For a very small town, Page in Arizona has an incredible amount of world class sites to see. It is also a fantastic base for exploring other nearby destinations on day trips. We spent a week here and it didn’t feel long enough.
This desert town on its own is not much to shout about, it is a few streets with a some fast food restaurants, and a Wal-mart, other than that it’s mainly residential roads. However, the setting is absolutely stunning, it is surrounded by sandstone mountains and mind blowing slot canyons making it one of the most popular destination in the South-West.
Its popularity has exploded in recent years with the dramatic rise in people wanting to visit both Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon, Page has become a must-see place for any traveller.
Things to do in Page, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend is one of the stars of Page, bringing in thousands of visitors each week. Once you see it with your own eyes, you’ll understand why; not only is Horseshoe Bend incredibly beautiful, it is one of the biggest natural features we’ve ever seen.
The bend in the Colorado River is dramatic and it’s really hard to take it all in. We visited twice and were just as staggered second time round! The viewpoints are on the top of towering cliffs, everything seems minuscule in comparison to the Bend.
We recommend going about an hour or so before sunset to get the river and the canyon in beautiful soft light and see the sky begin to glow as the sun goes down. If you want the Bend with no shadow whatsoever you will have to visit in the middle of the day but we always prefer softer light.
There are some really big changes being made to Horseshoe Bend, but for now you can turn up, find a rock to perch on and take in the view.
Getting to Horsehoe Bend from Page
Horseshoe Bend is 5 miles south of Page on Highway 89. At the time of writing, there is a shuttle bus service that runs between 9am and 4pm, meaning you have to park two miles away. Outside of those times the car park should be open, but this changes from day to day. It won’t be too long before the construction of the new car park is built and you’ll have to pay to see Horseshoe Bend.
Upper Antelope Canyon
The other famous attraction in Page is Antelope Canyon (divided into Upper and Lower), the most beautiful slot canyons we have ever laid eyes on. Upper Antelope Canyon shot to fame when the most expensive photo ever sold was shot here (over US $6m), depicting the stunning orange slot canyon with the iconic light beams which appeared to have formed a ghostly figure.
Out of all the slot canyons we’ve seen in the South-West, Upper Antelope Canyon is the most beautiful. The walls feel incredibly high, and the little light that creeps through turns the sandstone walls all kinds of colours from a dark purple, through orange to a bright yellow. It is a mesmerising place and a highlight of any trip to the South-West.
However, there is a major downside, it is so beautiful that it has become a victim of its own popularity. In high season, the canyon sees over 5,000 people per day and you have to bear in mind it’s a very narrow space. It is extremely expensive, you will be treated like cattle - being shouted at and herded around - and it feels like a very rushed trip. However, we’d go back in a heartbeat. It’s a true natural wonder that shouldn’t be missed.
Getting to Upper Antelope Canyon
The only way to visit Upper Antelope Canyon is by tour. You’ll need to book one and they will have instructions about when to go (they cost about $80 per person, but vary between tour operators). The majority go from the centre of Page.
These tours can book out months in advance (especially in high season - May - October), so plan well ahead.
Lower Antelope Canyon
For a long time, Lower Antelope Canyon was the antidote to the crowds of Upper Antelope. This section was cheaper, quieter and had a more leisurely feel. Whilst this is no longer true (the prices have gone up as more people learnt it was the quieter one), it is still a fair bit less busy and a stunningly beautiful slot canyon to explore.
Lower Antelope may not have the intense light beams you’ll see in Upper Antelope Canyon (note that light beams are only seen between April and October at certain times of day where the tours are more expensive), but it has plenty of stunning rock formations and more space to enjoy it. The tours here are a bit longer and a couple of ladders make it feel a little more adventurous.
Only time for one? Read our in-depth article on Upper vs Lower Antelope Canyon.
Getting to Lower Antelope Canyon
You can only visit Lower Antelope Canyon with a tour, so you will need to book in advance. The tours to Lower Antelope Canyon go from the canyon itself which is 10 minutes outside of Page.
These tours can book out months in advance (especially in high season - May - October), so plan well ahead.
If you want a spectacular slot canyon which virtually no one goes to, yet, then head to Waterholes. This canyon also has a mandatory tour guide policy, but what visitor numbers Upper Antelope Canyon gets in a day, Waterholes gets in a year! When we visited in February, we were the only people visiting all day…..
