A 7 Day Glamping Road Trip
Each year we go on a road trip and this year we decided to do our longest one yet. Our planned route was from Phoenix, Arizona through Utah to Denver, Colorado. We covered a lot of ground — 907 miles (1459 km) in 7 days, to be exact. With some advanced planning, we were able to break it into manageable 2-3 hours of driving a day. This drive is exceptionally beautiful with a variety of landscapes to be seen and a lot to do along the way. Some highlights include the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, and Arches National Park.
Day 1: Royal Palms Resort and Spa, Scottsdale AZ
10 miles (15 minutes)
We always love a hotel with a good story so we were excited to discover the Royal Palms Resort and Spa is a member of Historic Hotels of America. Originally, this magical place served as a private mansion for Delos Cooke and his family to escape the cold New York winters in the early 1920s.
Even though the resort is a 15 minute drive from the Phoenix Airport, it sits at the base of Camelback Mountain, making it the perfect respite from the city. If you happen to arrive before your check-in, do not worry, you can spend the extra time exploring the recently restored nine-acre grounds.
Upon entering the grounds it became clear every corner and courtyard of this hotel is uniquely beautiful and so photogenic! When we weren’t taking photos, we were escaping the heat with frozen drinks at our private cabana by the pool.
The Royal Palms Resort and Spa has some of the best dining experiences in all of Scottsdale. The Cabana Cafe by the pool was our go to for lunch. The quality of food was far superior of what you would expect from a pool bar. We highly recommend the shrimp tacos and the turkey club sandwich! We celebrated Kelly’s birthday starting with drinks and live music at the Mix Up and finished with dinner at at the resort’s world-class restaurant, T Cook’s. You should order the Seven Layer Banana Cake for dessert!
If you are looking to really treat yourself, the indulgence definitely continues at the four star Alvadora Spa. This spa is known for using the healing properties of water and plant inspired therapies to focus on full restoration of the body and mind. The wellness services continue to impress at the two story full service fitness center, which is conveniently open 24/7.
Lastly, we couldn’t be more impressed by our room! We had the pleasure of staying in room 216, a Deluxe Suite with uninhibited view of the Camelback Mountain and a walkout patio into the Montavista Courtyard. These suits are designed to include a master bedroom with a king size bed, a walk through bathroom (with every girl’s dream: a standalone soaker tub) and a large separate living space with a pull queen sized sleeper sofa.
This property really has it all, from its gourmet dining options, wellness spa and pool, lush landscaped surroundings and beautifully appointed rooms. We could not have thought of a more peaceful setting to relax before hitting the road.
Day 2: Under Canvas, Williams AZ
206 miles (3 hours)
We spent the next night three hours north of Scottsdale cooking s’mores under the stars at the beautiful Under Canvas Glamping Resort. This was a great place to kick off the road trip and unplug (there is no wifi available). They offer a host of activities including free yoga and the staff is extremely helpful if you want to book tours in the area. If you plan on making Zion National Park and Moab apart of your road trip, they also have glamping grounds there too! Another reason we chose to stay here is it is a quick 25-minute drive to the Grand Canyon.
Day 3: Grand Canyon + Horseshoe Bend, Page AZ
166 miles (3 hours)
The Grand Canyon was a no brainer when adding stops along our drive. It was quite impressive to see in person but we would suggest going early if you want to avoid the crowds as some 5 million people visit each year. If you have some time to spare it could be fun to plan a hike into the Canyon such as Bright Angel Trail and spend the night at one of the campsites along Pipe Creek. We opted to spend about an hour at the Grand Canyon and then enjoy the scenic drive towards Page in order to catch the sunset at Horseshoe Bend.
Horseshoe Bend is a well-known place to snap those Instagram worthy shots if you are up for a 20-minute trek. The sunsets directly behind the bend, so it can be tricky to capture at this time of day. This being said, watching the sun disappear behind the horizon with hundreds of other people, was quite magical. If you want to ensure there are no shadows in the canyon, visit mid afternoon. This night we grabbed a simple hotel in Page but would also recommend looking into booking a campsite for the night on Lake Powell or checking out the Amangiri if it fits within your budget.
