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Grand Canyon To Phoenix: Why This Road Trip Is Worth Taking

The Grand Canyon is one of America's top tourist destinations to visit on a budget. Travelers flock to this magnificent site to explore its excellence and the surrounding striking features. Additionally, a road trip from the Canyon toward Arizona's capital, Phoenix, features more fascinating features along the way.Tourists exploring Arizona should take a road trip from the Canyon to Phoenix. The drive comprises nu...

The Grand Canyon is one of America's top tourist destinations to visit on a budget. Travelers flock to this magnificent site to explore its excellence and the surrounding striking features. Additionally, a road trip from the Canyon toward Arizona's capital, Phoenix, features more fascinating features along the way.

Tourists exploring Arizona should take a road trip from the Canyon to Phoenix. The drive comprises numerous stops, including the fabled Sedona Town, tucked between the amazing scenery of the state. Furthermore, a tour between the two areas ticks off a significant part of an Arizona itinerary.

THETRAVEL VIDEO OF THE DAY

There are two routes travelers can take when driving from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix. Here are the routes tourists can take when visiting Phoenix from the Canyon.

Grand Canyon To Phoenix, AZ

A drive to Phoenix from Grand Canyon involves two routes, the quickest of which is Highway 64. This route takes travelers past Williams, a town lying off the highway filled with various attractions. It further connects with I-17 through I-40, stretching south towards Phoenix.

Related: This Is The Best Month To Visit The Grand Canyon, And Which Tour To Take While You're There

Travelers interested in arriving fast without minding the numerous semis on the I-40 road should opt for this route. Conversely, those interested in multiple scenic views should take the Highway 180 route that winds past a mountainous region connecting with the I-17.

To say that Highway 64 barely has attractions is a far-fetched assumption, as both routes have a fair share of interesting stops. It all depends on preference, season, and urgency.

Stops To Make From Grand Canyon To Phoenix

The road trip from the Grand Canyon to Phoenix involves two segments. Both parts of the journey incorporate several interesting stops regardless of the preferred route. Here is a guide detailing the various parts of the trip with numerous interesting stops.

This segment involves two routes, Highway 64 and Highway 180. Both routes take travelers from the natural feature to the fabled Flagstaff Town. However, using Highway 180, the slowest of the two, depends on the season as it's often closed during winter.

The first stop along Highway 64 is Bearizona National Park, a park in Williams. The park houses high-country wildlife easily explored via a safari-style drive. It also incorporates an in-house zoo that hosts various animals, including bears and arctic wolves.

A trip through the park often takes approximately two hours. Also, a few miles ahead of the park lies Williams, a town with its own share of unique attractions. The detour is quick, involving a fascinating historical district with multiple Route 66-themed shops and galleries. Tourists can check out the stores for souvenirs.

Travelers then take the I-40 route that links with I-17 at Flagstaff. On the other hand, Highway 180 involves more scenic views, starting with the famous Snow Ball, a ski resort on the western slopes of the San Francisco Peaks. The resort is seven miles off the highway's junction, with the drive taking visitors past striking aspen groves.

Further south of the peaks lies the famous Flagstaff Town. Travelers stop by the town to explore its historic downtown, including checking out Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument. The second part of the journey begins right after exploring Flagstaff.

The last part of the road trip involves traveling south from Flagstaff via the I-17 road. For visitors, this route features interesting stretches of amazing scenery and stops. These fascinating features include saguaros towering the famous Black Canyon City.

Travelers drive toward the famous Sedona Town, a side trip that takes visitors past eye-candy vistas from Oak Creek Canyon to the village of Oak Creek. The municipality is also home to several easy hiking grounds a few miles off the highway, such as the West Fork of Oak Creek. Tourists can also explore the gastronomic culture of the town's plethora of restaurants.

Further ahead of Sedona off I-17 at Camp Verde lies the magnificent Montezuma Castle National Monument, another fascinating stop. The attraction houses ancient cliff dwellings built by the Sinagua people over nine centuries ago. The visit is a quick stop as the parking spot is not far from the viewing area.

