What to do in Page?
What excursions and locations select – the choice is incredibly variegated – leaving right from this small town in Arizona, a few dozen km far from Utah?
Frequent questions, considered the incredible tourist offer that the neighborhoods of Page have to offer. And more than legit for who is planning an on the road in the South West USA for the first time and tries to optimize stay, times and tours at the best.
Find down here a guidebook about what to do in Page, about the activities and the experiences not to miss absolutely, about where to sleep and eat, with some historic info about the area, land of Navajo and great natural and engineering works.
For further deepeners about your stay you can look the official Visit Page – Arizona website up, updated non-stop and rich in tips, news and cues.
What to do in Page: some historic info about the town and Lake Powell
Page is a relatively recent small town.
It was born in 1957 as “worker town” to welcome the thousands of hundreds of workers busy in the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam, planned to reduce the devastating floods of the Colorado River in the whole area and so for the production of power.
When the tourist machine discovered this ancient land, in part included in the Navajo Nation, with all its natural beauties and the landscape and exclusionist potentialities of Lake Powell – in fact an artificial lake originated by the progressive fulfillment of the Glen Canyon following the dam’s construction – page turned into one of the most places in demand of the South West.
Today, it is the ideal starting point to have excursions and tours in the area and so also the best frame where choose to stay overnight.
What to do in Page: visit Antelope Canyon
Instinctively, think about page it means focusing the attention on two of the most suggestive, famous and fascinating slots canyons of the whole South West USA: Upper Antelope Canyon – called by natives “Tsé bighánílíní”, that is “the place where water runs through rocks” – and Lower Antelope Canyon – for the Navajo “Hazdistazí”, “the spiral rocks arches”.
These are two wonderful formations of beige and red sandstone, the Navajo Sandstone – worked and shaped masterly over time by the erosion of wind and water – which are shortly distant from each other and about 6km far from Page. The land where they rise is owned by the Navajo: in order to preserve them after the initial tourist boom, they turned them into a Navajo Tribal Park.
It means that all the visits are guided tours, organized by local Tour Operators run exclusively by Navajo. So, it is forbidden to visit the two canyons alone.
Find here a complete and clear guidebook about both the slot canyons, besides useful tips and suggestions where and how to book.
What to do in Page: visit Horseshoe Bend
One of the most photographed places of the South West USA, Horseshoe Bend.
Literally a horseshoe bend in the red rock of Arizona, a particular shape dig over centuries by a bend of the Colorado River during its flow southwards.
From the opposite cliff – a rocky hill straight down to the river bend – it is possible to enjoy a unique view.
It is a place crowded in the past only by locals and Navajo who came here to spend the festivities and that unfortunately has progressively become – for the iconic photos you can take from the view point, then rapidly spread on the social networks – one of the most places in demand by visitors.
The great turnout of the last years and the death of some tourists slipped from the railing after have pushed too much beyond, convinced the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (whose Horseshoe Bend is a part) to build an iron barrier to prevent this kind of accident again –even though, unfortunately, many people keep climbing the side hills looking for the “perfect” shoot – and to build a Visitor Center and a parking on fee ($10 each car, $5 motorbikes) in order to manage the tourist impact on this area at the best. Find here further info about it.
Horseshoe Bend can be reached from Page driving the US 89 southwards as far as Mile 545: the entrance of the area is on the right indicated by a sign. From the parking you have to walk about 15 minutes to reach the view point.
In the morning and at sunset are the best moments to take photos – weather permitting. In Summer avoid the hottest hours: the trail to reach the top of the cliff is upwards and almost completely under the rays’ sun.
What to do in Page: visit the Glen Canyon Dam
The Glen Canyon Dam – Glen Canyon, Lake Powell’s name before it was flooded by the waters of the Colorado River – was ended in 1963 and it became in all respects the fourth highest dam in the United States of America (220 meters).
If you arrive in Page from the north driving the Hwy 89, you’ll pass literally above it, crossing the Glen Canyon Dam Bridge.
You can stop at the Visitor Center and keep on foot along the bridge to get an idea of the hugeness of the dam. Or, if you have time, take part into one of the guided tours leaving right from the Visitor Center which allow to enter and explore the upper part of the facility. Find here further info about schedules and prices of the tours.
What to do in Page: visit Lake Powell and Rainbow Bridge National Monument (Utah)
“Carved walls, royal arches, glens, alcove gulches, mounds, and monuments.
From which of these features shall we select a name? We decide to call it Glen Canyon”
(Travel diaries of the Major John Wesley Powell, the man who discovered the Canyon in 1869)
Lake Powell is for largeness and extension – about 660 square km between Arizona and Utah for the most part – the second artificial lake in the USA.
It was named after the explorer and major of the Army of Union John Wesley Powell (in Page you can visit also the Powell Museum, entirely dedicated to his deeds and his figure) who discovered it in the second half of the 1800s when its aspect was still a long and articulated canyon crossed by the Colorado River.
Today it is one of the most visited places of the whole area. You can reach a series of paths, inlets and beaches by boat: in Summer they are besieged by locals and tourists to bath or have excursions.
Admission to the park is on fee: $30 each car, but it is included in the US Park Pass. Coming from Page you can enter from Wahweap Marina – from which the Lake Shore Drive scenic road starts – and from Antelope Point, 6 and 16km far respectively.
The lake, originated following the dam’s construction, made the rocky formations even more suggestive and fascinating and the navigation in many of its parts allowed to reach places otherwise inaccessible or previously unknown. Like the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, a stunning 85 meters’ sandstone arch, considered by many people the biggest natural arch in the world, originated by the erosion of water running from the Navajo Mountain towards the Colorado River.
The Rainbow Bridge can be reached by lake thanks to the daily excursions leaving from the Wahweap Marina and including a final trail of about 3km to arrive at the arch foot. Otherwise, it can be reached also by a path on foot or horse-riding crossing the Navajo Indian Reservation to the south of Lake Powell. In this case the excursionists have to ask the Navajo Nation for a permission.
Where to sleep in Page
Considered the quantity of excursions to have and the natural wonders to visit in the neighborhoods, Page remains the ideal place where to stay for a couple of days. Here the offer of accommodations is wide and variegated even if prices – due to the high tourist turnout – aren’t cheap. Remember to book well in advance once checked the dates of your visit, otherwise you risk to not finding availability anymore, above all in the high season.
The hotels in Page are all located more or less along Lake Powell Blvd, which cuts into two parts the town from north to south. My tip is to reckon a solution of overnight stay with breakfast included, in order to optimize the expense.
During my latest stay in town I slept at the very new La Quinta Inn & Suites by Wyndham Page at Lake Powell. And I recommend it heartily.
Rooms are wide, modern and extremely clean, breakfast is very good and abundant, the perfect position to move towards the different locations. Besides there are restaurants, fast foods and markets in the neighborhoods.
Where to eat in Page
Page isn’t exactly the ideal place where to have a gourmet meal, so don’t expect a wide choice.
According to my personal experience – besides the fast foods which cannot miss – I recommend you mainly two restaurants:
- Fiesta Mexicana – here you can taste a good selection of Mex cuisine, fajitas, quesadillas, burritos and chips and tomato which cannot miss. Besides the very good margaritas. Average prices.
- Big John’s Texas Barbecue – famous for the ribs and beans and butter bread, an extremely simple and informal environment, originated by a former service station. Average prices.