlight the colors here. Take this tour from Kanab if you can’t drive the gnarly long road.
  • Buckskin Gulch Slot Canyon: This is an absolutely amazing slot canyon, it’s actually one of the longest in the world! The trail also features petroglyphs and some rock formations that resemble The Wave. The entire trail is 12 miles long but you don’t have to walk the entire length of the slot canyon. The road is accessible by most cars in dry conditions.
  • The Wave: You must have a permit to visit The Wave, that are pretty competitive to win. There is a lottery drawing for them that you can apply for at recreation.gov but it is worth seeing once in your life! Once you have scored your permits, the hike to this magnificent area is 6.7 miles round trip with 1200 feet of elevation gain.

🏨 Check out these top rated hotels near Kanab, Utah if you’re spending the night.

photo of a girl standing in the middle of a very large arch/cave in southern utah
The Great Chamber
photo of a girl standing on a rock at sunrise in white pocket
White Pocket

5. Page

With Lake Powell, the infamous Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend, Page is easily one of my favorite spots in the Southwest. You can see all of the major highlights in a day, but I find myself back here a lot exploring the area much deeper.

Kayaking Horseshoe Bend and driving out to Alstrom Point are two of my favorite off the beaten path adventures in the area!

  • Kayak to Lower Antelope Canyon: Take a guided kayak tour and paddle to the entrance of Lower Antelope Canyon. There is a portion of this canyon you can access via Lake Powell and is not on Navajo land. This will take half a day and is best to do Spring-Fall.
  • Rent a boat for the day on Lake Powell: Gaze up at the canyon walls as you cruise by and get away from the crowds. Renting a boat gets pricey, so visiting in the spring and fall months is better for those on a budget.
  • Camp at Lone Rock Beach: Right on the shores of Lake Powell you’ll find the large expanse that is Lone Rock Beach. There are no real ‘sites’ and it is first come first serve.
  • Hike to the Horseshoe Bend overlook: This is the famous overlook of the Colorado River where the canyon looks like a horseshoe! The hike is easy- moderate and 1.5 miles round trip with 150 feet of elevation gain. There is an established parking lot and trail, and you must pay a 10$ entrance fee.
  • Visit Antelope Canyon: Timed reservations are necessary for both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. The canyon is located on the Navajo reservation and can only be visited with a Navajo guide, so there is no way to enter by yourself. This slot canyon is really a work of art, looking like it was hand sculpted instead of the effects of thousands of years of erosion doing its job.

🏨 Check out these top rated hotels in Page, Arizona if you’re planning on spending the night.

photos of lake powell in northern arizona
Left: Lone Rock Beach, Right: Boating on Lake Powell.
entering antelope canyon from lake powell on a kayak
Kayaking Antelope Canyon.
antelope canyon, an orange slot canyon in northern arizona
Lower Antelope Canyon tour on Navajo land.
awesome view of glen canyon national recreation area
Horseshoe Bend.

6. Lake Mead

Lake Mead is located just outside of Las Vegas and is the largest U.S. water reservoir, right on the border of Arizona and Nevada. There are amazing outdoor opportunities around Lake Mead, on both land and water. 

  • Kayak Emerald Bay: One of the best unique things to do on Lake Mead is to kayak to Emerald Bay. This bay gets its name due to the emerald green color of the water in the full sun! It gets its bright green color from the algae resting on the bottom which reflects off of the sun down in the canyon.
  • Arizona Hot Springs: During the months of September- May you can hike 7 miles to Arizona Hot Springs, a popular and scenic primitive hot spring near the banks of Lake Mead. You’ll also get views of Lake Mead on the trail. Soaking in hot springs makes for the perfect activity for a winter road trip!
  • Gold Strike Hot Springs: Gold Strike hot springs is a smaller primitive hot spring also with an amazing Lake Mead view while you soak.
  • Get out on the water: Rent a boat or jet ski to have some fun out on the water. And you can’t miss a stop at the Hoover Dam!

🏨 Check out these best hotels near Lake Mead if you’re looking to spend the night.

lake mead on colorado river

7. Flagstaff

Flagstaff is a cute small city in the midst of acres of pine trees. It is located 1 1/2 hours South from the Grand Canyon.

