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Grand Canyon North Rim, AZ

US Southwest Family Adventure: Las Vegas, Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks, Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Sedona and Scottsdale

This summer, my family experienced the most memorable and adventurous trip we’ve ever taken together.  Starting in Las Vegas and ending in Scottsdale, we covered over 1200 miles and slept in seven different locations throughout the US Southwest.  To say we saw and did many amazing things is an understatement!

Hoover Dam, Nevada
Exploring the Hoover Dam
ATV tour, Vermilion Cliffs
UTV adventure, Vermilion Cliffs
Zion Mountain Ranch
Bison preserve at Zion Mountain Ranch

Las Vegas, not just for adults!

While most people probably don’t think of Las Vegas as a place to take children, I found it to be quite the opposite.  My children were fascinated by this bustling city of lights, casinos, shows, outstanding restaurants, and of course epic people watching.  I don’t think more than a few days is necessary to spend here, but it was a fun start to our trip and a great opportunity for me to experience the Four Seasons Las Vegas where we stayed.  You can read more about my stay at the Four Seasons Las Vegas here:

Four Seasons Las Vegas lobby
Lobby at the Four Seasons Las Vegas
Strip View King room at the Four Seasons Las Vegas
Ready to watch Cirque du Soleil's One
Excited for One – Cirque du Soleil’s tribute to Michael Jackson

Zion Mountain Ranch; Canyoneering and Hiking The Narrows in Zion National Park

Our next stop was Zion National Park.  I’d seen the pictures and heard people say how stunning the scenery is, but nothing prepared me for our initial drive through the park on route to Zion Mountain Ranch where we spent the next few nights.  Set on a bison preserve, this hidden gem is very special and scenic.

Zion Mountain Ranch cabin
Our cabin at Zion Mountain Ranch
Zion Mountain Ranch
Our backyard at Zion Mountain Ranch
Cozy cabin at Zion Mountain Ranch
Cozy cabin interior
Dining room area, Zion Mountain Ranch
Beautiful views from our cabin

Jaw-dropping is the best word I can think of to describe Zion National Park – it is truly a national treasure.  The highlights of our time in Zion included canyoneering and hiking The Narrows, both with private guides arranged through my preferred supplier for out west trips.

Zion National Park canyoneering
Canyoneering, Zion National Park
Zion National Park canyoneering
Excited to be at the bottom!
The Narrows, Zion National Park
Hiking The Narrows, Zion National Park

Spectacular Landscape of Bryce Canyon National Park

A visit to Zion wouldn’t be complete without at least a day trip to Bryce Canyon National Park, which is just a short drive away.  We spent a morning there hiking around one side of the rim, in awe of yet another surreal and other-worldly landscape.  The famous “hoodoos” (unique rock formations) this part of this park is known for were truly spectacular to see.

Bryce National Park scenery
Taking in the scenery at Bryce National Park
Bryce Canyon National Park
Lounging at Bryce Canyon National Park

Luxury Camping, My Kind of Camping!  

Next up was luxury camping on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  Luxury camping in some of the national parks is a product my industry supplier recently started offering clients, so I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be the first person in my firm to experience it.  This part of the trip was a major highlight and definitely my kind of camping!  Our staff of three took care of our every need – gourmet food (wine too!), expert private guiding, hot showers, real toilets, and comfy beds were all part of this unforgettable experience.

Staff at luxury tented camp
Our amazing staff
Breakfast, luxury camping site
Breakfast is served!

We couldn’t have been more comfortable during our stay.  The staff set up two sleeping tents, two bathroom tents, a shower tent, dining tent and covered outdoor lounging area just for my family of four.

Our luxury campsite
Luxury camping done right
Sleeping quarters, luxury camping
Comfy sleeping quarters
Dining tent, luxury camping
Dining tent
Lounging area at luxury campsite
Our living room

Less than 10% of the Grand Canyon’s annual six million visitors make it to this more remote and blissfully uncrowded part of the park, so it was a real treat to be there and the ideal home base for our camp.

North Rim, Grand Canyon
Peace and quiet on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon
North Rim, Grand Canyon
Stunning backdrop at the North Rim
Unforgettable lunch on North Rim of the Grand Canyon
The luxury camping staff set up this unforgettable lunch spot for my family

Lake Powell, Sedona, and Phoenix 

We left the Grand Canyon and made our way to Page, Arizona for a visit to Lake Powell.  En route, my industry supplier arranged a UTV tour through the Vermilion Cliffs (so much fun) and a private boat charter with captain the next day on the lake.  Lake Powell was yet another surreal spot – we spent the day enjoying the water and beautiful scenery around us.

ATVing at Vermilion Cliffs
UTV adventure, Vermilion Cliffs
Stunning scenery at Lake Powell
Lake Powell
Lake Powell private boat charter
Enjoying our private boat on Lake Powell
SUP on Lake Powell
Many water activities can be enjoyed on Lake Powell

The next stop was Sedona, a part of Arizona that had been on my bucket list for a long time. The hotel choice was an easy one – Enchantment Resort!  I’ve been sending clients for years and wanted to see for myself how special this hotel really is.  It definitely lived up to expectations.  Set amidst the red rock cliffs Sedona is so famous for, people generally come to Enchantment to enjoy the beautiful landscape, hike and hit the spa, which is one of the top spa facilities in the country. Click here to read about our stay.

Enchantment, Sedona
Family time at Enchantment Resort, Sedona
The beautiful Red Rocks surrounding Enchantment Resort

No visit to Sedona would be complete with booking a Pink Jeep Tour, a staple in town for decades.  My industry supplier arranged a private experience for my family with our own driver/guide and jeep.  Roaming up and down Sedona’s massive rocks was an absolute blast and made for many fun photo opportunities.

Sedona Pink Jeep tour
Pink Jeep tour in Sedona

 

Pink Jeep tour private guide
Learning about the local flora and fauna from our guide

Our final leg took us to the Phoenix/Scottsdale area.  I chose the Phoenician hotel as our last stop and was definitely impressed with this famous and iconic Virtuoso hotel.  The food, service, and facilities were all top notch.

Cactus garden at The Phoenician
Exploring the grounds of The Phoenician
Outdoor bar area at The Phoenician
View from main bar at The Phoenician

I worked closely with my preferred supplier to plan this incredible adventure, just as I do when clients ask me to design an itinerary focused on US or Canada national parks.  Their expertise in this part of the world is invaluable, and their private guides make all the difference.  Not only do they teach you so much more about what you’re seeing than you could possibly learn on your own, they help you navigate and in many cases avoid the crowds altogether. They’re worth every penny and make for priceless memories that last a lifetime.