To the Bottom & Back: The Ultimate Grand Canyon Adventure Vacation

The Grand Canyon, South RimThe Grand Canyon, South Rim

It’s approximately 40,000 steps to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up to the top.  Add in a quick side trip up Cathedral Rock in Sedona Arizona, and you have yourself the ultimate adventure vacation!

Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon before???

Oh, and throw in a little snow, and now you’re really on to something fun!

The Grand Canyon, South Kaibab Trail, covered in snow.The Grand Canyon, South Kaibab Trail, covered in snow.

I’m excited to share my Grand Canyon/Sedona adventure trip with you, because it was just so fun, and also because I really want you to take a trip there one day too.

Really~I do!

Need more convincing???

Just check out the details of my adventure below, then let me know when you’re planning to go! I may just jump in to your backpack and tag along 🙂

The Ultimate Grand Canyon/Sedona Adventure

Day 1: San Diego to Sedona

EA & VInitaReady to hit the road with my friend & neighbor Vinita.  Just like Thelma & Louise!

Gluten-Free Menu at Picazzo'sAfter a 7 1/2 hour drive we checked in to our over night digs at the Sedona Rouge Spa & Hotel {which we snagged for a great last minute price through Priceline}, then headed straight for dinner at Picazzo’s Organic Italian Kitchen, where I definitely hit the gluten-free jacketpot.  V and I shared a Kale Caesar Salad and a veggie loaded gluten-free pizza.  Absolutely delish!

Day 2: Sedona to The Grand Canyon {South Rim}

View of Sedona from Cathedral RockThe next morning started off with a short, but steep, hike up Cathedral Rock, where the views were incredible and we met a couple of the Sedona locals.  Great way to start the day!

Cathedral Rock, Sedona, ArizonaOur new friends, Werner {left} and Buddy {right}.  What an inspiration to meet Werner, a transplant from LA to Sedona, who I guessed to be in his early 70’s.  He led us to the top of Cathedral Rock {which he hikes every morning!} for some views only known to the locals.  On the way back down he introduced us to his buddy, Buddy 🙂  We spent the rest of the late morning/early afternoon shopping in downtown Sedona where everyone was super friendly.  Must get back here soon, for more hiking, shopping, and to hit the spa!!

South Rim Grand CanyonAfter a 3 hour drive, we arrived at the south rim of The Grand Canyon, and got our first peek in to one of The Seven Natural Wonders of The World.  Neither words, nor photos can not do me justice here.  Just trust me-if you’ve never been to The Grand Canyon, you must go.

After our first viewing, we spent a little time at the South Rim visitor center, then checked in to the Masiwik Lodge for the evening, where we met up with the rest of our friends {9 of us in total}.  Then, we ventured over to the historic El Tovar hotel for a delicious pre-hike dinner and wine~the perfect way to end the evening!

Day 3: Top of The Grand Canyon to the bottom of The Grand Canyon {Phantom Lodge}

The Grand Canyon, South Kaibab Trail, covered in snow.The next morning we were greeted by snow~lots of snow!!

After breakfast at Masiwik Lodge {where I picked up some Udi’s gluten-free goodies for the hike down}, we took a shuttle bus to the South Kaibab trailhead to begin our descent down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

Hiking the S. Kaibab trail in the snow.Smile Friends!!!

South Kaibab Trail Grand CanyonAs we hiked further down in to the Grand Canyon, the snow started disappearing, and turned in to mud!

EA Stewart hiking in the Grand CanyonOh, and it got really windy!  Check out the trash bag cover for my backpack blowing in the wind.  At one point, I seriously thought I was going to blow over the side to the bottom of The Grand Canyon!!

Rainbow, Grand CanyonThis view seriously made up for all the wind, rain, mud, and snow!

Bottom of the S. Kaibab Trail, The Grand CanyonAnd, then we made it to the bottom!!!

Grand Canyon, Phantom RanchJust another ~1/5 miles to our overnight lodgings at Phantom Ranch

Flip flops and socksIt felt great to take off my hiking boots and change in to some sexy footwear!

Mule pack for carrying mail out of the Grand Canyon.We ended the day writing postcards {to be carried out by mule}, and eating a well-deserved dinner at the lodge. My steak dinner {guten-free} really hit the spot, plus there were beef chili and vegetarian chili options as well, although those are not gluten-free.

Day 4: Bottom of The Grand Canyon to the top of The Grand Canyon, and all the way back to San Diego.

Getting ready to hike the Bright Angel Trail in the dark.The next morning, after a 5:30 am breakfast, we were ready to hit the Bright Angel Trail for our journey back to the top, in the dark!

Hiking up the Bright Angel Trail, Grand CanyonBaby, it’s cold {and wet and muddy} outside!!

Cottonwood trees in bloom, Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon.The chilly rain was totally worth it for these views of the golden hued cottonwood trees in bloom.  Spectacular!

Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon, switchbacks.As we got up towards the top again, the snow returned, and the switchbacks appeared!

Bright Angel Lodge, The Grand Canyon.We made it to the top.  Blue Skies.  And, inside The Bright Angel Lodge,a roaring fire was waiting for us!  

