Day 12: Page and Horseshoe Bend

Lake Powell

Leaving Bryce at about 5am I drove just shy of 3 hours to Lake Powell.
My initial plan was to drop into Vermilion Cliffs for half a day before taking the 89 to Lake Powell and Page. But, only weeks before, a large landslide had ripped through the road deeming it impassable for the foreseeable future.
Arriving at Lake Powell, I took a short nap in the truck before hiking to the highest vantage point to overlook Lake Powell.
From the top I could gaze upon the open plains at a host of intriguing national park gems that I unfortunately, on this occasion, will not be able to explore. Natural Bridges, Yucca House, Mesa Verde, Gooseneck, Navajo State, Canyonlands and Goblin State Park-to name but a few. All of these treasures feed off the Lake Powell reserves, which have helped sculpt and mould the parks into their own unique, fossilised creations. In my head I am already planning a future route to investigate as many of these parks as possible.

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Glen Canyon Dam

To further heighten my disappointment at being unable to visit to the further reaches of Utah and Arizona, I visited the Lake Powell Information Centre, by the Dam. There were hundreds of visual aids and models showing the most unique slots, canyons, vaults and rock formations within reachable distance from Lake Powell. About 20-30 people were using Page as their stop-over- taking advice from Rangers as to which of the Arizona riches to visit next. A lot of the people were figuring out rafting and boating tours up the lake to Glen Canyon and to the Natural Rainbow Bridges monument. Some were even preparing to join a rafting tour for a 250 mile excursion along the Colorado River to the Grand Canyon- another thing to add to the growing list.
The information centre also shows the construction of the Dam, which I took a great interest in. It showed a photographic timelapse, extending the 10 year span it took to create the mammoth, hydroelectric generator.
Outside I walked up and down the canyon and marveled at the fossilised dinosaur footprints that were imprinted in the grounds outside the information centre. It baffled my mind that here I was, some 200 milli0n years later, in Arizona, looking at the imprints of the giants that once roamed the Earth.

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Horseshoe Bend

For me there were two major draws that enticed me to visit Page. The first is the Antelope Canyon. The second is the Horseshoe Bend, a curious U-bend along the Colorado River, forcing the canyon to buckle to the power of the river.
The Bend lies on a signposted, Native American dirt road, just off the 89 Highway -which is still operable up to this point.
On approach there is a short hike to the canyon along a parched, sandy plain.
The view from the edge is terrific, a 1000ft drop that arches out high above the Colorado River. While some people, myself included, edge perilously close to the rock edge, there are sudden bursts of wind tunnels, shooting up from the river that can prove quite hazardous.

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1000ft below, a small raft begins its float around the bend and down the Colorado- possibly with the intention to end up in the Grand Canyon (although there a dozen wonders to be seen by the riverside before then).
The Horseshoe is an understandably popular sight within Page, but the biggest draw is the Antelope Canyon- the most photographed slot canyon in the world- and well deserved of its own individual post…

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5 thoughts on “Day 12: Page and Horseshoe Bend

  1. Yes, but on a different trip. We went from Flagstaff up 160 to Monument Valley NTP stopping at the Tuba City Indian trading post my grandmother wrote about when they lived on the reservation. We came back via 98 to Page and explored Antelope Canyon. I love the whole Bryce/Zion/Grand Canyon hoodoos and rock colors.

    You’re spot on about the feeling of seeing rock carvings and fossils from millions of years ago- I always feel so insignificant! But better to explore and feel small than to never experience this at all.

  2. Stunning shots, Ruairi. Just curious- are you hiking alone here or is someone else holding the camera? I’m having a time imagining you hiking up there with a tripod. How ever you’ve managed these shots, they are certainly beautiful.

    About 20 years ago, we took a trip to the dam and actually got to take the tour inside it. Wow! What a feeling to be inside a concrete wall, all that stand between acres of water bursting through. An modern marvel of engineering, to be sure. Thanks for the reflections!

    1. I did indeed hike alone- although its pretty easy to make friends along the way, especially as I bumped into plenty of people taking the same route.
      But yes, most of the pictures are taken with a tripod- which I actually lost whilst in the Narrows, Zion- the water took it from my grasp and I never saw it again- so had to buy a new one in Page.
      The Dam is incredible, did you visit Antelope Canyons?

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