Our last two and a half days have been full of fun and exploration around Page, AZ. Heather says this has been one of her favorite stops on our trip, but she says that about everywhere we go!
We didn’t have any campground reservations in the area, so we were hoping for a first come, first serve spot at Beehive Campground, with Lone Rock Beach Campground as our second choice, and then Wahweap Campground as a last resort. Beehive Campground is part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and has just six sites and no amenities. No bathrooms, trashcans, or anything, but that is ok since we are pretty self-sufficient! Turns out, there was no need to worry about plans B and C. When we pulled in to Beehive at 11:30am, there was only one campsite occupied, so we had our choice of the others. We selected a spot, got set up, and then headed right back out to start sight-seeing.
We started out at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center right next to Glen Canyon Dam. This visitor center was quite large and contained a ton of information about the dam, Lake Powell, and the surrounding area. We spent a lot of time browsing the exhibits and watching a film about building the dam, then we went out to their observation areas and took in the views of the dam and walked across the adjacent bridge. From there we drove to the Wahweap area to see Lake Powell a little closer up. We’re sure you’ve all heard about the water shortage in the west, and it was very obvious when looking at Lake Powell. The water level is the lowest it has ever been since it filled, and it was obvious everywhere we looked. From boat ramps that no longer make it to lake level, to the massive white cliffs that show where the water level once was, this is no longer the great reservoir it once was. We read an article today that said eventually (and inevitably), the water level will get so low that the dam will no longer be able to generate power. The other thing that we noted while in the Wahweap area was the lack of people. Obviously, with this being a lake area, summer is their season, but there were a surprisingly small number of cars in the parking lot of the lodge, and the Wahweap Campground had no more than 10 campers there. And to think that we were worried about not being able to find a spot to stay! We found the people later in our visit to Page, but they obviously weren’t staying in the Wahweap area!
Our first full day here we had reservations for a Lower Antelope Canyon tour, thanks to Heather’s mom. She sent Heather some money for her birthday, so we put it toward this tour. Thanks, Mom! Antelope Canyon is one of those places that we have seen photos of for years and have always been intrigued by! In order to go into Antelope Canyon, though, you have to make reservations to have a Navajo guide take you. This is not cheap and is not something we ever would have sprung for without the birthday money. Anyway, after some research we decided to go with a tour of the lower canyon, mostly because it was a bit cheaper than the upper canyon and still had good reviews. We are not going to say we were disappointed, because we both really enjoyed the tour, and seeing the canyon first hand was amazing, but it was SO CROWDED. The company we booked with showed a maximum tour group of 10 people, so we assumed we would be down there with 8 other people and a guide, but we were so wrong. What they mean is that one tour guide is in charge of 10 people, but they send multiple groups down at a time. When we went, I think there was a total of about 60 people entering the canyon at the same time as us. There were times that it felt like we were packed in like sardines, and it was almost impossible to get any photos without people in them, unless you just took the photos looking straight up. That said, the guides were super informative and did their best at helping everyone get good photos, and most people on the tour tried their best to be respectful of others and stay out of each other’s way. And the canyon itself was just as spectacular as we expected it to be! We are happy we were able to see it in person, but it is a once in a lifetime kind of experience. We will probably never shell out that kind of money to do it again.
After the canyon, we took a short hike to Hanging Garden, which was neat, but the best part of this hike was scrambling around on the rocks past the actual hanging garden. It doesn’t look like much in pictures, but climbing around on the rocks and getting to the top of the ridge was a lot of fun and gave us some pretty big views of the area. Then, we concluded the day by driving a short distance and taking a short walk to the Dam Overlook. This was another view point to see the dam from a little further away than we saw it the day before.
On our final day in the Page area, we went straight to Horseshoe Bend in the morning. Everyone has seen the iconic Horseshoe Bend photos, but nothing compares to seeing something with your own eyes. We spent hours wandering around the cliff edges, seeing the giant bend in the Colorado River from as many angles as we possibly could. This area also got pretty crowded while we were there (so many tour buses!) but by just walking a short distance we were able to find views that weren’t too people-y.
The last adventure we squeezed into our Page visit was a hike on the Beehive trail just across from our campground. This area has also been called the New Wave due to the swirling lines in the rock that are similar to those of the famous “The Wave” hike that you have to get a permit to do. The hike we did was beautiful and in certain areas we could see why it might be called the New Wave, but don’t come to this hike because you think you are getting a hike as good as the famous one. It is a fun hike and has rock formations and scrambling that are definitely worth the effort, but it isn’t going to look like the photos you have seen on the internet of The Wave.
We hope our assessments of the activities we participated in in Page don’t sound negative, just realistic. We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and wouldn’t change a thing! We could probably spend another week in the area and not run out of things to do, however, our reservations in Zion National Park await!
Watch our video from the Page, AZ area!
Until next time!