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Page is a small town located adjacent to the Navajo Nation in northern Arizona. The town has a population of roughly 7,300 and before the days of Instagram, it was barely on the radar. Today, it’s hard not to be familiar with its famous sights. Page’s beautiful natural attractions are some of the most photographed places in the world. Page, Arizona is a relatively easy place to explore and should definitely be included on a road trip through the southwest United States. If you don’t have time for a road trip, it’s still doable in a short amount of time and there are a handful of airports you have the option of flying into. Page’s most popular sights are fairly close to each other, but a car is absolutely necessary to navigate the area. Here is the perfect way to spend one day in Page, Arizona:
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located just east of Page, on Navajo land. You have most likely seen photos of it before. It’s known for its wave-like walls and beautiful light beams. The canyon formed as a result of millions of years worth of erosion. Waters, primarily from flash flooding, carved pathways through the soft sandstone. Antelope Canyon is divided into two separate sections, Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.
A tour by a licensed operator is required to visit either of the sections. There are different tours that operate Upper and Lower, and separate bookings are required if you wish to visit both. Both of the canyons are extremely popular and can get very crowded. I recommend making a reservation in advance. If crowds aren’t your thing, I suggest visiting the less popular, but still beautiful, Canyon X instead.
Lower Antelope is the canyon you often see in photos on Instagram. This is because it is the easiest of the two canyons to photograph and getting great shots is totally doable on an iPhone. Lower Antelope is also a bit more fun to explore. Parts of the canyon are quite narrow and it’s necessary to climb a few flights of stairs to get both in and out of the canyon. The lower canyon can be more crowded, but tours run more frequently and it’s less likely to be sold out at your desired time slot.
The very best lighting for Lower Antelope is between late morning and early afternoon. However, any time is good for this canyon and early morning is ideal if you wish to avoid the crowds as much as possible. I did a deluxe tour with Ken’s Tours at 8 am and it was perfect. The general tour costs $40 and the deluxe costs $80 (both have additional taxes and fees).
In my opinion, the deluxe tour was worth the extra money. The main difference is group size. The deluxe tour allows for four people, whereas the general tour is a group of ten. Since the group was smaller, our guide was able to spend more time with us. We were able to learn a lot about the canyon and he helped us get some great photos.
Upper Antelope is located at ground level and is much more accessible for those with physical limitations. There are no stairs to climb and the pathways aren’t as narrow as those of Lower Antelope. Upper Antelope is somewhat of a darker canyon and can be more of a challenge to photograph with a point and shoot. However, it is the favorite of the two canyons for most photographers. A visit during mid-day is necessary to capture the canyon’s incredible light beams and falling sands.
If you have a DSLR and a tripod, I suggest joining one of the photography tours through Antelope Canyon Tours. The photography tour allows time to set up your shot and you will have more opportunity to shoot without the crowds. Sightseeing tours start at $60 and go up based on the specified time slot and photography tours are $125.
Thanks to social media, Horseshoe Bend has become one of the most recognized locations in Page, Arizona and has quickly become a favorite of photographers everywhere. Horseshoe Bend is literally a bend in the Colorado River that creates a horseshoe shape. It’s located about four miles southwest of town and is about seven miles from Antelope Canyon. The overlook at Horseshoe Bend is 4,200 feet above sea level and the Colorado River is 3,200 feet above sea level. Thus, creating a 1,000-foot drop that provides magnificent views of the canyon and is even more jaw-dropping in person than in photos. It can get very busy but is worth battling the crowds. The least busy time is sunrise.
The parking lot is located off of US Highway 89 and costs $10 upon entry. If the lot is full, you may be guided to an off-site lot and shuttled back. The trailhead is close to the lot and the hike to the lookout is 1.5 miles round trip. It is a fairly easy hike with a few steep areas and areas of deep sand, which can be difficult for some. There is a shelter providing shade and a place to rest near the halfway point.
When choosing a time of day to visit, definitely take the weather into account. Mid-day is great for capturing the beautiful warm hues of the sandstone but is only recommended during the milder months of the year. Bring water, sunscreen, and avoid going during the hottest time of day during the summer months. Don’t underestimate how cold it can get either. The weather can change very quickly. I was able to get in some beautiful shots right before a sudden downpour of rain and hail, making the hike back somewhat difficult.
Glen Canyon Dam
Glen Canyon Dam is a 710-foot dam that forms Lake Powell and is one of the largest man-made reservoirs in the United States. It was constructed between 1956 and 1966. The dam helps ensure equal distribution of water between the states of the Upper Colorado Basin and the Lower Basin. It is also a source of hydroelectricity, producing over four billion kilowatts per year. The best way to view the dam is by visiting the Glen Canyon Overlook.
It can be a quick stop and most likely won’t take you more than 30 minutes to walk down from the parking lot and back. It’s located close to town, off of Scenic View Drive near the Denny’s. After turning onto Scenic View Drive, you will see signs for the overlook. There are stairs carved into the rock that will lead you down to a couple of great viewpoints where you’ll be able to get some amazing photos. It’s free to access the overlook and I highly recommend a visit at sunset. It’s gorgeous!
Where to Stay in Page
There are quite a few large hotel chains to choose from in Page, AZ. If large hotels aren’t for you, Airbnbs are available as well. As far as hotels go, the following are a couple of good options:
Courtyard by Marriott Page at Lake Powell
Courtyard by Marriott is a large, fairly new hotel. It has clean rooms, a pool, and a restaurant on site. It’s also less than a mile from the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook.
La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham
La Quinta Inn & Suites is part of a large hotel chain. The location in Page is newly built, modern and one of the nicest La Quinta hotels that I’ve seen. It includes a free breakfast, which I usually don’t take advantage of when I travel but there aren’t many options when it comes to restaurants in Page. There are a few diner-type places but the food everywhere is pretty average. The breakfast at La Quinta was better than expected. The hotel also allows dogs and is perfect if you’re traveling with your furry friend.