Taking a winter road trip through the Southwest is a magical experience with crisp, clear days and a coating of snow giving an entirely new perspective to these dramatic red rock landscapes. Visitor numbers drop sharply with the temperatures and you’ll have some of the most iconic locations in the Southwest to yourself. Combining this majestic landscape with carefully crafted experiences that will bring this incredible area to life and you have a luxury winter road trip to remember.
Days 1 & 2
After your arrival into Phoenix, ease into the colder climes to come with two nights in Sedona, where moderate daytime temperatures and mesmerizing landscapes provide the perfect backdrop for outdoor adventures.
From your base at the stunning Enchantment Resort, venture out on foot into the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness, tackle the single track of Bell Rock Loops by mountain bike, or access the backcountry in a Jeep Wrangler.
The Grand Canyon
Day 3 & 4
From Sedona, it’s time to enjoy arguably the most beautiful drive in the state, Oak Creek Canyon, as you climb up onto the Colorado Plateau en route to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon.
With one fifth of the visitor numbers compared to high season, winter at the South Rim is a special time. You’ll certainly need to wrap up warm but the crisp air, clear blue skies, likely dusting of snow, and the low sun in the Southern sky, all bring an entirely new perspective to this awe-inspiring landscape.
The morning after you arrive you’ll be met by a natural historian guide through whose eyes you’ll gain added insight into this jaw-dropping natural wonder. Equipped with a pair of instep crampons, descent into the canyon down South Kaibab Trail to Skeleton Point (or another than receives good winter sun). Not only does winter means less crowds but the colder weather also makes longer hikes more pleasant. You’ll also have access to a vehicle that will allow you to see a wide range of different viewpoints and perspectives of the canyon. As darkness falls, warm up by the fire at the historic El Tovar Hotel.
Horseshoe Bend & Antelope Canyon
The journey continues as you make your way north to one of the most remarkable hotels in the country, the incomparable Amangiri. First make a stop in Page to meet your Navajo guide who’ll lead you through two of the area’s famed slot canyons, the well-known Antelope Canyon and the lesser-visited Rattlesnake Canyon. Walking through this wonderland of color-swirled, water-worn rock is a magical experience made all the better by the absence of the crowds you’ll encounter in the summer.
Day 6 & 7
Countless superlative have been applied to Amangiri and chances are they are deserved. It is utterly unique, effortlessly luxurious, and its design, from perfectly framed desert landscapes to a James Turrell-esque use of natural light, is a work of art in itself. Winter is a wonderful time to be here with cold nights and crisp, bluebird days the norm.
Take to the waters of Lake Powell, as its glassy surface mirrors picturesque side canyons and secluded bays with sandy beaches – a view best captured during the winter months, when the lake appears in its purest, most unaltered state. The winter months are also ideal for exploring the surrounding desert landscapes and, whether on foot, mountain bike, or horseback, there are endless opportunities depending on your zest for adventure. Spend your evenings back at Amangiri soaking in the heated pool or taking in the desert night sky by your private firepit.
Winter in Monument Valley and in the wider Navajo Nation holds a special significance. It’s a time when the elders re-tell the oral histories and creation story of the Navajo, with winter being the time when the insects, reptiles, and other animals are hibernating and unable to hear them.
You’ll experience this iconic landscape with a local Navajo guide who will give you access to normally off-limits backcountry areas where you’ll see natural arches, rock amphitheaters, and ancient petroglyphs, as well of course as the spectacular buttes and spires that make Monument Valley instantly recognizable the world over.
Finish your day in the small Bluff, Utah and the welcoming Desert Rose Inn.
Dunton Hot Springs
Day 9, 10 & 11
Conclude your winter road trip by traveling east into Colorado and the snow-capped peaks of the San Juans. Nestled in a secluded valley, Dunton Hot Springs is rustic luxury at its very best. You’ll be surrounded by a winter wonderland to play in by day and enjoy fantastic food, hot springs, and cozy cabins by night.
Spend your days snowshoeing or cross-country skiing along wilderness trails in the spectacular San Juan Mountains that surround Dunton and adventure-seekers should look no further than a day’s heli-skiing in the backcountry of Telluride. Finish on a high by whisking through the snowy forests and alpine meadows on a private dog sledding trip.
Catch a flight out of nearby Durango, Colorado.