Sunday, July 16, 2017

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend - Page, AZ

Hope everyone had a fantastic Independence Day and Canada Day!  Independence Day is quite different here at the Grand Canyon than back in NJ. There are no major festivities and certainly no fireworks.  My holiday was especially boring because my parents worked most of the four-day weekend.   But they did earn double-time for July 4, which means I'll get an increase in my cheese allowance! And July 4 was a relatively calm and quiet day at the store--especially compared to the three days prior, which were totally nuts.  

Fellow RV Dreamers Jim/Barb and Cory/Greg posted favorable reviews of the Dixie Ellis slot canyon tours in Page, so we decided to book a Dixie Ellis tour of Lower Antelope Canyon for ourselves.  The best time of day for lighting within the Lower Canyon is before noon.  It’s a 2+ hour drive to Page from the Grand Canyon South Rim, and you must arrive a half hour prior to your scheduled tour.  The Canyon is on Navajo Tribal Lands, and their lands are the only areas within Arizona to observe Daylight Savings Time—or so we thought.  While true of most Navajo lands within Arizona, Dixie Ellis Tours caters to the tourists within the hotels in Page.  Therefore, the tour company does not observe Daylight Savings Time.  So when we arrived at 10:20 for an 11:10 tour, we soon learned that it was only 9:20 a.m.  Fortunately, there was room for us in the 10:30 tour, so we were able to reduce our wait time—or so we thought.  While our tour started at 10:30, we had to wait another 35 minutes to actually get into the Canyon because there were so many visitors that day.   There were also several visitors who had difficulty climbing stairs and maneuvering through the narrow passages and walkways to enter the Canyon's deepest depth of 96 feet.

Our guide Vernon is a “4 X 4”, a term the Navajo use to denote their lineage of full-blooded Navajo, tracing back 16 generations.  Vernon educated us on Navajo (or Dine) traditions and life on their sovereign Tribal Lands.  He reminisced about coming to the Lower Canyon as a little boy to play.   We were a very engaged group, and Vernon was appreciative of our interest in his culture.  He noted that the majority of the Lower Canyon visitors are international guests with limited understanding of English.  Hence, he does not get to share his Navajo heritage with them.

Vernon and me, leading the pack!

Dixie Ellis offers special photography tours for longer durations of time.  These come with a much steeper price tag than the $25/per person plus $8 tribal permit fee/person for our tour.  Interestingly, Vernon is a host/instructor for many of these tours!  Though we weren’t on nor did we pay for a special photography tour, Vernon imparted many tips on how to get better pictures.  He even took the time to adjust each person’s cell phone or digital camera for proper lighting settings!  Pretty cool stuff for an amateur picture taker using just a Samsung S5 cell phone camera like me! 

Antelope Canyon (also known as Corkscrew Canyon for obvious reasons), was named by the ancient Navajo for the animals seen using the area to traverse down to the Colorado River from the High Country.  It was formed by excessive volumes of water flowing at high velocity—Vernon said to think liquid sandpaper.  It just amazes me what beauty the forces of nature can create!

Despite the crowds, the heat (105 F), and the wait time, the tour was excellent, earning a coveted Rambling RV Rat 5-cheese rating!

Our next stop was Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.  We hiked the 1.5 mile round trip trail to view Horseshoe Bend, a most appropriately-named curve of the Colorado River.  Many claim this is the most photographed place in Arizona.  All I know is that it is one breathtaking viewpoint!

Those tiny white specs are what boats in the water look like from 1000 feet above the River!

We enjoyed a late lunch and started to head back home.  But Page's Wal-Mart Super Center beckoned to us!  We picked up a few foodstuff items and we agreed unanimously that this Wal-Mart was 100 times better than the one in Flagstaff.  While there, Calvin, a helpful Wal-Mart employee and Navajo Tribal Land resident, apprised us of a local, non-touristy lookout point to view Glen Canyon Dam, just a few miles away, tucked behind a construction site for a new hotel in Page.   What a great find!


Time to hike back up to the parking lot

We headed back to the Grand Canyon South Rim, taking in the vivid colors of the rocks and the darkening skies.

We arrived home just in time to witness a spectacular sunset amid a monsoon season lightning storm.  Cool stuff!

Alas, all good things must come to an end, so I must sign off now.  Talk to you again soon!

We would like to thank two amazing organizations for all they do for the RVing community:

Escapees/ Xscapers

Escapees RV Club


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Please visit their sites to see how they provide across the board support for everything in the RVing lifestyle.


  1. We missed Antelope Canyon when we were in the area. I guess we'll have to return! Great photos.

  2. We also missed Antelope Canyon last time we were in Page, but we won't next time. Beautiful photos, thanks for sharing.