Located in Northern Arizona just minutes from the Utah border, the city of Page is the perfect base for outdoor lovers looking to explore the region. No matter which direction you drive, you’ll find scenic and otherworldly sites, from the colorful rock formations of Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument to the rushing waters of Lees Ferry. This is a photographer’s paradise full of grand vistas just waiting to be captured.
I’ve had the opportunity to visit Page twice. The first time with my sister, Beth, and the second time with my husband, Jason. Over the course of both visits, I’ve had the opportunity to see eight sites and I still want to go back to see more! For both trips, my home base was the lovely Hyatt Place Page/Lake Powell, which is central to all the sites described below. After a long day of sightseeing, it was great to return to a comfortable and stylish hotel.
Before beginning your day in Page, I highly recommend a short stop at the Glen Canyon Conservancy Visitors Center. Inside, you’ll find a large, 3D relief map of the entire region including the nearby national parks. Ask a volunteer for an overview of this map and you’ll have a better understanding of the geology and geography of the region. You can also purchase books about the area along with souvenirs, all benefitting the non-profit conservancy.
This trip was hosted by the Hyatt Place, but all opinions are my own.
1. Explore Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
Spanning more than a million acres, the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument could take a lifetime to fully explore. Due to its remote location and rugged landscape, it was one of the last places in the continental United States to be mapped. Within the monument are five life zones, from low-lying deserts to coniferous forests.
Beth and I had an exciting introduction to Grand Staircase–Escalante during our utility terrain vehicle (UTV) tour with Epic Adventure Rides. We met our guide, James, at the tour office, where we received a quick lesson in driving our UTVs. They looked like golf carts with oversized tires. Beth had decided that I would be the driver, so I followed James across the highway and into the vast landscape of the monument, where we bounced along dirt roads. Several times during the tour, he stopped to show us hidden sights or discuss the plants and wildlife in the region. Born and raised in the area, James was very knowledgeable about the monument and the surrounding land. The area is well known for its slot canyons, and we were fortunate to be able to explore two of them.
2. Admire The Views From Glen Canyon Dam And The Wahweap Overlook
Glen Canyon Dam is the second-highest concrete-arch dam in the U.S., second only to the Hoover Dam. The Glen Canyon Power Plant produces around 5 billion kilowatt-hours of hydroelectric power annually, which is distributed to Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, and Nebraska.
After crossing the bridge over the dam, we proceeded to the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook and headed down the short (but steep!) trail. This scenic overlook showcases the rust-colored walls of the canyon and the blue-green waters of the Colorado River.
Just 5 miles down the road is the Wahweap Overlook, another terrific viewpoint in the area. It’s worth stopping at both locations to get a sense of the vastness and beauty of this region.
3. Hike The Toadstools Trail
Located within Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument is a 1.5-mile round-trip hike to a cool rock formation known as The Toadstools. These balanced rocks look like giant mushrooms and are fairly easy to climb. Be sure to take some pictures on top of the rocks, since the surrounding desert view is fabulous.
While the hike is fairly easy, there is almost no shade along the route. Be sure to bring water, wear sunscreen, and avoid this trail during the hottest parts of the day. Good footwear is also essential since you’ll be scrambling over rocks. Dogs are permitted, so if you’re traveling with your pooch, feel free to bring them along on a leash.
I would highly recommend this trail to anyone traveling with their grandkids — it’s short and ends with easy rock climbing. We saw several happy kids along the way enjoying the freedom to run and climb.
Pro Tip: This portion of the monument is in Utah, so you may notice a time change as you cross the border from Arizona.
4. Gaze Down At Horseshoe Bend
Probably the most iconic site in this region is Horseshoe Bend, a deep reddish-brown canyon carved out by the Colorado River in the shape of a horseshoe. The steep and colorful sandstone walls contrast with the green-blue rushing waters of the river. In the middle is a foreboding rock formation. This is a site not to be missed while in Page, but be prepared for the large number of other visitors that will be joining you. It’s estimated that more than 2 million people visit the site each year.
In late 2019, a new parking lot was built, along with a .6-mile maintained path to the edge of Horseshoe Bend. Along the way are several benches if you need a break. While Beth and I really enjoyed the beauty of this site, it was quite crowded and at times a bit difficult to get to the edge to look down into the canyon. But with a bit of patience, we got our pictures and hiked back to our car.
On my second trip to Page with my husband, we decided to check out Horseshoe Bend at sunrise. This was a great way to avoid the crowds and get significantly better photos. Visitors to Horseshoe Bend will be looking west, so the Sun will rise behind you. However, the changing colors of the sky still made for a great scene and was definitely worth getting up extra early.
