From Slot Canyons to Slot Machines: Our Utah and Vegas Combo Trip
Several years ago we began dreaming up what an ideal road trip around the western part of the U.S. would look like. Neither of us had spent much time out west as adults, so we thought it would be a great opportunity to cover a lot of ground all at once. However life and other trips came first and our road trip plan was pushed to the back burner.
Then a few months back we found out one of our friends was going to be getting married in Vegas and we used that trip as an opportunity to extend it into a vacation and cross off some of our road trip attractions.
We flew into Vegas from Michigan, landing around noon, and immediately picked up our rental car. From Vegas we immediately left, driving three and a half hours (crossing a time zone) to Kanab, Utah. Kanab is a big city for the area, however it has a very small town feel. There are a couple independent grocery stores and restaurants plus a few shops. More importantly it is centrally located to all the major attractions including Bryce Canyon, Zion, the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Grand Staircase, and Vermilion Cliffs which makes it an ideal location for home base.
We checked into our Airbnb, which was a cute tiny house on the property of a very nice couple who had a ton of good hiking recommendations., and hit up the grocery store to get some food and snacks for the week.
We tried our luck at the lottery for The Wave in Vermilion. Another reason why Kanab is a great location is because it is also home to Kanab Utah Visitors Center which is where the lottery takes place every morning. It’s a long processes and we didn’t make it.
After the lottery, we headed to Orderville where we met up with our guide for our canyoneering trip into the slot canyons of East Zion through Airbnb Experiences. It was absolutely amazing!
As if that wasn’t enough, we had time for two more hikes. We hiked to the Moqui Caves then drove over to the Coral Pink Sand Dunes to do some sand boarding!
At this point, the carefully curated itinerary was out the door based on all kinds of suggestions from our Airbnb hosts and locals. We also decided to not try our luck at the lottery for The Wave anymore since it ate up too much of our time in the morning. Instead we woke up early and drove down to Horseshoe Bend in Arizona to get there before the crowds and we did a short nearby hike called Hanging Garden.
We spent some time driving around aimlessly, looking at the landscape and found ourselves on a gravel road that went into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. It was beautiful but the road because a little difficult for our tiny rental car. Then we headed down to Wire Pass for a great hike in a more secluded area.
While in Kanab, we stopped at Willow Canyon Outdoor and talked to one of the employees for a long time about how to spend our last day. He recommended Bryce Canyon since neither of us had ever been. It was an amazing suggestion! We hiked and drove nearly all of the park. It was absolutely beautiful and definitely deserves another trip.
After four days of Utah, we drove back to Vegas to be united with our friends and family who were arriving for the wedding.
We spent the day at the pool at Aria with the wedding group. We had so much fun eating, drinking, and laughing! Later that night a small group of us went to eat at Beauty & Essex in the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Hidden behind a pawn shop storefront, Beauty & Essex is a stunning restaurant with jewelry box themed rooms. After dinner we headed to downtown Las Vegas for some Grade A people watching!
The day of the wedding we spent some time at the pool and shopping on the strip. Nothing too exciting! The wedding was at Aria in the chapel and dinner was at the hotel’s Jean Georges Steakhouse. Marc jetted off on the red-eye that night for a work trip in Philadelphia and Katelyn stayed another night.
In all it was a great trip! Between the two mini-trips, it took us from one side of the spectrum to the other and even though we only had to take off five PTO days, it felt like a much longer vacation.