Ahead of the historical site toward Phoenix is the fabled Rock Springs Cafe. Originally built as a general store in the early 1900s, Rock Springs Cafe has been a significant stopover for travelers for years. The place also features an indigenous craft boutique selling souvenirs to visitors.

Additionally, Rock Springs Cafe has a rich gastronomic tradition, with the area being famous for its amazing pies. Also, tourists can take in the amazing scenery of the magnificent Sonoran Desert before embarking on a trip to Phoenix.

These stops lengthen the journey but make it more exciting. Tourists visiting Phoenix from the Canyon need to pick their preferred routes to enjoy a scenic tour past some top Arizona natural features. There are several things travelers need to include in this itinerary; here are some.

Arizona is home to dramatic stretches of landscapes that feature rugged terrains winding through fascinating natural features. A good example of these natural sites includes the Grand Canyon, which experiences a high influx of tourists all year round. An Arizona road trip is the best way to get the most out of the state.

This remote-feeling hike to a river isn't far from Phoenix. Here's how to try it

Special for The RepublicTucked in the hilly backcountry between Interstate 17 and the feeder gullies of the Agua Fria River, the Little Grand Canyon segment of the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail offers easy access to a remote-feeling hike escape.The 1.4-mile slice of the more than 80-mile route that runs between Carefree Highway in north Phoenix to the fringes of Prescott National Forest near Mayer showcases a rugged, water-ravaged landscape entrenched by mountains, mesas, washes and mineral-rich foothill...

Special for The Republic

Tucked in the hilly backcountry between Interstate 17 and the feeder gullies of the Agua Fria River, the Little Grand Canyon segment of the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail offers easy access to a remote-feeling hike escape.

The 1.4-mile slice of the more than 80-mile route that runs between Carefree Highway in north Phoenix to the fringes of Prescott National Forest near Mayer showcases a rugged, water-ravaged landscape entrenched by mountains, mesas, washes and mineral-rich foothills just over 30 miles north of downtown Phoenix.

Named more for the presence of the Little Grand Canyon Ranch on the banks of the Agua Fria rather than for any resemblance of the real geological deal to the north, the segment delivers a pleasing rotation of eye-popping vistas served up by way of edge-hugging switchbacks and slinky single tracks.

Hikers should be aware that the area is also a popular draw for recreational shooting and OHV use. Expect to hear a constant pop-pop of rifles and the rev of quad engines during the first half-mile of the hike.

The trail itself is open only to foot, horse and non-electric bike travel, so the noise is soon absorbed in stony clefts and acres of pristine desert.

To find the route from the trailhead, follow the short access path to a T intersection, go right and hike past a chain of RV campsites. The trail is well-signed throughout.

Right from the start, mountain views command attention. To the southwest, the distinctive slanted flattop of Indian Mesa stands among stone sentinels at the remote upper finger coves of Lake Pleasant.

As the trail makes an easy descent along a narrow trail cut from buff-colored compacted volcanic ash, scaly metamorphic shelves and quartz outcroppings, views of the Bradshaw Mountains to the north peek out over vivid green foothills covered in paloverde trees, creosote, cholla and massive squads of tall saguaros.

At the 1.1-mile point, the trail crosses a major wash with scoured caves and quartz-laced boulders polished smooth by years of rushing water. To stay on track at this and all wash and drainage crossings on the hike, be sure to locate the trail signs placed on the opposite side before trudging forward.

The route then passes a rustic gate and the unnamed junction for the Little Pan loop segment before making a dive into the wide floodplains and chiseled channels of the Agua Fria River.

At this point, the trail enters its Williams Mesa segment, heading downhill on a loose-rock cliff face to meet a forest of willow and mesquite trees at the river’s edge. The sandy waterway is strewn with haphazard deposits of rocks, pebbles and flood debris.

Water lingers in pools below sheer cliffs and in glassy rivulets flush with spent cottonwood leaves.

