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    The agony and the ecstasy: Lower Antelope Canyon

    by goodfish Updated May 5, 2015

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Hiking slot canyons are one my favorite things to do in the Southwest so this one was on the Bucket List: check. Unfortunately, the two in the Page area are on everyone else’s list too, and probably the only slots most tourists will ever see. They are also the most-visited of this sort of canyon in the U.S., and you’ve probably seen a million shots of them already so it’s probably easiest to just cover the good-to-knows, pluses and minuses.

    Know before you go:

    • There are two: Upper and Lower. They are in the same general vicinity, on Navajo territory, and can only be seen on a guided tour or with guide/photography permit. There are no combo deals for the both of them: tickets must be purchased individually.

    • They are accessed differently. Visitors to Upper Antelope are trucked to the mouth of the canyon and then walk right in. Visitors to Lower have a 1/4 mile or so hike down a hill to the entrance to the canyon, and a climb down long, steep, step-type ladders to the floor. You exit via another of the same sort of ladder. This difference is why Upper Antelope is the more visited of the two, and therefore the most crowded - reportedly often ridiculously so.

    • In all cases, it’s expected to tip the guides

    • There are three companies which handle tours to Upper Antelope:

    http://www.powellmuseum.org/tours_antelope.php

    There is only one to Lower; Ken’s tours:

    http://lowerantelope.com

    Please note cost differences between the options, and equipment requirements for photography tours!

    We chose to do Lower as it was supposed to be less congested, and it’s quite a bit longer than Upper.

    The good:

    • The ticket/waiting area is covered, and there are portapotties nearby. There was some new construction happening nearby as well so I’m guessing these facilities are shortly to be expanded. This would be great as the covered pavilion was too crowded to handle everyone so some ended up in the hot sun for awhile.

    • Guides for Ken’s are all trained photographer's themselves, and are expected to assist visitors in nabbing nice shots on any type of equipment: cameras, Smartphones, tablets, etc. Our guide, Megan, was terrifically patient and helpful with everyone in the group.

    • The canyon is beautiful

    The bad:

    • Having to go in a group - after hiking slots solo - was a minus but there were too many problems with vandalism in the pre-tour days so it’s understandable

    • While supposedly less busy than Upper, queues/waits were long, and the canyon plenty congested because….

    • …we got stuck in a group with some 20-something tourists (from a country I’ll kindly abstain from mentioning) who were totally obnoxious: very loud, and more interested in taking photos of themselves and each other than the scenery. They got in the way of everyone’s lenses, and held our group up so badly that the group behind ended up right on our heels. They KNEW they were annoying people but made no effort to settle down, shut up and behave.

    • This nonsense completely frustrated individuals who'd paid quite a lot for photography tours (allows tripod use and longer, unescorted time in the canyon) as they didn’t get space between tour groups for pro-level shooting

    • Tripods are not allowed unless on a photography tour

    • Tickets are expensive, and payment in cash or Traveler’s Cheque only

    The unavoidable:

    • Slot canyon are very dangerous places to be in a rainstorm due to flash flooding. Tours will be cancelled if it’s raining heavily, if a storm is looming, or if the canyon is still flooded from recent storms.

    • On a windy day, dust will be a problem. Bring lens protection and cleaner

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Photography

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    The Toadstools

    by goodfish Updated Jan 14, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    We’d driven into Utah to hike Wire Pass and some of Buckskin Gulch in Paria/Vermillion Cliffs but deep mud and water in the Gulch left us looking for an alternative adventure. Unfortunately, it was 100 degrees and the worst time of the day to start anything overly ambitious so we chose this little hike that was on the way back to Page and promised a nice bit of weirdness. Natural erosion in the desert erodes softer rock into all sorts of fantastical shapes, and the odder those are, the more we like ‘em.

