Travel dates :: April 24 – 28, 2016
I shared about camping at Lone Beach Rock Campground and how much I absolutely loved this primitive campground – now I wanted to tell you about ALL the things we did while we stayed here. This beautiful campsite is just 20-30 minutes away from some amazing places and experiences!
As I mentioned in my Lone Rock Beach post, the biggest thing you’ll need to pay attention to is the time zones. If you’re staying at Lone Beach Rock Campground then you’ll need to remember you’re in a different time zone than the tours over in Page, Arizona. Important if you have reservations and need to be somewhere at a specific time.
As soon as we got settled we headed straight to Horseshoe Bend to try and catch the sunset (about a 20 minute drive from Lone Rock Beach). Located right off US 89, it’s about a 1.5 mile walk (round-trip) from the parking area to the overlook. A 1,000 foot drop down to the Colorado river, the view is amazing! We found the trail to the overlook was crowded – lots of “tourists” headed to and from the overlook – so be prepared for that.
We couldn’t believe how many people were sitting on the VERY EDGE of the overlook to get the perfect selfie or portrait. It was ridiculous, honestly.
I was anxious with my kids even being a full 10 – 20 feet from the edge, I can’t imagine the gutsy (or foolish) people balancing precariously on the ledge. To each his own, I suppose. It’s a free country and if free falling 1,000 feet into the Colorado River is your idea of a good time, who am I to judge?
We took some photos and headed back out before it got too dark. . .
Isn’t it incredible? I’m not sure what it is about the landscape but it as a sight to see for sure.
The next day we had reservations at Ken’s Tours to walk through Lower Antelope Canyon. We RARELY do paid tours but this is a place that you can’t tour on your own – you need a tour guide. And it’s amazing . . . worth every penny if you ask me. Kids 6 and under are FREE, kids ages 7-12 are $12 and adults are $20. Plus there is an additional charge to get on the Navajo property – starting at $8 a person.
Lower Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon – a narrow canyon that’s formed from water flowing through the soft rock – in this particular canyon carved through Navajo Sandstone. The tour is about an hour and you walk through the slot canyon with a group of about 10-15 people.
We’ve never seen anything like it. You climb down some steep stairs and walk through the meandering path. With peek-a-boo views of the sky it feels at times like a cave.
We went with our friends @UpInTheAirstream which made the tour even more special. . .
On the day of our tour the wind was blowing pretty strongly. This meant a constant “rain fall” of sand as we walked through the tunnel. It made it a bit more uncomfortable than if there had been no wind – we wore hoodies and had to be careful with camera gear – but was only a minor discomfort (we were already caked in sand from the windy beach).
The thing you want to be careful with is rain. There is a risk of FLASH FLOODING with slot canyons. Think about it . . . an area that doesn’t normally get rain has a strong rainfall and the water has to go somewhere – flowing to the lowest possible spot. In 1997 there were 11 tourists who were killed by a flash flood in the canyon and I believe that’s why you’re required to have a tour guide now. Ken’s Tours cancels tours if they believe there is a risk for a flash flood.
I took hundreds of photos. . . it was so beautiful. So I’ll share some of those with you. . . .
If you’re really into photography you can actually take a photography tour of the canyon. It’s more expensive but photographing the canyon can be tricky – but spectacular – so having guides help you with your photos throughout the canyon might be just the right fit for you. Depending on where you stand, what time of day it is, whether it’s sunny/cloudy – you could get a gazillion different photos throughout this canyon – the possibilities are endless, I’m certain of it. I took most of these photos with my trusty iPhone to avoid getting sand in my DSLR.
The day before we left Page, Arizona we decided to do another tour – a rafting trip down the Colorado River! We went with Colorado River Rafting and we opted for the half-day rafting trip (and @UpInTheAirstream joined us, yay!). If we had been kid-free I would have done the full day. The cost is just slightly more for the all day trip, but we weren’t sure if the kids would like to spend 8+ hours on a raft.
This tour was considerably more than the Lower Antelope Canyon, costing $348 for our family of four. But I don’t regret the cost at all – what a magical experience it was to float down the Colorado River, in the sunshine, with towering cliffs on either side.
You’ll meet at the Colorado River Rafting main building in downtown Page, Arizona and after checking in, you’ll board a bus and be taking to the launching area. You’ll take an underground road for about a MILE down into the canyon right next to the Glen Canyon Dam. Then you put on hard hats until you down to the boat launch. The kids thought this was pretty cool.
It was impressive to push off right at the base of the Glen Canyon dam – towering 710 feet above the river. The boat is a motorized pontoon style boat and it’s smooth water rafting – no white rapids to be seen.
I felt completely safe the entire time – even with my kids sitting on the edge of the boat (they had life jackets on the entire time). The red colors from the canyon bounced off the clouds making them look light red/pinkish against the blue sky – it was beautiful.
About half-way through the trip we stopped at a beach. There is a bathroom here and generally this is where folks eat lunch if they packed it. . .
It’s also the location of ancient petroglyphs left by Ancestral Puebloan peoples. . . just a short walk from the beach.
So impressive! And I guess as the soil slowly erodes along the bottom of the hillside, more petroglyphs are starting to appear!
This is also a great place to dip our toes in the beautifully clear and cool Colorado river! On warmer summer days I think you can actually go swimming in the shallow beach area and cool off during your short stay at the beach.
My favorite part was rafting through Horsehoe Bend (see the photos at beginning of the post) – we got to look up 1,000 feet to see people taking selfies on the edge of the canyon. 🙂 They look like little insects from the river.
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable about the area and we had some wonderfully friendly people on the raft with us.
The kids enjoyed it and we did, too. Definitely a different perspective of this incredible canyon area and we would definitely recommend it to others – especially families since the river was so calm and the boat so stable! If your up for it – we passed a few primitive camping spots along the river here – I think it would be amazing to come back and camp in the canyon.
Our last activity in the area was to visit the Carl Hayden Visitor Center at the Glen Canyon Dam. We watched the Visitor Center video and completed the Junior Ranger program for the Dam AND the nearby Rainbow Bridge National Monument (you can do both at the Visitor’s Center)
Oh. . . one more thing. If you are near Page, Arizona, make sure and stop at Big John’s Texas Barbecue. We went for lunch one day – and it was super delicious and affordable.
So that was it! There is so much to do in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area we could have stayed longer and explored much more, but after Hadley broke her arm, we needed to head north to St. George, Utah where we had more options for medical care.
Have you been to Page, Arizona? Have you toured the Antelope Canyon or taken a selfie at Horseshoe Bend? Tell us about it! Stay tuned for our St. George, Utah adventures!
Read about our amazing campsite at Lone Rock Beach campground.