Not long ago, I went to Page, Arizona for a quick trip, and, although it is a not-so-easy place to get to, it was so worth it!
From Phoenix, it’s about a four to five hour drive, depending on traffic and your stops along the way. It’s close to the same distance from Las Vegas to Page as well. There’s really not much to see on the drive, except the beautiful scenery, which changes constantly (if coming from Phoenix), much to my surprise! So keep naps to a minimum!
As you’re driving down the road into Page (if you’re coming from the south), all of the sudden, in the middle of nowhere, there are loads of cars and an unassuming sign that simply reads, ‘Horseshoe Bend.’ You will literally look around and be confused because there is nothing around you that looks like the pictures you’ve always seen of it. Since Horseshoe Bend is basically an overlook at a bend in the Colorado River, you expect to see a river or to have driven uphill somewhere to get to the overlook. But, nope! You already are at the top when you arrive to this flat land and you hike a little ways to look down onto the river. Sounds pretty typical, but the views are incredible!
The first night I got there, I went to Horseshoe Bend for sunset. It said that sunset was at 6:50pm and I got there at 5:30pm, thinking I was way too early. However, the hike from the parking lot to the actual overlook takes about 15 minutes, and then the sun actually was pretty much set (as far as picture-taking goes) by about 6:30pm. So get there at least an hour early if you’re going for sunset! That way you can still capture the sun and the colors in the river from the sun before it gets too low in the sky.
I then went back to Horseshoe Bend for sunrise the next morning (I mean you’re already there, so you might as well take advantage of it!). Although both were absolutely incredible, sunset was my favorite, because the sun only hit part of the canyon at sunrise, which made it difficult to get great photos. But the crowd was significantly smaller for sunrise and it was such a peaceful morning, so don’t count it out. If you’ve made it all the way to Page, you might as well see both sunrise and sunset! You won’t regret it. Also, the temperature was pretty bearable at both sunrise and sunset, which is great seeing that you’re in the middle of a desert.
Some tips for Horseshoe Bend:
- Wear comfortable shoes that you can walk up and down hills of sand in. I wore tennis shoes and was just fine. I strongly suggest not wearing flats or sandals. At the overlook, there are many rocks to climb up and down so something with a sturdy base would be best.
- There is a large parking lot at the bottom of the path to Horseshoe Bend. However, there are a ton of cars that are lining the side of the road outside of the parking lot, which makes it appear that the lot is full. This is not the case. Drive into the parking lot so that you can park there- it’s much more convenient and not on the side of a busy road. There were tons of empty spots near the beginning of the trail.
- You do not need a guided tour to see Horseshoe Bend- you can conquer it yourself!
- Take plenty of water and sunscreen lotion! There is no where at the actual site to get anything you will need, so bring it with you. (In true American fashion though, there is a Walmart about a mile down the road if you need to stock up on anything!)
You absolutely do not want to miss out on this when you are in Page! It is one of the most fascinating places I have ever seen in my life. Unlike Horseshoe Bend, you will need a tour guide to see this- a Navajo tour guide to be exact. I booked with Ken’s Tours , who only does tours of the Lower Canyon. There is an upper and lower Antelope Canyon. Book your tours in advance so that you can get the time you want and not have to wait in as long of a line! I highly recommend Ken’s Tours! They have a nice facility to wait in prior to starting and were very efficient. Our tour guide was Dakota and he was an awesome resource to have while going through the canyon- he was very knowledgable and had great advice on how to get the best photos, which you will take TONS of so have your camera ready to go!
I recommend booking your tour between 9:30am and 10:30am- these are apparently the best times for photos in the canyon. Also, in the morning it won’t be quite so hot and you won’t have to wait in as long of a line outside the canyon the earlier you go. You will have to que up to get into the canyon because the entrance is so narrow that only one person can enter at a time. While waiting, you are standing in complete sun, so be prepared for that. And the tour lasts an hour, but you’re mostly in shade while in the canyon.
Tips for Antelope Canyon:
1. Wear a hat/ bandana/ sunglasses/ etc. to shield your face from the sand that blows down into the canyon on top of you. You will be covered in sand when you leave, but for what you’ll see, it’s beyond worth it! If you wear contacts, I’d probably pack some solution for after in case you need it.
2. Bring water and wear comfortable hiking shoes- you will be walking through sand, over rocks and up and down ladders in the lower canyon.
3. Dakota, our guide, told us that if we were taking photos with an iPhone, to use the Chrome filter for the photos (you will have to adjust the brightness). When I switched to this, I couldn’t go back to #nofilter because that filter picks up the colors of the rocks so well! Also, I typically do not bother with black and white photos because I love colors, BUT it’s worth it here to get some black and white shots. If you’re really big into photography, there are photography tours that you could choose as well.
4. You will be walking through some very narrow areas while in the canyon so keep that in mind if you’re claustrophobic. There is no where that you have to crawl through or anything that drastic and in the majority of the canyon a tall man can stand up comfortably. But just plan ahead for this and don’t bring a large bag you have to carry.
5. If you can’t get a tour ahead of time, you can stand in line to see if you can get in on a tour the day of- but this may leave you waiting for a while- nevertheless, still an option!
A few other things about Page:
This was a super casual outdoor eatery with great food and very friendly staff! It has outdoor community seating on picnic tables with live music at night and it’s right in the heart of Page. Pro tip: get the brownie with ice cream (seriously, just do it!). Oh! And go early because it gets packed at night!
This hotel was brand new when I stayed here. It’s right in the heart of Page- near both Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. The rooms are quite spacious and clean. The staff was friendly and they offer a nice breakfast in the morning before you get going on your adventure. Overall, I had a great experience here and will be staying here next time I’m in Page!
Page certainly met and surpassed my expectations. I knew the sites would be good from what I had read and heard, but they are even more amazing in person than in pictures. There are also many more things to do in Page besides what I’ve listed, but I was only there for about 24 hours. If you have any questions, please list them in the comment section!