Last minute alternations/additions to Las Vegas -> Grand Canyon -> Sedona trip (need answers fast)

So I’m headed on a trip in a few hours (leaving 9 or 10 pacific) without too much foreplanning. We’re driving out from Vegas, along 93 to Kingman, I-40 to Williams, getting a hotel room there, then up 64 to the south rim. Ideally arrive at the south rim sometime around 3pm local (lose an hour on the trip to time zones) to be able to see the sunset.

Any particular suggestions as for which lookout will have the best view for a sunset?

The plan from there is to go back to the hotel and get out earlier, leave maybe 5:30 or 6 from Williams to get back up to the Canyon pre-dawn to catch the sunrise. Is there a better spot for a sunrise?

Spend a few hours around there traveling the rim road seeing every all of the watch points. Reports are that the traffic/parking situation is dire, but I’m under the impression that February is an off-month. How big a concern would traffic be? They don’t even run al the shuttle lines until May. Is it practical to wander around the rim road in a car and look for places to park?

Then we want to head south to explore a bit, ending in Sedona. We may take 180 to flagstaff and down 89a to Sedona. I don’t really know where to go in Sedona, I was going to look at it tomorrow night at the hotel room, but the airport mesa overlook trail looks practical, and maybe driving around the red rock loop. I’m looking for other suggestions as to where to go in Sedona.

Anyway, I’m open to modifying the trip slightly - going to the canyon at a different time of day, altering our routes a bit, stopping by to see a worthwhile piece of nature along the way. Natural beauty, activity, landmarks, food, travel strategy. Any advice you can give would be helpful.

Last time I was there in winter (which admittedly was more than 10 years ago) traffic and parking problems were nil.

I’d be surprised if you find it crowded, but my lone data point can’t be expected to tell the whole story.

For parking and stuff, when my friend went in December/January, everything was deserted. When my parents went over the summer, everything was swarming with people. March, I don’t know.

Also, you ARE going to take lots of pictures, rrrrrriiiiiiiiigggghhhhhhhttttt??? :smiley:

Last year we drove from Sacramento to southern Arizona to visit my sister-in-law. We spent the first night in Vegas, then went to the Grand Canyon, and then on to Flagstaff for the night. Flagstaff seemed like a nice place to spend some time. We were only there for a few hours: enough for dinner, sleep, and then we were on our way in the morning. The next time we do the trip, we might stay a day or so. We also drove through Sedona, which looked very nice, but didn’t stop at all.

Obviously missed the boat for SenorBeef, but we were at Grand Canyon South Rim, entering from the east and driving through to GC Village in late April and even then the parking situation wasn’t bad. I imagine the eastern end around Desert View would have good sunset views, but can’t speak to where to see sunrises.

As for Sedona, I found it rather over hyped, but didn’t stay there, being in Flagstaff instead.

I lived in Sedona for 2 years. This advice may be too late to affect your trip, but just off the top of my head: the Airport overlook and Red Rock Loop are good. Stop in Uptown and browse the tourist shops. Take a Pink Jeep tour to get up close and personal with the red rocks. Go to West Sedona and choose any street perpendicular to 89A and drive up toward the rim. Take a leisurely after-dark drive on the back streets and look for javelina. Take a helicopter or airplane tour of Sedona. Drive toward the Village of Oak Creek. Take a walk around Bell Rock or walk up to Cathedral rock (you must have shoes with good treads on them, however!). Visit some of the “locals” shops in West Sedona on 89A. The Red Rock Diner is good for a quirky meal. The Red Rock Knit Shop is a great hole in the wall knitting shop if knitting is your thing.

Also, just get there and ask any of the locals. There is LOTS to do.

Good Luck,
J.