The Horseshoe Bend close to Page (Lake Powell) is said to be one of the most beautiful views of the Colorado river. In this spot the river, which flows deep beneath you in between straight rock walls, makes a 180 degrees turn.
It is a very nice spot both in the morning and in the afternoon (we went there twice), not only because of the view, but also because of the twenty minute walk from the parking lot. You really get a "desert feeling" when walking here. On hot days the walk (partly up and down a sandy dune) can be strenuous for some people, but it really is worth the effort.
From Page you take Highway 89 to the southwest (direction Bitter Springs) and after 10-15 miles or so you will find a parking lot on your righthand side At the far end of the parking lotyou will see a sandy hill/dune that you have to "climb".
Antelope Canyon, near the village of Page is one the greatest places I have ever been to.
It is a so-called slot canyon. A very small canyon, only around 2 metres wide, that has been shaped (and still is shaped) by wind.
The weird curved rock formations that you will see are really spectacular.
When you are in the canyon, which is a few hundred metres long, you feel like being on another planet. We were there around 2 or 3 in the afternoon. At some periods in the year, around noon, when the sun stands high and you have sometimes the chance to see very bright "lightbeams" penetrating the "roof" of the canyon.
There are two ways to visit Antelope Canyon. One is to book a airconditioned Jeep trip with some 30 fellow-tourists, starting in Page. (price around US$40)
We did it the alternative way: Antelope Canyon lies on a piece of land that belongs to Navajo indians. When you go there yourself by car, you will find some indians sitting in the shade.
You pay an admission fee of around US$10 and they drive you in the back of a pick-up truck in 10 minutes to the entrance of the canyon, give you a short introduction and tell you that they will pick you up an hour or so later. You can explore the canyon on your own (not dangerous).We were there with only one other couple.
I don't have to tell you that this is much more fun than walking in line with 30 people behind a tourguide. Such a group arrived just when we were about to leave.
When coming from the direction of Page, you take roadnumber 98 to the east. After some miles you will find a powerplant (run by Navajo indians) on your LEFTt. Just before or after the powerplant, you will find the entrance to the piece of Navajo land on your RIGHT. You will find some Navajos waiting for you in a kind of covered waiting area.
People who are really keen on photography might bring a tripod to Antelope Canyon, because some spectacular places have rather limited lighting conditions.
Please bear in mind that a tripod will block the way of fellow visitors because the canyon is very narrow. So when it is crowded and you are in the way of others, you might end up with your tripod wrapped around your neck.
The dam blocks the Colorado and builds Lake Powell. It's about 230 metres high and the concrete used to build the dam and the powerplant would be enough to build a four-lane highway from Phoenix, Arizona to Chicago, Illinois.
Besides providing the powerplant the main purpose of the dam was to serve as a water storage for the arid southwest of the United States.
The powerplant at Glen Canyon Dam serves approximately 1.5 million users in the states Wyoming, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona. When it is in full operation over 55 million liters of water pass every minute. The generators have a performance of nearly 200.000 horsepower.
The plant can be visited. They offer free guided tours daily.
In my opinion this is the most attractive canyon I have seen during my trip through the Southwest of the United States. See also my Antelope Canyon Travelogue.
Page doesn't have much history because it is a very young city. But it has a museum which is well worth a visit. You learn a lot about early explorers of the Colorado River and about the Navajo Indians who live in the reservation around Page. In some parts the museum is even interactive as you can see on the picture, where my wife and her mother are grinding corn in the traditional way.
This artificial lake is not only a water reservoir for the powerplant at Glen Canyon Dam but also a paradise for boating, swimming, diving and other water sports. The second largest man-made lake in the United States is nearly 300 kilometres long and has a shoreline of more than 3.000 kilometres.
Normally the lake is about 160 metres deep in certain places. But due to a serious draught the water has dropped tremendously in recent years. The white parts of the banks indicate where the water had been.
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
The dam is at the near north of the town of Page. It is the nucleus of activity and recreation for the town, both the serve locals and tourists. The water area behind the dam is extremely long. It is 186 miles long and very narrow. Depths go to 500 feet. There is 1960 miles of shoreline. There are 96 side canyons that can be explored on the lake perimeter, and there are two main recreation areas to boat, or relax.
The dam is 710 feet deep at its highest point and 1,560 feet across. It took 400,00 buckets of concrete, or 10 million tons of concrete. The dam itself is 25 feet thick at the top part and 300 feet thick at the base. The height at the peak form the Colorado river floor is 583 feet. It provides power to 650,000 homes, and controls water flow to the downriver areas in Arizona to California.
Environmentally it may not be too successful. There has been talk to blow up the dam and let the river flow naturally. There are 1 million gallons of water wasted that leach into the rock formations annually and that cannot be used for power generation then. There are many risks discussed with the dam and sediment is filling the upstream section with great vigor. Eventually that gets to the dam base itself-80-100 years estimate.
This is a hidden spot that takes you behind the dam wall and to some beautiful scenery and rock formations. The area is just to the est of the bridge about 100 feet for a turn off at the right. Park there, and hike in to the hanging gardens. It is called that because there are green foliage on a lush oasis that is thriving in the desert mesa. They gardens are fed by a little spring by some rock ledge overhang. The hike is about 1 1/2 miles, and some areas may be hard to find the direction, but look for the cairns on the horizons. After about 1/2 mile on the trail take a right up the rock face and climb to the butte. From there, look hard for the cairns to the right that direct to the gardens. You walk over some sand trail for half the distance, and then climb the slide rock face to the top. the gardens continue for quite some way. You could hike further if desired.
As I stated before, the only way to see Antelope Canyon is by taking a tour. The Navajo Indians run these tours, and the price is $32/person. It is well worth it. We wanted to go at 11:30 because that is when the ray of sunlight enters the canyon. You meet at 22 South Lake Powell Boulevard for your tour. It is about a 20 minute (VERY bumpy, sandy, windy) ride to the slot canyon.
This tour is very well organized, and you are encouraged to stay with your guide. My complaint about this tour is that there are too many people. There were about 7 truckloads of 10-15 people each in the canyon while we were in there. It makes you feel a little bit like they are herding cattle. The goal is for everyone to stay in their group so that each group can get pictures without people in them. Our leader was quite feisty. A few members of the group in front of us kept lagging behind; thus making us have less time to take pictures. She finally walked up to them and got right in their picture and wouldn't move. I think they got the picture that they needed to stay with their group.
This wonderful view of the Colorado River winding its way around a bend in the rock is worth a short hike. The hike is about one 1/2 mile round trip over sand and steps. The first part of the hike is up a steep side of a sand dune. The overlook views are the reason form the hike. Taking a full panorama picture of the bend is difficult because of being close up to the bend and not able to perch higher for a wider range shot.
Location is 4 miles to the southeast of Page, off Hwy 89. The Colorado dam is around 8 miles upstream. A sign on the highway directs you to it.
Rainbow Bridge has deep rligious & spirtual significance to the Native American Tribes. It's called in Navajo "Nonnezoshi" (rainbow turned to stone). Special prayers are offered before passing beneath the bridge and failure to do so is believed to bring misforture.
She stands approximately 290 feet high creating an awe-inspiring sight. It's made of Navajo Sandstone at the top and Kayenta Sandstone at the base and was formed when the drainage in the stream bed broke through to the other side of a meander creating an ever widening hole in the ancient cliff face.
Boat and air tours are offered daily throughout most of the summer season. Visitors in private and rental boats may also use the courtesy dock at the monument, and then walk less than a along an improved trail to the viewing area. A portion of the trail to the first viewing area is accessible to most whell chairs.