    The trailhead is on the north side of 89, between mile markers 19 and 20, and just 1.5 mile or so east of the BLM Paria Contact Station- where we’d stopped to check road conditions to Wire Pass. There is a dirt parking area, and a sign which tells you a little about the trail and formations but no other facilities so make sure you have water, a hat and all: there is no shade on the 1.6 mile RT route. This is part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument but you don’t need a park pass, and there’s no fee box so just sign the register, slide through the gate and follow the wash and clearly worn paths until you see the first formations in the distance: head that way. Once onto solid rock, there are no marked trails so you’re free to wander at will.

    The “toadstools” were formed when wind, water and frost chewed away at soft substrate layer underneath a denser top, resulting in “stems” on which “caps” of rock now teeter. Impressive groups of the these can be found at Goblin Valley State Park near Hanksville, Utah, among other places. Having seen those, the few here were sort of a non-event but the landscape around them was fascinating: cliffs and undulating mounds of layered red, white, mocha and pink. It was well worth a couple of hours, and we would have stayed longer had it not been kabillion degrees (all that rock just radiates heat).

    Nice little hike for beginners and families with children. If doing this one during the warmest months, go in the morning.

    http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/grand_staircase-escalante/Recreation/hiking___backpacking/Toadstools.html

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    Powell Museum and Visitor Information Center

    by goodfish Written Jan 11, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Two reasons to go here:
    A. Friendly staff knowledgable about all things Page
    B. A little ramble through some area history

    We’d stopped in to check on road/canyon conditions for a particular trail, and walked away with a comprehensive map of the Southwest that ANYONE interested in routes less traveled should get their paws on. That map had all the tiny little unpaved byways that don’t appear on standard maps, and was our salvation later in the trip when a closed bridge sent us up over the La Sals on not much more than barely traversable tracks. But that’s another story… Anyway, the staff can fill you in on doggone anything from restaurants to backcountry hiking, and they book some local sightseeing tours as well.

    The little museum is attached, and has collection of artifacts and displays which cover early exploration of the Colorado River environs, background on Page (which is only 60 years old so there isn’t much to talk about there) and indigenous history of the region. Specifically, if you don’t know much about John Wesley Powell - for whom the nearby reservoir is named (and who would probably have had some choice words regarding how it came about) - it’s well worth a gander. J.W. was a fascinating individual: Civil War officer (lost an arm at Shiloh), adventurer, geologist, ethnologist; teacher; early conservationist who is best known for leading the first expedition through the Grand Canyon on the Colorado River. The lee side of a large monument to his memory at the National Park's Powell Point was our shelter for 45 minutes or so during a nasty storm on this same trip: thank you, Mr. Powell!

    There is a small charge for the museum, and formal tours of the facility are available: check the website.

    Oh, and that map? AAA's “Indian Country Guide Map: Arizona•Colorado•New Mexico•Utah, $6.00 or so.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Road Trip

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    Horseshoe Bend

    by goodfish Updated Jan 10, 2015

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Apologies for the inadequate shots here but there’s a reason…
    This is another of Page’s more visited spots, and another which has been snapped a million times so finding better ones to look at is a 2-second google.

    Horseshoe is one of those goosenecks in the Colorado River that’s similar to one at Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah. That one was a whole lot easier to squeeze into the lens than this one, though. To get to the trailhead, take 89 south out of Page about 4 miles: there’ll be a turnoff to the parking area on your right. From the lot, it’s a 3/4 mile (1.5 mile RT) hike through deep sand and up over a hill to the overlook point 1000’ feet above the river. It’s a sheer drop from that point, and there are no barriers so watch your feet.

    So, getting the whole thing into the frame would have taken a wide-angle lens (didn’t have) and a bigger inch over the edge than I was willing to do in a very gusty wind. We were also there when the sun angle was bleaching the top of the cliffs in the center, and I had to close in to avoid the contrast.

