(Warning - lots of pics, may load slowly)
We’ve discovered a magical place that most people have never heard of. It’s called Antelope Canyon. Actually, we didn’t discover it, but we had read about it and wanted to see if it lived up to the hype. Judge for yourself from the photos below.
To back up a bit, on Saturday morning, we left Zion en route to Page, AZ taking a slightly more circuitous route to avoid the Zion Canyon Tunnel (max height 13’1" - our RV is 13"5"). For much of the drive it rained, but we did get to view some spectacular southwestern scenery passing some very unusual rock formations at the Grand Staircase Escalante (no pics due to the rain) and arrived in Page, Arizona, founded in 1957. Its most noted (and visible) spectacle is the Glen Canyon Dam and hydroelectric plant along with the man-made Lake Powell, named for John Wesley Powell, a 19th century explorer and scientist who is said to be the first European to sail down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.
We parked our RV at Lake Powell Campground which features a large marina as well as some stunning scenery.
The Colorado River flows gently but in an irregular fashion through Glen Canyon, producing some amazing spectacles. Probably the most impressive is Horseshoe Bend, a 270° bend in the Colorado River. We made the one mile hike to reach the overlook for the bend (along with a large number of other people, mostly foreign visitors). The canyon at the bend is about a 1000 foot shear drop to the river with no fences, guardrails or supervision - saw a number of fearless young folks sitting at the edge dangling their feet over the cliff.
On Sunday, we got up early to arrive at Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours by 9 for our guided tour. Antelope Canyon is situated in the Navajo nation and access is only allowed via guided tour through an approved company. We arrived (with about 100 plus other people!) and were transported via benches on the back of pickup trucks to the entrance to the canyon.
Now unlike the massive canyons that we’ve seen at Zion and at Glen Canyon, Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, more of a crevice really between some amazingly shaped and colored sandstone formations that are transformed by the natural light and shadow. Words don’t do it justice - when you enter it is like no place else we have ever seen. Here are a few more of the many photos we took.
After leaving Antelope Canyon, we went into Page to join a rafting tour that we had booked from Colorado Discovery Tours going down the Colorado through Glen Canyon. This was gentle rafting, not white-water (yes, we are old fogeys), but it did have some unusual elements. The tour began at the bottom of the Glen Canyon Dam - literally!
How do you get to the bottom of a dam? Through a two-mile tunnel cut through the canyon wall in highly secure location (no backpacks or bags of any type allowed) leading to the base of the dam. There we donned hard hats to walk down ramps and stairs to our motorized rafts.
Our guide Tia, a charming young Navajo woman on her way to college, led us on a leisurely journey through the deep canyon, stopping frequently pointing out interesting features. At one point we stopped on the shore and walked to an area containing some petroglyphs. We headed all the way down to Horseshoe Bend. It was fun to see it from the bottom up after seeing it from the top the day before.
For the final part of the trip Tia turned up the speed of the raft to max and we headed back to the dam and to our RV home.
All we can say in summary is if you get a chance to see Antelope Canyon, don’t miss it. Tomorrow we leave Page to head to Monument Valley.