The route crosses the broad desert stream and picks up where a few trail signs cling precariously to a sheer rock face where the path heads directly up and on for another 3 miles to its connection with the Cheap Shop segment near the Little Pan staging area on Azco Mine Road.

The river makes for a nice turnaround point for a 4.2-mile trek. Consult Black Canyon Trail maps for ways to build a loop or longer hike in this gorgeous pocket of foothills that’s not too far from civilization.

Black Canyon Trail: Little Grand Canyon route

Length: 4.2 miles round trip as described here.

Rating: Moderate.

Elevation: 1,699-1,939 feet.

Getting there: Use the Table Mesa Trailhead. From Interstate 17, take Table Mesa Road (Exit 236) which is 36 miles north of downtown Phoenix. At the end of the off ramp, turn left, go a few yards and then veer right onto Frontage Road (the unsigned west end of Table Mesa Road). Continue to the large Table Mesa West sign, turn left and continue to the Table Mesa trailhead at kiosk No. 5 on the right, 3.1 miles from I-17. Roads are maintained dirt/gravel, suitable for all vehicles.

Details: Black Canyon Trail Coalition, https://bctaz.org.

Read more of Mare Czinar's hikes at http://arizonahiking.blogspot.com.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

You'll probably see wild burros on this part of the Black Canyon Trail. Here's where to go

Special for The RepublicRegistering somewhere between a honk and a howl, the vocalizations of the feral burros that roam around Lake Pleasant are as gritty and unbridled as the beasts themselves.Sturdily built and resilient, the desert-adapted, North African imports first arrived in Arizona in the 1600s carrying supplies with Jesuit priests.Valued for their strong backs and hardy work ethic, the burros soon found additional employment with prospectors. They hauled ore during boom times and when the mines w...

Special for The Republic

Registering somewhere between a honk and a howl, the vocalizations of the feral burros that roam around Lake Pleasant are as gritty and unbridled as the beasts themselves.

Sturdily built and resilient, the desert-adapted, North African imports first arrived in Arizona in the 1600s carrying supplies with Jesuit priests.

Valued for their strong backs and hardy work ethic, the burros soon found additional employment with prospectors. They hauled ore during boom times and when the mines went bust, they either wandered off or were released into the wild where they thrived in the arid territory.

More:This remote-feeling hike to a river isn't far from Phoenix. Here's how to try it

Make no mistake, these docile-looking vegetarians are not to be messed with. Unlike their cousin the horse, these rough-around-the edges members of genus Equus are hardly the type to stride elegantly before spectators wearing feathered fascinators at a racetrack. They can be scrappy, so it’s smart to observe them from a distance.

Hikers can almost bet on seeing the free-roaming wild donkeys that average about 350 pounds when full grown in the Bureau of Land Management’s Lake Pleasant Herd Management Area. It's 25 miles north of Phoenix, west of Interstate 17, north of Carefree Highway (State Route 74) and northeast of the lake.

More:Don't be fooled by the paved path. This hike is a fun challenge with big views

Much of the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail passes through this swath of upper Sonoran Desert in the hilly backcountry of the Agua Fria River watershed.

The 3.5-mile Windmill Valley segment of the trail, which is just a few miles east of Lake Pleasant, is a scenic trek that winds through prime burro habitat.

The hike begins across the road from the Table Mesa trailhead with an easy walk among huge saguaros with majestic views of the Bradshaw Mountains to the north and a flank of flat-topped mesas near the north coves of Lake Pleasant.

The trail quickly descends into a wash area and fire scar. Torched trees and ashen cactus stumps belie an understory of resurgent shrubs and wildflowers. It’s in this short section of trail where the most species are found.

Look for desert marigold, chia, owl clover, desert snow, scorpion weed, globemallow, woolly daisy, white ratany and frilly American carrot.

