Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend
The lovely city of Page is a small town located on the southwestern edge of Lake Powell, near the Utah/Arizona state line. It features Glen Canyon and other gorgeous natural wonders.
As we soon discovered, it’s pretty much the only metropolis for miles–restaurants, stores, boat docks for the lake, hotels, tours.
So, what brings people to this neat town? The gorgeous, off-the-beaten-path, natural gems. Namely Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon–two hidden treasures in the desert landscape where countless photography enthusiasts and national geographic paparazzi flock every year.
On our southwestern road trip last September, I knew we had to make a pit stop in this city to see these iconic landmarks!
First up, Horseshoe Bend!!
Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe shaped portion of the Colorado River just outside of Page. The overlook above the bend is a breathtaking 1000 feet above the River with a sheer cliff face drop.
To get to the landmark, you have to take a little 3/4 mile hike from the parking lot. The hike is easy to follow and pretty self-explanatory, but I’d recommend you pack some sturdy shoes–people in flip flops were struggling in the deep sand.
Many suggest you go at sunset for the best pictures, but sunrise is optimal as well. We decided to go in the morning to beat crowds and have more time in the afternoon to explore.
The view was outstanding!! The sheer drop to the bottom was steeper than I’d imagined. Dad and I lay on our stomachs and inched our way to the edge to get some neat shots.
We explored the area around the Bend and had fun meeting lizards and posing on rocks like Rafiki from Lion King 😀
And, to give you an idea of the grandeur, that little person below is me!
We left about an hour later and picked up iron-on patches from the Glen Canyon visitor center 🙂
Later that day, we’d scheduled a tour with Navajo guides in the popular Upper Antelope Canyon. Signing up for a tour is the only way you can get to the canyon since the roads are off-limits to pedestrians and regular vehicles. They even offer photographer-only tours during midday for a special VIP experience. We opted for the general tour.
There are two parts of the canyon you can explore–the Upper and Lower portions. We’d read online that the Upper was the more popular of the two, and recommended for those only staying a day in Page.
The tour place was just outside of the city and many guests were huddled around when we arrived at about 2pm.
The ride was BUMPY on the sandy terrain and our SUV had all of the warning lights blinking–transmission, oil, overheating, coolant, DING DING DING DANGER! I kept slamming my head on the window and thought for sure we would break down. A crazy 15 minutes later, we arrived at the canyon in one piece. It looked like nothing special from the outside, but man is it deceiving!!
Other tour groups were already there so people lined up and were herded through the canyon like cattle. The guides explained to us how the canyon formed and even pointed out good places for picture opportunities. The one pictured below is called the “Candlestick”!
I’ve never been so shutter happy in my life–every angle offered another beautiful perspective of the canyon walls in the light. Pictures just can’t do it justice! It was so fun playing with different modes and shutter speeds with my camera, too.
We snaked our way through the canyon and came out the other side about 30 minutes later (pictured above).
The trip back through was meant to go quickly with no pictures, so you could just enjoy the canyon and get out of there in time for the next batch of tourists. It was an awesome experience, that’s for sure!
Both Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon are MUST-SEE if you make it to the Arizona Utah border. You will be blown away by the beauty and serenity found in every tiny detail! 😀