Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

So after our busy morning of exploring Monument Valley and the Four Corners, we took off across the state for Page, Arizona. We had a pretty tight window, but with no more weather issues, we got there with time to spare.

We began our Page adventures with a tour of Antelope Canyon. The slot canyon is protected by the Navajo and people are only allowed to visit it on Navajo-guided tours. We did the tour of the upper Antelope Canyon through Antelope Canyon Tours. Since we were there in the offseason it only cost us about $34 per ticket. During the winter, the sun doesn’t get high enough in the sky for the rays to reach the canyon floor which is kind of the iconic Antelope Canyon shot, but we were told it was still worth it to go in the offseason and we were not disappointed.

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It’s strange because you enter at ground level and the canyon plunges up around you.

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The canyon used to be open for public access, but had to be limited to tours because of graffiti (people are the worst), but also because of flash flooding. The canyon walls are 120 feet high, but during heavy rain the entire canyon can fill with water since the desert ground doesn’t absorb water well. The rainwater pours down into the canyon and then flows out into the access road that the tour trucks use to reach the canyon. It drains quickly though and our tour guide said that they can usually have tour groups come back into the canyon the very next day after major flooding. Being there, it was very hard to imagine it all filled with water. But that’s what’s given it its beautiful texture.

But anywho, I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

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Some parts of the canyon were only wide enough for one person to pass through at a time.

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The Sphinx!

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Remember how I said we woke up before sunrise to see it come up over Monument Valley? And then drove halfway across the state to get to Page? This is all still that same day. And only about 3pm. Needless to say, there’s a reason I look like a zombie in the below picture. But I figured it was interesting to show you some contrast so you can see how absolutely stunning the canyon walls looked in real life, no filter. Even still, it looks like I’m standing in front of a green screen.

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Upon returning from our tour, we had to quickly scurry over to a sports bar to catch the end of the Patriots AFC Championship game. I swear I did not intentionally schedule the tour so that we would be inside a canyon for nearly the entire game, it just so happened that way. But I guess we should’ve stayed in there because the Jaguars started tanking as soon as we started watching, but what can you do?

It ended up working out perfectly though because the only other thing I wanted to do in Page for the day was hit up Horseshoe Bend for sunset. It’s less than a mile “hike” down to the lookout point from the parking lot. But if you’re in it for more than just the touristy pictures, I recommend hiking further to your right to enjoy some seclusion and avoid the heavy crowds.

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In retrospect, this is probably more of a sunrise spot, because you’re looking directly west so the sun kind of blinds you. Luckily James’ newer phone captured much better pictures than mine did.

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It was pretty cool to see the Colorado River further upstream than the Grand Canyon. It’s kinda crazy how much beauty one river has created. I also learned that the Colorado and its tributaries go through eleven national parks! So cool!

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Do you see me??

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And yes, like most portions of our trip, we did basically have the whole place to ourselves. Granted, we went at the right time of year for it, but it’s amazing what quiet and solitude you can find if you’re willing to just hike a little bit away from the crowds.

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A lot of pictures from this trip make me look like I’m more dangerously close to the edge than I actually am. But in the above picture I was actually right on the edge of a very far drop (1,000 feet to be exact). But it was the perfect lookout point! Sorry, mom.

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One of the guys we met at the sports bar was basically doing the same road trip we were and we talked him into checking out Horseshoe Bend at sunset as well. Luckily, he chose to avoid Tourist Point as well so he stumbled into us just before sunset and we had someone to take our picture!

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The following picture is looking back toward “downtown” Page. The sky was really putting on a show for us.

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And of course, I climbed on even more rocks and hung off even more edges.

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I call this portion of the day: “Wait, James! Get a picture of me on that rock!”

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We’ve had a lot of time to reflect on the trip now and it seems that every time we go back over what our favorite part was, we land on Horseshoe Bend. It was just such a cool spot. And with having basically the entire place to ourselves and me getting to climb on all the rocks as we watched the sun set, it was perfect. Exactly what we needed after the longest, most adventure-packed day ever.

We had planned to camp on the beach at Lake Powell that night, but with temperatures plunging colder than we had anticipated, we ultimately decided to get a hotel in Flagstaff for the night to be closer to the adventures we had planned for the next day.

But I definitely want to go back and explore more of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and have some fun in Lake Powell! I’d love to kayak or take a boat tour or just straight-up do more hiking and exploring of the area. With a Utah National Park trip on the list of future trips, I’m sure we’ll be afforded the opportunity to return. And I definitely want to check out The Wave next time!


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