Continuing on our trip to Arizona, we left the Grand Canyon and headed Northeast towards Page, AZ. It was a beautiful 2.5 hour drive, with many opportunities for stopping by the side of the road because of the views. What made the drive fly by was just how fabulous the views were. There were miles and miles of open space.
Open Spaces in Arizona
I hope that when you are traveling in this neck of the woods that you either have brought along good company (who you like talking to), or have access to free satellite radio. Why you ask? Because you aren’t going to be able to make any phone calls to pass the time. You know those maps of cellular network coverage across the United States that all of the cell carriers show you to demonstrate how fantastic their coverage network is? Well, you are now part of the big empty spots on their network map! We did not get data for days, and very sporadic voice coverage. Make sure you let your loved ones know that you have’t fallen off the face of the Earth (you’re just in northern Arizona!).
No Cell Phone Coverage Where We Are Heading
Now the reason we were headed up to Page was because we wanted to check out 2 places which often make a Most Beautiful Places to visit list: Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. These were absolutely must-see places during this trip, and it was one of those few occasions during your travels in which a destination fully lived up to the hype.
Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon Are Very Close to Each Other
We arrived in Page at the Holiday Inn Page-Lake Powell Area at around 5PM. For 20,000 IHG points, we were pleasantly surprised with our stay. Excellent staff, very clean facilities, a quiet location, and ice cold A/C (which was necessary given that the high temperature that day was 109F). We specifically aimed to arrive around 5PM because we wanted to get a chance to stop by the Page Wal-Mart to buy some water and snacks (and Page Sand Devils gear), as well as relax for a few moments before sunset. It was important that we get there by sunset because the light disappears rapidly in the area once the sun sets, as you are very much out in a rural part of the country. Sunset was at approximately 7:05PM, and so we set out from the hotel at 6:20PM. The Sunrise Sunset website does a nice job of helping you track sunrise/sunset hours.
Arriving at Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is (surprise!) a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River and is about 5 miles downstream from the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. Accessing the point is fairly straightforward. You simply drive on U.S. Route 89 and look for the sign markers between Mile 544 and 545. Alternatively, you can just look out for the mass of cars that are parked on the side of the highway! There is no admission fee to hike to the cliff, but be aware that it is a 0.75 mile hike (one way) in soft sand. Horseshoe Bend is not right by the parking lot, and we saw plenty of poor choices in footwear during our visit.
Many Photographers at Horseshoe Bend
We arrived at about 6:45PM to the sight of 20-30 photographers setting up their tripods all around us. They mentioned that sunrise and sunset were the ideal times to capture this beauty (particularly the few moments of twilight just after the sun sets). However, even without incredible cameras, it is easy to capture a sense of just how beautiful the location is.
Horseshoe Bend – Enough Said
I will encourage all visitors to be especially cautious when visiting Horseshoe Bend. It is easy to see how one can take a tumble off the edge of the cliff because of how close visitors want to get to the edge. While we were there, a few eager photographers had put themselves in precarious positions that had taking a deep breath for them.
Take Caution Walking Back From Horseshoe bend
I also want to provide a public service announcement cautioning visitors from arriving after sunset. We started walking back to the car at around 7:30PM, with the light fading quickly already. The photograph above was taken as we were headed back. By the time we arrived at the car, it was too dark to see without headlights on. However, we noticed a steady stream of tourists arriving at that time. They would essentially be making the 15 minute walk to Horseshoe Bend in darkness.
Part 1 of our trip saw us landing in Phoenix, taking the drive up to Sedona and the Grand Canyon.
Total distance driven to this point: 435 miles.