This huge land area of 45-50 miles in all directions has few roads, and none paved going through it. It is 293,000 acres; or 457 square miles. That is big. The cliffs that rise straight up to 3,000 feet, are a long expansive stretch of red/white cliff buttes that ring the south end on Hwy 89A. The north edge is off Hwy 89 that goes between Page and Kanab. The middle is a flat sandy area called Sand Hills. I tried to go into the Cliffs at a couple of points. Believe me, it is rugged and my 2 wheel drive SUV was not up to the match of sandy roads, and ruts, and rocks ,and creeks.
The Bureau of Land Management is responsible for the land area, and they are not inclined to maintain anything, especially the roads, even if they were needed. Much agony over this for many areas in the region has made problems for Kane County. There are only 25,000 visitors annually, and permits are needed to hike, or camp in the Wilderness. For those who are seeking adventure and risk, there are some hikes that require climbing, scrambling, rapelling, and getting wet. A few of those challenges are Paria Canyon, Coyote butte, Buckskin Gulch, the Wave. All are 8-15 miles long and may take a feat to get to the trailhead by vehicle since they are in the Wilderness pretty far.
I read about these pools, and decided to try and find them for a drive in, and hike the rest of the way to get to them. They are located close to a marker and plaques designating the exploration of Escalante Dominguez here in 1776. Turn between mile marker 557/558 onto a dirt/clay/sand road on the north side. The road is said to be 2 miles and then come to a stone house. Well, I did not get that far. This road, even in really dry weather is sandy to about 9-12 inches deep. My 2 wheel drive SUV has a hard time, and even some 4WD vehicles may have difficulty. The first chance I got, I turned around and drove back to the paved highway.
If you got the 2 miles down the road, then the climb up the cliffs at 3,000 feet is next. The pools are in a recessed area on the buttes somewhere.
You could spend a lot of time looking for condors around the area. There are not that many yet, and the population will probably be limited due to the sparse pickings to eat. One area is to the west edge of Vermilion Cliffs; about 90 miles form Page. Another is to look around Navajo bridge. Sometimes they perch on the bridge and look into the river for dead fish,; or are they just resting? I did not ask. I found one, but he had his back turned so you cannot see the head.
This first bridge from 1929, and took two years and $390,000 to build. The first one spanned the Colorado here and was the only bridge within 600 miles to cross the Colorado. It is 843 feet across, and the arch is 90 feet. It is 467 feet above the river average level. Before this bridge, only Lees Ferry could take cars across the river here.
Later in 1995 another bridge was added to alleviate the bad sight issues with the old one and upgrade. and the old one is now a pedestrian walking bridge to look over the Colorado River. There is a Navajo visitor center that also serves as a gift shop for those treasured items you need. This area is the most western territory of the Navajo Reservation land. Marble CAnyon is the beginning of the Gand Canyon park boundary.
This is the area around the NPS territory that protects the Lees Ferry sites and grounds. It was brought into the Grand CAnyon park system in 1975 to protect its environment. The river runs through it, and has some rapids. Many rafters start their journeys from here going down river. At one time back in 1950's, there was a movement to try and put up a dam here. It got strong movement again back in 1965-68. There already was ontroversy as to the Glen CAnyon Dam and what ecological problems it creates; allegedly. That got so much resistance from Sierra Club that the idea was eventually dropped.
A rather moderate hike for the first one 1/2 mile. Then it changes. It got difficult. I got caught up in worrying about if I would fall the last 20 feet to the wash bottom from a 50 foot water fall at a place where the cliff face was steep and hard to get down. I did not go the rest of the way, because-why I could not safely get down the other 20 feet and then get back up. Then there was the water in the wash. Why did I want to get wet? NOT
This area is off Hwy 89A, and about 30 miles from Page. The intersection of Hwy 89 to Hwy 89A is south of town, and connects. This park is operated by the National Park Service, and mostly used for rafters and kayaks docking here to start a trip, or ending here. There are some hiking areas, which I took for 3 miles and old buildings from the time when this was the ferry across the river.
The area and crossing was started as a business in 1871 by John D. Lee, a Mormon. This was one of few that crossing the Colorado on a relatively flat terrain was present. They moved the crossing once to another spot, and therefore have various living quarters. The ferry continued in use until 1910. The ferry is t the confluence of the Colorado meeting the muddy Paria River, and that is why the Colorado gets muddy brown look for quite a way.
