A Quick Arizona Winter Trip

A Quick Arizona Winter Trip

This is the first time that the stars aligned and the kiddos were on trips at the same time!  Nadia was in Washington DC, and Ethan was on a cruise to the Bahamas.  This made going to Arizona a little bit easier.  We only had a few days to travel, but it was definitely enough time to explore!  (Here’s a free printable to kick off your Arizona trip photos.  Just print and use as a marker of the beginning of your trip, or as your first picture in your digital album)

At first, I was concerned about traveling since the temperature seemed a little colder than normal for Arizona.  It was going to be in the high 30’s in the Flagstaff area and 40’s in Sedona.  It turns out this is ideal hiking weather for someone who tends to melt at any temperature over 70.

Arizona Winter Trip

Antelope Canyon X

Our first stop was Antelope Canyon X.  We did a lot of research and were torn about going to Upper Antelope Canyon, or Lower Antelope Canyon.  As it turns out the lower tour was closed for the winter.  I luckily found a tour with a group for Antelope Canyon X.

Winter in Arizona

Antelope Canyon X

I loved our tour.  We weren’t rush and it was small enough with only 6 of us in the group.  We had ample time to take pictures and really soak in all of the beautiful formations.  For those of you wondering what camera to bring, I brought my iPhone, my point and shoot Leica d-lux, and my Sony A7II.

Winter in Arizona

The Leica was terrific since the low light was no problem with the f1.7 lens.  I brought my f2 28mm lens for the Sony.  And of course, who can complain about the iPhone!

Winter in Arizona

Horseshoe Bend

After taking in all of the beauty of the canyon, we took a short drive to see Horseshoe Bend.  It’s a short hike to the viewing area, and if you go in the winter, I’m pretty sure you’ll have no problem getting a great view.  We were there around 3:00 p.m.  If you could plan your trip a little earlier in the day or at sunset, I think you’ll be happier with your pictures.  Either way, it’s stunning to see!

Cathedral Rock Winter in Arizona

Cathedral Rock

From there, we took a drive back to Sedona.  We got an early start the next morning and headed to Cathedral Rock  The hike took us around 1 1/2 hours and totaled just about 2 miles.  I would recommend bringing less on this hike.  If I were to do it again, I would not bring my backpack.  Just a camera and water is all you need.

Winter in Arizona

En route to Devil’s Bridge

Our next stop was to see Devil’s Bridge. This hike took us about 2 1/2 hours total that may or may not have included a wrong turn to the wrong parking lot.  In total, we hiked a little over 5 miles.  The hike to Devil’s Bridge is incredibly scenic.  Be sure to bring water and just the essentials.  You will have an uphill walk that might be snow or ice-covered.

Winter in Arizona

Devil’s Bridge Arizona

The area leading to the bridge was indeed icy and crowded.  As much as I wanted to get a picture of me on the bridge, I didn’t have the nerve to walk across it.  Although we were watching someone doing several handstands on the bridge.  Watching with sweaty hands, and as a mom, I was not a fan.

Winter in Arizona

DA Ranch Winery

After two hikes and some 21,000 steps, we drove to the lovely DA Ranch Winery.  This was the perfect place to relax and beg my feet to please, not fall off.  They have farm animals grazing in nearby fields, smores making, board games, and plenty of areas to sit and soak up the sun.  Not to mention, the wine was amazing too!

Arizona in the Winter

Path to Birthing Cave

The next morning we started our hike to the elusive Birthing Cave.  It was the most challenging place to find.  The trail is located along Long Canyon Road.  Once you find the trailhead to Long Canyon Trail, you will need to walk on this trail until you reach the end and have to turn left or right.  Take a few steps back from this point and take the path on your left.

Arizona in Winter

View from the Birthing Cave

Since this was our last hike and we were done relatively early, we decided to finish our trip with a few less taxing activities.  We visited the famous Tlaquepaque to do a little shopping.  I fell in love with the jewelry here!

Winter in Arizona

Coffee with Amelia Earhart

I was actually in AZ a year ago and bought a pair of earrings.  As luck would have it, I lost one.  I was secretly on a mission to buy another pair.  Unfortunately, I was unable to find them, but I will try to order them from the shop once the shop owner is back…keeping toes and fingers crossed that she will have more!

Winter in Arizona

Gluten-Free Delights!

Although it was a short trip, we got a lot of great hiking done!  Since all of my Chicago winter coats are long, I opted to buy the most amazing shorter length Canada Goose mid-weight jacket.  I love that I could use the inner straps to carry the jacket as a backpack.  Hat and shoes were both comfy and from Amazon.  I did buy Danner red laces and swapped those out on the boots.  I like a flat lace over the round cord lace; it seems they always stay nicely tied.

A few more things to try while you’re in Arizona.

Lunch at Fairmont Scottsdale Princess-they have great gluten-free & dairy-free options

Horsemen Lodge-great for a nice steak dinner

Cameron Restaurant-amazing food, a ton of American Indian Crafts, and a great view of the Little Colorado River

Tamaliza-gluten-free & dairy free tamales and tons more amazing food!

Mariposa-Beautiful restaurant with incredible food

Coffee Pot Restaurant-breakfast food…not many gluten-free or dairy-free options

Chocola Tree-Amazing all around and delicious

True Rest Float Spa Sedona-the best way to relax and recover from hiking.  We did a float on our last night in Sedona.

Silver Pine Restaurant-Monday night $6.00 burgers that are to die for…get the fries!

Let me know what your favorite places are to visit in Arizona or if you have any other fun travel tips!  I love to find a new adventure!!!

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