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Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell Adventures

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.

26 Responses

  1. Hi! I am happy I stumbled with this page. We will be in AZ next week staying in Phoenix (got caught up in one of those time share visits, so it will be a short trip. We arrive the 15th at night and leave the 18 at night as well. I want to visit Horseshoe Bend and the Wave (or something similar), and the grand cayon. What do you suggest we do since it will be so few days. I appreciate your response!!

    1. Hi Valeria,
      We’re glad you stumbled across us, too!
      First, the bad news: The Wave isn’t going to happen. For one, you don’t have enough time for it (it’s a 6+ mile round-trip hike, pretty much a full day commitment, not including hotel stays before and afterward). Secondly, a permit is required to visit this area in the Coyote Buttes North Special Management Area, and the majority of these were dispensed via online lottery held back in November. For more information on properly planning a visit to The Wave, check out our companion site,
      In light of your time constraints and other factors, here’s what I’d recommend:
      March 15th: Arrive in Phoenix, overnight at timeshare
      March 16th: Drive from Phoenix, AZ, to Page, AZ (~4.5 hours), visit Horseshoe Bend on the way into town, overnight in Page
      March 17th: Tour Antelope Canyon in the morning, then drive to Grand Canyon South Rim. Although the drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim is ~150 miles, plan to take at least 3-3.5 hours to make the trip. This factors in the numerous stops you’ll invariably make at the half-dozen+ Grand Canyon viewpoints between Desert View Point and Grand Canyon South Rim. Overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim.
      March 18th: Drive back to Phoenix (~4.5 hours), optional stop at Montezuma Castle, or detour through Sedona, fly home
      Hotel availability, plus Antelope Canyon tour availability (a guided tour is required to visit it) will be the lynchpin around which your trip planning should revolve, and evolve. For example, if you find available hotel rooms at the Grand Canyon on the first night and rooms/tour availability in Page, AZ, on the second night, then by all means, flip-flop the itinerary. Drive time-wise, it’s kind of a 6 of one/half a dozen of another proposition.
      Trip map
      Hope that helps! If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly at
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley πŸ™‚

  2. 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!


    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 πŸ™‚

  3. Hi Alley: I have another question. When we leave the Grand Canyon we will be heading for Phoenix.We will stay there overnight before flying home. What scenic route should we take? Thanks once more for your valuable insights. They have greatly helped us in our decisions. Christine

    1. Hi again, Christine!
      One of the nice things about the most direct route from Grand Canyon South Rim to Phoenix is that it is quite scenic to begin with! A couple of modifications you might consider to make the most out of the trip:
      Travel from Grand Canyon South Rim to Valle, AZ (~30 miles); in Valle, instead of going straight down AZ64, veer left onto US180. This will take you through the beautiful San Francisco Peaks area. I don’t recall if you planned to hit Sedona on your trip, just South of Flagstaff, you have the option to get on US89A through Oak Creed Canyon and Sedona. You can then get back onto I-17 easily enough by taking AZ179 through the Village of Oak Creek. If you wish, you might also stop at Montezuma’s Castle National Monument or Arcosanti. One drawback to this route – if you can call it that – is that once you get a glimpse of Sedona, you’ll wish you had more time there. I can pretty much guarantee you’ll be planning a return visit in pretty short order!

      Another option, if you haven’t been gone to Page, AZ, or Monument Valley before arriving at the Grand Canyon, would be to take the East Rim/Desert View Drive to Cameron, AZ, then turn South on US89 towards Flagstaff. If desired, take the scenic loop drive through Wupatki and Sunset Crater National Monuments just North of Flagstaff. Heading South on I-17, the Sunset Point rest area near Black Canyon City offers beautiful views of the mountains to the West.

      Have a safe trip!
      Alley πŸ™‚

        1. Hi Susie,
          At the moment, it still is πŸ™ We’re not holding out much hope that it will reopen anytime soon, unfortunately.
          We strongly recommend you start making other plans for slot canyon touring, namely, Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Kanab, UT (~90 minutes from Page, AZ). With twists and turns on par with the Antelope Canyons, this short but memorable walk features classic slot canyon scenery (including the occasional light beams in the summertime), as well as some unique features such as ancient β€œmoqui” steps, and β€œShaman’s Needle,” a pencil-thin stone column located in a small sub-drainage near the canyon’s entrance. While a guided tour is not required to get to Peek-A-Boo, we strongly recommend that you take one anyway. While the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. 4WD vehicles with adequate clearance are a definite must, with tire pressure lowered to accommodate deep sand. Even then, people still get stuck. If you’re driving a rental car, forget it! You will void your insurance the minute your tires part with the pavement, which means you’d be on the hook for a very expensive rescue, should you need one, and have to foot the bill for any damage you’d sustain. Reputable tour companies that can get you to Peek-A-Boo Canyon are:
          – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790,
          – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262,
          – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525,
          – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700,
          – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166,
          Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley πŸ™‚

  4. Hi, I am staying at Lake Powell resort in June. I would like to take a Glen Canyon float trip and a trip to Antelope canyon. I have an afternoon and the next morning to do this unless I stay another night. Is there a boat trip on Lake Powell to see Antelope Canyon?

