Road Trip USA 2022

Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and the Colorado River

Exit of Antelope Canyon

New morning, new luck. Before we start, we have a small repair to do. As you could read, we have a small ailment on our SUV. The idea now is to go to a hardware store, buy some washers and an open-end wrench. That should fix the whole thing. So off to ACE Hardware around the corner.

Some useless knowledge: The bolts on a Ford Explorer have a metric measurement.

As hoped, we can mount the underride guard back on the car and that now probably holds better than original. Fortunately, the assistance systems have also recovered overnight and are fully functional again.

Glen Canyon Dam

Since this all went faster than expected, we still have some time until 12 pm. So we drive to Glen Canyon Dam. This dams the water of the Colorado River and creates Lake Powell. With a height of more than 200 m (660 ft) it is similar to the Hoover Dam, which is located 500 km (310 mi) downstream.

Glen Canyon Dam Bridge at Glen Canyon Dam

Antelope Canyon

Visiting Antelope Canyon is a dream come true for me. For whatever reason, we never visited it during our road trip in 2004.

Access is only possible with previously booked and time-bound guided tours. I did this 2 days before via GetYourGuide ($90 per person). Appointments in the morning in particular were already fully booked. However, booking it earlier didn't make sense for us because the tickets cannot be canceled and we wanted to make sure that we could make it to the date. We have a tour at Lower Antelope Canyon (Ken's Tour). For incomprehensible reasons, our tour is postponed to 1 p.m., which is particularly unfortunate because there is a lack of infrastructure there and you can only spend the hour waiting. OK, so we got ourselves an iced coffee.

But enough nagging. It is 1 p.m. and we are assigned a guide in groups of 10-15 people. And then it starts. The entrance to the canyon is only 400 m (quarter mile) away. Until then, nothing can be guessed from Antelope Canyon. The groups climb down a metal staircase 2 minutes apart and suddenly you are in a different world. It's just beautiful how the walls of the canyon, like panels of fabric blowing in the wind, stretch along the gorge. It seems as if they are constantly on the move and around every corner it becomes even more colorful and wild.

Even though I've seen a lot of photos of Antelope Canyon, it was just more impressive in nature. For us it was definitely one of the highlights of the entire trip.

Contrary to some opinion, which I have read before, we felt not only "passed through". There were enough opportunities to take photos, even without strangers on them ;-) Likewise, the guide has also offered himself again and again as a photographer.

In any case, at the end you climb up a little bit and suddenly, like a meerkat out of a narrow opening, you come out again. From there you can not guess what beauty nature hides here.

Trail to the entrance of the Antelope Canyon Antelope Canyon Exit of Antelope Canyon

Horseshoe Bend

In the afternoon we drive to Horseshoe Bend. Since 2019, $10 entrance/parking fee is due here. For this, on the way to the Horseshoe Bend, several sunshade roofs were erected, which is very valuable in the heat and the glaring sun. Because although it is only about 1 km (0.6 mi) from the parking lot, these shelters are often used for a short breather, especially on the way back.

Even though there are of course many visitors, the view of the gorge, which is at least 1000ft (305m) deep, is once again breathtaking. What makes it special is that you are standing right on the edge of the abyss, so to speak.

Horseshoe Bend

After this heat, a cool down would be nice again. Therefore, we go to Lees Ferry in Marble Canyon in the hope that we can also get into the Colorado River there. After all, it is almost 70 km (45 mi) to get there. Arrived there, we find the small sandy beach Paria Beach. The river is quite calm at this point and so we take the opportunity to get into the cool water. The water is interestingly warmer than expected.

Colorado River at Lees Ferry (Marble Canyon)

So we let the day end relaxed. But if you have a little more time, you can still go to the Spencer Trailhead, which offers a fantastic view over Glen Canyon. At least that's what my research has shown.

Around 6 p.m. we are back in Page, take a short shower and eat again at Big John's Texas BBQ.

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