21 October 2016
We decided to venture on the wild side for this holiday taking in some of North Americas greatest national parks and iconic sights in Nevada, Arizona & Utah area, we love touring (mainly in the USA) and so usually make up our own road tours, this one we called the Las Vegas loop, because we started and finished in LV.
So leaving LV heading south passing through Henderson, Boulder City, and on to the Hoover dam which is worth a stop and look around if you haven’t been there before. It boarders two states at the middle of the dam (Nevada Arizona). After a brief visit we continued on to Seligman which is on the iconic Route 66, again worth a stop here and have lunch; its cheap great you have a couple of roadside diners to pick from Roadkill Cafe which has great reviews or Westside Lilo's Cafe we opted for the later which was excellent all round (good wholesome food).
After a good feed we headed on to our hotel over at Tusayan which is inside the Grand Canyon National Park. We visited the Grand Canyon that afternoon for a couple of hours and the next morning before moving on, this way we got the best times for the light on the canyon. I don’t think I have to explain in great lengths how wonderful it all is you can read that elsewhere (bucket list ticked).
Continuing the tour we drive on to Monument Valley another famous site featured in lots of films and adverts globally, and one of my bucket list dreams to visit (another big tick) and brilliantly much better in the flesh. A little tip - we hired a SUV (around range rover size) as the roads are sand and rocks. We see people in cars but there is a chance you could hit the engine sump on a rock (bed rock) sticking up more expense but I think worth it. The Monument Valley circuit road is around 20 miles (off road) and you do get up close to the rocks and also scenic views.
We stayed here a few days at Goulding's Lodge which was spotless and one of the cleanest hotels we stayed at and staff were great. From here we drove on to a little place called Page and visited Lower Antelope Canyon (another must do). It’s a slot canyon that you walk through with a local guide. It is laminated but the sun light shining through on the rock producing stunning colours.
Driving on we pass Glen Canyon dam and Lake Powell good scenic stop off points for photos. Moving along we enter Zion National park which to me is a golden secret. It’s just stunning, I would rate this much higher than the Grand Canyon; much more to do like walks etc. And Springfield town is lovely. We liked and caters for locals and tourist alike with good value restaurants and hotels and not the hyped up prices at GC. We stopped here for a few nights; the food and lodgings were great and views of mountains all round from the balcony. I highly recommend this area even if you are not a great outdoors type as a lot of the walks are paved and easy to do with free shuttle buses into the canyon.
From here we drove down through the Valley of Fire State Park - again great scenery and lovely colours in the rocks worth visiting and it’s a back route that takes you back to Las Vegas.
This whole trip can be done within a week (we done it in 6 days as we were flying to san Francisco afterwards) but a longer 10 days would be more comfortably and allow more time to stop over at some of the better sites.
by Steven Clark