For my one-year anniversary, I decided to dd Antelope canyon and Horseshoe bend as one of our stops. These landmarks have been at the top of my American bucket list for a while. All the pictures I’ve seen didn’t do the canyon any justice compared to the actual feeling of being there. It was amazing and definitely a trip to remember forever.
It did take some advance planning to make it happen. I’ll walk you through my preparation and our actual trip.
We started planning our trip to Antelope canyon about 3 months in advance. I knew that we wanted to go in September because its out anniversary month. I knew that if we didn’t set our dates in stone it would be easier to find the most inexpensive option.
Booking Antelope Canyon Tickets
BOOK YOUR TICKETS IN ADVANCE. Tickets sell out weeks in advance, especially the early morning hours. We decided to book with Ken’s Tours. The 8am time that we wanted was already sold out when we tried to book our tickets. So, we decided to go with the 10 am tour.
Booking a Hotel Room
After looking through the limited hotels, we went with the La Quinta Inn. It was close by the landmarks and looked the best. I recommend staying at the La Quinta Inn. The room cost around $70 a night and was super clean, and they served complimentary breakfast.
We had two travel options from Houston, Tx. We could either fly into Phoenix, AZ and drive 4 hours. Or fly into Las Vegas and drive 4 hours. I decided to go with Phoenix, AZ because we’ve been to Las Vegas numerous times. We wanted to explore Phoenix and Scottsdale after leaving Page. I did choose to use points for our flights. It cost me around 8000 points for a one-way ticket for my husband and me.
The Actual Trip
We arrived in Phoenix airport and took the shuttle to the rental car location. The rental car associate told us that we needed a car with some power to get up the mountains/hills on the way to Page, Az. We decided to upgrade our vehicle from a compact to a mid-size. I’m glad that we did. It made the trip to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend a little more comfortable.
The journey to Page was breathtaking. It was peaceful with a few scary hill inclines (I have a terrible fear of my car flipping backward on a hill). At one point, we did reach about 12000 ft above sea level. The drive was one of the best parts of the entire trip. Some parts do become one lane roads, so give yourself enough time to accommodate for slower drivers.
We arrived just in time to check into our hotel and get to Ken’s Tours. After we checked in, we waited outside for our tour to line up. As we waited, we noticed a lot of people waiting in a standby line. I would not recommend counting on someone missing or arrive late for their tour. One lady said she had been waiting for 3 HOURS for a spot in the heat! Again, make sure to buy your tickets in advance.
The tour was terrific, and the tour guides are so friendly and knowledgeable. They showed us good locations to take pictures and also took pictures for us. I did wear long sleeves just because it was cooler in the canyon than outside. They only allow bottles of water and cameras/cellphones. Do not bring any bags because they will send you back to the car.
We went to Horseshoe bend right after leaving Antelope Canyon. We did not know what we were in for. Horseshoe bend is entirely free. I didn’t have to pay for parking or entry.
That is where my good experience stops. We arrived close to 3pm, and hot is an understatement for the weather outside that day. There is about a ½ mile walk to the canyon in the sand. So, choose your shoes wisely. Do not wear sandals or heels to get there.
There are multiple viewing points. You can get a perfect view of the bend from behind a railing. Or you can climb a few rocks to get a view from above. This is how people get the infamous picture of them sitting down with horseshoe bend behind them.
I opted for the railing, and I will tell you why. The amount of pushing and shoving to get the perfect picture was ridiculous. We are on the edge of a cliff, and I was shoved at least 5 times. The disregard for people’s safety just to obtain the perfect Instagram picture was astonishing. I got a good look a few times and left to take the dreaded 1/2 mile walk back to our car. The mile wouldn’t have been so bad if the sun wasn’t beaming down on us. Oh, and the trail is both up and downhill.
Overall the trip was terrific. I was able to check two things off my list of American destinations. Now all I have left is Seattle, and Niagara Falls!
Have you been to Antelope Canyon and/or Horseshoe Bend? How was your experience?