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.
We are looking at arriving in Page on Jan 10 and staying until the 13th, then going to the Grand Canyon on the 13th, stay in Sedona 13th through 16th. Do you know if The wave/vermillion cliffs, Horse shoe bend, marble canyon are accessible/open now? In the Sedona area… how about Devils Bridge, Bell rock loop trail, Boynton Canyon trail, Soldier Pass cave…? My daughter has researched these using the All Trails app and she said they are open. Thank you for your comments and advice in advance
I’ll start with the kinda-bad news first: 99% probability that The Wave won’t be an option. This group of unique and fragile rock formations is in a restricted area, the Coyote Buttes North Special Management Area, and requires a permit to enter. Only 20 people per day are allowed to hike to The Wave; 10 places are given out by advance online lottery (which has already occurred), and another 10 are dispensed the day prior to when one wishes to hike at the Kanab, UT, Convention Center. How To Get A Wave Permit
Fortunately, you’ll find many other cool places to hike that don’t require a permit to visit. You might enjoy the hike through Wire Pass Canyon to Buckskin Gulch, which is mid-way between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on US89. For more information, including some recent footage of the trail, check out this video Wire Pass Trail to Buckskin Gulch Slot Canyon | Toadstool Hoodoos Trail, Utah A guide or permit is not needed to explore this area, but be sure to inquire locally about recent conditions on the House Rock Valley Road, which is unpaved.
Horseshoe Bend in Page, AZ, will be open, barring super-bad weather or any other bizarre occurrence. As for the trails you mentioned in Sedona, AZ, I can’t find any indications that they are closed, but you might want to inquire at your hotel or local visitors center before heading out.
One thing that raises a “red flag” is that it looks like you’re planning to visit Grand Canyon South Rim as a “drive-by” between Page, AZ, and Sedona. I would advise against that. The drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon South Rim normally takes ~3 hours. At the present time, however, the Navajo Tribe has opted to close an integral component of that route, AZ64 from Cameron, AZ, to Desert View Point, due to COVID-19. This means that it is now necessary to drive all the way down to Flagstaff, AZ, from Page, on US89 then back up North to the Grand Canyon via US180/AZ64 or I40/AZ64. This has turned a 3-hour drive into more like a 5-hour drive. You would then be facing another ~3 hour drive to get to Sedona afterwards, at a time of year when you don’t have much daylight to work with. On January 10th, sunrise takes place at 7:40 AM and sunset occurs at around 5:30 PM. This is barely 10 hours of daylight, and you’re already proposing to eat up 8 hours of it driving.
If you’re thinking you’ll drive to Sedona after sunset, think again. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit, and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife that could elevate your risk of an auto accident. Trust me, that’s not something you want to risk in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold, where cell service is spotty (if you can get any bars at all), and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. A better plan would be to spend the night at the Grand Canyon. This will require taking a night away from either Page, AZ, or Sedona, AZ. As much as I hate to say it, Page, AZ, would probably be the better place to reduce your time at. What with water-based activities being on seasonal hiatus, 2 days should be plenty of time to have a perfectly enjoyable visit. Sedona, on the other hand, you could spend 4-5 days and still feel as though you’d only scratched the surface of all the area has to offer!
Good luck, safe travels, and Happy New Year,
I read that visiting the Canyon is best during March-September and Oct-Feb Antelope Canyon is dimmer. I’m thinking of going Nov 9-11. Here is my idea: Nov 9 from PHX to Sedona staying overnight in Sedona. Nov 10 leaving Sedona at 8am to Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend and staying overnight in Page. Nov 11 tour Antelope Canyon and doing the boat tour. Which Canyon offer best lighting during the time frame. Or I can wait until April.
Or we can just do a day trip to Sedona and stay at William on Nov 9 and stay overnight in Page on Nov 11?
There’s no such thing as a “bad” time to visit Antelope Canyon. You are correct in that “prime” time, when you are likely to see the famous light beams, is generally between March and September. For this, you’d need to time your tour for mid-day. However, if you don’t have your heart set on seeing the light shafts, October through February is a perfectly good time to visit, and it has a few compelling advantages such as cooler temperatures and fewer crowds. Long story short, if you are able to visit in November, by all means do it! However, the way you’re proposing to do it is a bit flawed at present, especially in the first version of your itinerary.
