Holy wow, you guys! We’re finally making a post about our epic Arizona trip in March. It took forever to go through all of the photos we took, but we knew we really wanted to share them as soon as possible! It was perfect timing for editing all of these during the “off-season” in NJ. But, is there really ever an off-season? I guess you can call them the “slower months,” although nothing about it feels any slower! Anyway! This trip was much needed and a long time coming. Our last trip was to Colorado in 2017 and we were only there for a week. This time, we knew we wanted to make the absolute most of a couple of weeks we had off from weddings so we mapped out a huge route. The original plan was to land in Phoenix, head North to Sedona, then Grand Canyon, followed by Horseshoe Bend & Monument Valley, then head back South. Unfortunately – our plans were a little derailed due to some unexpectedly cold weather in the Canyon and up North. Basically, we ended up in the Canyon for a weekend (so cold, but still so epic!!) and made a quick decision to skip Horseshoe Bend & Monument Valley and just go back to Sedona where it was warmer (temps in the 60’s & 70’s!!). We are still sad about skipping some of those other sights, but it just means we’ll need to take another trip!
This trip was 1) For business – because we want to shoot more out west! 2) To make work to make prints out of. 3) For Steve’s 30th birthday! 4) To just take a mental BREAK! You don’t realize how much it’s needed until you do it. Seriously, I was a basket-case before we left. Checking emails 24/7, working late hours and not taking any time for myself, my family or my friends. Taking a mental break like that reset us both and recharged us for the upcoming wedding season. We were working so hard building word of mouth for our business the last few years – we forgot to make time for ourselves.. and our relationship! Spending that time with Steve outside of the work-home life dynamic was really important to strengthen our relationship. Seeing an indescribable view like the Grand Canyon together is pretty life-changing. Steve had seen it many years ago on a family trip, but it was my first time. It’s just something that shifts your perspective and helps you feel the weight of the rest of the world – not just your own problems. And celebrating his 30th with him while hiking around some amazing trails in Sedona was more than we could ask for. Read on to see all the beautiful views and the rest of the story.
We’ve also made a gallery of the images available for purchase! If you like anything you see in this blog post, it might be in this gallery. We can order images in this gallery for you as:
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All you have to do is email your favorite image numbers, size & quantity through our contact form with your mailing address and we’ll set up an invoice for you to purchase!
First stop, we landed in Phoenix and the weather was a little iffy. Rain would break for sun mid-day so we spent the first day at the Phoenix Art Museum before heading to Sedona. Coming from the NYC area, it’s not the biggest museum, but they definitely have quality over quantity! We wound up spending an entire afternoon there because the work was really worth seeing.
Quick bite to eat from The Dressing Room in Phoenix!
First hike in Sedona – Bell Rock Path. Big Park Loop (the loooong way around!)
Tip: If you’re parking anywhere in Sedona before a hike you have to head to a visitors’ center and grab a $5.00 Red Rock Daily Pass for your car. If you think you’ll need one for more than a day, buy several so you don’t have to go back every day. Don’t feel bad if you don’t use it, you’re donating to the park!
Sedona was actually hit with snow a week or so prior. This is actually melting snow, which created streams and some waterfalls. Colorado was hit with the “bomb cyclone” this particular week and while we were fortunate enough to not have snow while we hiked, there was a pretty hefty wind chill! Temps were around 40s – 60s in March depending on the time of day.
After some dinner, we went out to the Airport Mesa overlook to watch the sunset. It was so cold and windy but there was an amazing golden sunset over the red rocks!
Just before leaving Los Abrigados in Sedona, and heading for the Grand Canyon!
Quick pitstop – we knew it was getting colder because the further North we drove, the more snow we saw on the ground and mountains! So thankful we stopped in the Flagstaff REI and I bought some fleece pants! I couldn’t have lasted in the Canyon without them! We were a little under-prepared. It felt like every single season the entire time we were in AZ. Early Spring weather in Phoenix initially, 30’s + 40’s during the day to 20 below at night in the Canyon, 60’s and 70’s when we went back to Sedona, ending with an 84 degree pool day in Phoenix! So crazy! We definitely didn’t pack properly for March. Our advice if you’re traveling during March – bring one of everything!