    I’ll recommend getting here early in the morning as this can be one very busy place, and there’s no shade on the trail so it’ll be cooler that time of day too. This is a freebie that doesn’t require a Glen Canyon National Monument pass, and a nice little hike for families and light hikers but do keep an eye on the kiddies along the rim. And I’m not kidding about the sand: that 3/4 mile can be a slow slog.

    Here’s a nice NPS trail guide you can download before your visit:

    http://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/upload/Horseshoe%20Bend2.pdf

    See the boat? The rim
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    Know before you go: Lake Powell access

    by goodfish Updated Jan 7, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The whole of Lake Powell is within the border of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which is administered by the National Park System. This means that to get anywhere near the big puddle - including marinas, resort, campgrounds, beaches, restaurants or anything else along the shores - involves buying a park pass. They are $15 per vehicle (good for 7 days) at time of this writing, and nearest Page, they can be purchased at the park entry kiosk on Lakeshore Drive, off 89 on the other side of the dam. Water levels in the lake fall well below most of the surrounding canyon walls so nope, you can’t just sneak in for a paddle from just anywhere, and cliff diving is verboten: too many yahoos were breaking their necks.

    You'll find more complete info about the park here:

    http://www.nps.gov/glca/index.htm

    Another marina and couple of restaurants are at Antelope Point within the Navajo reservation (but administered by the NPS):

    http://lakepowellhouseboating.com

    http://antelopepointlakepowell.com

    Info on boat tours of the lake can be found here:

    http://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/guidedtours.htm

    You may visit the Carl Hayden Visitor Center on the edge of Glen Canyon Dam without a pass, and they offer inexpensive tours of the facility:

    http://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/visitorcenters.htm

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Sailing and Boating
    • National/State Park

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    Visiting Antelope Canyon

    by kbl Written Dec 2, 2014

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The inside of the Canyon is spectacular. But the Navajo who run the place are driven by money, and the balance is tipping: they allow way more people in here than can be allowed on a given day. Groups are being chased in the canyons. Tours that are sold as being only open to professional photographers allow people without a tripod and with a click-and-shoot type camera, devaluating the experience for the people coming here to take images.

    Antelope Canyon Antelope Canyon A busy day at Antelope Canyon

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    Antelope Canyon - Amazing!

    by blueskyjohn Written Apr 11, 2012

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Only a few minutes outside of Page within the Navajo Nation is Antelope Slot canyon. This is a great 1/2 day trip. The best time of year to visit the slot is June or July. The sun is at the right angle to create fantastic rays shining through the top.

    You cannot access the canyon on your own and a guide is required. One can be found in the parking area. Its usually $15usd and $6 for the entrance fee. They give you a ride in the back of a pick up truck down a sandy wash to the slot mouth. There is a two hour limit on the time you can spend there. I recommend going when the sun is high for the best effects

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    • Hiking and Walking
    • Adventure Travel

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    rainbow bridge

    by dila Updated Sep 13, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Took a boat trip at Lake Powell near Page in Arizona. Correction on this page Rainbow Bridge is in Utah.

    the world's largest natural bridge.
    the rainbow bridge is formed by water.
    the rainbow bridge is sacred to the native american people.
    Please visit Rainbow Bridge in a spirit that honors and respects the cultures to whom it is sacred.
    if you want to hike read the rules first. i think you need permission to walk there.

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    Glen Canyon Dam

    by vichatherly Written Jun 29, 2011

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    Glen Canyon Dam is a concrete arch dam on the Colorado River

    We were driving from Monument Valley to Bryce Canyon and so we decided to stop off here to stretch our legs after a few hours in the car.

    We took a walk around the rather interesting visitor centre and enjoyed the views of the dam. Construction of Glen Canyon Dam started in 1956 and was not finished until 1966.

    Related to:
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    • Road Trip
    • Photography

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    continue a walk through Antelope canyon

    by MATIM Written Nov 15, 2009

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    Time has given shape to the magnificent canyons.
    Over the years , the rock was molded by the rain and the wind to form this overwhelming beautiful canyon.
    Mostly dry, flash floods may occur, especially after the rain.
    And the colors of the rocks change according to the sunlight, like magic.
    At places the canyon is that narrow that if you stretch out your arms, you can actually touch both sides.