Flagstaff sits at the base of the San Francisco Peaks, a mountain range that includes Humphreys Peak- Arizona’s highest point. If you’re searching for a mountain ski town dotted with breweries, add Flag to your list!

  • Climb Humphreys Peak: This is a challenging 10.7 mile round trip hike with 3,400 ft of elevation gain. See of the trail a map with recent conditions here. Plan on spending most of a day doing this hike. It is extra spectacular during the fall!
  • See fall colors: Go to Flagstaff during early October to experience the Aspen trees turning golden. Hike the Inner Basin trail and take the scenic gondola ride at the Arizona Snowbowl to see all the glowing trees from above.
  • Go to a local cafe or brewery: Flagstaff has a nice downtown strip, with many local restaurants, cafes, shops, and breweries. Go to the Lumberyard Brewery and enjoy a drink outside facing the high peaks.

🏨 Check out these best hotels in Flagstaff if you plan to stay a night!

view from the top of humphreys peak. the ground is gravel like with volcanic rock and dirt, you can see for miles in each direction, there are yellow aspen trees turning in the fall in the distance.

8. Oak Creek Canyon

Oak Creek Canyon is a 12 mile river gorge located in Northern Arizona.

From Flagstaff, drive down 89A, the scenic and breathtaking byway that will take you through a stunning natural landscape of red rock formations, lush forests, and the picturesque Oak Creek.

  • Oak Creek Vista: Stop along your drive in Oak Creek to this stunning vista of the canyon and creek.
  • Hike the West Fork Trail: This hike is 6.5 miles round trip with 565 feet of elevation gain. This is an out-and-back trail, so the length will depend on how far you choose to go. The further you go, the more narrow the canyon walls become and have that unique curved ‘subway’ appearance within the creek. The hike is likened to The Subway hike in Zion National Park, a coveted trail that is difficult to win permits for. This trail is especially crowded during the fall months since the trail comes alive with bright fall foliage. Be sure to hit the trail early to grab a parking spot.
  • Slide Rock State Park: The main attraction here is the natural water slide formed by the slippery bed of Oak Creek. It’s a lot of fun to slide down and cool off in the water- but be prepared for potentially chilly water! Apart from the slide, there are other areas along Oak Creek where you can swim and relax. This is a perfect stop in the summer!
people sitting on the river at slide rock state park arizona united states of america
Slide Rock State Park in Oak Creek Canyon.

9. Sedona

Sedona is one of the most picturesque places in Arizona. It is a one hour drive South from Flagstaff in the middle of Arizona’s red rock country.

There are plentiful hiking and outdoor opportunities here, or you could relax and enjoy the views from downtown or at a luxurious resort. 

  • Go on a hike: Some of the best day hikes in Sedona are: Keyhole Cave, Merry Go Round Rock, Subway Cave via Boynton Canyon, Fay Canyon, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, Devil’s Bridge, and Doe Mountain.
  • Watch the sunset: Anywhere in Sedona is going to be amazing for sunset, but Red Rock Crossing is one of my favorites for low effort.
  • Go on an adventurous off roading tour: If hiking isn’t your thing or legs need a break- try a Pink Jeep tour to see the sights of Sedona’s backcountry.
  • Feel the energy vortexes: Sedona is also known for its vortexes. These are areas of supposedly high energy that can cause emotional and spiritual feelings. Some like to do meditation or yoga while at these vortexes since they can be calming. Some of the main vortex areas are: Airport Mesa, Cathedral Rock, Bell Rock, and Boynton Canyon.

🏨 See the best hotel deals in Sedona, AZ to spend extra time in this gorgeous place. I’ve personally stayed at the Oak Creek Terrace Resort when I was driving from the Grand Canyon to Sedona and had a wonderful stay. It’s a great place to stay, especially if you’re on a tighter budget.

See why January is my favorite month to go to Sedona!

photo of girl standing at the edge of the subway cave in sedona. this hike definitely makes sedona worth visiting!

10. Verde Valley

Surrounded by greenery and red rock mountains, the Verde Valley is by far the best wine region in Arizona.

The Verde Valley includes the town of Sedona so it is easy to include an afternoon of wine tasting if you’re visiting!