It takes approximately 3 hours to drive from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim. That’s wheels turning, no stops. That rarely happens as the drive is very scenic, and you’ll find yourself stopping to take photos, especially in Oak Creek Canyon, and the San Francisco peaks near Flagstaff. You should plan on at least 4 hours for sightseeing at Grand Canyon South Rim, particularly in the Grand Canyon Village area, then you’re facing another 3.5-4 hour drive to Page, AZ? Not my idea of a vacation! In November, one thing to keep in mind is the possibility of snow. It’s not common at that time of year, but in the event it does happen, you’ll definitely have to take things slower. Another important consideration is daylength: in November, it’s short. Sunrise occurs at ~7:00 AM, sunset at around 5:00 PM. You want to avoid driving at night if at all possible in this part of the U.S. due to lack of ambient lighting on local roads (a deliberate move to preserve the natural quality of the night sky), and the tendency for deer, elk, free range cattle, and other large animals to graze near them at night, ratcheting up the chance of you having an auto accident. It’s not something you want to have happen in an area where cell phone service is spotty (if you can get any bars) and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. It would be better to do a day trip from Sedona as you suggested, then stay in Williams that night. Better yet? Stay overnight at the Grand Canyon, or Tusayan just outside the park, so you can be on the canyon rim for sunset and/or sunrise.
As for which Page, AZ, slot canyon offers the best light during the month of November, they’re all beautiful! Just reserve a time slot that works for you. If you’re wanting to do the Antelope Canyon waterside boat tour as well, book it as a “bundle” with one of the slot canyon tours for optimal convenience.
If for some reason your November visit doesn’t materialize, April is a perfectly good time to visit. However, it falls in that “transitional” period between winter and spring, so a late season snowstorm is a very real possibility.
Good luck and safe travels!
Hi Alley Keosheyan, I must say you have such good advice. We are planing a trip to Las Vegas with a couple that wants to get married by Elvis in late January 2020. My question is we only have 3 full days to do so and we would love to see things beside the Vegas strip! I know the groom loves to look for minerals and gems and we all love the outdoors especially if there’s a beautiful night sky! We would like to do some hiking but nothing to strenuous, my knees do not cooperate like they use to!
Hi Gwen, and thanks for your compliments!
In light of the fact that you guys are visiting in January, and one of your party members is a rock hound, you might consider going to Quartzsite, AZ, for the town’s HUGE annual gem and mineral show. It’s ~a 3.5 hour drive from Las Vegas. You could stop at Hoover Dam along the way if desired. Once you get to Quartzsite, there’s all kinds of hikes and other side trips you can take in that area, so you could easily spend your entire 3 days there and wish you had more time! However, if you wanted to hit some other sites like the Grand Canyon and Sedona, these would be too terribly far away. By that, we mean ~4-4.5 from Quartzsite to Sedona, ~3 hours from Sedona to Grand Canyon South Rim, 4.5-5 hours from GCSR back to Las Vegas. Are you sure you can’t free up another week? LOL
Hope that helps you get started. Don’t hesitate to hit us up again for more guidance if you need it!
Good luck and safe travels,
So my parents will be coming to the United States for the first time from Malaysia and I have decided to being them to visit Page for 3 days 2 nights and a night in Grand Canyon south rim. This is my current plan:
Day 1: Drive to Zion National park from Las Vegas early in the morning (Do you know of any short hikes or a scenic overlook I can drive to in zion?), drive down to page in the evening and see sunset at horseshoe bend.
Day 2: I have already book two tours on that day. 10.30am: Lower Antelope Canyon. 2pm: Antelope canyon boat tour. Here is my problem, I want to do more but I couldn’t decide what I should do. I want to do at least one aerial tour as its gonna be a once in a lifetime experience for me and my family. Should I do an aerial tour at grand canyon or lake powell? Which is more beautiful? I want to go to the rainbow bridge but the tour is full already I think, are there any alternatives? Should I do one more antelope canyon tour? Either upper, canyon x or secret canyon? Which is more beautiful? I want to do the raft trip too, is it worth it since I am already doing the antelope canyon boat tour? I HAVE SO MANY THINGS THAT I WANT TO DO WITH SO LITTLE TIME. The more research I do on the things I can do around page and grand canyon the more overwhelming it gets, I am at the point where I dont even know what to do anymore. Your help will be much appreciated!!!!
Day 3: I can do one of the activities listed above in the morning and maybe in the afternoon too. Drive down to grand canyon south rim and maybe hike a little or just go to a scenic overlook nearby. I will be staying in yavapai lodge for the night.
Day 4: More grand canyon south rim and then head back to LA.
You are correct in that you have a lot on your “wish list,” but not enough time to do all of it, and that’s OK. You want to avoid the temptation to schedule an activity for every.single.minute. of your vacation and let some moments just happen at random. Indeed, those are often make for the best memories.