Along the way on Hwy 89A are three lodges. All have been unchanged since building back in 1950's. That is good, and bad. Since I stayed in Marble CAnyon Lodge by the Navajo Bridges, I got the feel for one of those facilities. I stopped at the other two, and they were the same, or more intriguing, like in old and rustic, but clean? The Cliff Dwellers Lodge is old and seems to be in a state of come on in if you want. It has all those ruins outside, as a bit of a unique, but perplexing scenario where being on Navajo territory, the locals sell wares besides the old ruins. The Lee's Ferry Lodge was really old looking, but well maintained, and the inside had a nice restaurant and bar area.
I hope I'm not too late in answering your question. The cost for Antelope Canyon is running about $35 now. I would suggest reservations if you are going, because the tourists are here in the hundreds now, and you'll want to be sure to go during the noon hour, when the sun is directly overhead for those dramatic sun ray shots.
I would also suggest Waterholes Canyon...I've gone 3 times in the last few months and love it. You have to get a pre-paid permit from the booth at Antelope Canyon from the Navajos running the stand. (they don't open until 9 or a bit after) It is $6 per person, and Waterholes is an "on your own" hike. There is a place to park on the side of 89, but it is easily missed. It's hard to explain exactly where it is...sorry! Do ask a local travel/tour guide place, and they can mark it on a map for you.
Waterholes takes about 3 hours to hike, and be sure to take plenty of water. You have to scuttle down a fairly steep cliff to get to the bottom of the canyon, so hopefully you are not 70+ and needing a cane. :) Follow the trail markers--you can go down close to the road, which is quite steep, or you can keep walking and follow the other trail markers to an easier decent into the canyon.
Enjoy your trip! Erin
I first saw a picture of Antelope Canyon on the cover of "Arizona Highways" magazine and was entranced. I was determined to figure out where this place was and go there. Turns out it is about three hours from Sedona in the tiny town of Page, Arizona.
This is a photographer's dream. Antelope Canyon has been shaped over time by the raveges of nature. Wind and rain have created this towering slot canyon that you can walk through. The way the light plays on the color of the sandstone is amazing!
The slot canyon is not open to the public except through guided tours.
Be sure to bring your tripod because the light is tricky. I had a lot more blurry pictures than clear pictures.
Antelope Canyon is at once one of the most breathtaking and tranquil places on earth. Gently carved from the Navajo sandstone over the course of countless millenniums, the slot canyons are majestic and narrow passages, just enough space for a small group to walk the sandy floor - and for the occasional shafts of sunlight to shine down from above.
It is really two separate canyons - Upper and Lower Antelope. Each contains the hidden "slots" carved from the swirling sandstone, and both drain from the south into Lake Powell (once the Colorado River). The canyons are so narrow in places that one can stretch out his or her arms and touch both sides.
The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse' bighanilini, which means "the place where water runs through rocks." Upper Antelope is at about 4,000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the streambed. Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdestwazi, or "spiral rock arches." Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.
Though dry most of the year, Antelope Canyon runs, and sometimes floods, with water after rains. It is the water, slowly wearing away the sandstone grain by grain, that has formed the beautiful and graceful curves in the rock. Wind has also played a role in sculpting this fantastic canyon.
I didn't take the tour of the dam. I had a lot of ground to cover over the next week in Utah and Northern Arizona.
Next time I am in Page, I will stop and take the tour of the Dam. If YOU have time, I would take advantage of the tour!
When you cross over the dam going west, the visitor's parking lot will be on thet right hand side of the road.
A nice thing to do in Page is take a half day float trip on the Colorado (departure from the Glen Canyon dam). The Colorado is not wild here. As the boats are motored there is no need to paddle. During the trip there is a stop to see some old Indian markings on the wall.
What do you think? Could this be a dinosaur fossil, or could someone with a very talented artist side that had carved it out one night when no one was looking? Huh, oh will makes for a great picture to show the folks back home ;o)). If anything I think maybe the wind, and elements of the land carved this master piece.
In this area alone we have the Bald eagles, winter hawks, buzzard, and of course the "Ravens". Now the these black birds in the Middle and Northern Arizona are called Ravens not Crows. There is a difference...the crows has a sharp pointed beck plus they are small, and the Ravens are larger and the beck has a hook shape to it.
Who knows what kind of birds the artist is depicting here, they could be eagles but then it could be Ravens.
Now, on this rock here we see the "Birds" flying south for the winter, and also we see the Yi' be'cha' dancers mask, which you only see them dancing in the month of September, we also see the snakes are out because now it's nice a cool for them to be out and about looking for food.