  • The famed Verde Valley Wine Trail has so many wineries to choose from, but a few of the most popular are Caduceus Cellars, Chateau Tumbleweed, and Page Spring Cellars.
  • Or go on a winery tour! Check out this tour to visit 4 wineries, enjoy a gourmet lunch, and most importantly- not having to worry about driving to and from all of your destinations!
  • Go on a river trip with a visit to a winery. Sedona Adventures hosts day trips kayaking or floating down the Verde River, plus a wine tasting.

🏨 See the best hotels in Verde Valley Wine Country.

blueberry with green leaves during daytime

Best things to Do in Grand Canyon National Park

You’ve arrived! After all of your other epic stops along the way, it is now time to enjoy one of America’s most famous natural wonders.

  • Go on a day hike below the rim: The South Kaibab trail to Cedar Ridge or the 1.5 mile Resthouse via the Bright Angel trail both make excellent day hikes. Hike in the early morning or evening hours to avoid heat, and always carry extra water with you. 
  • Go up the Desert View Watchtower: Climb the steps at this iconic 70 foot watchtower, built in 1932, to get great views of the canyon. It is open for visitors 8am to 6pm daily. Tickets are first come first serve and free to the public.
  • See all the most scenic viewpoints on Desert View Drive: Enjoy this 23 mile scenic road through the park and see the best views from Mather Point, Yavapai Point, Yaki Point, Moran Point and much more.
  • Watch the Sunrise & Sunset. Desert sunrises and sunsets are hard to beat, plus just saying you saw the sun rise over the Grand Canyon is pretty bucket list right?!
  • Go Stargazing. Since the Grand Canyon is an International Dark Sky Park, staying up for some stargazing is a must. In the summer months, you may even be lucky to see the Milky Way!

🏨 Check out this list of the best hotels near the Grand Canyon.

view of the grand canyon lighting up during sunrise on a winter morning
The Grand Canyon at sunrise.

🚙 Ways to get from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon

The two main ways to get from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is to either rent a car and make a road trip out of it, or take a tour.

I would personally opt to rent your own car so you can spend as much time as you’d like getting to and from places and customize the trip as much as you’d like.

But I can certainly see the appeal of a guided tour so you don’t have to think about anything and just enjoy the ride!

By Car

Renting a car independently means you get to customize your itinerary and spend as much or as little time in a place as you wish. For most of the places I have mentioned you don’t need a fancy or well equipped car, a sedan will do just fine.

👉 Using Discover Cars you can search through multiple car rental agencies to find the best deal for you!

By Tour

There are quite a few tours that will take you from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon and hit lots of great stops along the way. Below I have linked two of the best tours I found from Get Your Guide.

👉 Las Vegas to West Rim of the Grand Canyon with a stop at Hoover Dam. Perfect for a day trip to explore the West Rim with an option add the SkyWalk!

👉 Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon with stops at Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. This is an action packed day tour with a lot of stops, be prepared for a long day, but you will see a lot!

Looking for more road trips from Las Vegas? Check out my post on driving from Las Vegas to Monument Valley!


Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip FAQs

Have more questions about the drive from Vegas to the infamous Grand Canyon? Let’s answer ‘em!

Is it worth driving from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon?

Yes! It’s still worth going from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon by tour, but driving there and making a road trip out of it is half the fun. The Grand Canyon is arguably America’s most famed natural wonder.

Experience the Wild West and stop by a National or State Park and go for a hike or scenic drive, and you’ll realize that it was so worth the drive!

How are the roads from Las Vegas to Grand Canyon?

All of the main roads and highways from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon are paved and in great condition.


Wrap Up: Las Vegas to Grand Canyon Road Trip

In conclusion, a road trip from Las Vegas to the Grand Canyon is an experience that should not be missed.

This journey offers breathtaking scenery, thrilling adventures, and a chance to explore two iconic destinations in the American Southwest.

Whether you are seeking natural wonders or vibrant city life, this road trip has it all. From the bright lights of Las Vegas to the awe-inspiring grandeur of the Grand Canyon, this adventure promises unforgettable memories and a deeper appreciation for the beauty of nature.

So pack your bags, hit the open road, and embark on an epic journey that will leave you with lifelong memories and a sense of wonderment at the extraordinary landscapes that await you at every turn.

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