By Sneha Pujani, Staff Writer
The quaint town of Page has so much to offer. This sleepy settlement hides mesmerizing sights that will keep you hooked, and in a good way. Over the Labor Day weekend, a couple of friends and I decided to escape the heat and our experience exceeded expectations. This travelogue is a highlight reel from a 36-hour excursion that changed my perspective of the grand state of Arizona.
Page is among the youngest towns in United States. It is the ideal location to explore the American Southwest’s national parks and monuments and allows you to soak in the culture of the Navajo Nation. 36 hours does not do justice to this land and, fair warning, you will want to come back for more. We started at 5 a.m. and made it to our destination after driving for five hours.
When geology and geography decide to have fun, the world gets a gem. Horseshoe Bend is basically the Colorado River cutting its way through the Glen Canyon area in the shape of a (duh!) horseshoe. It is a 1.5-mile trek from the parking lot. The sandy hike is annoying in parts, but if you focus away from the ground, the sights around you will more than make up for it. The light plays off of the blue water of the river and the red rocks around you to create a beautiful sight. You will spot rainbows at the edge of the river and colorful kayaks making their way through the river. The sight is different from every angle and you won’t be able to keep yourself from snapping pictures.
Make sure to carry some light snacks, find an area that offers some shade and just be present and take in the moment! You will have to pay for parking, but Horseshoe Bend is otherwise free of charge. You do not need a guide or have to reserve a tour.
Lower Antelope Canyon
I call this the “windows wallpaper place”—it seemed like this place materialized straight out of my desktop computer! The vivid colors, the curves of the canyon and the sheer brilliance of the location are stunning. It is a visual nirvana. The 45-minute tour will transport you to a different world. As the tours are guided by a Navajo guide, you will be peppered with fun facts about the place, learn about interesting images on the canyon walls and find the perfect picture spots. This was a fun one!
Be aware that Lower Antelope Canyon is not as accessible as the upper canyon. The descent is steep, and there are narrow curves and strange angles to manage while taking the tour. With young children and the elderly restricted to the upper canyon, the lower canyon remains relatively less crowded. Booking a tour is mandatory, as you cannot access the canyon without a Navajo guide. We took the early morning tour (starting at 6:00 a.m.).
The Antelope Canyon tour is usually followed by a boat ride through the canyon. We opted to do it and it was totally worth it. The 45-minute ride through Lake Powell gives you an enjoyable hour of lovely blue water and red-hued canyon walls. Our captain for the day regaled us with interesting tidbits about the area as a whole. The boat ride is the perfect way to end your trip on a soothing and relaxing note.
One tip is to go for the early-morning ride. After 11:00 a.m., the lake gets crowded with jet skis and kayaks. You don’t want to limit the pace of your expedition. There are several joint packages available combining the boat ride with the tour of Lower Antelope Canyon.
Every view of this lake offers the quintessential feeling of “lake life.” The marina is lined with various vessels and is a sight to behold. Between your different excursions, take time to explore the lake. It has a lot to offer: rental boats to visit the rainbow bridge, fishing options, floating restaurants and swimming areas. Everything’s right there for you to take advantage of!
Our lunch spot was The Birdhouse, where you have lots of chicken options. The memory of the sandwich alone makes me want to go back to Page. Our dinner was at Steer 89, a lovely family-run place with good food and rustic interiors.
The beauty of the land more than makes up for the harsh heat of Arizona. Again, seems like I got more than I bargained for!