    1. Hi Christine, and thank you for your inquiry.
      The Glen Canyon Float Trip is a 4.5 hour trip that is best taken in the morning for more comfortable temperatures in the canyon. The morning departure takes place at 7:00 AM and requires a 6:00 AM check-in at Wilderness River Adventures in Page, AZ. Allow ~20 minutes to drive from Lake Powell Resort into town. If you rise early that morning, hit Horseshoe Bend before heading over to Wilderness so you can also take advantage of cooler temperatures and fewer people at this location.
      There absolutely is a Lake Powell boat tour that goes to the waterside of Antelope Canyon, and as of just recently, you are now able to book both the walking (land-side) tours of Antelope Canyon with the boat tour as a “bundle.” It’s a lot easier process than booking the two tours separately, trust me!
      All that said, I would still recommend staying a second night at Lake Powell Resort regardless. Even though the Glen Canyon Float Trip would wrap up at around noon, prolonged exposure to the sun tends to zap the energy out of you pretty quick. I can pretty much guarantee that afterwards, you’ll be in no mood for a long drive to your next destination. Relaxing with a cocktail will probably be more to your liking.
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley πŸ™‚

      1. Hi Alley: It’s Christine again. We will be coming into Lake Powell from Bryce. Would you tell us the best route to use and what stops you would suggest making along the way. Thanks to you we will make it to Antelope canyon and will go on the float tour. Thanks again for your valuable input.

        1. Hi Christine!
          The best route to take from Bryce Canyon to Page, AZ, is to take UT-12 West from Bryce Canyon to US89, then turn South toward Kanab, UT. The Best Western Thunderbird Lodge at Mt. Carmel Junction might make a good stop for breakfast/brunch if you’re hungry at that point. You might also enjoy a stroll through historic Kanab, UT, to browse for souvenirs or to pick up some snacks.
          At mile marker 19 of US89 between Kanab, UT, and Page, AZ, enjoy an easy but rewarding hike to the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos. In Big Water, UT, you’ll find a visitor center with some award-winning displays of dinosaur fossils excavated locally.
          Although the drive is given on Google Maps as 2.5 hours, don’t be surprised if it takes you a bit longer. Hope you can take the time to enjoy it!
          Have fun,
          Alley πŸ™‚

    2. Hi Alley: Thank you for the insight. I have another question. We will visit Zion, Bryce, Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon in a week’s time. We have been entertaining the idea of a fixed plane ride. What option would give us the best overlook, from Page, Grand Canyon or other? Thank you, Christine

      1. Hi again, Christine!
        Holy moly, that’s a hard one. Flying over both the Grand Canyon and Lake Powell is incredible, and the good news is, you won’t go wrong, whichever place you choose for your scenic flight!
        In my opinion, flying over the Grand Canyon is actually better by helicopter instead of fixed-wing airplane. While the helicopters are technically forbidden from flying below the rim, they still get you at an altitude even with the North Rim. There are instances where you almost feel like you could open a window and reach out and touch the canyon walls. Fixed wing airplanes are required to fly 1,000′ higher than helicopters over the Grand Canyon airspace, so that perspective is more of a “bird’s eye” view that will better illustrate how the Grand Canyon relates to the surrounding landscape if that makes sense.
        Fixed wing airplanes are actually allowed to fly fairly low over Lake Powell, which is why many people report the experience as feeling more intimate than airplane flights over the South Rim. If you opt to fly over Lake Powell, I recommend the flight that goes over Rainbow Bridge.
        Whatever you do, try to schedule your flight for the morning hours for optimal light and less wind.
        Hope that helps. I know it’s a tough choice!
        Alley πŸ™‚

  5. From LV, we are driving and will stay in Page for the night. Will first week of January be also a good time to see the Canyons?

    1. Dear Mrose,
      Any time of year is a wonderful time to see the canyons! January will feature cooler temperatures, and the possibility of snow, but most days are sunny, and having fewer people to contend with than during the summer months is always a plus. Even though crowds are typically smaller during the winter months, do book your Antelope Canyon tour well in advance of your arrival.
      Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and best wishes for safe travels!
      Alley πŸ™‚

  6. Hi Alley,

    We are visiting AZ on Thanksgiving week (Nov 22-26). Planning to visit Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Red Rocks, and Grand Canyon. Will there be tours operating during those dates?

    Also, where is the best place to stay to photograph the sunrise and sunset? Is there any overnight tours available on Thanksgiving week?


