Phoenix to Page, AZ
I had seen pictures of Antelope Canyon a few years ago and immediately put it on my bucket list! We recently planned a vacation to visit our friends in Phoenix, AZ so I immediately started looking in to what I could do to sneak up to Page, AZ to see Antelope Canyon. It is approximately 280 miles north of Phoenix so I decided we would leave at lunch time on a Sunday, drive up, spend the night, see Horseshoe Bend at sunrise and then Antelope Canyon at 9:30am, and drive back to Phoenix immediately following our tour.
Grand Canyon – South Rim
On our way up to Page, AZ we noticed that the Grand Canyon’s South Rim was not too far out of the way, so of course we took a detour and drove through the South Rim and then continued up to Page, AZ. We have been to the Grand Canyon three times, but the view never gets old, it is always worth the trip in my opinion. Still on my bucket list is to visit the North Rim.
We arrived in Page at approximately 7pm, got some dinner at McDonalds and settled in to our hotel for the night – we stayed at Hampton Inn. Right before we got in to the city I saw the sign for Horseshoe Bend, at Mile Marker 545 on US 89 – it was only 2 miles from the hotel. So, I decided that I would get up at sunrise and go visit Horseshoe Bend.
I was so excited that I had FINALLY arrived and was going to see two of my biggest bucket list items the next day that could not sleep. I woke up well before sunrise, got dressed and drove the two miles to Horseshoe Bend. I sat in the car for a few minutes until I could see that there were people walking out there in the dark. Once I saw a few people I got out and started walking towards the overlook. The hike to the bend is approximately .6 mile, there is a bit of an incline right when you start, once I reached the top of the hill, I still could not see really well, so I stopped and sat in this gazebo waiting for the sun to come up.
The rest of the trail is all downhill from there (but of course you have to go up that hill when you come back). There are benches placed every few hundred yards if you need to sit down and take a break. I arrived at the overlook and the sun was still not completely up, so I sat there patiently waiting for the sun to rise even more!
The overlook is exposed, there are no guardrails and it is approximately a 500’+ drop to the river. Be careful! There was a lot of construction going on while I was there, it appears they are building a fence, which in my opinion will ruin the views. It was absolutely amazing – no words can describe, you have to see it in person.
It was only 7am by the time I finished visiting Horseshoe Bend and my appointment to tour Antelope Canyon was not until 9:30 so I headed back to the hotel. After showing Jerry the pictures, he decided he wanted to go see it as well, so we got dressed, packed our bags, checked out of the hotel and headed back to Horseshoe Bend.
I had researched several blogs ahead of time about visiting Antelope Canyon. Things you need to know:
– You have to take a tour, you cannot go on your own. There are two companies, I chose Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon Tours https://antelopelowercanyon.com/and they were amazing! You need to book ahead of time and try to go between 9am and noon to capture the best lighting.
– There are two canyons: Upper and Lower. Upper Canyon is 100 yards long, flat and pretty easy. Lower Canyon is a bit more physical, requiring you to climb steep stairs to get down into the canyon and then when you are exiting the other end. I toured Lower Canyon.
– Wear comfortable shoes, hat, and sunscreen. You will hike less than .5 mile in the desert to get to the canyon.
– Don’t worry about having a fancy, expensive camera or getting the perfect picture – you can easily get nice pictures with a phone camera and all of the tour guides are really good about helping you with the correct settings, positioning your camera, etc.
I took a ton of pictures, but I will just share a few here:
We were done right around 11:30 – just in time to grab some lunch before getting back on the road to Phoenix. I had researched and found this pizza place called Canyon King Pizzeria. The book I read stated that it was built inside a vintage paddleboat that logged many tours on Lake Powell, so I was really interested in seeing it, even if the food was not the best. Once our tour was over, we headed there, however it was closed, they are only open for dinner beginning at 4PM.
There is so much more to see and do in Page, AZ, but if you only have one day – this is a perfect itinerary!