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    continue a walk through Antelope canyon

    by MATIM Written Nov 15, 2009

    We gathered in open jeeps with narrow benches, you wobble up and down at every bump in the road and eat sand driving through the dessert direction Canyon :)
    The weather was wonderful and we all had a lot of fun in that jeep.
    Arriving at the canyon I noticed a parking lot with some natives in the area.
    I guess they were waiting for people to show them around. Maybe that will be a lot cheaper...

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    continue a walk through Antelope canyon

    by MATIM Written Nov 15, 2009

    We had to wait for a few hours, so we decided to grap a bite at the KFC.
    I never saw so many fastfood restaurants than in the USA!
    After our lunch we walked around, found a terrace were we had some drinks.
    What I noticed in the USA is that you hardly have to ask for the bill, if you are ready to leave or not they just give it to you.
    I love to sit at a terrace for an hour or even more, with a drink and take it easy, however that's really hard in the USA.
    At 3 o'clock we walked back to the office, so we would be right on time for our 3.30 tour.
    Then I watched the clock in the office and saw it point 2 o'clock.
    I asked the lady at the office for the right time, we all had a laugh when we found out Page is at an other time zone then Zion national park were we left that morning :)
    Okay so we did some more shopping, back again I asked for the VT lady.
    You don't believe this but it turned out that Page has several companies that organized Antelope canyon tours. The one from the VT lady was right across the street!
    We already paid for the tour, so sorry VT lady you should have told us!

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    continue a walk through Antelope canyon

    by MATIM Written Nov 15, 2009

    At the office, the lady told us that all the tours for that day were booked, so we had to wait till the next day.
    That was a real bummer because of a tight schedule we wouldn't be able to make it the next day.
    However, a few minutes later an Italian couple came in and were told they could join the 3.30 pm tour!
    The lady looked suprised and asked her co worker if the tour from 3.30 was still available and hurray it was.

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    continue a walk through Antelope canyon

    by MATIM Written Nov 15, 2009

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    At noon we arrived at our hotel (Best Western Arizona Inn)
    The receptioniste told us we could not check in yet. We had to come back at 3 PM.
    After I got myself a brochure of the company that provide the Antelope canyon tours, we decided to go into the city.
    We drove to Page, a drive from about 5 minutes.
    On the brochure I read that there are two tours.
    Tour no.1 Sightseers tour, tour length 1 hr. 40 min.
    tour no.2 Photographers tour, tour length 2 hr. 40 min.
    We took tour no. 1 cost $32,00, very expensive if you know the fact that a pass for all the National Parks in the area costs you $20,00.
    Besides that, they tell you the tour length is 1 hr. And 40 min., but they don't tell you that's including the drive.
    You are in the canyon for about a half hour at the most.
    What the tour guides do is telling you how to make the best photo shots and yell to people to move because their group want to take pictures :)
    Don't get me wrong, the Canyon is absolute amazing and if you are in the area and have the money, I highly recomment it!

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    A walk through the Antelope canyon

    by MATIM Written Nov 15, 2009

    Before going on our trip to the USA, people in the Netherlands told us, if we had the time and were in the neighbourhood, not to forget to pay a visit at the Antelope canyon.
    I found a lady on VT who gives you a guide tour through the canyon.
    I wrote her and watched all the beautiful pictures taken at the Antelope canyon.
    She told me it was a pleasure guiding us, the only thing I had to do was give her the arriving date.
    I did and she told me she was in town that day and available for the tour.
    A few days before we arrived I send her an email asking her if the time of arrival suits her. However, I never got a reply back.
    I was not worried, because I thought we would find her. Namely, at the time I thought there was only one company that provide these guided tours.

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