After exploring Great Basin National Park, we made our way to the town of Page, AZ to rendezvous with my mom for a 5-day adventure of the many surrounding national parks and monuments. Centrally located on the Arizona/Utah border, Page is in the heart of the Colorado Plateau and is on the shores of the amazing Lake Powell (more to come on that). This was our first time to experience the immense red sandstone formations and canyons that the Colorado Plateau if famous for and we were certainly not disappointed.
Grand Canyon North Rim
Since we had visited the south rim of the Grand Canyon with Ashby’s family in March and it is closer to Page, we decided to check out the north rim this time around. The two-hour drive to the park was, not surprisingly, a very scenic one as we drove past Vermillion Cliffs National Monument and the beautiful Aspen trees in fall color near the entrance to the park.
Once we got to the park, we stopped by the visitor center for a short hike to Bright Angel Point and our first glimpse of North Rim. The views were equally beautiful to South Rim and my mom and her husband Steven were astonished by the indescribable beauty of the Grand Canyon. We spent the rest of the day going from scenic overlook to scenic overlook and were sad when we got to the last one on the map, Cape Royal, which in my opinion was the best of the day.
Wire Pass Slot Canyon
The Colorado Plateau is well known for containing many narrow canyons known as “Slot Canyons”. These slender drainages are formed by water erosion and have sheer walls that wind and twist through the sandstone. Page is home to one of the most famous slot canyons, Antelope Canyon, which can only be accessed by guided tour. Unfortunately, Antelope Canyon and all other guided canyon tours in the Page area were closed as a COVID precaution.
We were determined to take a hike through a slot canyon and after some research, we were able to find a trail to a slot canyon known as “Wire Pass” in the Paria Canyon Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. From the trailhead we hiked through a wash with beautiful red sandstone on either side until reaching the entrance to the slot. The slot has an 8-foot drop at the entrance that hikers can attempt, or they can enter via an easier scramble located near the entrance. We chose the scramble, which was still a little tricky, but we pulled it off.
The canyon was beautiful, the sunlit sandstone reached heights of 40 feet and narrowed down to 18 inches wide at some points. Once we reached the end, we turned around and went through the slot once more (equally cool the second time) and scrambled out and back onto the wash for the return to the trailhead. When we returned to the parking lot, we drank water and snacked while reminiscing on the unique and other worldly hiking experience that is shared among slot canyons.
Lake Powell sits within Glen Canyon National Recreational Area and was formed by the damming of the Colorado River near Page. Given Page sits on the shores of Lake Powell, we felt we had to explore this immense reservoir that is unlike any other. What’s the best way to experience Lake Powell? From the water of course!
We rented an 18-foot ski boat for a day and hit the water at 9am leaving from Antelope Point Marina. Our first stop and farthest boat ride was to Rainbow Bridge National Monument which gets its namesake from a semi-circle shaped 234-foot span of sandstone that is 42 feet thick at the top, most impressive! We then headed south making our way back towards Antelope Point stopping at Dangling Rope Marina then made some stops to take a swim near Gregory Butte and Padre Bay.
The whole day we were repeatedly amazed by the gigantic sandstone formations and deep red canyon walls of Glen Canyon. We could not stop talking about how much we had on Lake Powell and would like for a multiday house adventure on the lake.
Page, AZ is an awesome destination for exploring the spectacular wonders of the Colorado Plateau. We feel we could have spent the whole year in this area and still not explored it all. This was a special week in a special place, and we hope for many more to come.
Thanks for reading!