This world is an amazing place, and there are so many incredible sights in nature that it's nearly impossible to see them all in one lifetime. We relish the chance to see new places, so when we have the opportunity to see some of the amazing things this world has to offer, we take advantage of it!
In the spring, we had an afternoon to explore the natural beauty of Page, Arizona, and let me tell you, it does not disappoint! If you're in this area of the country, you're probably on your way to the Grand Canyon, and that is definitely worth seeing. But don't miss out on the gems that the area around Page has to offer. What I found surprising was that with only an afternoon, you can see the iconic Horseshoe Bend and take a hiking tour through a portion of Antelope Canyon - two things you definitely don't want to miss!
So, what makes this area such a "must see"?
1. Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is one of those places you see in magazines like National Geographic or on the Discovery Channel, and even if you don't recognize the name, you've probably seen a picture of this iconic location at some point in your life. If you're not familiar with it, Horseshoe Bend is a geological structure made from the Colorado River (the same river running through the Grand Canyon) which makes a drastic loop back on itself - resulting in the beautiful horseshoe shape.
The site is easy to find when you have GPS, but don't think you'll be able to simply rely on seeing the site from the road. When you arrive at the GPS location, you'll find a dirt parking lot. Then you have to hike up and over a little hill along a well worn path with the throngs of other tourists, and it isn't until you are right on the edge of the cliff that you can actually take in the full view of the river.
The view is pretty spectacular, and it's free, so you can stay as long as you want (well, until dark, I think). But other than the viewpoint, there's nothing much to see or do there. I'm not even sure there are bathrooms!
Depending on what time of the year you go, I'm sure there is an ebb and flow to the number of people who visit, but there were a number of people there on the afternoon we visited. It can be difficult to find a quiet spot to take a photo, and you have to wait patiently to take a photo without other people in it. This is mostly a site to visit so you can say you've seen it. It's not exactly a place to enjoy a peaceful nature walk.
Apparently, you can also view the bend on a boat tour and there are hikes that take you around the edge of the cliff, but we didn't do either of those things, so I can't speak for how great they are. But I think even if you do a boat tour, you're going to want to see the bend from above. It's worth it.
2. Canyon X
Canyon X is a slot canyon on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Page, Arizona that is a part of the greater system of slot canyons called Antelope Canyon.
If you've been reading our blog for any amount of time, you probably know that we aren't big fans of huge tours and tons of people crowding our photos. We like much smaller tours that allow us the chance to get epic photos without people in them. Therefore, when we were researching what to do in Page and discovered that the famous Antelope Canyon was swarming with tourists, we were a little deterred from jumping on that bandwagon.
We loved the idea of exploring Antelope Canyon to see the picturesque pillars of light streaming down into the canyon at certain times of the day, but we didn't want to do that with 50 other people. After a little digging, Eric found a lesser known part of the same system of canyons as Antelope Canyon but without all the people that the more famous upper and lower Antelope Canyons draw.
We took a photography tour which cost us $50 USD/person (I think prices have increased since we were there). We arranged reservations ahead of time to be sure we could take the tour at the time when the light had the best chance of creating the beautiful shots we hoped to see. It wasn't busy at all, so they could have worked us in even if we didn't have reservations, but they were charging more for walk-ups.
Included in the cost of the ticket is the 4x4 transportation to and from the entrance point of the slot canyon (about 3 miles from the road), a guide who knows the best places to catch the light as it is streaming into the canyon, 2-3 hours of hiking in three different parts of the canyon, bottled water, and a very small tour group with the specific goal of taking photos of the beautiful light beams and the stunning, wavy walls.
Tillman, our devoted Navajo guide, was amazing, and he helped us find the right spots to take photos. He even recommended specific settings for the camera to truly capture the colors and light of the canyon - the pictures he liked to call "money shots." During our tour, we didn't walk very far, so despite a couple of ladders we had to climb to get in and out of the canyon, it wasn't a very strenuous hike.
This was a stunning way to spend a couple of hours, so if you're passing through Page (and even if you have to make a slight detour to get there), do it! If you want more information about Taadidiin Tours, the company we used, please visit their website.
Your turn: have you ever been to Page, Arizona? Tell us about your experience!