There are so many great things to do and see within a day's drive of the Red Garter that I finally put together a couple of self-guided day trips that many of my guests have enjoyed and that can help you plan on how to best see Northern Arizona.
The Grand Canyon Loop
Back on I-40 head west, (back toward Flagstaff) about 8 miles. Follow the signs for SR 89 north towards Page and about 12 miles north of Flagstaff, turn right on the paved Sunset Crater - Wupatki Loop Road. Two miles further and you will reach Sunset Crater Volcano National Monument, a 1,000-foot volcanic cinder cone formed about 900 years ago with lava flows and sea of black cinder sand where astronauts trained for the first trip to the moon. The surrounding forest changes from huge ponderosa pines to scattered juniper trees.
Continuing along the Loop road about 12 miles brings you to Wupatki National Monument and the incredible ruins of masonry pueblos built by Sinagua and Anasazi Indian farmers between A.D. 100 and 1225. The backdrop to the ruins is probably the best view you can find of the Painted Desert.
Continue on the Loop road until it rejoins US 89 and head towards Cameron about 20 miles to the north. One half-mile past the junction with SR 64 (East Rim Drive) is the Cameron Trading Post. Although extensively remodeled a few years ago, Cameron is an old Trading Post with an extensive rug and pot collection and the only decent lunch you will find on the way.
Follow the huge signs at Cameron to SR 64 and the east entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park, about 25 miles. Along the way you check out the Little Colorado River. Its another twenty-five miles to Grand Canyon Village for sunset but along the way you can enjoy the many overlooks on the lightly traveled east rim of the Canyon.
From the Village it is 56 miles back to Williams and the Red Garter. The whole trip will take from 6 to 8 hours and my guests rave about it.
The Sedona & Red Rock Country Loop
Your first stop should be the Oak Creek Canyon scenic overlook and then down the switchbacks into the Canyon. A hike into West Fork or a stop at Slide Rock State Park on your way to Sedona is a great idea. For a shorter day trip you can take SR-170 through the red rocks to the Chapel of the Holy Cross and on to I-17 to return to Williams or to catch your flight out in Phoenix.
Jerome. If you continue on SR89A from Sedona you can stop at Red Rock Crossing and Red Rock State Park on Red Rock Loop road or continue on to Cottonwood (Tuzigoot National Monument). Up the hill from Cottonwood is the ghost town of Jerome and the Jerome State Park. Just south, on SR-260 are Montezuma Castle National Monument and the Fort Verde State Park. It's about two hours back to Williams.
Historic Route 66