This slot canyon is split into two sections with the first being a relatively open and shallow albeit still incredibly pretty slot canyon. After this you’ll follow a sandy wash to the second section where things get really narrow and a lot darker - the quintessential slot canyon experience.
We really enjoyed Waterholes as we were able to go at our own pace, not have to worry about how many photos we took or if we wanted to stop and hang out in a particular section! However, it isn’t quite as dramatic as either Upper or Lower Antelope as the walls are not as high. If you can we would recommend seeing all three, but at $50-80 per trip we can understand how you might need to make a choice between the most beautiful and the least crowded.
If you hate crowds and are visiting in high season then we think you will have a lot better time in Waterholes. We were travelling on a fairly tight budget but didn’t regret for a second visiting all three canyons.
If you’re on the fence here is a more detailed guide to Waterholes Canyon.
Getting to Waterholes Canyon
Like both Antelope Canyons, you will need to book a tour in advance to visit Waterholes. There is only one company that operates and you can park at the gate with the sign “Waterholes Canyon” off Highway 89. This is about 10 minutes south of Page.
Lake Powell Boat Trip
For a more leisurely experience, a boat trip on Lake Powell is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. There are many different boat trips you can take but this entry refers to the Canyon Adventure Boat Tour run by Lake Powell Resorts and Marinas.
The trip departs from the Wahweap Marina just 15 minutes north of Page, the boat will take you to the famous Glen Canyon Dam, along the Antelope Canyon wall and to Navajo Canyon. This is the only activity on our list that we didn’t do. My parents who were visiting at the time did the boat trip and the photos and info are courtesy of them!
There’s an audio commentary that will take you through the history of the dam, the impact on the surrounding area and details about buttes, mesas and the “tapestries” you can see in Navajo Canyon.
It isn’t cheap at $77.54 per person, but it is a lovely, relaxing way to explore a very picturesque area.
You can also kayak on Lake Powell which is what we had intended to do before we realised that every company we visited had shut down for winter!
Getting to the Lake Powell Boat Trips
The Lake Powell Boat Trips operate from Wahweap Marina, 15 minutes north of Page. You will need to book your ticket at the marina and in peak season we recommend getting a ticket well in advance.
Hanging Garden Hike
If you want to stretch your legs in the nearby area, then the Hanging Garden Hike is a pleasant 1.2 mile walk that takes you into the desert, offering panoramic views along the way.
There is a hanging garden on the trail, but it is pretty small and not reason alone to do the trail - although it is quite amazing that it thrives in this desert landscape! The main reason we liked it was for the views from the sandstone cliffs around Lake Powell and out across the desert.
If you want a leisurely intro to the North Arizona Desert, the Hanging Garden Trail is a good place to start.
Getting to the Hanging Garden Hike
The Hanging Garden trail is 2.2 miles north of Page and should take about 5 minutes. There’s a car park by the trailhead that is on a short but decent dirt road.
If you want a beautiful spot to take in the lake, then the Wahweap Overlook, just off Highway 89, is the place to go.
From here you get a great view from relatively high up out to Lake Powell and the surrounding mesas and buttes. We visited at sunset which gave a nice light although the sun doesn’t set directly in front of you.
Getting to Wahweap Overlook
The Wahweap Overlook is 6 miles north of Page and should take about 10 minutes to drive to. The turning is off Highway 89 and is a pretty sharp and abrupt turn!
Read next: Should you visit Bryce Canyon in winter?
The Glen Canyon Dam
The Glen Canyon Dam is a famous landmark in the town of Page and is one of the biggest in the USA. You’ll probably see it when you drive in, but for a bit more insight you can go to the Carl Hayden Visitor Centre located right at the dam.
From here you can take in the huge scale of the dam and have any questions answered about how it was built and why it is there. You can also read about the other dams in America before stepping outside to see the scale of it from the viewing platform or the bridge.
Getting to the Glen Canyon Dam / Carl Hayden Visitor Centre
The visitor centre for the Glen Canyon Dam is 3 miles outside of Page and on the western side of the bridge. You can park at the centre and walk along the bridge for views and photos. There are no entry fees here.
Nearby & Day Trips from Page
The Toadstools are technically in Utah, but it is only 30 minutes away from Page. The trail is 1.8 miles long and takes you through a multi-coloured landscape where different types of rocks have formed in layers across thousands of years. The toadstools (hoodoos) have formed as the softer rock below eroded more quickly than the harder rock above.
