Page, Arizona was the perfect place for a detour, whilst traveling from Monument Valley to the Grand Canyon, with another amazing stop along the way at Antelope Canyon.
Our Antelope Canyon tour finished around 12.30pm and I had organised a boat tour at Antelope Canyon Marina. Nothing like trying to cram heaps in to one day - but what a day - leaving a magical Monument Valley sunrise, exploring the unbelievable majestic Antelope Canyon, then on to witness the beauty of the sparkling Lake Powell, finishing with sunset at Horseshoe Bend; and don't forget the 3 hour drive to the Grand Canyon.
For views, it's hard to beat the houseboat digs at Antelope Point Marina.
On driving into Lake Powell you can see why it is a standout for water sports in such a scenic canyon country. There's heaps of water sport activities to choose from, boat tours, wakeboarding, water skiing, paddleboards, kayaks and of course rafting excursions.
And then there's the beautiful ducks that greet you on your way to the marina.
On our way down to board our one hour boat tour with Antelope Adventures, who I can totally recommend.
Lake Powell is located in northern Arizona and stretches up into southern Utah. It's part of the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. With nearly 2,000 miles of shoreline, endless sunshine, warm water, perfect weather, and some of the most spectacular scenery in the west, Lake Powell is the ultimate playground.
Every bend presents such spectacular scenery.
And did you know Lake Powell is a fake lake - it's a reservoir. But you (and the other 2,999,999 annual visitors) can do so many lakey things in it you won’t care about Lake Powell’s unorthodoxies.
THINGS TO SEE AND DO IN LAKE POWELL
Lake Powell’s placid blue water runs right into sandy beaches, so you can add swimming and boating to your plans. Don't forget all of the water sport activities I mentioned above. Hiking and camping are extremely popular. For the short time we had there, just witnessing the amazing red rock formations and the stunning blue waters were incredible.
FROM RIVER TO “LAKE”: THE BRIEF HISTORY OF LAKE POWELL
"From the floor of Glen Canyon, the good people of the 1950s looked at a spot 200 feet overhead and said, “I’d really like to float on an inner tube up there.” So they built a dam where God had built a canyon to make a reservoir where He’d put a river. (That Glen Canyon Dam still stands suggests His tacit approval of houseboating.)"
Access to various points at Lake Powell can vary dramatically according to water level. The water levels were extremely low when we visited. The high water marks were highly visible on the walls of the canyon, which showed the immense amount of water that can flow through the canyon.
It was now time to move on to Horseshoe Bend.
Apparently the locals say that until recently, few knew of Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. But obviously word on their eye-popping beauty has gotten out. These are now two top-rated attractions are among the most photographed in the Southwest.
HOW TO GET TO HORSESHOE BEND
The trailhead – a sandy incline just off Highway 89 (south from Page) and approximately five miles down the road from the turnoff is the car park, which leads to the lip of Horseshoe Bend, which plunges 1,000 feet to the Colorado River below.
The 360-degree views of Paria Plateau and Vermilion Cliffs change with the light; you’ll have lots of fellow travelers at sunrise and sunset, but still have plenty of elbow room.
WHEN TO VISIT HORSESHOE BEND
The view of the Colorado River from the canyon edge is wonderful and despite the crowds and the many reviews that say stay away because of the crowds, it is still absolutely worth going. I cannot emphasize this enough. It may be better to go outside of the peak time, as there are less people; but sunrise and sunset are both the best times to go in terms of lighting - and I’m sure you won’t be alone. We arrived around 4pm and parking was a bit of a problem, there were lots of people, but the people did disperse and we stayed till very late, as you can see in the photos below. I can’t imagine the parking lot being full at 5am or even 8pm. In fact the shuttle only runs from 10am to 5pm so this in itself is indicative.
The sun was gone by this time and my long exposure captured some light. We didn't manage to get the setting sun over the bend with the true reds of the rocks becoming prominent, due to some heavy cloud, but it was still a magnificent view.
Walking back along the trailhead, we were presented with some wonderful colours (above and below).