I don’t recall seeing when you were planning on visiting, or whether your parents have any mobility issues. Hopefully, they don’t in light of the fact that you’ve booked a Lower Antelope Canyon tour. So, here goes….
On Day 1, get an early start on this day. If your visit is taking place after Memorial Day, it’s going to take you 6 hours, mimimum, to make the drive from Las Vegas to Page via Zion National Park. One reason for this is a construction project that’s scheduled to take place on a stretch of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge just before you get to Zion. This could delay your arrival in Zion by up to 1 hour’s time. Because the main scenic drive in Zion Canyon is closed to those without reservations at the lodge, you’ll have to settle for what you can see via the Mt. Carmel Highway through the park, and believe me, that’s plenty. For an interesting little hike you can access just off US89 (near mile marker 19 between Kanab, UT and Page, AZ), you might consider the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail. It’s relatively easy, and features some very interesting rock formations. For this and any hikes you might take in the area, be sure to carry plenty of water, and wear a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, and appropriate shoes for walking. RE: visiting Horseshoe Bend at sunset, you’ll be competing with a lot of people with the same idea, which may not make for a very pleasant experience. Plan on visiting the Wahweap Overlook just North of Page, AZ for sunset instead.
On Day 2, hit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise, or save it for the morning of your drive to Grand Canyon South Rim. Either way, you’ll enjoy cooler temperatures and fewer people around. Hang on to the plans you already have for a 10:30 AM Lower Antelope Canyon tour (great time to be there, by the way!) and 2:00 PM Antelope Canyon boat tour. If you’re wanting to pursue other activities to round out your day, an aerial tour might be a good choice, but I wouldn’t recommend it for the afternoon. Afternoons in Page, AZ, tend to be very windy, and not a good time for flying in a fixed-wing airplane. Personally, I like flying over Lake Powell better than the Grand Canyon, because it has a more “intimate” feel, but a Grand Canyon overflight will allow you to get a true sense of how big the canyon is, and if your parents have never been here, IMO, the Grand Canyon should take a higher priority. Here again, mornings are a better time for Grand Canyon aerial sightseeing tours because the light is better and it’s less windy. You don’t have time for the Glen Canyon Float Trip and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend touring another slot canyon. You might think about touring the Glen Canyon Dam instead, or visiting the Navajo Village Heritage Center.
On Day 3, visit Horseshoe Bend in the AM if you didn’t manage to do so the day before, the continue down to Grand Canyon South Rim. Keep in mind that the drive time is given as 2.5 hours on Google maps, but it is more likely to take you 3.5-4 hours because of the very scenic nature of the drive and the numerous photos ops along the way. The Cameron Trading Post makes a good brunch/lunch stop. After checking in at Yavapai Lodge, hop on the free Village Loop Shuttle to the Grand Canyon Village Historic District and enjoy a walk along the easy, paved rim trail. If desired, you might venture a short way down the Bright Angel Trail. The trailhead is ~100m West of Bright Angel Lodge. Walking down to the “first tunnel” and back takes the typical hiker ~1 hour round-trip. If you wish to go further, remember that 1 hour down = 2 hours up, and that food and water must be carried if you hike any further than 1 mile or spend any longer than 1 hour on any Grand Canyon hiking trail. If the prospect of Inner Canyon hiking does not appeal, then simply continue riding the free in-park shuttles out to the overlooks on the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim Drive.
Day 4 – here is where you might take us up on the Grand Canyon helicopter or fixed wing airplane flight. Fly over the canyon first thing in the morning, then head on to LA. BTW, the drive to LA will take you ~8 hours. You might consider stopping over in Las Vegas, NV, to break up the drive.
Good luck and safe travels,
Oh my goodness Alley, you went further and beyond to help me out on my planning for this trip. Words couldn’t describe how appreciative I am for the amount of effort you have put into for me. If there’s a way for me to show appreciation to you, please let me know.
I am so sorry for not including the dates that I am going to Page. So I will be going to page on the 22nd till 24th and then Grand Canyon on the 24th till 25th. Will it still take me 6hrs to go to page from Las Vegas? I was actually looking at a tour to the rainbow bridge on the 22nd, 12.30pm but I might not do that anymore since what you recommend is really nice and viable!
My goodness, I am just so appreciative on your reply. The more I read it the more impressed and thankful I am. Really, thank you once again.
Hi again, Brandon!
