You have two days in Page, Arizona. Sweet! Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are definitely on your to-do list. We’re with you so far. Then what else are you going to do to occupy your time? Here’s a news flash for you: you’re going to find so much cool stuff to do here, you’ll wish you had three days to spend in the area! More on that later…
So, what’s the Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, Arizona? Well, like the Ultimate 1-Day Itinerary, it consists of touring Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell, but with a few twists.
Since a good majority of Page/Lake Powell visitors come to us from Grand Canyon South Rim, Flagstaff and points South, we’re going to assume that you are, too. If not, just take our suggested itinerary and shuffle it around a bit.
Sunrise: Pack up the night before so you can get an early start on the drive to Page, Arizona. Depending on how often you stop, the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim or Flagstaff can take anywhere from 2.5- 4 hours. Enjoy breakfast at the Historic Cameron Trading Post. The Navajo Taco with an egg on top is amazing, but fair warning: unless you’re starving, get the “mini.” The regular is huge!
Mid-morning: Stop at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook just 5 miles South of Page, AZ, at Mile Marker 545 on US89. The new parking lot is well-signed, easy to find, and open from sunrise to sunset. After paying your entrance fee of $5 per motorcycle, $10 for standard passenger vehicles, or $35 for light commercial vehicles, hit the trail to the rim! The walk to the overlook is .7 miles each way and is manageable for most people in relatively good health. Along with the parking lot construction, grading and partial paving of the trail was done, making it a slightly longer, but less hilly walk than in years past. There are benches placed every few hundred yards if you or anyone in your party needs a breather, plus wheelchair access is also manageable with assistance. Other recent improvements include a raised platform with safety railings. However, the railings do not extend all the way around the overlook. For the most part, this remains an exposed overlook in a desert environment. Water and sun protection are a must, as are appropriate, preferably close-toed walking shoes. What To Bring to Horseshoe Bend Keep children and pets under control at all times; it’s a 500’+ drop to the river. Restrooms are available at the parking lot. Allow 60-90 minutes to enjoy the stunning view of this 270° turn (what geologists call an “entrenched meander”) of the Colorado River! Can’t make the walk? Here’s what to do.
Early afternoon: Tour Antelope Canyon. This world-famous slot canyon is on the photographic “bucket list” of every traveler to Northern Arizona, and deservedly so. Its surrealistic colors and shapes must be seen to be believed. You’ll need to decide ahead of time whether to tour Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon. The walk through Upper Antelope Canyon itself is 100 yards and flat pretty much the whole way. A newly constructed exit ramp consisting of a short staircase and a network of metal walkways back to the tour vehicle parking area adds approximately a one-half mile onto your adventure. Three (3) Antelope Canyon tour companies depart directly from to the Tribal Park Entrance on Highway 98. Two (2) meet at their respective offices in downtown Page, AZ. Lower Antelope Canyon is a bit more physical, requiring some stair climbing and simple boulder scrambling. For Lower, you must drive to the Tribal Park Entrance Gate directly. Whichever branch of Antelope Canyon you choose to tour, you’ll need to book a tour well in advance of your arrival. This attraction is becoming more popular – and crowded – every year. If the prospect of sharing a confined space with all those people doesn’t thrill you, or Antelope Canyon tours are already sold out, consider doing an Antelope Canyon Alternative Tour which will take you to slot canyons that are every bit as beautiful as Antelope, but far less populated OR check Antelope Canyon Now for last minute availability.
Depending on the time of year, your preference and Antelope Canyon tour availability, these activities can easily be done in reverse order as well. During the summer months, visiting Horseshoe Bend right at sunrise offers cooler temperatures and smaller crowds.
Did we forget that you had to eat at some point? Not at all! Page, AZ has a diverse array of restaurants to choose from, both familiar franchises and independently owned. For those who choose to tour Antelope Canyon directly from the Tribal Park Entrance Gate on US98, grab a hearty, hand-made sandwich to go from the Deli at Big Lake Trading Post, or sit down to a relaxing lunch or dinner with a view that’s off the hook at the Sandbar Restaurant at Antelope Point Marina.
In the town of Page itself, you can take your pick of burgers to sushi and everything in between! The Grand Circle Grille, located in the historic Sanderson Building, offers up delicious American food, large portions, and reasonable prices for lunch or dinner, with occasional live music. For a totally different dining experience with an extra helping of local history, dig into a plate of sushi, a piping hot bowl of miso ramen, or a light traditional Japanese bento box at New York Teriyaki. This unique eatery happens to be built inside the Canyon King, a retired paddleboat that logged many tours on Lake Powell in its heyday.
What a day it’s been, and you’re just getting started. Go to your Page, Arizona hotel or vacation rental and get a good night’s sleep. Be sure to set your alarm. In Page, AZ, the fun starts early in the morning!
Sunrise (optional): Many of you like to start your day back home with a brisk walk or jog to get the blood pumping. Just because you’re on vacation doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with your exercise routine, and do a little sightseeing to boot! The Page Rim View Trail is a 10-mile dirt track that encircles Manson Mesa (the site Page, AZ was originally built on). Popular with local walkers, runners and cyclists, it is manageable for adults and children who are at least moderately fit. It offers spectacular views of Lake Powell (though no lake access), and for those visiting in springtime, a radiant display of colorful wildflowers. Once on the trail, you are able to exit it at several points along the way. You are by no means obligated to do the full 10 miles! Also, it is completely exposed to the elements, so water and sun protection are a must, as is appropriate footwear.
Be sure to fuel up for your busy day with a good breakfast. Some Page, AZ hotels may include continental or cooked-to-order breakfast in their room rates. Those staying at vacation rentals or accommodations with full kitchens have the freedom to do their own cooking. Favorite breakfast spots in Page, AZ include the Ranch House Grille, Canyon Crepes Cafe, and Hot & Sweet Donut & Coffee Shop.
Option 1 – 6:15 AM: Check in at Wilderness River Adventures for the Horseshoe Bend Half Day Float Trip. This leisurely raft trip, which takes place on a silky-smooth 15-mile stretch of the Colorado River through the only remaining intact section of Glen Canyon, is safe for children as young as 4. Putting in at the base of the massive Glen Canyon Dam, you’ll coast through Horseshoe Bend (be sure to wave to the people gazing down at you from the overlook!), stop at Petroglyph Beach where you can take a cool dip in the river, marvel at centuries-old etchings in the canyon walls left by Ancestral Puebloan people, or munch on a bag lunch purchased at one of the local grocery stores or restaurants. After pulling off the river at Historic Lees Ferry, you’ll board a motorcoach and be dropped off back in Page at approximately 11:30 AM.**
Grab lunch if you desire, then head over to the Glen Canyon Conservancy Information Center (formerly the John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum) to learn more Glen Canyon, the Colorado River, Lake Powell, and the ongoing controversies about land and water conservation that continue to this day. You can also examine relief maps of Lake Powell, and shop for mementos of your visit for the folks back home.
Option 2 – 6:30 AM: Meet at the Public Launch Ramp of Antelope Point Marina for Hidden Canyon Kayak’s Antelope Canyon Waterside tour. This 4-hour land and water combination tour will immerse you in the beauty of Lake Powell and the complexity of Antelope Canyon in a way that can only be experienced by small watercraft. Your certified tour guide will guide you through towering sandstone cliffs until you reach the northernmost portion of Antelope Canyon. From there, you’ll begin an incredible hike through the section of the slot canyon just before it joins Lower Antelope Canyon. This tour is suitable for those of all levels of physical fitness, including those who have never kayaked before! Tour price includes all kayak equipment and dry bags to store valuables. After your tour, enjoy lunch or an early dinner at Antelope Point Marina, or at your choice of chain or independent restaurants in Page, AZ.
Next, it’s time to hit the wave. Not The Wave, the one that everybody and their sibling wants a permit for – we’re talking about The “New” Wave! Located a short drive past the Western flank of the Glen Canyon Dam, this easy-to-follow cairned trail, which doesn’t require a permit to enjoy, will take you into a small but interesting cluster of rock formations, some bearing a resemblance to that Wave, others not so much. Radio Tower Rock is one of many unique sandstone features you’ll encounter. Just be sure you’re not accidentally parking in someone’s campsite. Beehive Campground is right next door to the trailhead.
In the mood for more fun and exploration? Go back across the Glen Canyon Dam and take another easy but fun hike to the Hanging Gardens. At the end of the trail, you’ll find a stalwart colony of ferns, mosses, and flowers, surviving on the precious drops of water that trickle through a crack in the sandstone walls in an isolated alcove. Time/desire permitting, you can also walk across the Glen Canyon Dam and Steel Arch Bridge for an unobstructed view of the 700′ chasm and the Colorado River below!
Head back to your hotel, kick back, and reflect on your day’s adventures, or discover a new place for dinner. If you’re still feeling perky towards the day’s end, take the short drive off the mesa to the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook, also known as the “White House” to enjoy sunset. Or, kick up your feet to some live music at State 48 Tavern, Gone West Family Restaurant (formerly Ken’s Old West), Big John’s Texas BBQ, or the Dam Bar.
Hit the sack, sleep in if you want. You deserve it!
A few last notes: this suggested trip plan is designed for Page, Arizona’s peak travel season of late spring through early fall. Due to extreme heat typical of this time period, you don’t want to be out on the water in the blazing afternoon sun if you can possibly avoid it. If you happen to be traveling in early spring or late fall, you can flip the order of these activities around and still be comfortable, for example, on Day 2, maybe hit Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon in the morning, then do the Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip or Kayak Horseshoe Bend in the afternoon. Keep in mind, also, that many of these activities are offered seasonally. If you’re visiting in the winter months, water-based activities most likely won’t be running at all, or would require a certain number of passengers to guarantee operation. Last but not least, any tour, food & beverage, lodging, or retail establishment in Page, AZ, may require masks or face coverings to enter, or operate at reduced capacity to facilitate social distancing should COVID-19 remain a concern.
So here it is, Day 3, and time to head to your next destination, like Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park, or maybe back to Phoenix, AZ, or Las Vegas, NV. We hope you’ve had fun! If you’ve followed these suggestions, and maybe done a little “mixing and matching,” the last 48 hours will have certainly been memorable ones. But, that doesn’t mean the fun is over until you hit your next park. Here are just a few ideas for some “bonus activities” to add on to your list as you leave Page, AZ for the next phase of your vacation:
On US89 as you head toward Bryce, Zion or St. George:
- The Big Water Visitor Center: located 15 miles Northwest of Page, AZ over the Utah border on US89, this small but impressive facility features locally-excavated dinosaur bones, a topographical relief map of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, and award-winning paleontology and geology displays.
- The Paria Rimrocks-Toadstools Trail: at mile marker 19 between Page, AZ and Kanab, UT on US89 you’ll find a moderate 1.5 mile round-trip trail leading to a Mars-like landscape of whimsical hoodoos, balanced rocks and other geological oddities. Don’t be fooled by what looks like the end of the trail; a short rock scramble leads to the main hoodoo garden.
- Kanab, Utah: once the on-location darling of Western movie producers, Kanab, Utah is a charming small town with plentiful shopping and dining opportunities. Locals and visitors alike are partial to the Rocking V Cafe and Houston’s Trail’s End Restaurant.
On US89 heading toward Flagstaff, Sedona or Phoenix:
- The Gap Trading Post: if you’re into Old West trading posts, but prefer those that are more “real” trading post than tourist trap, pop into The Gap Trading Post just 45 miles South of Page on US89. Still an active commerce center, albeit a low-key one, you can purchase Navajo textiles, jewelry and pottery, or a cool beverage to refresh you for the drive ahead.
- Moenkopi Dinosaur Tracks: 20 miles South of the Gap Trading Post, take a slight Eastern detour off US89 to AZ160. A few miles before you get to Tuba City, you’ll find an unassuming sign advertising free parking. Here you can see fossilized dinosaur tracks, eggs and dung. The jury is still out on the latter two; the former, though, is obviously the real deal. This area is located on Navajo Indian Tribal Land, so you must have an authorized representative escort you to the track site. There is no charge, technically, but gratuities are appreciated.
- Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monuments: Double your pleasure, double your fun, two cool monuments are better than one! Just North of Flagstaff, Arizona, these are actually two separate monuments connected by a convenient loop drive. Wupatki showcases the remains of an ancient, and surprisingly expansive Ancestral Puebloan Village with some unusual features, including a multi-story complex and a ball court. Sunset Crater is a dormant cinder cone that last erupted approximately 800 years ago, which, according to geologists, seemed like yesterday.
Do you have anything to add to this list? We’d love to hear about it! Feel free to write us in the comments, or visit our companion sites:
‘Til next time, good luck and happy traveling!
I am a travel advisor, looking to plan a trip for my honeymooners to visit Antelope Canyon
This is the itinerary I was suggesting to them,
9/26-9/29 in Scottsdale
9/29-10/1 in Antelope Canyon
10/4 fly home
Need to know what you can do for them during their time in Antelope canyon
That sounds like a pretty fun trip, but one stop is conspicuously absent from their itinerary: the Grand Canyon. If they have never been there, they should definitely prioritize it over everything else in Northern Arizona! The South Rim, which is recommended for most first-time visitors, is ~a 4-hour drive from Phoenix, AZ. If possible, they should stay inside the park, or in Tusayan, AZ, a small town a short distance outside the park gates. Grand Canyon hotels 1-2 nights is sufficient to have a pleasant visit to that area.
For Antelope Canyon, Page, AZ, is where they would need to stay. There are 50+ hotels in that area, both chain and independently owned properties. For a 1-2 night stay, must-do activities include an Antelope Canyon tour (a guided tour is mandatory), visiting the Horseshoe Bend Overlook (which can be done at their leisure), and maybe some kind of water-based activity, such as a kayak trip on Lake Powell or the Colorado River, a short boat tour on Lake Powell (water level permitting), or the Horseshoe Bend Float Trip.
Personally, I would not spend 3 days in Scottsdale. IMO, it’s just another big city, and essentially an extension of Phoenix, but that’s a matter of personal taste. I would devote the extra time to the Grand Canyon or Sedona.
I hope that helps, I know it’s a lot to process. Please feel free to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if I can be of further assistance.
Good luck, safe travels, and happy nuptials to your clients,
Hi there! I’m looking to take the 2 day tour on the weekend of oct 29- where is the best hotel to stay at ? And how much is the 2 day tour?
The trip plan described in this article is not an escorted tour, it is merely a suggested itinerary to get the most out of one’s visit.
If you prefer to go with an escorted tour, these are offered by companies such as Viator, primarily out of Las Vegas, NV. They may not follow this itinerary to the letter, but will come very close to doing so. If overnight hotel stays are involved, the tour company typically picks the hotel.
Otherwise, this itinerary is very easy to self-drive, using Las Vegas, NV, or Phoenix, AZ, as your fly-in/out point. Regarding which hotel you should stay in, Page, AZ, offers a decent selection of chain and independent hotels. About half a dozen new hotels were built over the past 2-3 years what with Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon increasing exponentially in popularity. For a fairly complete listing of Page, AZ, hotels, sortable by price and/or traveler ranking, visit TripAdvisor.com: Page, AZ, Hotels
Hope that helps! Please contact us at email@example.com if you have further questions.
Good luck and safe travels,
What will antelope canyon and horseshoe bend be like after Christmas? Is the weather to cold and will there be snow that ruins the look of everything?
This is a really good question 😉
While weather in Page, AZ, after the Christmas holidays is typically cold, snow is relatively rare. Should it occur, however, it doesn’t “ruin the look of everything.” Quite the opposite, it provides a beautiful contrast to the landscape of Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon that few get to see! Just be prepared for colder weather by packing a jacket and gloves, make advance reservations for hotels and guided tours (the Xmas and New Year’s holidays are still busy), and enjoy.
Visiting Horseshoe Bend in Wintertime
Good luck and safe travels,
Your advice and knowledge about Arizona and the Nat’l park sites are invaluable. You are so detailed and practical and give people options for sightseeing at their level and stamina. So helpful… thanks.
Do you or know someone else who can do the same for us re: Zion and Bryce?
We appreciate your compliments, and this is a really great question re: practical guidance to the other parks.
For Zion, a site we refer to often is “Joe’s Guide To Zion National Park,” which you can access at CitrusMilo.com/ZionGuide
For Bryce, a blog called “Well-Planned Journey” has some good advice and practical tips, including suggestions for non-hikers on enjoying the park to the fullest.
My personal go-to site for information on National Parks, Monuments, State Parks, Historic and Cultural Sites, and off-the-beaten-path hidden gems in Utah, Arizona, Nevada, and New Mexico, however, is http://www.AmericanSouthwest.net Thanks to that site, I’m still learning about the Southwest US and getting turned on to new places to visit, even after living there for 25 years!
Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
I love your site! Super helpful & I’m hoping to receive your advice on our family’s trip to AZ. We will fly into Phoenix- stop in Sedona; then stay in the Grand Canyon Village- after that we will drive up to stay at “Under Canvas” in Big Water, UT. (Grand staircase/Lake Powell)
Grand Canyon to Big Water is the part of our trip I’d like help with. Is it a good idea to stop at Page, AZ on our way to Big Water? I’m thinking we can stop and see Horseshoe Bend before checking into our camp. But would love advice on the best way to experience Lake Powell and nearby slot canyons- especially with COVID closures. We will be driving from Grand Canyon to Big Water on April 5 and leaving Big Water area April 7. So April 6 is our one full day
April 7 we drive to Las Vegas to fly home on April 8. Any suggestions for must do must see while at grand staircase area?? THANK YOU SO MUCH!
Thank you so much for your compliments!
It is not only a good idea to stop in Page, AZ, on your way from Grand Canyon Village to Big Water, UT, you have to pass through there anyway. That makes Horseshoe Bend a convenient and Instagrammable stop on your tour. What’s not so convenient is the fact that you will have to make a rather long detour to get from “Point A” (Grand Canyon) to “Point B” (Big Water, UT): due to the COVID-19 related closure of AZ64 from Desert View Point to Cameron, AZ, you’ll have to drive all the way back to Flagstaff, AZ, then bounce back up North via US89. This has turned what would normally be ~a 3-3.5 hour drive into more of a 5+ hour drive. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news in that regard.
Speaking of COVID-19 closures, the Antelope Canyons fall under this umbrella as well since they are situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Land. They are optimistically hoping to reopen in mid-April, but this may be a little too late to help you. You should definitely consider some “Plan B” options. The most popular last year was the Kayak/Hiking Tour into the waterside of Antelope Canyon, which occurs on Federal Land, therefore not affected by the Tribal Park closure. Another alternate activity you might enjoy is a jeep tour into the Cottonwood Wash Narrows. The drive to Las Vegas the next day would take ~5 hours.
Note that in April, nights might still get nippy, so bring a nice pair of warm pajamas for your stay at Under Canvas. You will be one of the first guests to stay at this one-of-a-kind glamping facility – hope you enjoy it, and that you might tell us how things went if you get a moment when you return home!
