Top Ten Ultimate Road Trip Stops in California & Arizona
With their combination of national parks, geographical wonders and intriguing cities, California and Arizona make for the perfect road trip states. After a month of exploring, I’ve put together my top ten road trip stops throughout both California and Arizona.
Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - Image: Ross Jennings
Horseshoe Bend, ArizonaImage: Ross Jennings
Horseshoe Bend - Page (Arizona)
A geological masterpiece sculpted by the Colorado River, this horseshoe-shaped meander offers visitors a true appreciation of Arizona’s complex landscape. The bend is best viewed from the steep cliffs above the river, accessible on foot from the newly completed Horseshoe Bend Parking area. Sunset makes for a great viewing time as the sandstone glows with the setting sun.
Giant Forest, Sequoia National Park - Image: Ross Jennings
Giant Forest, Sequoia National ParkImage: Ross Jennings
Giant Forest - Sequoia National Park (California)
A huge sequoia grove home to General Sherman, here you’ll find the largest tree on Earth. With an extensive network of hiking trails, Giant Forest offers hours of exploration and opportunities to get up close with ancient sequoia trees. The drive here is almost worth the trip in itself as it takes you through Southern Sierra Nevada Mountains and up into Sequoia National Park.
Chapel of the Holy Cross - Sedona - Image: Ross Jennings
Chapel of the Holy Cross - SedonaImage: Ross Jennings
Chapel of the Holy Cross - Sedona (Arizona)
Tucked between a couple of massive red boulders, this spiritual spot is often referred to as one of America’s man made wonders. Even for the non-religious, this Chapel is worth a visit for its setting overlooking the stunning Sedona landscape. Located on the outskirts of Sedona, the chapel is an easy 10 minutes drive from the town centre.
Zabriskie Point - Death Valley National Park (California) - Image: Ross Jennings
Zabriskie Point - Death Valley National Park (California)Image: Ross Jennings
Zabriskie Point - Death Valley National Park (California)
This sizzling hot spot in Death Valley National Park comes with an unbeatable view of the Badlands and Golden Canyon. The wrinkled canyon cliffs dish out every imaginable shade of gold, orange and yellow, which positively glow at sunrise and sunset. Zabriskie Point lies just off Highway 190, in the depths of Death Valley.
Antelope Canyon - Page (Arizona) - Image: Ross Jennings
Antelope Canyon - Page (Arizona)Image: Ross Jennings
Antelope Canyon - Page (Arizona)
An awe-inspiring canyon as beautiful as it is mystical, the rock swirls and characteristic flowing shapes of Antelope Canyon have been carved out of the red sandstone by centuries of seasonal flood rains and wind. Sitting within the Navajo Nation, the canyon’s significance in Navajo culture means it is only accessible with a permit and guided tour.
Pioneertown - Morongo Basin (California) - Image: Ross Jennings
Pioneertown - Morongo Basin (California)Image: Ross Jennings
Pioneertown - Morongo Basin (California)
This dusty desert settlement looks like it’s been frozen in the 19th century. Pioneertown isn’t necessarily an abandoned town, but rather a 1940s movie set that’s turned into a bit of a trendy desert community. The average age is 30, it hosts Western re-enactments on certain Saturdays and it even has a restaurant, recording studio and a vintage store.
Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon (Arizona) - Image: Ross Jennings
Yavapai Point, Grand Canyon (Arizona)Image: Ross Jennings
Yavapai Point - Grand Canyon (Arizona)
Sitting on the Southern Rim of the Grand Canyon, Yavapai Point offers unobstructed panoramic views of the Grand Canyon. Its location just outside of the Grand Canyon Village means it has good access to a selection of nearby trails, whilst getting you away from the crowds. From the viewpoint you’ll be able to wander along the rim of this mile-deep geological wonder and bask in all its glory.
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes - Death Valley National Park (California) - Image: Ross Jennings
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes - Death Valley National Park (California)Image: Ross Jennings
Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes - Death Valley National Park (California)
A collection of silky rippled sand dunes that make you feel like you’re on another planet. The Mesquite Sand Dunes might not be the tallest dunes in Death Valley, but they’re definitely the most accessible and picturesque. Sunrise and sunset are the best times to visit, due to the incredible show of colour and light. Located in Death Valley National Park, the dunes have their own parking lot and are easily accessible on foot.
Devil's Bridge - Sedona, Arizona - Image: Ross Jennings
Devil's Bridge - Sedona, ArizonaImage: Ross Jennings
Devil’s Bridge - Sedona (Arizona)
The largest natural sandstone arch in the Sedona area set within red rock scenery, Devil’s Bridge might just be one of the most stunning spots in and around Sedona. The hiking trail from the parking area is moderate, takes approximately an hour and is littered with wild flowers. If you can get here for sunrise, you’ll have it all to yourself. Sunset is still worth the trip, but it’ll be noticeably busy.
Skull Rock & Jumbo Rock, Joshua Tree National Park (California) - Image: Ross Jennings
Skull Rock & Jumbo Rock, Joshua Tree National Park (California)Image: Ross Jennings
Skull Rock & Jumbo Rock - Joshua Tree National Park (California)
These gigantic granite rock formations are sure to make your imagination run wild. Located within Joshua Tree National Park, known for its wacky Joshua Trees, both Skull Rock & Jumbo Rock are conveniently sat 300m away from each other. A visit to these rugged rocks gives you the perfect insight into this unusual National Park. To top it off, Jumbo Rock is located within a campground, which happens to be one of the best camping spots in the park.
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