It’s a fantastic almost fairytale-like landscape which my mum declared she enjoyed even more than Horseshoe Bend!
The majority of the toadstools are towards the end of the trail and you can get really close up to these quirky structures. One of the things I loved most about this trail was that it finishes when you get to the toadstools and after that you are free to explore the surrounding area, scrambling up and over the rocks (never on the toadstools though which are fragile and shouldn’t be touched).
There are also some interesting multicoloured cliffs that have been carved out by the river and loads more toadstools beyond the initial patches you will see. We spent an afternoon strolling around here and really enjoyed it.
Getting to Toadstools from Page
The Toadstool Trailhead is about 30 miles north of Page and should take about 30 minutes to drive to. From the trailhead it is about 1.2 miles before you reach the first of the toadstools. The path in rough in patches but there is very little elevation.
There is no entry fee for Toadstools.
Monument Valley is a pretty long day trip away (at just over two hours drive), but as accommodation is expensive and scarce in the area, visiting from Page isn’t a bad idea. In this stunning area, you’ll see huge and picturesque mesas and buttes with the iconic East and West Mittern Buttes becoming iconic symbols of the “Wild West”.
This landscape is exactly what you imagine when you think of the West of the USA: red rock, dry desert and towering mesa all round you. There is an interesting scenic drive (a dirt road which is rough in places but doable in a 2WD unless there has been flooding), a short trail hiking trail (the 3.8 mile Wildcat track) and a few lookouts like John Ford Point and Forrest Gump Lookout (fans of the film will recognise it as the place where Forrest stops his trans-american run!).
The scenic drive has eleven numbered stops (it took us about two hours including photography time) and you can get out the car in these areas to take photos. You are not permitted to stroll away from your car though, this will be considered trespassing. The scenery and viewpoints along the way are spectacular and give you a much better feel for the valley than if you only drive along the highway.
To enter Monument Valley Tribal Park you must pay an entry fee of $20 (for an average size car, bigger vehicles are charged more) but we thought the fee was worth it. If you only want to visit Forrest Gump Lookout then you do not need to pay a fee as it is on the main highway.
Getting to Monument Valley from Page
Monument Valley is 2 hours 15 from Page, so we recommend leaving early to make the most of the day!
The South Rim of the Grand Canyon
Similar to Monument Valley, the Grand Canyon is a lengthy trip from Page (just under two and a half hours), but seeing as the accommodation in the village can sell out quickly many people opt to visit from Page.
The South Rim is the most popular part of the Grand Canyon and offers numerous incredible views of this wonder of the world. There are a few hiking trails you can do or you can simply enjoy some of the numerous viewpoints. If you have the time we would highly recommend walking at least a section of one of the trails as it really gives you a different feel for the canyon, although it was hard to ever comprehend its immense scale!
If you want to eat at the canyon the best food by far (although also the most expensive) was at the El Tovar Hotel. Bright Angel Lodge was very hit and miss (but more of a miss)!
We highly recommend trying to snag a place at Phantom Ranch, a lodge and campsite at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It was one of the most epic hikes we’ve ever done.
Getting to the Grand Canyon South Rim from Page
The Grand Canyon is about 130 miles from Page and should take about 2.5 hours each way. You will need to to pay $30 for entry or use an Annual National Parks Pass (well worth the $80 investment if you plan on going to three parks or more in a year)!
Where to stay in Page
We were travelling with my parents at this point and got a fabulous Airbnb for our week in Page. However, if you’re looking for somewhere smaller or cheaper, we’d recommend the following.
CountryInn & Suites by Radisson
If you prefer hotels then CountryInn and Suites by Radisson is currently getting rave reviews. It’s in a central location, very close to both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Our Camera Gear
Our brand of choice for camera gear has been Canon for many years and we love their L-Series lenses. Whilst they are heavier than some other brands, the image results are worth the additional weight. We’ve also used a few drones in our time (check out our guide to which drone to buy here) but currently own a DJI Mavic Pro.
You can check out the full description of our favourite travel camera and all our gear by clicking on this link.
Here’s the camera gear we use the most:
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Are you planning a trip to Page? Where else would you recommend to go in Arizona? Let us know in the comments below!