    1. Hi Pia and thank you for visiting today!
      If what you’re trying to accomplish is visiting the attractions you listed from Phoenix, Las Vegas or other gateway city, your options are going to be somewhat limited. Thanksgiving, though a relatively busy time for traveling, is considered “off-season” in this part of the country, so many commercial tours are on hiatus at that time of year, or require a certain number of passengers in order to guarantee operation.
      The best way to tour the Southwestern US is to drive yourself. Once you get to the parks, you’ll find that the majority of tours and activities are still running, but there will be some exceptions. In Page/Lake Powell, for example, boat tours and air tours will have ceased operations until spring, but Antelope Canyon tours will still be running. Horseshoe Bend can be visited at your leisure in your own vehicle, or can be combined with a slot canyon tour if you prefer to go with a guide. Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tour
      As for the best place to stay to photograph sunrise and sunset, in the Grand Canyon, that’s anywhere inside the park. There are 6 hotels to choose from, all situated within convenient walking or driving distance from the canyon rim. For Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, you’ll find a plentiful selection of hotels in the town of Page, Arizona. For “Red Rocks,” I’m assuming you mean Sedona, in which case, you’ll also find a wide range of accommodations from basic to ultra-luxurious and everything in between. Sedona, Arizona hotels
      It is imperative that you reserve your lodging in advance at all of these popular destinations, and that you are prepared for cooler weather, and the possibility of snow at higher elevations.
      Good luck and travel safely,
      Alley πŸ™‚

  7. Hi Alley,

    My name is Ricardo and would like to visit Antelope on 16th December 2017.

    Besides driving, are there any transportation services which I can use to go to Page or Antelope ?

    I will be staying in Vegas.

    Thank you.


    1. Hi Ricardo, thanks for visiting our site today!
      Unfortunately, options are somewhat limited for visiting Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas via public/mass transportation. The driving distance (5 hours each way) is probably the primary prohibiting factor. Still, a few ground tour companies offer day tour packages by motorcoach or mini-bus, which you can read about in this article: Visiting Antelope Canyon From Las Vegas
      One option not listed in the above-referenced piece, which has only recently come online, is a private airplane charter service offered by Scenic/Grand Canyon Airlines. Flight time one-way is about 1.5 hours and due to the time you’d save by not driving, you’d have enough time on the ground to tour both Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Learn more about it here: Private Las Vegas Antelope Canyon Expedition
      Right now, the best option, but in terms of personal flexibility and cost, is to drive yourself and stay a night or two in Page, Arizona.
      Good luck and best wishes for safe traveling,
      Alley πŸ™‚

  8. thanks Alley, can you confirm drive from southrim to horseshoe bend boat trip ( do you know how long drive woul be)then I could drive from end ofboat trip to antelope canyon (do you know how long this drive would be and from what point?. Also are we able to drive any car on these roads?

    1. Hi Mina,
      The drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to the check-in point for the Colorado River Discovery Float Trip (I assume that’s the one you’re referring to?) in Page, AZ is approximately 2.5 hours driven direct, but people seldom do that as there are a lot of good views to stop at along the way.
      As for the drive from the “end of the boat trip,” what happens is that when you pull off the river at Lees Ferry, you’re then driven by motorcoach back to the Colorado River Discovery office where you checked in. The drive to Antelope Canyon would then be 10 minutes or so. You can drive as far as the Tribal Park Entrance Gate on Highway 98, but then you are required to be escorted back to the canyon entrance by an authorized guide.

  9. hi can you do a tour of the upper and lower antelope canyon? Also would like to get down onto river to do boat tour including horseshoe in boat? Would travel from south rim to stay overnight in page and get up early to do these 2 tours if it all fits in one day?

    1. Hi Mina,
      Thanks for stopping by today. It is theoretically possible to do all these activities in one day, but it depends on the time of year you’re traveling. The Colorado River Discovery Smooth Water Float Trip (the boat tour that travels through Horseshoe Bend) only departs once daily at 11 AM from March 1st – 31st and October 1st through November 30th. Due to the shorter day length, you would probably only have time to do either Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon prior to the float trip, then do the second one afterwards.
      During the spring, summer and fall months, you could catch the 7:30 AM float trip, which would end at approximately 11:30 AM. Allowing an hour for lunch, you could then catch the two Antelope Canyon tours in the afternoon.
      Honestly, though, that’s going to make for a day that’s very rushed. Consider getting an earlier start from the South Rim so you can hit Horseshoe Bend on the way into town, then maybe take one of the tours on your arrival day. That way you’ll have more time between tours on your second day.
      Whichever you choose to do, and in whichever order, we strongly recommend booking both the float trip and Antelope Canyon tours in advance. The links above will give you the appropriate contact information.
      Good luck and happy traveling!

      1. hi the hop on hop off tour at south rim – do you know how long this takes? does the half day canyon river discovery tours on boat go through horseshoe bend?

        1. Hi again, Mina!
          There are actually several free shuttle lines at the South Rim. They are not “tours” per se in that they are only required by the National Park Service to provide a mode of transport. Some of the drivers actually like giving a tour; others do not, and the former variety cannot be requested. If you want an actual “tour” with educational commentary provided, you’ll have to pay for one. In your case, since you plan to drive to Page anyway, I would suggest the Hermit’s Rest Tour. It’s a two-hour tour offered by Xanterra Parks and Resorts, the in-park concessionaire, and presently costs $36 for adults, free for kids 16 and under.
          If you opt to tour the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive by free shuttle, if you ride continuously, no stopping, it takes about 90 minutes to complete the entire route.
          RE: the Colorado River Discovery tour from Page, yes, it does go through Horseshoe Bend πŸ™‚
          Thanks again for stopping by! Let us know how you get on,

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