Then, the perfect ending to a perfect trip with 8 amazing ladies…I feasted on a big plate of french fries and a mug of hot cocoa at The Masiwik Lodge, before hopping in the car with V. and another friend for the 9 hour drive back home from The Grand Canyon to San Diego.  You might imagine my own bed felt really good when I rolled in to it at midnight, but no such luck, as Big Tex was sleeping in bed with his Papa, so I ended my Grand Canyon Adventure back home on the couch 🙂

Interested in your own Grand Canyon adventure?  Here are some resources to help you plan…

Trip details, resources and links for planning your own Grand Canyon/Sedona Adventure


The Grand Canyon 
  • The Grand Canyon National Park’s Foundation Guide
  • The Grand Canyon National Park Service
  • Grand Canyon Lodging and Dining includes links to Masiwik Lodge, Phantom Lodge, El Tovar, and other lodging and dining options.
  • South Kaibab Trail, Grand Canyon Includes trail description, water availability, elevation changes, and distances for day hikes and to the bottom {note that it is 7 miles to the bottom of The Grand Canyon on the South Kaibab Trail, and another ~ 1 1/2 miles from The Bright Angel Campground to Phantom Ranch}.
  • Bright Angel Trail, Grand Canyon Includes trail description, water availability, elevation changes, and distances for day hikes and to Phantom Ranch which is ~ 10 miles one way.
The Grand Canyon
Have you been to The Grand Canyon before?  Have you hiked to the bottom {and back up!}?  Any favorite adventure travel trips to share?  I’m always looking for new adventures!!!
I love hearing from you! Please click here to join the conversation. And, if you enjoyed the post, I’d love it {and truly appreciate it!} if you stumble, tweet, pin, or share the post.




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  1. Fabulous photos EA! We had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Canyon several years ago, in October, just before the snow season starts on the North Rim. Travelling over for our visit from the UK we didn’t have time to do as you did as we were going to Yosemite and Las Vegas too, but I did do that trip with my parents when I was 13, and that is why I took my family, because the sight from the South Rim is the most jaw-dropping sight. One lady, as she stepped off her tour bus even screamed 😀 It was incredibly cold (and clear) the morning we hiked, and many campers were caught out in the sudden cold snap, with men wearing their girlfriends’s tights with their shorts! Many, many happy memories. So glad you enjoyed your trip. Lucky you that it is within driving distance, even if it was a long one. Thanks for sharing these. I’ve been showing hubby them and he says thank you too.

    • Thanks so much Kellie, and I’m so glad you’ve had the pleasure of visiting the Grand Canyon, even from over the UK. We did see a man hiking back up the canyon the day we were going down, wearing a sweatshirt and shorts-crazy! Like you, I will definitely be going back to visit with my husband and kids, hopefully one day soon!

  2. Your pictures makes me miss Arizona:-) We visited the Grand Canyon several times while living in AZ. I loved my visits to the Grand Canyon, it was beyond beautiful! Your pictures look wonderful, and I love love the snow….I miss snow:-) Thank you for sharing, so fun, Hugs, Terra

  3. Such amazing photos!!

    I’ve only visited the Canyon once and no, didn’t hike in 🙁 But this makes me want to return!!

  4. Great photos of your trip … Been to the canyon but stayed up at the top and just enjoyed the views 🙂

  5. your pics are awesome! looks like such a fun trip and seems like you had a blast i haven’t been to the grand canyons yet but hopefully i can go there some day 🙂

  6. Your photos are gorgeous, EA. My parents lived for a number of years in Tucson and I always wanted to make a trip to the Grand Canyon. Somehow it just didn’t happen. They got sick, and it seemed too much a luxury to do it. My favorite are photos of the snow – you’ve motivated me to make this trip now. Did you get my email and DM back to you? So sorry for the delay!!! So excited to get your message 🙂

    • EA-The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks so much Susan & so happy to motivate you 🙂 Yes, I got your e-mail~Congrats on winning the pedometer from my December Fitness Challenge!!

  7. Wow -gorgeous gorgeous photos – what a trip. I went to Sedona and the Grand Canyon on a family trip years ago. Marveled how beautiful Arizona is. We didn’t do any hiking at the Grand Canyon but did a sunrise hot air balloon ride in Sedona – amazing.

  8. Malea Rogers says:

    These photos are insanely good! I love the one with the rainbow. You are truly adventurous! Thank you for sharing them! Happy New Year!

  9. Breathtakingly beautiful!

  10. Wow, this pictures are just beautiful!
    My parents go visit Sedona with friends every so often, but I have never gone myself. I need to, especially after your recap!

    • EA-The Spicy RD says:

      Thanks Kristen! We almost drove back via Las Vegas {to celebrate a birthday}, but, in the end, we were all pretty exhausted, so it didn’t happen 🙂

  11. Love the pictures — the Grand Canyon is amazing — I’ve never been but I’m inspired to go now!

  12. Wow, what a spectacular trip – thanks so much for sharing your amazing photographs! I would love to go to the Grand Canyon one day – on my bucket list.

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