More:Easily customizable hike has the best of San Tan Mountain Regional Park. How to try it

Beyond the fire damage, the trail traces a network of washes, bouncing between ridges and drainages as it gradually climbs 500 feet. High points showcase vistas of the New River Mountains, Table Mesa and acres of scrubland where springtime color breaks in colorful cactus blooms, golden brittlebush, buckwheat and rare specimens of bladder sage.

The remainder of the route twists around stone pinnacles, rolling hills and rangeland. It ends at the Doe Springs Segment 7.7 trail miles north of the Emery Henderson trailhead on New River Road.

While the Doe Springs junction makes for a good turnaround point, hikers can opt to customize the hike length by way of a car shuttle or tying in with the popular Boy Scout Loop for a more rigorous out-and-back trek through burro land.

Black Canyon Trail hike: Windmill Valley

Length: 3.5 miles one way.

Rating: Moderate.

Elevation: 1,921-2,450 feet.

Getting there: Use the Table Mesa trailhead. From Interstate 17, take Table Mesa Road (Exit 236). It's 36 miles north of central Phoenix. At the end of the off ramp, turn left, go a few yards, and then veer right onto Frontage Road (the unsigned west end of Table Mesa Road). Continue to the large Table Mesa West sign, turn left and go to the Table Mesa trailhead at kiosk No. 5 on the right, 3.1 miles from I-17. To reach the start of the hike, walk a few yards farther down Table Mesa Road to the BCT sign on the left. Roads are maintained dirt/gravel, suitable for all vehicles.

Note: The Black Canyon National Recreation Trail is closed to motorized travel and shooting, but the surrounding area is popular with OHV riders and recreational shooters. Dust and noise may be noticeable.

Details: Black Canyon Trail Coalition, https://bctaz.org.

Read more of Mare Czinar's hikes at http://arizonahiking.blogspot.com.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

Sunset Cyclery expands with move to new shop

After only being open for two years, Sunset Cyclery has outgrown its old location and relocated to a new, larger location on Vision Way as of July 26 and will have an official grand opening Thursday, Aug. 25.Sunset Cyclery sells new and used bicycles and scooters, as well as offering repair services. They also offer accessories such as messenger bags, bike flags, mudflaps, pedals, baskets, training wheels, kickstands and horns. The store’s customer base ranges from children to seniors in Anthem and surrounding communities, inclu...

After only being open for two years, Sunset Cyclery has outgrown its old location and relocated to a new, larger location on Vision Way as of July 26 and will have an official grand opening Thursday, Aug. 25.

Sunset Cyclery sells new and used bicycles and scooters, as well as offering repair services. They also offer accessories such as messenger bags, bike flags, mudflaps, pedals, baskets, training wheels, kickstands and horns. The store’s customer base ranges from children to seniors in Anthem and surrounding communities, including New River, Black Canyon City and Desert Hills.

Owners Alison and Shaugn Ryan, Cary Westmark and Roman Trugillo had never owned a bicycle shop before, but decided to jump right in and start their own business when Anthem’s only community bike shop closed in 2020. The group of bike enthusiasts banned together and opened Sunset Cyclery in 2020, at the height of the pandemic. From the beginning, though, the community bike shop has thrived.

Anthem has a strong biking community with over 100 miles of trails. Alison has found that recently, more people have gotten into hobbies such as cycling.

Customers are looking for a range of different types of bikes, including BMX, mountain and road bikes.

“There’s a lot of diversity in Anthem as far as age, skill and what they are looking for in a bicycle,” Alison said.

Recently, electric bikes have been trending. According to Alison, they can be especially helpful with navigating tougher terrain.

“When you come across a hill that may be a little too steep for you, you just use your pedal-assisted bike to help you get up the harder, steeper part,” Alison said.

She said demand caused the shop to outgrow the old location very quickly, but it took time to do the buildout.

The new store has 2,600 square feet of space, a 60% increase over the old location. This allows for more inventory and for quicker turnaround times on bike repairs.

At the previous location, the shop had to have some bikes in storage, and customers would look at the bikes on the computer screen. Alison said that having more bikes on display is important because customers like to experience them in person.

