Road Trip – Texas, New Mexico, Utah, Arizona: Part 4 The Grand Canyon

Over the past three posts I’ve taken you from Texas through New Mexico, up to Arches & Canyonlands National Parks in Moab, Utah and back down to Valley of the Gods, Muley Point, Monument Valley and Antelope Canyon. If you missed the journey, you can click on the links below to follow along.

Part 1 – Traveling to Moab and visiting Arches National Park

Part 2 – Canyonlands National Park – Island in the Sky District

Part 3 – Canyonlands – Needles, Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley & Antelope Canyon

Horseshoe Bend – Page, AZ

Road Trip Day 7

After 4 nights of camping it was so nice to stay in a hotel! We slept so great! Woke up the morning of Day 7 and repacked our bags with our freshly laundered clothes, ran some errands around town and headed out to Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ. We got there around 10:30 and the crowds were already crazy. We had seen pictures and knew it was a place we wanted to visit so we made the short hike from the parking lot to the lookout points. If you go, be aware that its a very popular place. There were people everywhere. We were still able to get some great pictures, but we didn’t stay long. If I went again I would try to get there just before sunrise to beat the crowds and to see the sunrise from that spot.

Navajo Bridge across the Colorado Riveer

View of the Colorado River from the Navajo Footbridge

We grabbed lunch and hit the road to finally make it to the Grand Canyon. We took Highway 89 from Page, AZ to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park. We crossed the Colorado River via the Navajo Bridge and decided to stop and stretch our legs. The original bridge was built in the 1920s and is now a footbridge. We walked about halfway out and stood directly over the Colorado River and got to see just how fast that water is really moving.

The Rock House

Just down the road we stopped at the Rock House. The story is that a lady and her ill husband had car trouble, stopped on the side of the road and found shelter by building a lean-to against this giant boulder. The wife liked the solitude so much that she built this stone house attached to the boulder. After 20 years in the masonry industry, Chance wasn’t impressed with the masonry skills, but it was a really neat story and impressive that this lady built it on her own. It was a fun site to see.

View of the Vermillion Cliffs

We continued past the Vermillion Cliffs and headed up an incline where we stopped at an overlook that gave us a great view of the cliffs. It didn’t take long before the landscape began to change from red sand and huge rock walls to open fields with green grass and cows grazing. We drove a bit further and entered Kaibab National Forrest where we found DeMotte Campground just 20 miles outside of Grand Canyon NP. If you plan to visit GCNP be sure to book your campsite about a year in advance. If you are more like us and decide a month or so before, DeMotte may be available. There were several open sites when we were there mid August. It has beautiful tall trees-perfect for a hammock-and the sites are spacious. There are vault toilets and the rooms are kept very clean. They do have drinking water available but there are no shower facilities. You can use the coin operated showers inside GCNP even if you aren’t camping inside the park.  We took Site #38 and got everything set up quickly so we could go enjoy the sunset at the Lodge inside GCNP.

Finally made it to the Grand Canyon!

The entire reason we went on this road trip was for Chance to experience the Grand Canyon. He grew up hearing his Grandpa Voy tell stories about it and it had been on Chance’s bucketlist since he was a kid. Finally! We were there! As we sat on the patio outside the lodge enjoying the view he got a call from his aunt and he listened to her tell a story of her backcountry camping trip with his Grandpa. Chance loved getting to hear that story while being at the very place she was talking about. We enjoyed the sunset, visited with some fellow Texans who were there and headed back to get rested up for a couple of days of hiking.

Road Trip Day 8

It dropped down in the 40s and one heck of a rain storm came through in the middle of the night. Thank goodness we had set up our site with a tarp over our tent to keep us dry and had a pop up canopy just outside the tent that gave us enough cover so we could still use our Coleman stove and cook breakfast in the rain. As I walked back to our campsite from the restroom the rain had let up and there was a beautiful rainbow lit up between the tall trees of the forrest. I couldn’t help but think about God’s promises and the hope we have in Him. It was awesome!

View from our lunch spot during our hike

We packed up our day packs with lunches, snacks and supplies and headed to GCNP for a hike. We decided on a 5 mile roundtrip hike that started on the Ken Patrick Trail and cut over to the Uncle Jim Loop Trail to a beautiful overlook. It was about an hour each way and we spent half an hour enjoying our picnic lunch on a big rock soaking up the views. The majority of the hike was shaded but that didn’t stop us from working up a sweat. Some of our favorite sightings on the hike were a momma deer with her twins and a horny toad! Chance spent a lot of time taking pictures and videos of that little guy. We rarely see them in Texas anymore!

Chance found a friend on the trail

We spent the rest of the afternoon driving the scenic road through the park stopping at all of the overlooks leading to the Cape Royal Overlook. The views are breathtaking. We were tired after our hike and waiting on the slow internet service for Chance to check in on some work things but I’m so glad we decided to take the drive and see the views. We spent about 3 hours and I could have spent 3 days enjoying each and every spot.

Grand Canyon North Rim view near the patio just outside the Lodge

Grand Canyon North Rim – Angels Window

Gorgeous view at a random overlook

Point Imperial Elevation 8,803- Highest elevation at the North Rim

Panoramic view at Point Imperial

We got back to camp, Chance built us a campfire and we made dinner. The weather was perfect for camping. It was in the mid 70s during the day and low 50s that the evening. It did drop down to about 38 that night while we slept! Thank goodness we packed warm clothes! From nearly 100 degrees in Moab to being in the 30s in less than a week’s time. Sometimes it pays to be an over-packer and to plan for everything!

My absolute favorite part of Day 8 was just after we started our hike. Chance and I had been making it our morning routine to pray together each day and not long into our hike we realized we hadn’t done that yet. We found a great spot with a beautiful view and sat and prayed together while looking out at one of the most spectacular pieces of God’s Creation. It was such a special moment! If you make your way to the Grand Canyon go on some hikes and get into nature. Take the time to slow down, take in the views and enjoy!

Be sure you are subscribed to the page because the next post will be all about our BIG hike down INTO the Grand Canyon! You won’t want to miss it! 

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