Pro Tip: This is a more difficult site to see with young children. The decomposed gravel path makes it a bit tough to push a stroller for more than a mile round-trip, and not all edges of the canyon are protected with railings. We saw some tired and cranky children and parents along the way.
5. Walk Across The Navajo Bridge
Opened in 1929, the Navajo Bridge was briefly the highest steel-arch bridge in the world. Connecting two remote regions of Arizona and Utah, the bridge eliminated the need for ferry service across the Colorado River. In 1995, a new bridge was opened parallel to the original to accommodate modern vehicles. Today, the original bridge is pedestrian-only and makes for a fabulous photo spot. I personally enjoyed photographing the two bridges side by side against a backdrop of the colorful walls of Marble Canyon.
Both bridges are also popular resting spots for the endangered California condor. According to the National Park Service, the best time to spot the condors is in the morning. We arrived here late in the afternoon, so we weren’t able to see any.
Both the drive to the Navajo Bridge and the view from the bridge are incredibly scenic. For much of the drive between Horseshoe Bend and the bridge, you’ll see the bright red Vermilion Cliffs. Beth and I could not stop commenting on the beauty of our surroundings.
While the drive to Navajo Bridge is lovely, it also felt very long, and we became concerned that we were lost. For most of the drive, we couldn’t see the river, and we weren’t sure we were headed in the right direction. But don’t worry — after miles and miles of only seeing land, the bridge will suddenly come into view. I would caution visitors to do this drive with a full gas tank and have bottled water and snacks in your car. There are few services along the route.
Pro Tip: Much of this drive is through the Navajo Nation. There are occasional stops where you can purchase handcrafted items like jewelry. I was able to buy my mom a lovely turquoise necklace for her birthday.
6. Relax At Lees Ferry
Below the Navajo Bridge is Lees Ferry, the spot where pioneers, miners, Native Americans, and tourists crossed the Colorado River from 1872 until 1928. After a long day of sightseeing, my sister and I made a brief stop here to enjoy the view and dip our toes into the icy cold water. You can explore via the easy 2-mile River Trail or the more difficult Spencer Trail, which climbs 1,500 feet. Or check out the Lonely Dell Ranch Historic Site.
Pro Tip: Lees Ferry would be a lovely spot for a picnic by the river, but you’ll need to bring all your own provisions, since there are limited services in the area.
7. Walk Through Lower Antelope Canyon
The primary purpose of my second trip to Page was a tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, a mile-long slot canyon. Since it is located on Navajo land, tours are only offered by approved companies — of which there are seven — and we opted for Ken’s Tours.
The tour begins at the top of the canyon where guests must climb down five flights of stairs. I’ll admit this was a bit daunting since the stairs were quite steep, but once we were at the bottom and saw the slot canyon before us, I was in awe.
Lower Canyon is about a mile long, so we had almost an hour to enjoy this remarkable natural wonder. We walked through dozens of chambers with curved walls reaching 120 feet into the air. In fact, when it was time to climb out, I was disappointed; I didn’t want to leave. And even as an amateur photographer using mostly my iPhone, I think the photos here look awesome.
It’s important to understand that there are two portions of Antelope Canyon — lower and upper. No tour covers both; you must choose one or purchase two separate tickets. Avid photographers will likely prefer the upper canyon since the lighting is considered better. However, the lower canyon is longer, giving guests more time to enjoy it.
Pro Tip: You do not want to be in this canyon on a hot day. Plan to visit anytime other than summer and ideally book a morning time slot.
Where To Stay In Page
For both of my trips to Page, The Hyatt Place Page/Lake Powell was the perfect place to call home for two nights. From the clean and comfortable rooms to the helpful staff, this hotel was well prepared to host guests who spend their days exploring the outdoors. The complimentary hot breakfast was a nice way to fuel up for our long day. And at the end of the day, we enjoyed a glass of wine at the bar and dinner next to the fireplace in the Prickly Pear Kitchen. The staff members were friendly and able to answer endless questions about the sights in the area. The on-site pool is also a good option for families. I highly recommend reserving a room with a view!
Pro Tip: Unless you opt for an organized tour, the only way to explore the area is by car. If you’re driving your own car, be sure to have it serviced prior to your trip. Many of the sights described above have limited or no services, so getting assistance for car problems could take considerable time. Any time you see a gas station, take the opportunity to fuel up — you never know when you’ll see another station.