Glad our recommendations helped. If the dates you are referring to are in May, then the construction project on I-15 will not have begun yet. It is slated to begin after Memorial Day weekend. That said, if you plan on driving to Page, AZ, from Las Vegas with a swing through Zion National Park, then yes, it will take you at least 6 hours to make the trip. This is taking into account the need to wait in line at the entrance gate to Zion, pay the park entrance fee, then travel at a much lower speed limit through the park, the invariable photo stops, etc. If you were to drive direct from Las Vegas to Page, without the detour through Zion, you could theoretically make the drive in as little as 4.5 hours, traffic permitting. Traffic, however, is one of those variables that’s hard to predict.
As for doing the 12:30 PM Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour, if you have the time and inclination for it, it’s definitely fun, but my immediate concern would be for your parents. If they have any mobility issues, cannot walk for long distances, or have a low tolerance for heat, you may want to pass on it. Depending on the water level of Lake Powell, a walk of 2-3 miles round trip is required to get from the boat dock to Rainbow Bridge itself. It cannot be seen from the tour boat. Right now, afternoon high temperatures are ranging from the high 60’s to the low 90’s. Page, AZ, weather
Best regards to you and hope you have a wonderful vacation!
Your site is super helpful! I still have some questions about my trip…I keep adding days but am still running out of time and could use help prioritizing and picking the right excursions. We are traveling 8/13-8/22. Here are the places we were hoping to explore but are open to modifications:
Salt Lake city
We’d like to do some guided tours as well as quad rides, tubing/rafting, fishing, rock climbing.
Places along the way we’ve talked about (in no particular order and I could really use help here…capital reef, horseshoe bend, natural bridge, lower pine creek waterfall, antelope canyon, navajo canyons, rainbow bridge, canyon lands, slide rock trail (quad/ATV ride), dead horse point, balanced rock, arches national park (delicate arch, double arch, landscape arch), skill arches, fiery furnace trail)…the list could go on. 🙂 . Can you help organize and book some of our tours and excursions, please?
Welcome to the toughest part about planning a trip out here: what to leave in, what to leave out!
Speaking of things left out, I notice the Grand Canyon is conspicuously absent from your itinerary. I’m going to assume for the sake of this itinerary that you’ve already been there. If that’s not the case, though, you should try to squeeze an extra day out of your itinerary so you can include it. Let me know if you need further guidance on that.
Speaking of assumptions, it sounds as though you’re flying into Las Vegas, but out of Salt Lake City, so I’m also going to presuppose that to be the case as I refer to your itinerary, as well as that 8/13 and 8/22 will be travel days in and out.
So — in light of all these assumptions, I recommend this:
08/14 – Drive from Las Vegas to Zion (~4 hours*), overnight in Springdale, UT *the reason for the long drive time is because of a construction project going on on a stretch of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge; we are advising travelers to pad their drive estimates by at least 1 hour
08/15 – Sightseeing in Zion (Lower Pine Creek Falls), spend 2nd night in Springdale
08/16 – Drive from Zion to Bryce (~2.5-3 hour drive), take ATV tour in Bryce, overnight in Bryce Canyon or nearby
08/17 – Drive from Bryce Canyon to Capitol Reef, overnight in Torrey, UT — OR — spend 2nd night in Bryce and visit Capitol Reef as a day trip — OR — you can hit Capitol Reef after Springdale/Zion, then swing through Bryce on the way to:
08/18 – Drive from Torrey, UT to Page, AZ (~5 hours), tour Antelope Canyon , visit Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page, AZ
08/19 – Take Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour OR Glen Canyon Float Trip, 2nd night in Page, AZ
08/20 – Drive from Page, AZ, to Moab, UT via Monument Valley and/or Natural Bridges NM, ~5-6 hour drive, overnight in Moab, UT
08/21 – Tour Arches/Canyonlands area, for suggestions on activities, visit Moab Adventure Center, 2nd night in Moab
08/22 – Drive to SLC (~4 hours)
If you don’t have the time and/or inclination to do the boat tour to Rainbow Bridge, which is pretty much an all-day affair, you might opt to fly over it instead. Rainbow Bridge Scenic flights don’t land at the Bridge itself, but they do go over some amazing scenery in the course of 30-40 minutes.
Here’s how all that looks on a map:
Whatever you decide, be sure to pick up an America The Beautiful Federal Lands Access Pass. For $80, this card grants you access to all National Parks, Monuments, and Federal Fee areas in the U.S. for 1 year’s time. It doesn’t work at Native American Tribal Parks (Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley), or municipal-controlled areas like Horseshoe Bend, but it will still pay for itself on the trip you’re planning to take. Just pick it up at the first National Park you hit on your trip.
Be sure that you book all lodging and guided tours, especially Antelope Canyon, well in advance. Now wouldn’t be too soon.
Good luck and safe travels,