Day 4: Antelope Canyon + Monument Valley Tipi, UT
125 miles (2 hours)
Typically, we like to feature our favorite cute places to eat and drink but because of the nature of this trip, we were usually eating on the go in the car. However, we did often find ourselves in a Denny’s for breakfast to get in a little work done. They are conveniently located in most towns along the way, their wifi is fast, and the booths often have outlets. Plus, who doesn’t love a good all-American breakfast?
On today’s agenda, we had one of our travel bucket-list items: Antelope Canyon. It is a slot canyon that was naturally created by the erosion of the sandstone largely due to flash flooding and the result is absolutely breathtaking. Be aware you must book a tour in order to access the canyons and as it is a very popular tourist destination, we recommend doing this well in advance. There are a few options but we opted for reserving the Ken’s Tour of the Lower Antelope Canyon. Admittedly we were a bit disappointed by how packed the “General Tour” was and felt quite rushed through it. Other companies offer Photography Tours which are much more expensive. If you plan on only visiting once in your life we believe the smaller group would be worth the extra money.
Back on the road again, we said “good-bye” to Arizona and “hello” to Utah with a commemorative photo at the state-line crossing. Keep in mind that you are officially entering into Navajo country where the sale of alcohol is not permitted so if you wish to have some during your stay be sure to stock up before entering Utah. This night we lucked out and booked last minute an authentic tipi through Airbnb in Monument Valley. This site is typically fully booked for months in advance.
We cannot stress enough how breathtaking the view of Monument Valley is from the tipi is! This property has two tipis and a few cabins available with some shared washrooms. We spent the night under the Milky-Way and woke up early to catch the sunrise over the horizon between the monuments. This experience was something we both with never forget.
Day 5: Monument Valley Tipi + Moab, UT
159 miles (3 hours 15 min)
Our morning was spent relaxing at our Airbnb and then headed off to explore Monument Valley Park. After we took the beautiful drive up Interstate 163 towards Mexican Hat. Along this road is where you can get the famous vantage point of the monuments. Depending on the time of day there will likely be a lot of people to also be lined up. For this reason, we recommend going a little bit further down the road towards the monuments. The afternoon was spent mostly in the car on our longest drive of the trip to Moab. Moab is a great hub town where you will run into a lot of other campers and hikers who are set to explore many of the National Parks in the area such as Arches National Park. If you are looking for another place to glamp, another Under Canvas site is located just outside of town.
Day 6: Arches National Park, UT
114 miles (2 hours)
Arches National Park is just a quick drive from Moab so be sure to pack your most comfortable hiking shoes because if you plan on going to Arches National Park, we highly recommend doing the hike to the Delicate Arch! The Delicate Arch is considered the world’s most famous natural stone arches for both its dramatic shape and setting. This hike is quite difficult due to the sun exposure and terrain so pack the necessities (sunblock, plenty of water, protein bars, etc.) We did see people of all ages and fitness level were on the trail. It will take about an hour and a half each way so be ready to dedicate roughly 3-4 hours to this hike.
Doing this particular trail is the only way to be able to walk up to the Delicate Arch. However, if you are not feeling so adventurous or short on time there are two other viewpoints (Upper and Lower Delicate Arch Viewpoint) to get a glimpse of the arch from afar. Either way, we recommend researching the park before arriving. There are many beautiful sites and several hikes for all levels. From here we drove just under two hours to Grand Junction, Colorado to spend the evening resting our legs before heading to Aspen!
Day 7: Aspen, CO
127 miles (2 hours 10 min)
This was both our first time in Aspen so we did not know what to expect, especially with it being summertime. However, we were both pleasantly surprised by how bustling downtown Aspen was. We had a fantastic time strolling through the pedestrian streets lined with restaurants and luxury boutiques. If you are looking for a great place to enjoy a glass of rose while people-watching (you never know who you will see in Aspen) we recommend checking out Mr. Grey. While we did not have time for many activities, Aspen has plenty to do in the summer so be sure to include as a part of your road trip!
STAY.The Royal Palms Resort and Spa / Under Canvas Grand Canyon / Monument Valley Tipi Airbnb
VISIT.Grand Canyon / Horseshoe Bend / Ken's Tours Lower Antelope Canyon / Monument Valley / Arches National Park / Aspen
INDULGE.T Cook's / Berdena's / Mr. Grey
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