Posted on September 24, 2015
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Antelope Canyon
Visiting Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Antelope Canyon
For all the excitement – and not to mention the mild drama – that our visit to Monument Valley held, it was also somewhat emotionally draining. To lose both our memories and our shelter in the same day felt a little violating, and my husband and I were both eager to move on.
We had scheduled a night at Grand Canyon National Park, and not because either of us were psyched to see it, but only because it seemed like a “when in Rome” thing to include on our venture into the southwest.
Once we arrived, we were both so exhausted from the previous day’s events and the drive to Grand Canyon Village, we spent less than 30 minutes admiring the views before turning in at our campsite for the night. Luckily the camp store rented tents, so we found shelter for a lot less than the cost of a hotel room. It seemed like a shame to spend hardly any time enjoying the park, but in truth, it was a bit underwhelming. I think if we hadn’t already seen so many amazing sights in the weeks prior, we might have been a bit more awestruck.
The next morning we headed north to our next home base for the night, a town called Page. The only thing I knew was that Page edged Lake Powell (the scene of that epic skydive scene in Point Break) and was close to Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. What I didn’t except was that it would be one of the most fun places we stayed on our entire trip!
Our campsite was adjacent to the Lake Powell Resort, and we were pumped to learn that our campsite got us access to the resort’s private pool area – complete with towel service and a bar! It was just the kind of break we needed to feel relaxed again. Our only regret is that we didn’t book more time in Page because it would have been the perfect place to kick back for a few days, and the recreation opportunities seem endless.
We had some time to drive around town a bit, as well as make the quick trek to Horseshoe Bend. The real draw for both of us to the area was Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon made famous for its narrow passages, swirling sandstone and streaming sunlight. Both parts of the canyon are on Navajo Nation land and are only accessible by way of a guided tour. We’d reserved back-to-back tours to ensure we’d see both: the Lower with its rigourous but rewarding passageways; the Upper with its photographic scenery.
The morning came – not surprisingly after yet another thunder storm – and as it turned out, our tour of the Lower canyon had been cancelled due to flash flooding the night before. However, the Upper Canyon was still open, so we weren’t entirely disappointed. When we arrived at the tour group’s base of operations, we were in for a bit of a rude awakening.
In photos, the Upper Canyon promises solace and quiet moments in which you can commune with nature. In reality, the canyon is so jam-packed with tour group after tour group after tour group that one quickly begins to feel like herded livestock. Be sure to take your photos quickly because the tour guide coming up behind you will insist that you move along and stick with your group. If you can get past the illusion of what the canyon should be and instead accept what is, touring the Upper Canyon is worth the effort.
Rather than trying to describe Upper Antelope Canyon, I’ll let the photos do the talking…
Accommodation: Lake Powell Wahweap Marina RV Park & Campground located within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (NPS entry fee is required)
Facilities: Newer facilities, hot showers, flush toilets, spacious campsites and tent-only areas
Privacy: Quiet, desert scape sites with views of Lake Powell
Nearest amenities: There’s a camp store on site; the town of Page is only minutes away
Cost:USD$26 per night
Would I Stay Again?: In a heartbeat! Having unlimited access to the adjacent resort pool area alone is worth it. This was a great campground and I can’t wait to get back to Page!
Upper and Lower Anteope Canyon is part of Navajo Nation lands and requires paying a fee to the Navajo Nation Department of Parks and Recreation to access the canyon. Our dollars help to protect and preserve these incredible places. Tour fees are not included and prices vary depending on which company you go with and how long your tour is. And if you love your tour guide as much as we did, show them some love with a generous tip. It’s the courteous and appreciative thing to do, and it’ll earn you a thumbs up. Access to Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is subject to a fee paid to the National Park Service. I was not paid or asked to write this post. My thoughts, views and opinions are entirely my own.