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          Page Arizona (July 2009)
Overall Rating: B+
Antelope Canyon with Sage
   

Page was just a stopover on our trip in preparation for renting a boat on Lake Powell.  There were only a few items of note.  First, a little brown state park sign was worth the side trip.  Just south of Page it announces Horshoe Bend.  Not a place for the faint of heart.  A short half mile hike over a small hill leads to a horseshoe bend in the Colorado River.  The interesting thing is you’re 1,000 feet above the river, on a cliff with no railings whose gravel laced surface gently slopes away from you.  I kept the boys back as I inched just close enough to hold the camera over the edge and snap a picture.

For those with a religious bent, Page is your place.  We counted twenty churches on the main drive as we entered this small town.  I have no idea what drives the religious fervor, so if you know drop me a line.

A quick swim in the motel pool and it was time to find some dinner.  We had promised Sean macaroni and cheese, but it appears this staple of the East Coast is not real popular in Arizona.  A half hour on the phone finally located the Ranch House Grill nearby.  I don’t like reviewing restaurants, but they deserve credit for being family friendly.  The food was okay and they had a decent salad bar.  They also had a good western band who coaxed Emi onto the dance floor with “Route 66” which she new from the Cars movie.  This is where I’ll hang if I’m ever in Page again.

 - Brian

 
Gotta Go!
1) Horseshoe Bend
2) Antelope Canyon
3) Swimming Hole



Horshoe Bend
 
Antelope Canyon


Family Grades
Toni (Mom) - B - "The Ranch House Grill was very family friendly."

Sean
(10 yrs) - A - "Scary view (i.e. Horseshoe Bend)!"

Kyle (9 yrs) - A - "It is really natural and a nice site (i.e. Horseshoe Bend)!  If a river can go in a curve rather than going right through, that is amazing."

Details
Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, Swimming Hole
Horseshoe Bend
Why Go
1)  A very dramatic view without any crowds.
2)  Stretch your legs after a day's drive.
Getting There
Horshoe Bend is located about 2.5 miles southwest of Page on Rte 89.  It is located on the  west  side of the road and is marked by small brown sign.  Google Maps  
Advice
1)  If you are scared of heights skip this site.  There are no railings and you must go up to edge for the view.  Also be very cautious with your children.
2)  The hike from the parking lot is only half mile, but it is over a small hill and the path consists of soft sand so it is tough walking.
Antelope Canyon
Why Go
Upper Antelope Canyon is a very narrow and dramatic slot canyon.  This is a very famous photo spot.  I highly recommend it to the serious photographer.  However, here are some cautions.  First, the very dramatic colors you see in photographs are due to long exposures, it doesn't look the same to the naked eye though it is still impressive.  Secondly, you can now only visit with guided tours which I've read are packed, so it can be difficult for the photographer to get a picture when the canyon is flooded with tourists.

There is also Lower Antelope Canyon which can be reached by foot but I have not been there.  The lowest portion of Antelope Canyon is actually flooded as part of Lake Powell and you can boat up it.  I very much enjoyed boating up Antelope Canyon and highly recommend it.
Getting There
1)  Antelope Canyon is in the Navajo reservation and it is now a money raising enterprise so guided tours are required.  When I visited it 20 yrs ago I was able to visit it at sunrise in December and had the entire canyon to myself.  Ahhhh, progress.  Here is the link to the Navajo site which describes gaining access:  Navajo Site
Advice
1)  I personally wouldn't bother going on a crowded summer tour, though I've never been on one it just wouldn't be the same.  The greatest part about the canyon is the solitude.  If I ever go back, I'll go in the winter when the tourists are gone and try to find a personal guide.
2)  If you're not an advanced photographer with a tripod who can take long exposures, don't bother.  You won't get very good pictures and there are plenty of hikes through slot canyons in the west that are free.  I'm proudest of my photos from here because when I arrived, I learned I'd lost my cable release.  I improvised and used a rubber band and pebble to depress the shutter for 2 minute expsoures with large f stops to color saturate the film.  If you don't have any idea about what I just described, this place is not for you.
Swimming Hole
Why Go
I actually haven't been to this swimming hole so you may have to do some of your own detective work.  While boating on Lake Powell we passed this spot where the locals were swimming on the shore.  There wasn't a beach but the kids were having fun jumping from the rocks into the lake.  Moms were sunbathing on the rocks.  I'll definitely hunt this place down when I return.  It looks like it may be on the Navajo reservation so you may need to buy an access permit.  I'd track down a local to understand the details.
Getting There
It is located at the end of Antelope Point, past Antelope Point Marina.  Looks like you catch Indian Route 222 about 2.5 miles east of Page on Route 98 and head north towards Antelope Point.  You'll have to follow your instincts from here.  It looks like 5-6 miles up Indian Route 222.  Google's satellite images show two parking lots, but I can't tell you which one to use.  Google Map
Advice
1) I can't give any advice since I've not been but it looked like fun.  Personally, I'd make the kids wear life jackets.

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