With the Grand Canyon in our rear view mirror we headed north again to Page Arizona. We’d never heard of Page until reading others’ blog posts and recommendations, but we had heard of Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell (both in Page) so we made it our next destination. We stayed at the very nice Wahweap Marina RV Park and Campground, inside the Lake Powell National Recreation Area.
By now this should come as no surprise, but dog-friendliness is one of the biggest factors we look at when choosing a campground. Temperatures in Page were in the 90s for much of our stay, but Opie didn’t mind: it was just a short walk from our campsite to Lake Powell for a swim! The lake is only about 45% full due to the ongoing drought, so the shoreline was a good quarter mile further from the campground than normal, but the water was clear and cool. Opie went for a swim almost every day and by the end of the week he was finally feeling pretty tired.
One of the first things we did was make reservations for the Lower Antelope Canyon tour inside the nearby Navajo Nation. This amazing slot canyon (and the nearby Upper Antelope Canyon) was created by erosion of the limestone during flash floods. The rushing water cuts smooth curves and swirls in the limestone, exposing the many layers and patters in the rock. Unfortunately the tour groups are pretty large and the canyon is always crowded with people, but it was still quite a sight to see!
We started at one end of the canyon by climbing down 120 feet along a series of ladders and then slowly walked the course of the slot canyon for a quarter mile, marveling at the sculpted rock. At the end of the canyon we climbed another ladder back up to the surface.
While in the area we also took a short drive and short hike to Horseshoe Bend, another famously photographed site. The Colorado River turns more than 180 degrees here, 1,000 feet below the plateau where we were perched. Far below we saw a group of rafters taking a break during their raft tour of the river. When I’d seen photos of Horseshoe Bend in the past I always thought they were taken with a wide-angle or fish-eye lens, but nope! That’s really how it looks:
Our last excursion (we tried to keep things simple in Page so we could recharge and relax) was a visit to the Glen Canyon Dam. The dam is a major source of hydroelectric power, and is also what created Lake Powell by damming the Colorado River. Our tour of the dam was informative and impressive, as was the dam construction video we viewed in the visitor center. The bleached white rock in the photo below shows the normal high-water level of Lake Powell.
From the top of the dam we also had a great view of the downstream side of the dam where the Colorado continues its way towards the Grand Canyon. The US-89 bridge, built to facilitate construction of the dam, arches across the river 700 feet below.
Relaxed and recharged, we left Lake Powell and finally crossed into Utah. Before heading to our next big destination, Bryce Canyon, we stopped for a couple days in Kanab UT. From there the Grand Canyon’s north rim was less than a two hour drive in the car, so we made a side-trip to check it out. The north rim had just opened a few days before, after being closed all winter, so we were glad our timing worked out so well. We made the short hike to Bright Angel Point and enjoyed the views. With our binoculars we could easily see the south rim facilities and the two trails we’d hiked a couple weeks earlier!
Our other stop near Kanab was a visit to the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. With 20,000 acres and 17,000 animals, Best Friends runs a very impressive operation! They offer many different free tours of the Utah sanctuary, but we of course decided on the Dog Town tour. From their brand new intake facility to puppy training to behavior management, they have everything covered, for dogs, cats, horses, and other animals. It’s well worth a visit if passing through southern Utah, or you can even stay a while and volunteer.
Lake Powell and Kanab were perfect in-between spots for us. Between the full week at the Grand Canyon and the (will-be) full weeks at Bryce and Zion, we needed a week where we could relax, tire out Opie, and just soak up the sun.