By Kim Jackson
While planning my one-week solo trip to Arizona, I wanted to make sure that I would experience and photograph as many sites as I could. I had heard about mountains of red rock, slot canyons, deserts, ancient sites, and more. I was eager to experience such beauty.
While searching for tours on my trip to Arizona, I found three that I wanted to sign up for – the Antelope Canyon Tour, the Rainbow Bridge Tour, the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, and Slot Canyon Tour.
When I researched all three of these tours, I found that they were near Page, a small city in northern Arizona near Lake Powell. Page is the hub for visitors to call home while visiting the area. It is a place for exploring the wonders of nature as well as discovering the unique culture of the Navajo Nation. I also discovered that Page was in the center of Canyon Country, it is only a short drive from the North or South Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion National Parks, and Monument Valley. Unfortunately, I did not have the time to explore these other parks. That’s for another trip.
Antelope Canyon Tour
This tour was a 1.5-hour tour by boat. The tour began with a viewing of the Glen Canyon Dam, which is the second largest concrete arch dam in the United States. The tour continues through the Antelope Canyon, which is over 10-miles long. At the four-mile point, the canyon wall narrows, giving you the urge to reach out and touch the Navajo sandstone walls that are enclosing you. The majestic walls rise far above the water, with intricate ripples in each layer. You can’t help but be amazed by the hues of red, orange and brown rock formations that date back millions of years.
Rainbow Bridge Tour
This tour was a 6-hour tour by boat as well as a short 1.25-mile walk to the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, one of the largest stone arches in the world. Enjoy cruising through 50-miles of Lake Powell shoreline, including many side channels and canyons, with breathtaking views of the buttes and mesas, before reaching the dock. As you arrive at the dock, you will witness the power of wind and water in their role of sculpting this remarkable landscape. From the dock, there is a short, but very scenic, hike up to Rainbow Bridge. The trail is quite easy, with only a few rocky areas and slight inclines. During your hike, you will see glimpses of the bridge. The moment you reach the bridge, you will need to catch your breath due to the magnificence of its’ beauty.
Horseshoe Bend Overlook and Slot Canyon
This tour was a 3.5-hour tour that included both a visit to the breathtaking Horseshoe Bend Overlook as well as the private Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon. It is a Navajo, female-owned tour company that provides guided sightseeing and photography tours into Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon, aka, Secret Canyon, and to the Overlook at Horseshoe Bend. On their website, it states “As our valued guest, we’ll ensure that you have an amazing experience, with the time and space you need to get the views and photos you want. You’ll also gain unique insights into the Native Navajo culture in this sacred and peaceful setting. We invite you to join us!” What makes this tour special is the fact that only one tour views the slot canyons at a time. On my tour, there were only five people. I chose this tour above the others due to its smaller group size, thus having the ability to really enjoy the beauty that surrounded me as well as having enough time and space to explore and take photos.
The tour began with a drive in a shaded, open-air, 4×4 vehicle for a short three-mile drive from Page, and then a thrilling rocky ride through the sandy washes and rolling hills. Once you are off the truck, there is a short nature hike to the entrance of the longest slot canyons to be toured on the Navajo Nation. Upon arrival at the entrance, you will be struck by the beauty around you. The canyons are unbelievably beautiful and eerily quiet. To have the opportunity to experience these slot canyons is a bucket-list experience for sure. It’s truly amazing to see how they were formed by the wear of water rushing through rock. Once you reach the entrance, you can then take your time to wander through the canyon and take photos. Our guide, Hope, gave us some great tips on how to use our cameras. As well, she played the double flute while we explored. It was a beautiful, yet haunting, experience.
After visiting the slot canyons, we returned to the 4×4 vehicle and drove to the Navajo-owned viewpoint of the Horseshoe Bend Overlook via a private dirt road. After leaving the vehicle, there was a short walk to the rim, with a 1000-foot drop. Although I tried to get as close to the edge as I could to take a photo, that fluttery feeling would not go away.
I am extremely grateful to have experienced these wonders of nature. They keep calling me to come back to Canyon Country.
If you go
Rainbow Bridge Tour www.lakepowell.com/things-to-do/boat-tours
Slot Canyon Tour https://horseshoebendtours.com/slot-canyon-plus-overlook
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