In my opinion, Northern Arizona offers a lot of wonderful experiences, and I’ve discovered that the small town of Page in Coconino County serves as an excellent base for visitors, with numerous activities right at its doorstep. One of the major advantages of Page is its close proximity to the Grand Canyon, which can be reached within a couple of hours by road.
Located on the southern shores of Lake Powell, Page boasts vast expanses of water that are perfect for those who enjoy being outdoors and engaging in physical activities. Despite its small population of only 7,500 people, Page benefits from a pleasant climate, thanks to its altitude of approximately 4,000 feet.
For campers and hikers like myself, Page is a dream destination. Additionally, if you want to be even closer to the water, you have the option to rent a houseboat on the lake—an exciting opportunity to immerse yourself in the serene surroundings.
Without further ado, let me share with you a list of 15 fantastic things you can do in Page before continuing your journey.
1. Antelope Canyon
As an Arizona enthusiast, one of the places I highly recommend visiting is Antelope Canyon, which happens to be one of the most photographed sites in the entire state. It’s important to note that this stunning canyon is located on Navajo land, and in order to explore it, you’ll need to have a Navajo guide accompany you.
Taking a guided tour is truly the best way to experience the beauty of Antelope Canyon, and the entire excursion typically lasts a little over an hour. If you’re eager to capture breathtaking photographs during your visit, many experts suggest opting for a tour in the late morning. This is when the sunlight enters the canyon, creating a mesmerizing effect that amplifies its allure.
While both the upper and lower sections of the canyon offer their own unique charm, it’s worth mentioning that the upper stretch tends to be more popular among visitors. Moreover, if you have limited mobility, I would recommend choosing the upper section as it’s more accessible and accommodating.
2. Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument
I’m thrilled to tell you about the remarkable Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, which happens to be the largest park in the entire southwestern USA, encompassing a staggering 1.8 million acres. However, I must mention that its size has been recently reduced by presidential proclamation. As with many national monuments, they are established by US presidents and are managed by various federal agencies.
This extraordinary monument stretches across both Utah and the state line, extending from the awe-inspiring Colorado River all the way to the breathtaking Bryce Canyon National Park. Over the years, numerous excavations have taken place within its boundaries, leading to the discovery of remarkable prehistoric animal fossils that continue to captivate the imagination.
It’s truly a place where the past comes to life, offering an incredible opportunity to explore the remnants of ancient creatures that once roamed this land.
3. Carl Hayden Visitor Center
If you’re curious to delve deeper into the fascinating world of the Glen Canyon Dam and its profound significance, I highly recommend visiting the center located near the Glen Canyon Bridge. This educational center is aptly named after a distinguished congressman and senator who played a pivotal role in water management in Arizona.
Once inside, you’ll have the opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich history of water storage in the Colorado River Basin, with a specific focus on the Glen Canyon region. The center offers a wealth of resources to enhance your understanding, including informative maps, captivating videos, engaging exhibits, and even a bookstore where you can browse through a wide array of literature.
4. Lake Powell, Glen Canyon Dam
Ever since the Glen Canyon Dam was constructed back in 1963, the magnificent Lake Powell came into existence, serving not only as a vital water storage facility but also as a remarkable source of electric power for the surrounding region.
A visit to Lake Powell presents an abundance of delightful opportunities for a memorable day out. From embarking on boat excursions and marveling at the towering 700-foot dam, to indulging in the serenity of fishing or kayaking on its tranquil waters, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. Moreover, the local Natural History Association offers insightful tours of the dam itself, providing a deeper understanding of its engineering marvel.
With a sprawling length of 186 miles, Lake Powell stretches out majestically, boasting an impressive surface area of approximately 266 square miles and an average depth of 132 feet. These dimensions alone showcase the sheer grandeur and breathtaking expanse of this picturesque reservoir.
5. John Wesley Powell Museum
Allow me to share with you the remarkable tale of John Wesley Powell, an extraordinary one-armed soldier, scientist, and pioneer who played a pivotal role in bringing the majestic Colorado River to the attention of the public. Almost 150 years ago, Powell embarked on daring expeditions, navigating the river in modest boats—an astonishing feat in itself.