So we check into the Grand Canyon and find our lodging. Then we walked out to the Visitor’s Center overlook. The entire path was just snow-covered trees and some elk. It was beautiful, but I literally said out loud to Steve, “Where’s the canyon!?” Then we walked a little further and the ground opened up into the most breathtaking view of my life. I’ve never felt so small and awestruck.
I truly was at a loss for words and couldn’t comprehend the scale of the view I was looking over. Everyone needs to see the Grand Canyon at least once in his or her lifetime. We only were able to see the South Rim because it was the only area open in early March. I definitely need to come back when it’s warmer! Steve had hiked to the bottom on a family trip with his father and brother. We were looking forward to doing that together, but unfortunately we had to just take the trail around the outside of the rim because of the ice. We are hikers, but didn’t feel experienced enough to tackle that in the Canyon. One slip and that’s it! We even had some ice around the edge of the Rim in an un-barricaded spot that made me so nervous! But luckily the majority of it was fine.
The trail down to the bottom – we have to go back and so I can finally hike this trail!
Foraging Elk! They’re so gentle and hardly mind having people around. They are definitely massive next to our humble Jersey deer, though.
Hermit’s Rest – the end of the long trail walk around the South Rim. Ok – we walked about 3/4s of the way around all day and then took the shuttle to Hermit’s Rest. But that was still several miles!
Finally before we hit the road and left the Grand Canyon, we drove to the other end of the South Rim we hadn’t seen and went up to the Watchtower.
After leaving the Canyon, we made a pitstop in the desert. It was 50 degrees and sunny and the first time we had felt warm in DAYS! We finally took off our winter coats.
Another pitstop at Slide Rock State Park . An amazing place to sit out in the sun and dip your toes in the water! If it’s warm enough in the Summer time, you can swim here. People were doing it but we don’t recommend it in March, haha. The water was definitely below 40 degrees and numbed our toes.
Pretending it’s not cold at all!
*My actual reaction*
So when we decided to come back to Sedona, we really truly had wanted to camp. We were going to save some money on lodging and had shipped our camping gear to the Canyon from home so we could take it with us. Unfortunately, it was so cold in the evenings and camping is really limited in the off-season in Sedona. We didn’t really do a lot of research because we thought we’d be camping near Horsehoe Bend. Basically, our last night at the Canyon we SCRAMBLED for an Airbnb. Sure, we spent a little extra money than we expected, but it was money well spent. We really lucked out. We found the most amazing little gem in West Sedona and fell in love. This is as we drove up to the Airbnb….
The cutest little Airbnb! Everything was perfect, no detail overlooked! Send us a private message if you’re interested in staying here and we’ll share the link with you!
A hot tub with a view of the Red Rocks – We never wanted to leave!
And then we woke up for the 7am sunrise!
After LOTS of coffee & breakfast in the Airbnb, we were able to walk right out to an amazing trail called Soldier’s Pass! A 7-10 mile hike when all was said and done, it was so great to be able to walk right outside and hike without driving and parking anywhere! We didn’t even need to get a Red Rock Pass because we could keep the rental car at the Airbnb!
All smiles because we were finally hiking in 70 degree weather!
The next day we checked out Devil’s Bridge. This is a really moderate hike almost the whole way, until it suddenly isn’t. It gets mighty intense at the top – just a warning for some less avid hikers! We saw some travelers with regular shoes not meant for hiking and only one bottle of water. Come prepared! It gets more difficult at the top. And this was March so the amount of people wasn’t too bad, but keep in mind this is a big tourist attraction. We overheard that it can take anywhere over 30 minutes to wait and take a photo on the bridge itself! Our wait was only about 10 minutes.
The coolest view and the coolest spot for photos!! One day this might collapse, just glad we had the opportunity to stand on it!
Sadly, we couldn’t stay in Sedona forever. We had to pry ourselves away. There was such great hiking, weather and food. We never wanted to leave. But we made it back to Phoenix in time for some 80 degree weather!
We stayed at Muse Apartments, where vacant rooms of this new and modern complex were being rented out by Sonder to travelers. Such a cool idea! Not pictured here: the pool we spent the last days by and forgot to bring our cameras. Whoops. It was clearly relaxation time.
When we finally had a moment to check some emails! *Sigh* it was back to reality.