Fly or drive into Flagstaff and drive about two hours to Lake Powell in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
, a paradise for water sports fans that’s on the edge of the eastern portion of the Grand Canyon. Spend the afternoon fishing, kayaking, Jet Skiing, speedboating, or whitewater rafting—there’s something for any size group or appetite for adventure. (Pro tips: Much of this region is scheduled to reopen at the end of May, so plan for late spring as the earliest period to begin your journey. Book whitewater rafting trips well in advance.)
That evening check into your home base for the next two nights, the Marble Canyon Lodge
. The property stands out with its private air strip, a three-bedroom standalone house available for rental, a bar and restaurant, and the Marble Canyon Trading Post where you can find Navajo crafts and other souvenirs to bring back home. For more rustic accommodations, there’s also Shash Dine’ where you can choose from a traditional Navajo Hogan, sheepherder wagon, cabin, or house.
The next day, get an early start to drive about 1.5 hours to the Little Colorado River Gorge Navajo Tribal Park
(the Navajo Nation is presently closed due to COVID-19) and explore more of the surrounding wilderness, like the contrasting limestone and sandstone cliffs of the gorge and the river itself, which defines the eastern part of the Grand Canyon. The Navajo Nation provides permits for nearby hiking locations including the Little Colorado River and Rainbow Bridge trails, so be sure to arrive during business hours to get one.
On your third day here, take an hour drive to Antelope Canyon
on the Navajo’s sacred tribal lands (presently closed due to COVID -19), among the most-photographed locations in the rim for its carved, flowing rock formations. Be sure to plan in advance and book a mandatory tour with an authorized Navajo guide. Fifteen minutes away, the Colorado River wraps around the towering rock butte of Horseshoe Bend
for one of the most iconic views of the Grand Canyon, known as “intimate Grand Canyon.” Hiking trails and rafting trips are available if time allows at the Bend before about a two-hour drive to the North Rim, where only 10 percent of all Grand Canyon visitors go.