To honor his legacy, there is a museum named after him that unveils the captivating story of his expeditions while also providing a wealth of information about the history of Page, the very place we find ourselves in.
One particular section of the museum that captivates visitors is dedicated to geology and paleontology. Here, you’ll find astonishing excavations dating back millions of years, unveiling the secrets of ancient landscapes. It’s truly a fascinating journey through time.
Furthermore, the museum goes beyond geological wonders, delving into the rich tapestry of the region’s inhabitants. From the ancient Anasazi civilization to the vibrant cultures of Native Americans, the museum showcases the heritage of the early peoples who called this land home.
6. Coconino National Forest
Coconino National Forest, located in North America, stands out as a truly exceptional woodland haven brimming with an astonishing array of diversity. Within its expansive boundaries, you’ll have the privilege of immersing yourself in contrasting landscapes, from the enchanting desert and sprawling tundra to the majestic ponderosa pine forests and the iconic red rocks of Sedona.
For avid hikers and camping enthusiasts like myself, this forest is an absolute paradise. Prepare to be enthralled by the wonders that await you—charming small lakes, awe-inspiring mountains, picturesque valleys, and meandering streams boasting crystal-clear freshwater.
In addition to its breathtaking scenery, Coconino National Forest provides a haven for a multitude of wildlife species. The forest teems with over 300 bird species, an impressive variety of 100 mammals, and a diverse collection of reptiles and snakes, making it a true haven for nature enthusiasts and animal lovers alike.
While exploring this remarkable forest, it’s essential to uphold the nature-lovers’ mantra of “leave no trace” by ensuring you leave behind no trace of your visit and carry out all your trash with you. By embracing this mindful approach, we can collectively protect and preserve the natural beauty of this pristine wilderness for generations to come.
7. Horseshoe Bend
There are certain places that defy capture through a photograph, as they possess a captivating allure that can only be fully experienced with your own eyes. Horseshoe Bend is undoubtedly one such location. This striking bend in the Colorado River, forming a perfect horseshoe shape, may be one of the most photographed natural wonders in the area, but its true magnificence can only be comprehended in person.
One of the remarkable aspects of visiting Horseshoe Bend is the freedom to get as close as you desire, as there are no railings or entrance fees hindering your exploration. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and be mindful of your surroundings while venturing close to the edge.
The hike to Horseshoe Bend and back spans a mere 1.5 miles, but be prepared to pause frequently along the way, unable to resist capturing the breathtaking scenery through your lens. Keep in mind that shadows can affect the quality of photographs at certain times of the day. To capture the best possible image, aim to arrive around midday when the lighting conditions are most favorable.
8. Waterholes Canyon
I had the opportunity to explore the remarkable trail of Waterholes Canyon, which winds its way through a captivating landscape of vibrant red sandstone before leading to the majestic Glen Canyon. As I ventured along the trail, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the sight of water flowing on both sides of the US89 highway, gradually deepening as it continued its course.
However, it’s important to note that in recent years, access to Waterholes Canyon has become restricted. Just recently, it was announced that both federal and tribal laws prohibit entry into the canyon without joining an organized tour conducted by the Navajo. This measure ensures the preservation and protection of this remarkable natural gem.
While exploring these areas, it’s always wise to value the insights and knowledge of the locals. Their expertise can provide valuable guidance and enhance your overall experience. Additionally, traveling with a companion or as part of a group is strongly advised for safety reasons.
9. Lee’s Ferry
My journey into the history of Lee’s Ferry began with a glimpse into the early days of white settlers arriving in this region. As I explored the area, I discovered a cluster of well-preserved historic buildings that stand in close proximity to the modern settlement. Among the intriguing remnants of the past, I came across the remnants of a ferry crossing nestled within the magnificent Glen Canyon.
