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Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell Adventures

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Already did Antelope Canyon? An aerial tour of Lake Powell and Rainbow bridge is a great way to see the rest of the area. Like the Grand Canyon, the lake is simply too large to see from a single viewpoint. The best way to grasp the scale and beauty of the area is to be above it.

In addition to Lake Powell, you will fly over Rainbow Bridge. This is the largest natural bridge in the world, and a United States national monument. It takes about 2 hour to get there by boat, and then you have to hike about a mile with how low the water is.

Highly recommended tour. It’s a great way to spend 25-30 minutes.

27 Responses

  1. Hi Alley,

    I’m very thankful I stumbled across this page. Your tips were very helpful in trying to narrow down what to do during our upcoming vacation.
    We’re planning on being in Phoenix for Thanksgiving, and are extending our stay to visit Horseshoe Bend and the Grand Canyon (we wanted to visit Antelope, but I figured out that it was closed. bummer).
    We’re hoping to leave Phoenix early Saturday morning (Nov 28), head to Horseshoe and spend half a day there (from 10am to approx 4pm), drive to Flagstaff and spend the night there, then Sunday morning (Nov 29) head to the Grand Canyon. We would spend the whole day at the Canyon, spend the night, and spend half of Monday Nov 30 there (sunrise and lunch), and then head back to Phoenix.
    I know the Canyon is a massive park, but will we be able to see anything in a day and a half? Does the itinerary seem doable, or do you have any other suggestions? If so, are there specific hikes and lodging places that you could recommend? Would it be better if we booked tours? Can we easily drive along those roads? How cold will it be by the end of November?
    Sorry for all the questions but from what I’ve read so far, you’re an extremely well-versed resource!

    Thanks,
    Nay

    1. Hi Nay,
      Your plan is OK, but still warrants a couple of minor “reality checks” IMO.
      The drive from Phoenix, AZ, to Horseshoe Bend (Page, AZ) takes approximately 5 hours. The trip from Horseshoe Bend to Flagstaff, AZ, takes ~2.5. So that’s ~8 hours you’re proposing to spend on the road on a day where you have only 10 hours of daylight to work with (sunrise occurs around 7:00 AM, sunset takes place just after 5:00 PM). You want to make sure you’re doing all driving during daylight hours, especially in Northern Arizona, where roads are very dimly lit, and deer, elk, and other nocturnal wildlife could be moving about, which ratchets up your risk of an accident. Trust me, you don’t want to chance a collision with a large animal in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty to non-exisent, and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive!
      A better plan would be to drive to Page, AZ, the 27th, and spend the night. Then spend the better part of next day sightseeing, drive to Flagstaff, AZ, on the 28th, then proceed with your plans at the Grand Canyon. As for what you’d be able to accomplish in a day and a half, quite a lot. When you arrive, park your vehicle in the Grand Canyon Village area and talk a walk along the easy, paved Grand Canyon Rim Trail. If you want, you could venture out along the Hermit’s Road and hit some of those overlooks, then hop on the free shuttle when you’ve had enough of walking. Another option would be to drive out the East Rim/Desert View Drive and explore some of those viewpoints, although you would only be able to get as far as Navajo Point; Desert View itself is closed due to COVID-19 unfortunately. Guided tours in the park have also been cancelled due to COVID-19, but you don’t really need one to get the most out of your visit. The Grand Canyon is one of the easier National Parks in the system to self-tour. As for where to stay, it is best to stay inside the park if at all possible, but those hotels may already be sold out. If that’s the case, look to Tusayan, AZ, 7 miles outside the park, or Williams, AZ, 1 hour South of the park. Grand Canyon South Rim hotels
      As for weather, late November is typically cold, with snow a very real possibility in the higher elevations, such as the South Rim. Be prepared for winter conditions from sunny and brisk to out and out blizzard. Of course, it’s too soon to know for certain, but begin monitoring local weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. That will give you the best idea of what to expect.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

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