“It helps to put your hands on it and take it for a spin in the parking lot,” she explained.

The new location also has an expanded scooter area.

Repairs are about a third of Sunset Cyclery’s business. The company offers tune-ups as well as repairs for issues such as flat tires, which Alison said is common in the desert. Giving bikes regular maintenance can help to ensure that riding is an enjoyable activity.

“Owning a bike shouldn’t be a stressful thing. It should be a happy thing, and that’s what we want to make it for our customers,” Alison said.

During COVID, many customers brought in their older bikes that hadn’t gotten attention for a while.

“It was hard to find new bikes at a particular point during COVID,” Alison said. “They were cleaning out their garages and finding treasures. We tried to make them new for them.”

With bicycles being more readily available now, the shop has been able to offer greater inventory of new bikes for customers. The shop is still seeing some customers coming with their older bikes.

“We have our repeat customers that have been out on the trails. They need a tune-up. They might need some bike adjustments,” Alison said.

The store is already open, but an official grand opening will be held Thursday, Aug. 25.

From the start, the shop owners wanted to be involved in and give back to the community. They were recently honored by the Anthem Area Chamber of Commerce with an Economic Impact Award. Alison said the award meant a lot to her and the other owners.

“We are very grateful and very proud of that award,” Alison said.

The shop is very active with the chamber. They recently partnered with the organization for a bike and skater safety program and plan to do other activities with them in the future.

Locally, the store sponsors baseball teams and the Boulder Creek Mountain Bike Team. One of their part-time employees, a 16-year-old, is on the team.

The shop also runs a free bike riding group, which is open to anyone in the community. It is on hiatus during the summer but will return in the fall.

The owners came from backgrounds in engineering, IT and law enforcement. Alison was the only one with previous business experience, having owned a running store in Flagstaff.

The Ryans didn’t know the other two owners before starting their own business. Westmark and Trugillo were already familiar with each other from working in IT. The bike shop brought all of them together. They are now close friends, business associates and cycling buddies with a similar goal.

“We all just wanted to make sure that we kept a community bike shop in Anthem. We got together and decided to learn how to do it,” Alison said.

The Ryans have also made cycling a family affair, now that their children have taken an interest in it.

At the shop, the partners assume different responsibilities. Alison tends to handle back office, business-related matters, while the other three help with servicing and building bikes. Her experience owning another shop has helped Alison in owning a bike shop, but she said there has been a learning curve when it comes to having inventory that will fit different types of customers.

“We have limited resources to be able to offer the things that we think people want. And then when people come in, and we don’t have what they want, that’s always a little bit disheartening,” she said.

“When a customer comes in, and they are looking for something, it feels really good to say, ‘I have the perfect thing for you right here.’ We try really hard to make that happen, and even when we don’t have it in stock, we try really hard to be able to get it for them quickly.”

It has always been a priority for Sunset Cyclery to offer strong customer service. The biggest challenge has been supply-chain issues. This has impacted the shop, as they are still waiting on parts to be able to fully open their third service bay.

Even with the delay, the shop is already able to service more bikes with two fully-operational and one partially operational bay. They expect to have three fully-operational bays by the fall.

Alison said that finding parts has become easier recently. Even while experiencing supply-chain issues, Alison and her business partners always went the extra mile to find items for customers.

“There are some things that are harder for us to be able to get, and we have to shop around to different suppliers, but we do what we can to make it work,” she said. “Sometimes, we work with other shops. Sometimes, we are scouring Amazon. Whatever it takes to get the part in for the customer.”

Sunset Cyclery Grand Opening

WHEN: 3 to 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 25

WHERE: 42407 N. Vision Way, Anthem

COST: Free

You can be one of the first to hike this history-filled trail in Arizona. Here's how

Special for The RepublicSteeped in scenic beauty, geological diversity and human history, the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail continues to evolve and grow.The core of the historic 80-mile route, which runs from Carefree Highway north of Phoenix to State Route 69 outside of Prescott, has been expanding northward into Prescott National Forest.The latest effort involves adding 37 miles of nonmotorized trail between the Russian Well segment along Orme School Road near Mayer to the Verde River at Camp Ve...

