Popular Arizona Road Trip: Phoenix to Sedona, Flagstaff, And More

New World Nomads, out on the road together for the very first time ever.

Our first road trip took us to some of the more classic destinations: Prescott, Jerome, Sedona, Flagstaff, and Williams. We divided it up over three days to give ourselves time in each location, and I feel that three days was just enough to really get a feel for each place briefly before moving on.

Let’s begin this with the fact that we’d never met in person until the day of the road trip. Yes, you read that right, this was our first real meeting. And it went off seamlessly. But that’s a story for another time.

  1. Prescott:

We began with a hike around Lynx Lake, something easy and scenic. We weren’t dressed for hiking at this point, and we had a long day ahead of us. The hike was straightforward, with awesome foliage and lake views the entire time. We even saw a bald eagle.

This was a perfect hike to begin our trip with: easy, relaxing, and not crowded.

View from the trail of Lynx Lake

We stopped for lunch at Bill’s Grill, which was honestly incredible. I’m not a big burger fan but their burgers made me forget about that small detail for a minute.

While in Prescott, we made sure to stop in a Target and stock up on food for the next few days. Protein bars, popcorn, candy-apple pretzels (yes), apples, muffins, normal granola bars, and prepared tuna and salmon (in the little pouches) were some of the items we grabbed. We tried to keep it cheap and stick to filling foods. I think we spent about $16 each.

On our way to our campsite at Camp Avalon (which is advertised as a “spiritual retreat,” so we weren’t exactly in a rush to get there) we went through Jerome, where we a) accidentally tried to buy a woman’s PERSONAL wine opener, and b) ended up borrowing that wine opener to open a bottle of wine. We just didn’t want to have to go out in Sedona to get some wine, but that turned into a huge ordeal. All in a day’s work.

We pulled into Camp Avalon just as it was getting dusky, and the red rocks were glowing.

2. Sedona:

With absolutely zero cell service, we pulled into Camp Avalon in Red Rock State Park. We were determined to camp to keep exposure and cost to a minimum, and between dinner out of a cooler and the cost of the campsite, the entire evening cost about $30. Hoss (his self-appointed name/title) directed us to our campsite and encouraged us to really get in touch with nature while we were there.

I can’t stress enough how awesome this campground was. You’re very spread out from the other campers, which is uncommon in Sedona. Normally, you’re on top of each other to the point where it almost feels like you’re sharing a campsite.

Two or three glasses of wine later (plus a lot of spilled wine from my refusal to pour using a flashlight) we were interrupted by a lovely pack of Javelinas (read: WILD BOARS) scouting out the nearby vegetation. “Get in touch with nature,” indeed.

We spent an incredibly uncomfortable night sharing a sleeping bag, somehow managing to completely move our sleeping spot by 5 feet, and pretending to sleep.

We woke up not at all refreshed, but definitely ready for some coffee and hiking.

Our campsite at Camp Avalon, no javelinas included in picture.

Finding a non-populated hike in Sedona is difficult, as anyone who has visited knows. Parking lots fill up quickly, as everyone and their cousin seems to have a Sedona trip planned at any given time during the year. We were there on a Tuesday and it still was a tough task.

We decided on Thunder Mountain Loop, which branched off and gave us some options. The key to finding a hike is to use the filter on AllTrails that denotes how heavily-trafficked a trail is. We set the filter to “lightly trafficked” and chose one that was highly rated and not too difficult to find.

The parking lot wasn’t very full, plus there were several trailheads at that lot, so we hardly saw any people on our loop of Chimney Rock via Thunder Mountain.

On top of that, the views were absolutely incredible. We got close-up and distant vistas of the famous red rock formations.

3. Flagstaff:

Post-hike we scrambled into the car, dusty as hell but ready to go north seeking cooler temperatures. Upon arrival we immediately went for another hike at Humphrey’s Peak, two basic white girls foaming at the mouth for some fall foliage.

We took Kachina Trail, which is popular for fall colors but less so on a Wednesday at noon. We saw maybe 8 people on our entire 6-mile trek (the entire trail spans for over 10 miles, so you can make this as long or short as you’d like). The colors were worth it, brilliant yellow aspens greeted us at every turn.

This trail varies between uphill and downhill stretches, which I really enjoy in a hike. It doesn’t make one direction more pleasant than the other, so you can really enjoy the surroundings in both directions.

We checked into our AirBnB after the hike. We stayed at a ranch out near Humphrey’s Peak that had the “clean certification.” Staying off the beaten path was a great way to keep away from crowds and prevent us from spending too much time downtown. Everything was incredibly clean and sanitized, which was awesome. Our hosts were very accommodating but not super in our faces.

Downtown Flagstaff

We spent the evening exploring downtown Flagstaff and enjoying the local craft beer scene, dining outside wherever possible, and making sure we only visited places where the indoor tables were safely distanced. Sitting outside in the freezing weather did wonders for our exhaustion levels. Unsurprisingly, we slept like the dead again that night.

After a coffee from Late For The Train, we were back on the road headed to Williams.

3. Williams:

“The Gateway To The Grand Canyon” reminds me of the town from the movie “Cars”. Radiator Springs, the forgotten town along Route 66. It’s an adorable little town, Williams, full of neon signs, historic buildings, and old gas stations. It’s easy to picture it as a bustling stop along the way of the Great American Road Trip in the 1950s.

We grabbed breakfast (this was probably our least COVID-friendly stop, as Williams is not super big on outdoor eateries, nor are they using the QR code menus that are so popular everywhere) at a diner super quickly before wandering around town for a bit.

We didn’t spend too long here, it seemed the only way to pass time here was to participate in the zipline over the trains or to shop. It’s an adorable stop, though, and really a cute town to grab a meal or anything Route 66 you could ever imagine.

Downtown Williams

Taking the I-17 back wasn’t exactly the most scenic route, but we were ready to get back to Phoenix. We wanted a meal INDOORS, after a NICE SHOWER. It’s crazy what a few days of camping/being hyper-safe can do, I wanted every creature comfort I could get my hands on.

It was an amazing trip, and I can’t wait to see where Michelle and I go next.

Michelle, very excited about fall

Please reach out to pascherachel@gmail.com if you’d like any additional details or have questions about our trip!

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *