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!