Special for The Republic

Steeped in scenic beauty, geological diversity and human history, the Black Canyon National Recreation Trail continues to evolve and grow.

The core of the historic 80-mile route, which runs from Carefree Highway north of Phoenix to State Route 69 outside of Prescott, has been expanding northward into Prescott National Forest.

The latest effort involves adding 37 miles of nonmotorized trail between the Russian Well segment along Orme School Road near Mayer to the Verde River at Camp Verde.

The new stretch of trail incorporates parts of the General Crook National Recreation Trail, old stock driveways and sustainable social trails with segments of new construction. It will pass under SR 260 by way of existing culverts near the Hayfield Draw OHV trailhead.

One fresh-cut section to explore uses the General Crook Trail to connect with part of the new trail segment south of SR 169. As of this writing, trail signs are not yet installed and construction is still active. Trail users should not disturb trail flags, build cairns or get in the way of workers who may be present.

From a roomy trailhead on Cherry Creek Road, the hike begins across from the parking area where the General Crook Trail heads east through scrubby rangeland backed by distant mountain vistas.

The first few yards of the trail pass through a wash and drainages. The sketchy path soon becomes clear where cairns mark the way. The undulating historic wagon road glides through largely shadeless territory replete with catclaw, yucca and cactus.

Disrupted by washes and isolated rock outcroppings, the stark expanse was once the realm of sheep flocking from winter grazing lands around Bloody Basin to their summer pastures near Flagstaff and on the Mogollon Rim. While sheep still pass through this backcountry, hikers are more likely to encounter domestic cattle, coyotes and javelinas.

At the 1.2-mile point, the route meets the Black Canyon Trail. From the junction, head south (go right) and follow the newly forged single track as it bends westward through grasslands and juniper forests.

The trail swings through and around scoured drainages and sandy washes before it meets a gate at Cherry Creek Road at the 3.3-mile point. A loopy combination of rough-hewn wood, barbed wire and green-painted metal, the gate has a bike rollover and easy-open access for foot traffic. Be sure to close the gate behind you. The trail then begins a smooth descent to the cottonwood-lined course of Ash Creek.

Just ahead, the trail cut is visible ascending a rocky mound. While it looks steep, series of long switchbacks mitigates the effort of climbing the hill’s grassy flanks. As the close-cropped trail ascends among amazing rock formations and cliff-hanging cactus, bigger and better views unfold in panoramic style. At just over 3.5 miles, the trail encounters a scenic overlook above the creek.

Surrounded by lichen-encrusted outcroppings with scrub oaks clinging to cracks in the eroding stone, the breezy high point offers a fresh look at a wild landscape just a few miles west of Interstate 17 and a perfect spot to take a break before heading back to the trailhead.

Black Canyon National Recreation Trail via Gen. Crook Trail

Length: 7.3 miles round trip as described here.

Rating: Moderate.

Elevation: 4,219-4,435 feet.

Getting there: From Interstate 17 about 8 miles south of Camp Verde, take Exit 278 (Dewey-Humboldt) for State Route 169. Turn left onto SR 169 and go 5.5 miles to the Cherry Creek Road intersection past mile marker 10. Turn left onto the dirt Old Cherry Creek Road/County Road 168 (not signed and shown on some maps as Hackberry Wash Road). Continue 0.4 mile to the trailhead on the right. Hike begins across the road at the “64” trail post. Roads are paved up to Old Cherry Creek Road, which is good dirt suitable for all vehicles.

Details: Prescott National Forest, https://www.fs.usda.gov/prescott. Black Canyon Trail Coalition, https://bctaz.org.

Read more of Mare Czinar's hikes at http://arizonahiking.blogspot.com.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to azcentral.com today.

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