Self-Guided Adventure Details
Day 1 Grand Canyon's South Rim:
The best locations to begin this trip from are Flagstaff, Williams, Tusayan or Grand Canyon Village (South Rim). Once you're on the road and ready to explore, head out to the South Rim to explore its awesome vistas, ancient ruins, and unparalleled hiking trails.
- Begin your South Rim exploration at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center and enjoy a short walk to the first breathtaking view of the canyon at Mather Point. From the Grand Canyon Visitor Center shuttle bus plaza, hop on the park’s free Kaibab/Orange shuttle bus route to travel to the South Kaibab Trailhead.
- The South Kaibab Trail descends into the canyon and rewards you with awesome scenic views the entire time. If you’re just looking for a shorter adventure, hike the 1.8-mile round trip hike to Ooh-Ahh Point for a sweeping panoramic view. If you’re ready to explore even more, continue on to Cedar Ridge (3 miles round trip) where you’ll find a great spot to eat lunch and gaze up at the canyon rim above you.
- After your hike, hop back on the shuttle bus (consider stopping at Yaki Point for one last breathtaking view) and return to the visitor center.
- Head out of the park via the South Entrance and make your way to your lodging in Peach Springs, AZ for a good night’s rest.
Day 2 West Rim Rafting (Self-Drive Guided Tour):
Book your one day Grand Canyon whitewater rafting trip in advance.
- Once you're geared up and on the mighty Colorado River, it's a short boat ride before you take a quick hike to picturesque Travertine Falls.
- After the falls, hold on tight when the real adventure begins as you descend several major rapids, including Honeymoon Rapid and its Fangs!
- After the technical whitewater, the Colorado River will become calm, offering you breathtaking photo opportunities around every corner, wildlife sightings, and unique cultural stories from your native river guides.
- Then it's a helicopter flight up to the rim of Grand Canyon and a shuttle back to your hotel in Peach Springs.
Days 3-5 Havasu Falls:
After a day of rafting adventure, you'll spend the next four days backpacking, hiking, swimming and camping at Havasu Falls. Unlike anything else, Havasu Canyon’s red rocks and graceful turquoise waterfalls make it one of the most amazing destinations on earth.
Guru Tip: Havasu Falls is our favorite 4-day adventure for this itinerary, but because of its popularity permits can be difficult to get. Although you still need to acquire high demand permits, a Bright Angel Loop hike or Grand Canyon Rim to Rim (with one-day add on tours) are great back-up plans. You can learn more about these and other Grand Canyon backpacking trips here. If you want to change up the trip or reservations aren't available don't worry, just check out our complete guide to Grand Canyon Tours and create you own custom itinerary for this part of the trip.
- You’ll start your hike on day two at Hualapai Hilltop, following a 10-mile trail through beautiful red rock canyons to your awe-inspiring camp below Havasu Falls.
- En route to your camp you will pass towering cliffs, ancient pictographs, and pristine streams before you arrive in Supai Village- the only place in the Grand Canyon still inhabited by native people.
- After setting up camp, you still have two full days to explore the Havasu area which includes many more world-renowned waterfalls—Navajo, Mooney, New Navajo, Fifty-Foot and Beaver Falls.
- You can choose to take it easy and bask in the sun and swim in the beautiful white travertine pools below Havasu Falls or you can enjoy a spectacular hike to one of the other waterfalls in the canyon.
Day 6 Havasu Falls:
It pays to get an early start when you hike out of the canyon, so enjoy a little breakfast and hit the trail around sunrise. You’ll hike up along the graded and scenic trail back to Hualapai HIlltop, enjoying the sweeping views along the way. Get some well-deserved rest that evening in nearby Peach Springs, AZ.
Day 7 Wupatki and Sunset Crater:
Travel across through scenic deserts and forests on your way to Flagstaff, AZ where you will explore Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments.
- Take a short and easy hike to witness the other-worldly volcanic landscapes of Sunset Crater and then head over to Wupatki National Monument to learn more about the cultural history of the area and to check out the beautiful multi-story stone ruins.
- Travel back across the Painted Deset of the Navajo Indian Reservation en route to the historic town of Flagstaff, AZ.
- Explore Flagstaff’s charming downtown on foot and stop to enjoy a beer at one of its many excellent breweries.
Day 8 Sedona Arizona:
On the last day, of this self-guided adventure, enjoy the breathtaking red rock views as you drive through Oak Creek Canyon to Sedona, AZ.
- It is easy to have your own self-guided adventure in two of Sedona's most popular parks: Slide Rock and Red Rock State Parks. Slide Rock offers incredible swimming opportunities (especially refreshing on a hot summer day) or you can enjoy a tour of the historic orchards or hike on one of the park’s trails. Red Rock State Park has a beautiful trail system, with everything from easy to difficult trails, that allows you to get more sweeping views of Sedona’s scenic wonders.
- As you head out of Sedona, no matter where your final destination may be, you’ll enjoy some final views of the spectacular Arizona desert along the way.