Can your Southwestern road trips be inspired by a coloring book? The answer is yes if it’s Coloring the West, An Adult Coloring Book for Travelers. Today, I’m sharing some of my favorite completed pages from the book, paired with road trip suggestions on how you can travel in my footsteps!
On a road trip to the Grand Canyon, build in a couple of days to explore Page, Arizona. This is where you’ll find three of my favorite Arizona slot canyons. At Upper Antelope Canyon, you’ll discover a slot canyon that’s easy to explore. However Lower Antelope Canyon is one of my all-time favorite travel adventures. Standing underneath the desert’s surface surrounded by undulating canyon walls is like walking through nature’s fun house.
While you’re visiting Page, stop to photograph Horseshoe Bend, but be careful leaning over the edge! And don’t miss a boat tour on Lake Powell. Alan and I recommend extending your road trip by continuing to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. It’s more remote and less touristed than the South Rim. We can’t wait to go back!
Monument Valley Arizona/Utah
Why does this Monument Valley scene look familiar? Well, I told you how to visit this iconic western destination in one of My Itchy Travel Feet’s most popular articles: Take a scenic drive in Monument Valley.
You’ve probably seen the Monument Valley landscape in countless photos, travel books as well as Western movies, television shows and even video games. Boomers will most definitely remember some of the 50 movies shot in Monument Valley listed by the Desert News, especially How the West Was Won and Stagecoach.
While in the vicinity, add more adventures on the Navajo Reservation to your road trip itinerary. The ancient pueblo ruins at Navajo National Monument are outstanding. If you’re up for it, take the 17-mile guided hike to Keet Seel, one of the best preserved in the west. The 5-hour-round-trip hike to the restored Betatatkin site is another option.
And you can’t be this close to Canyon de Chelly without visiting. While the scenic White Rim trail that skirts the edges of the canyon is a fine drive, taking a guided tour inside the canyon is a must. Alan and I explored Canyon de Chelly on a two-day four-wheel-drive adventure with Jeep Jamboree. We visited Spider Rock, White House ruins and Mummy’s Cave while listening to ancestral stories told by a Navajo guide. What an awesome boomer travel adventure!
Want to color these scenes from the Southwest? You’ll find them in Coloring the West, An Adult Coloring Book for Travelers.
Did you know that a cactus bloom could be this pretty? During the years that I lived in Tucson, Arizona, the beauty—and blooms—of the Sonoran Desert constantly amazed me. If you’re road tripping to Tucson, I recommend visiting Tohono Chul Park (start the morning with breakfast at Tohono Chul Bistro), Tucson Botanical Gardens and the Desert Museum to see what I mean.
More ideas for enjoying Tucson’s outdoor paradise include hiking in Sabino Canyon and stargazing at Kitt Peak National Observatory. And if you stay at Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain, the Tortolita Mountain trails are right outside your door.
Do you want me to totally plan your trip? Check out 36 hours in Tucson for the Active Baby Boomer for a complete hour by hour itinerary of what to do and where to eat in the Old Pueblo.
Alan and I first discovered Bluff, Utah, as a stopover after a photography tour in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks. With not enough time to explore the adventures on offer, we vowed to go back. And we did—in the winter for the Bluff Hot Air Balloon Festival. Bluff has remained high on our “let’s go back again” list ever since.
You might wonder what there is to do in this small town about 40 miles northeast of Monument Valley. First off, there’s Valley of the Gods, Monument Valley’s non-touristy sister. And then there’s Natural Bridges National Monument, a smaller version of Arches National Park. Are you looking for prehistoric ruins? You’ll find plenty on Cedar Mesa, after driving up Moki Dugway. Or cut across the Colorado Plateau on Butler Wash Road to explore more prehistoric ruins and petroglyphs on Comb Ridge. Both are part of the newly named Bears Ears National Monument.
The San Juan River winds through the Bluff area on its way to Lake Powell. Rafting trips offer another opportunity to explore rock art drawings and cliff dwellings. Floating the San Juan River is definitely on the to do list for our next visit to Bluff.
What’s a road trip in the American Southwest without a visit to a national park or two? The region is filled with many national park opportunities. When Alan and I visited Moab, Utah, we combined adventures in Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, sometimes in the same day. One of our favorite adventures included photographing sunrises and sunsets on a Canyonlands photography tour. And then there was the morning that we photographed the arches in Arches National Park.
The Moab area offers adventure outside of the national parks, too. Alan and I enjoyed a short visit to Dead Horse Point State Park where we admired the jeep trails twisting and turning through the canyons. Yes, we’d like to go back to drive them. And then there’s rafting the Colorado River. A boomer traveler could spend an entire road trip enjoying the adventures that Moab has to offer.
Visit Coloring the West artist gallery to see more of completed pages from the book.
Have I inspired any Southwestern road trips? Do you have a completed page from Coloring the West to show me? Join the conversation at the My Itchy Travel Feet page on Facebook or send us an email to ask a question or share your experience.
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