We are just starting to get the hang of this retirement thing. In fact, our summer has been super busy with settling into Prescott and organizing this new life. We did find some time to take a mini trip to northern Arizona to check out some new territory. Our itinerary included a visit to Page to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend and then on to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to do some hiking.
We’ve lived in Arizona for many years but just recently started hearing about Antelope Canyon.
In the past 15 years this spectacular slot canyon has become one of the state’s top tourist attractions, so we had to check it out. We started our visit with a tour of the Upper Antelope Canyon, booked through Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours. We booked ahead to be assured a spot, and we were glad we did. These tours sell out, especially for the noontime trips when the light shines directly above.
The Upper Canyon tours begin with a 15 minute drive through the Antelope Canyon river bed in a 4×4 truck. Once at the entrance to the Canyon, you walk through a narrow opening in the sandstone and begin the one-hour awe-fest. The pictures below can’t convey the beauty of the rock formations.
We finished our first day in Page with a visit to Horseshoe Bend at sunset.
The viewpoint requires a short hike uphill through sand and then down to the edge of the plateau. For some it might be a little challenging, but it’s totally worth the effort!
Day two took us to the Hanging Gardens, a short hike with views of beautiful Lake Powell. The “garden” is foliage that grows out of a large sandstone cliff. The plants are spring-fed and the contrast between the stark red rocks and the lush green vegetation is cool.
Next, we headed to the Lower Antelope Canyon, where we had a reservation for a noontime tour with Ken’s Tours. At the Lower Canyon, you walk to the entrance which is above the Canyon itself. To get into the Canyon there are a series of stairs and ladders that allow you descend several stories below. We decided that we liked the Lower Canyon better than the Upper Canyon, though they are both spectacular.
July and August in Page is HOT! Each day the temperature hit 100 degrees +. What do you do when it’s hot and you are in Page? Hit the beach! We spent the afternoon at Wahweap Beach, Lake Powell and enjoyed cooling off in the lake.
What amazed us most was that most of the other beachgoers were from outside of the USA. We heard French, German, and several other languages that we couldn’t identify. This most northern part of our great state is really an international destination.
After two days in Page we headed to the north rim of the Grand Canyon, stopping on the way at Lee’s Ferry to watch several large Colorado River rafting trips launch. Watching the groups set out for their rafting adventure convinced us that a raft trip is in our future.
The north rim, like Page and Lake Powell, is an international destination. At the lodge we heard many different languages and met new friends from all over the world while sitting on the patio admiring the view. In our three days on the rim we did several hikes, including a three mile descent into the Canyon on the North Kaibab Trail. The Cliff Springs Trail, near Cape Royal, took us down a side canyon with incredible views and indian ruins.
Being monsoon season we also enjoyed massive storms rolling over the canyon. Lightening and thunder shook the buildings and provided an ever-changing image of the landscape. On our last afternoon Steve went for a run on the Widforss Trail and found himself in one of these storms. While the rain was refreshing, the lightening bolt that struck just to the side of the trail was a little unnerving.
We enjoyed our mini trip and can’t wait to continue our explorations! Next stop: New York City!