We drove up to Page from the Grand Canyon because there seemed to be lots of good hikes in the area. We wanted to check out Rainbow Bridge, Antelope Canyon, and some other trails in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. But it was difficult to find information on permits and logistics for Rainbow Bridge. Antelope Canyon is arguably the most photographed slot canyon in the world but you can only go in with expensive guided tours. And we were having trouble finding information on hikes and permits in Glen Canyon.
We started the morning by going to the Navajo Tribal Park Office to try to get permits and information on Rainbow Bridge. It’s a National Monument but it’s on Navajo Nation land so their permits are needed. It was hard to find out details online and from others’ trip reports, it looked like the road to the trailhead would be impassable without four wheel drive, and you may or may not be allowed to leave you car at the trailhead, and if you did, you ran the risk of getting it broken into. We wanted to talk to the permit people in person to find out the real deal, but the office was closed, despite it being during the listed open hours.
We made our way to the Carl Hayden Visitors Center at the Glen Canyon Dam to try to get information on other hikes in the area. We hit the jackpot with Marques, the manager of the bookstore and an avid hiker with a goldmine of information on what to do in the area. Most of the best hikes’ trailheads seemed to be an hour or more away though, and in the opposite direction of Flagstaff, where we’d be going after Page. We’d already gone way out of the way since part of the highway to Page was closed due do a landslide that happened last year so we didn’t want to go even further out. We decided to do a couple of short hikes before heading down to Lees Ferry and hiking there.
First we headed to Horseshoe Bend. It’s a bend in the Colorado River that’s only a half mile hike from the road. We spent some time there eating lunch and climbing around. It was a very pretty picnic spot.
Next we decided to at least check out Lower Antelope Canyon, since that was one of the reasons we drove all the way to Page. The Lower side had cheaper guided tours than the Upper side since it’s less popular. It’s still a spectacular slot canyon though. We showed up just before one of the tours was getting ready to start. The entrance to the canyon looks like a narrow slit in the ground but we soon had climbed down into it. I never would have expected what was inside from what the entrance looks like.
The lighting when we first started was fantastic. It was my first slot canyon and I loved it. Our guide was very outgoing and knowledgeable so we had a good time, despite being corralled into a group. We did have a small group so she actually let us spread out a bit, and she let us go back up through the canyon from the end, instead of walking back to the parking lot outside of it.
From there, we hopped back on the road, taking a shorter detour south than we had north, and were headed for Lees Ferry. Due to the detour, we would have had to go way past it and then back up, so we decided to just keep heading south to Flagstaff and get some more hikes in there instead. It’s beautiful country so the hikes are great anywhere and it would save us some driving time.