Good luck and safe travels,
Hello Alley, great detailed information. My husband and I have a 10 day trip planned September 3-13 driving from Little Rock to Sedona and back. In Page, AZ we plan to see Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, however, Antelope is closed due to Covid. Understanding it could open at anytime, what would be your suggestions, to add in place of Antelope Canyon, for hiking or white water rafting in Page since we will be there for two days?
Thank you for visiting our site!
White water rafting is something you’re probably going to have to rule out this time around, assuming one day is all you have to spend for such an activity. White water rafting trips, which technically start at Lees Ferry (~1 hour from Page, AZ) are all multi-day.
Unfortunately, due to COVID-19, the popular Horseshoe Bend Raft Trip (float trip, no rapids) has also been placed on hiatus until further notice. So what could you do as an alternative? Drive down to Lees Ferry, rent a kayak, take a backhaul boat to the base of the Glen Canyon Dam, and paddle the 15 miles through Glen Canyon back to Lees Ferry! You could also do this on a Stand-Up Paddleboard (SUP). For more information on this activity, visit http://www.KayakHorseshoeBend.com
As for other slot canyons you might visit should the Antelope Canyons remain closed by the time you get here, we recommend Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon, or Wire Pass Canyon/Buckskin Gulch near Kanab, UT. Peek-A-Boo (there’s another canyon of the same name near Escalante, UT, so don’t get the two mixed up!) is a family-friendly slot canyon located approximately 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 “moqui” steps, and “Shaman’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 consider taking one, because while the walk through the canyon itself is usually not difficult, the drive to get there can be. Reputable companies in Kanab, UT, that cover Peek-A-Boo are:
– Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
– TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
– Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
– Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
– Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermilioncliffs.net
If you’re up for something a little more adventurous, Wire Pass Canyon is a photogenic two-part slot canyon that is short enough for intermediate-level hikers to enjoy, yet offers the option to delve further into Buckskin Gulch for those wanting more of a challenge. After paying a nominal self-permitting fee at the kiosk by the trailhead, the walk to the entrance of the initial slot is via a typically dry streambed, which usually consists of deep sand. An 8-10’ drop a short distance into the slot canyon is one reason why Wire Pass Canyon may not be appropriate for those traveling with young children, the elderly, or individuals afraid of heights. As the canyon walls become higher and closer together, they suddenly open up as the second slot connects with the Buckskin Gulch. If you’ve had enough at this point, you can simply turn around and head back to your vehicle. If you’d like to explore further, you can easily make a half-day hike out of the immediate area around the confluence with the Buckskin. Look for some bighorn sheep petroglyphs dating back hundreds, maybe thousands of years. Access to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch is off US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, on the House Rock Valley Road, another unpaved road that can be problematic for parties in rental cars. While it is accessible to 2WD vehicles much of the time, if recent weather has brought any moisture whatsoever, the HRVR can turn into a muddy, impassable mess. Here again, a guided tour, while not required, will get your family to Wire Pass Canyon and back in one piece, and turn you onto features you might have missed trying to find your own way. Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT based companies offering guided tours to Wire Pass Canyon and the Buckskin Gulch include:
– Detours American West, 480-633-9013, http://www.detoursamericanwest.com
– Paria Outpost & Outfitters, 928-691-1047, http://www.paria.com
– Grand Staircase Discovery Tours, 928-614-4099, http://www.grandstaircasediscoverytours.com
Other activities you might consider while in the area include, but aren’t limited to:
– A walk along the Page Rim View Trail
– A kayak tour of Lone Rock Canyon
– A scenic fixed wing airplane flight over Lake Powell or Monument Valley
– Hike the “New Wave” trail to Radio Tower Rock
– Shoot a few rounds at Gunfighter Canyon Indoor Shooting Range
…just to name a few 😉
Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,