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Digital Subscriptions > Lonely Planet Traveller (UK) > March 2017 > Great Escape

Great Escape

Make yourself at home with Frank Lloyd Wright in Phoenix and Scottsdale, then get to grips with the cactuses in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. Size up the Grand Canyon and connect with the land in the Navajo Nation, before sampling the fine wines of Sedona and the Verde Valley.

@kevinegperry

Our writer Kevin EG Perry takes in the scenery from midway down the Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon
PHOTOGRAPHS MATT MUNRO

Plan your trip

1 Get familiar with mid-century, and contemporary art and architecture in the towns of Phoenix and Scottsdale (p46).

MAP ILLUSTRATION: ALEX VERHILLE. PHOTOGRAPHS: RICK PISIO/RWP PHOTOGRAPHY/ALAMY, ©20THCENTURYFOX/EVERETT COLLECTION/ALAMY

2 Try to avoid getting hooked on the majestic saguaro cactuses in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve (p48).

3 Put your troubles into perspective with a trip to the Grand Canyon (p50).

4 Marvel at the landscapes and learn about an ancient culture at Antelope Canyon and the Navajo Nation (p52).

5 Give your taste buds a treat by sampling the wine and food of the vineyards of Sedona and the Verde Valley (p54).

HOW TO GET THERE

Many airlines, including American Airlines, BA and Finnair, offer daily direct flights from London to Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport (from £650; britishairways.com). Westjet also offers a stop-off service from London (from £558; westjet.com). British travellers planning to use the Visa Waiver Program to visit the US must complete an ESTA travel authorisation (£11; esta.cbp.dhs.gov).

HOW TO GET AROUND

The quickest and easiest way to get around Arizona is to rent a car (from £125 for a week; enterprise.com). Phoenix Sky Harbor International airport has a busy Rental Car Center, with no fewer than 14 car rental companies operating out of it.

HOW LONG TO SPEND

This itinerary could be completed in 10 days, although a couple more days would allow more time to appreciate Arizona’s incredible scenery. If you plan to hike to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, a longer visit would certainly be required, as it’s dangerous to attempt to trek to the Colorado River and back in a single day. It’s a strenuous hike and you need to be prepared with food and a gallon of water per person. There are several deaths (especially in summer) and 250 rescues made each year, so the National Park Service is serious about this. Equally, those with epicurean tastes could easily spend the best part of a week just enjoying the vineyards of the Verde Valley.

WHAT TO BUDGET

Entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park carries a very reasonable £24 fee per vehicle, covering all its passengers. Petrol costs are low throughout the US and dining out can be done cheaply, particularly in Arizona’s excellent family-run Mexican restaurants. Accommodation is the most variable factor, ranging from £60 per night for budget lodgings up to around £300 per night for luxury digs. Wherever you go, don’t forget to carry small change. Failure to tip is frowned upon and those who provide service are often dependent on this for income. For waiters, bartenders, hairdressers, taxi drivers and tour guides, the tip should be calculated as a percentage of your total bill as follows: 10 per cent usually means you aren’t totally happy, 15 per cent means everything was fine and 20 per cent is for excellent service.

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March 2017
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