Avoid clunky and chunky travel in Arizona 

If you’re like me, the thought of being crammed into a tour bus to have the exact experience that 1000 other people will have that day is pretty nauseating. My partner Carson is the same, so we set off to find our own path through Arizona.

I live for the chance to build my own experience based on going where my legs and spirit choose, spending as much time as I wish, letting nature define the sights.

There are some pretty spectacular scenes in Arizona. Unfortunately if you go during a high traffic time like we did (Memorial Weekend) then much of what you will want to do will not only come with an associated cost but also a crowd.

Starting Out, Day 1: Roswell New Mexico

We took a four-leg driving trip with an overnight  stay in Roswell, New Mexico, commonly known for alien sightings. We didn’t see any, so we pressed on pretty early the next morning.

Day 2: Flagstaff, Arizona

Flagstaff is a pretty charming small town with an alternative almost hipster appeal. There are lots of older retirees, and then people who look like they stepped out of an indie flick. There is a really cute downtown with wine shops and bars to enjoy nice music and a chill vibe. Do this.

Day 3: Grand Canyon Exploration

The Grand Canyon is not only one of the top sights, as a first-timer myself I could never have adequately described the grandeur of the canyon and it’s parts.

We walked the rim and then hiked partway down the Kaibab Trail. Don’t let the descent fool you, every distance you go down is exponentially harder going back up.

Day 4: Canyon Trails and Horseshoe Bend

If you have eyes and have been on instagram then you’ve likely seen Antelope Canyon or Horseshoe Bend pics. These natural wonders are both out toward the town of Page, Az.

In true MIE fashion we took the road less traveled… When we showed up to Antelope Canyon there was a hoard of hundreds of tourists waiting around for their chance to saunter through the canyon. In reading reviews online it was noted that the sheer volume of tourists makes it nearly impossible to take a photo without someone obstructing the frame. Vom.

We were advised that a similar canyon was not far down the road only about 3 miles south of Page.

On our way we saw a line of cars parked along the highway. This is where Horseshoe Bend lies. Totally worth the stop… Be prepared to walk but also be prepared to have your mind blown

Waterhole Canyon Trails 

Waterhole Canyon is a great adventurous alternative to Antelope Canyon; far less populated and very scenic. I will warn that parts of the trail can be more difficult to navigate for some people.

And then there were the hard parts…

Day 5: Sedona Love

After a couple of days of pretty voracious exploration, it’s nice to take a few days to unwind.

I’ve never seen a place as scenic and geographically diverse as the few days we spent in Sedona. It’s a romantic town with gorgeous sights, nestled at the foot of red rock formations. The fabulous part is that Sedona has many of the everyday staples that you would want: i.e. Spas, Whole Foods, Starbucks, Sprouts and a plethora of charming restaurants.

Day 6: Sedona Nature

Aside from the comfortable indoor attractions Sedona has really scenic overlooks and picturesque streams to dip your toes. We pulled off the road to take time with the rocks and stream.

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