I have to admit that on my long list of places I want to travel there are not many that are in the United States. This is not because I don’t think the U.S. has much to offer, because it certainly does, but when we are fantasizing about new adventures we tend to think of the far-away and exotic places. Recently I reminded myself that there’s still so much to see right here at “home.” And so that brought me to Page, Arizona.
I’m a self-proclaimed master at whirlwind trips. You say I need a week? Guaranteed I can do it in a couple days. While many places warrant an extended stay for true appreciation, some can be seen quickly if you’re ambitious enough. For this journey to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, two places I’d been admiring only through a digital screen for years, I set aside just a couple of days.
Day 1 Horseshoe Bend
I took a late flight into PHX and stayed the night so I could start the 4 1/2 hour drive to Page as early as possible (for the record LAS is another major airport option “nearby”). I stopped in Flagstaff for about an hour to eat and break up the drive a little. By roughly 2pm I arrived at Horseshoe Bend.
It’s exactly as breathtaking as it appears in photos. There’s a sandy trail a little less than a mile’s “hike” to reach this scenic viewpoint of the Colorado River. If you’re afraid of heights, I’d stay a good distance away from the edge, which is not roped off and features a 1,000ft drop to the canyon below.
After lingering for a while I drove just five minutes down the road to the Motel 6. As a budget traveler, I often look for more cheap lodging options, so I just chose the most inexpensive place with a bed and a shower. Food options seemed to be few in the Lake Powell/Page area. The Rainbow Room at Lake Powell Resort boasts a fantastic view (especially at sunset), so I opted for that. The view of Lake Powell truly was the best part.
Day 2 Upper Antelope Canyon
On Day 2 I had made reservations for a tour of Antelope Canyon. You cannot explore the canyon by yourself, and there are a few different companies in the area that offer these tours with a Navajo guide. You must book through them and there are typically two different tours. There are photo tours which allow more time for photographing and the sightseer tour which essentially just focuses on, you guessed it, sight seeing. I booked the sightseer tour and found it was enough to both see the canyon and take photos. If you want more time to take more professional photos I’m sure many people would recommend the photography tour. I’d recommend this if you’re bringing a DSLR or nicer camera equipment. It’s also important to note that there are two canyons – Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. I did a tour of upper antelope canyon only, and the company I used was: https://www.antelopecanyon.com/
If you have the time or opportunity, I hear that lower antelope canyon is also unique in its own way and should not be missed.
I began with breakfast at Ranch House Grille – loved this place! Again, not many options around town but this was a good one. The tour group met in the parking lot near the tour shop and we hopped on a bus to drive 20 minutes down the road and into the canyon. The entire walk-through only took about an hour. We took several long pauses to let people take photos, let other tour groups pass by, and admire the canyon. A late morning tour is recommended to get the full effect of the light beams but the canyon is beautiful at any time of day.
After the tour I began my journey back to Phoenix, but not without stopping at Big John’s Texas BBQ first because it seemed entirely necessary. I arrived in Phoenix at about 5pm and stayed overnight then flew back home the next morning. This trip was easily done in a short amount of time, and if you want a long weekend to see some southwestern United States beauties – head to Page!