A short distance away from Lee’s Ferry lies the vibrant town of Page, a mere 10 miles apart. Here, an extraordinary opportunity awaits—to embark on a captivating boat tour along the awe-inspiring Colorado River. Drifting down this majestic river, which serves as the natural border between Arizona and Utah, I couldn’t help but marvel at the breathtaking scenery that unfolded before my eyes. Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for a more tranquil experience, the banks of the river offer a perfect spot for a little fly-fishing. The surrounding landscapes create an idyllic backdrop as you cast your line and try your luck at catching trout. It’s truly a rare combination of thrilling outdoor sport and the embrace of nature’s stunning beauty.
10. Rainbow Bridge National Monument
When I learned about Rainbow Bridge, it fascinated me to think that it was only discovered by white settlers around a century ago. Native Americans, on the other hand, have held this awe-inspiring natural bridge in sacred regard for centuries. Recognizing its significance, President Taft declared it a national monument shortly after its discovery.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument stands as one of the largest natural bridges known to exist worldwide. Out of respect for its cultural importance to Native Americans, visitors are now kindly asked not to walk beneath the bridge. However, this request doesn’t pose a significant inconvenience because the most breathtaking views of the bridge are actually best captured from a short distance away. By taking a few steps back, one can frame the complete expanse of the bridge in a single photograph, truly capturing its magnificence.
As I stood there, witnessing the grandeur of Rainbow Bridge, I couldn’t help but feel a profound sense of reverence for this natural wonder. The bridge’s striking beauty, combined with its rich cultural significance, creates an experience that goes far beyond mere photographs. It serves as a reminder of the deep connection between nature and spirituality, a bridge between ancient traditions and the modern world.
11. Vermilion Cliff National Monument
I had the incredible opportunity to explore the vast expanse of the Vermillion Cliffs National Monument, a stunning landscape that spans almost 300,000 acres. This expansive monument encompasses remarkable features such as the towering Vermillion Cliffs, the picturesque Paria Plateau, and a myriad of captivating buttes and canyons. As I ventured through this diverse terrain, I marveled at the elevation range, which stretches from just over 3,000 feet to a breathtaking 6,500 feet.
For those yearning to immerse themselves in the natural splendor of Arizona, local assistance is readily available to plan a backpacking adventure spanning several days within the monument. Such an excursion offers a unique opportunity to embrace the awe-inspiring landscape and encounter the vibrant flora and fauna that call this place home. There is truly no better way to connect with nature than by embarking on a backpacking journey through this pristine wilderness.
As I set up camp just outside the boundaries of the monument, I relished the tranquility of the surroundings, eagerly anticipating the hiking adventures that awaited me. However, it’s important to note that a permit is required for hiking within the monument. This measure ensures the preservation of the natural environment and helps regulate the number of visitors, allowing for a sustainable and harmonious coexistence between humans and nature.
12. Tower Butte
Embarking on a helicopter tour from Page Airport was an extraordinary opportunity that allowed me to witness the majestic Tower Butte in all its glory. This remarkable rock formation juts out from the desert landscape, beckoning with its awe-inspiring presence.
As our helicopter soared towards Tower Butte, I marveled at the flat top that served as a landing pad for our aircraft. Touching down on the butte, I was instantly greeted by a 360-degree panoramic vista that took my breath away. The unobstructed views allowed me to immerse myself in the stunning beauty of the surrounding landscape, capturing unforgettable photographs that would forever preserve this moment in time.
During the flight, our skilled pilot expertly navigated the airspace, showcasing the magnificent Glen Canyon and the shimmering expanse of Lake Powell. The vastness of the Grand Staircase unfolded before my eyes, while the vibrant hues of the Vermilion Cliffs painted a breathtaking backdrop to the journey. The pilot’s insightful commentary guided my gaze towards the region’s prominent features, providing a deeper understanding and appreciation for the natural wonders that stretched out before us.
Flying above Tower Butte and the surrounding landscapes was an exhilarating experience that etched itself into my memory. The unique perspective afforded by the helicopter tour allowed me to truly grasp the grandeur of the region, taking in its vastness and splendor from a bird’s-eye view. It was an adventure that blended thrilling moments with captivating storytelling, providing a remarkable opportunity to connect with the land and its rich geological history.
