Over the next few days, I’ll be posting detailed recaps of the specific stops along our tour of the southwest parks and attractions. I planned this trip as a solo, but soon had two travel buddies expressing interest in coming along. Because it was initially just going to be me, since I didn’t think anyone I knew could take two weeks vacation with almost zero notice, the trip was centered around photography locations and beautiful places that I personally had not seen.
The only downside to traveling at the time we did was the heat. We set off in mid-July — the peak of summer — during one of the hottest summers on record in recent years. Since Kerrville (my hometown) had already been experiencing 100+ temps for weeks, along with heat index values over 115°F, I figured, what the hell? But boy, some days almost got us. That heat is no joke when you’re standing in the desert without shade and with a sun reflecting back up at you off of the desert rock.
The stops along this trip included:
- Ship Rock, New Mexico
- Canyon de Chelly, Arizona (Navajo Nation)
- Petrified Forest National Park
- Grand Canyon
- Page, Arizona (including Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon)
- Zion National Park
- Bryce Canyon National Park
- Capitol Reef National Park
- Arches National Park
Along the way, we realized we didn’t have time to do all of the parks or the hikes or the sights that we wanted to. A whirlwind trip like this always leaves out important stops. We made notes of places we’d like to return to, and places nearby that we weren’t able to explore this time around.
What a fantastic exploration of the southwest, though! We drove over 3,200 miles round-trip over 11 days.
The following posts will explore each of these stops in greater detail and will give my opinions on what to do, what to see, what to photograph, and where to stay.