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 walk to the overlook is .6 miles each way and is manageable for most people in relatively good health. There is a slightly steep incline just off the parking lot you need to tackle first; the rest of the trail features both mild uphill and downhill sections, but there are benches placed every few hundred yards if you or anyone in your party needs a breather. Remember, this is an exposed overlook in a desert environment. Water and sun protection are a must, as is appropriate shoes for walking a trail whose surface can range from packed dirt to deep “sugar” sand on any given day. Also, it’s a 500’+ drop to the river and there are no guardrails. Keep children and pets under control at all times. 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. Upper is 100 yards long, flat pretty much the whole way, easy-peasy. You can choose to drive directly to the Tribal Park Entrance on Highway 98, or take a tour from downtown Page, AZ. Lower 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.
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! For a dining experience that’s more than just a meal, but an educational and fun introduction to Page’s unique place in history, Sanderson’s Into the Grand features home-cooked Navajo tacos, Native American dances, live music, and a Colorado River Rafting exhibit. Rated #1 on TripAdvisor, reservations are strongly recommended. Or if you prefer things a little more spontaneous, dig into an oven-baked pizza or bowl of pasta at the Canyon King Pizzeria, built inside a vintage 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 – here 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 River’s End Cafe inside Colorado River Discovery, the Ranch House Grille and Canyon Crepes.
Option 1 – 6:30 AM: Check in for the Glen Canyon Half Day Float Trip. This leisurely raft trip takes place on a silky-smooth 15-mile stretch of the Colorado River through the last remaining intact section of Glen Canyon and 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!) and 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 John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum to learn more about the first Anglo-American to raft the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in 1869, setting the stage for the modernization of the Southwest U.S., and sparking the debate about land and water conservation that continues to this day. You can also examine specimens of dinosaurs excavated in the local area, as well as ancient artifacts made by the native peoples of the Colorado Plateau. By the way, the employees at the JWP are carefully selected for their knowledge of not only the Lake Powell area, but Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon, Paria Canyon and way beyond. If you have a question about anything within a 200-mile radius of Page, AZ, there’s a 99.9999% probability these guys can answer it! The museum is also a great place to shop for souvenirs of your visit for the folks back home.
Option 2 – 7:00 AM: Check in for the Lake Powell & Rainbow Bridge Boat Tour at Lake Powell (formerly known as “Wahweap”) Marina. This 6-hour tour will immerse you in the beauty of Lake Powell in a way that can only be experienced by boat. Your certified tour boat captain will show you the sandy beaches and intimate coves of Warm Creek Bay, Padre Bay and Navajo Canyon en route to Rainbow Bridge National Monument, the world’s largest known natural stone arch, sacred to many indigenous peoples of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Towering red rock formations juxtaposed with the expansive blue-green waters is a scene like no other on Earth – small wonder this place is so popular as a movie location! On the return trip, you’ll stop at Dangling Rope Marina, which is only accessible by water. The soft-serve ice cream at the local snack bar is a welcome treat on a hot summer day. Depending on the water level of Lake Powell, a walk of 1.5 miles each way may be required to access the viewing area of Rainbow Bridge. Portions of this walk are slightly uphill, and devoid of shade, so people with mobility issues or sun sensitivity must consider carefully whether or not they can fully enjoy this tour. Complimentary water, coffee and lemonade are provided on the tour boat. You are welcome to bring a reasonable amount of snacks and/ or preferred beverages with you.
After your tour, enjoy lunch or an early dinner at one of five on-site dining outlets at Lake Powell Marina. Everything from light appetizers and custom coffee beverages to gourmet entrees with a world-class wine list can be had here, and the best part? They all come with a prime lakeside view! Then, head down to the Carl Hayden Visitors’ Center at Glen Canyon Dam and join a tour with the Glen Canyon Natural History Association. In less than one hour’s time you’ll get down in the depths of this monumental structure that is responsible for the creation of Lake Powell, an integral and still-controversial component of the Colorado River Storage Project. Tours are conducted on a first-come first-served basis. The Glen Canyon Dam is a federally-managed facility, therefore Department of Homeland Security regulations are strictly enforced. You will be passing through a metal detector, and armed guards are in place throughout the facility. No knives or any weapons will be permitted in the building. Bags and purses are prohibited on the tour.
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 Ken’s Old West, the Windy Mesa 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, do the Glen Canyon Dam or John Wesley Powell Museum tours in the morning, then do the raft or boat tour 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.
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 “New Wave:” approximately one mile past the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge, opposite the turn-off to the Lake Powell Resort complex, turn left instead and you’ll come to a small but interesting cluster of rock formations that bear more than just a passing resemblance to “The Wave.” Unlike the “Old Wave,” the “New Wave” requires no permits, and at the moment, no admission fee. The only caveat: the road is not regularly maintained and prone to washing out. If you see any signage stating “no admittance” or the like, obey it.
- 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 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 sister site, www.horseshoebend.com.
‘Til next time, good luck and happy traveling!