13. The Rimview Trail
If you’re looking to cover more ground and explore the scenic landscapes around Page, opting for a mountain bike ride can be an excellent choice. The decision between hiking or biking may depend on the amount of time you have available. For those seeking a leisurely outing or for beginners, the Rimview Trail presents an ideal option. Stretching approximately 10 miles around Page, this trail offers a mix of paved surfaces, making it suitable for both biking and taking a leisurely stroll.
As I embarked on my adventure along the Rimview Trail, I made sure to equip myself with comfortable footwear and an ample water supply, especially on hot days when shade is minimal. It’s essential to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun’s rays as you traverse this picturesque path. Additionally, for those who wish to bring their furry companions along, dogs are permitted as long as they are under complete control, ensuring a safe and enjoyable experience for all.
As I pedaled or walked along the Rimview Trail, I couldn’t help but appreciate the stunning vistas that unfolded before me. The paved path allowed for smooth navigation, and I relished the freedom to immerse myself in the natural beauty that surrounded me. With each turn, I encountered breathtaking panoramic views, and the serenity of the landscape filled me with a sense of tranquility.
14. Into the Grand
As I stepped into Into the Grand, I was immediately immersed in a captivating experience filled with Native American song, music, dance, and an array of authentic Native American cuisine. The venue, housed in an old warehouse, exuded a certain charm that perfectly complemented the essence of the evening. The concept itself didn’t require a modern, 21st-century building; in fact, such a setting might have even detracted from the authenticity and charm of the experience.
A warm welcome awaited me as the host greeted me with genuine hospitality. They guided me to a table that had been thoughtfully prepared, complete with complimentary snacks of chips and salsa. This thoughtful gesture set the tone for the evening and ensured that I felt comfortable and well taken care of from the very beginning.
The ambiance of the venue buzzed with anticipation as I eagerly awaited the captivating performances to come. Native American songs resonated through the air, accompanied by the rhythmic beats of traditional music. Dancers moved gracefully, their movements telling stories and celebrating their rich cultural heritage. It was a feast for both the senses and the soul.
While the performances captivated my attention, the aroma of authentic Native American cuisine filled the air, further enhancing the immersive experience. The menu featured a selection of traditional dishes that showcased the vibrant flavors and culinary traditions of the Native American culture. From hearty stews to flavorful fry bread, each bite transported me to a world of indigenous tastes and traditions.
Into the Grand provided an evening of cultural immersion, where entertainment, music, dance, and delectable food converged to create an unforgettable experience. The simple yet inviting atmosphere of the old warehouse allowed the essence of the event to shine, inviting guests to fully embrace the richness of Native American culture.
15. Navajo Village Heritage Center
As I entered this charming, family-run facility, I knew I had stumbled upon a gem, particularly for those traveling with children. The educational value of the place was evident from the start. I was immediately immersed in the world of the Navajo people, gaining insights into their traditional way of life and the unique features of their homes.
One of the highlights of the visit was the opportunity to explore a typical Navajo home. The knowledgeable staff explained the construction techniques and the thoughtful design considerations that make these homes so special. It was fascinating to learn about the cultural significance behind each aspect of the dwelling, gaining a deeper understanding of the Navajo people’s connection to their environment.
A visit to the facility also included a demonstration of the art of Navajo rug weaving. I was captivated as I watched skilled weavers create intricate patterns, witnessing firsthand the meticulous process of transforming yarn into vibrant works of art. The staff took the time to explain the different techniques and materials used, providing valuable insights into the rich tradition of Navajo rug making.
As I delved further into the experience, the role of women in Navajo society and their contributions to their community were discussed. It was enlightening to learn about the vital roles they play in preserving cultural traditions and passing them down to future generations. Through engaging discussions and informative displays, I gained a deeper appreciation for the values and customs that shape Navajo life.
To culminate the visit, the facility treated us to a captivating display of Navajo dancing. The rhythmic movements and colorful attire of the dancers transported us to a world of cultural expression and celebration. The performances were both entertaining and meaningful, showcasing the beauty and significance of Navajo dance in their traditions.