We were in Page in late March 2016, as part of Big Trip #1.
Page is in northernmost Arizona, a gateway town to natural wonders like the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell (ok, not totally natural, but wonderous), and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. We went for a few hikes and other adventures, had some surprisingly good food and drink experiences, and boondocked (camped off the grid) for the first time!
We stayed for two nights at the Wahweap Campground on the shores of Lake Powell, in a nice site at the end of a row with a view of the lake. The camp store is well-stocked with supplies and snacks, and there’s a walking trail along the water from the campground to the marina and resort. The resort has a restaurant at which we discussed having a cocktail, but we never visited–nice to have that option close to home, though.
Our last day in town we packed up the Airstream, drove to Lone Rock Beach, and just parked on the sand. We shared the beach with several other RVs and tents, but it’s a big beach and it was easy to find a spot with gorgeous views of the lake and Lone Rock with plenty of privacy. Boondocking is camping completely off the grid–relying on solar panels (or a generator, which we don’t have–yet) to charge the batteries that power the trailer, filling the freshwater tank before arriving and pulling water from there rather than city water, and dumping waste water at a central dump location rather than at our site. Sure, it’s less convenient, but getting out in the middle of nowhere can be really magical.
The North Rim of the Grand Canyon is much quieter than the South Rim, but it doesn’t open until May, so no trip there for us this time. (Read about our visit there a few years later here!) For planning excursions closer to Page, the Visitor Center at the Powell Museum was very helpful, recommending a few local hikes, and suggesting the fantastically fabulous boondocking spot for our last night.
Horseshoe Bend: Just south of Page is a short 3/4 mile hike to an overlook above this deep bow in the Colorado. It’s a very crowded and sandy walk, but the stellar view of the cliffs surrounding the river far below is worth the annoyances.
Antelope Point: This doesn’t really count as a hike, but it was a fun area to scramble around on the rocks and get nice close-up river views.
Lower Antelope Canyon: The woman at the Visitor Center told us not to bother with Upper Antelope Canyon this time of year, as the iconic beam of light would not be present until May, and the hiking part of the tour is short and crowded. The only way to see either Upper or Lower is through a tour, which usually we don’t like to do, but we really enjoyed this one. It was fast-paced and the canyon was fascinating. Our guide pointed out interesting formations and taught J how to take a panoramic shot on his iPhone, which now he’s obsessed with. Tip: stay at the front of your tour group to avoid getting your fellow tourists in your photos. No dogs allowed on the tour, of course.
Hanging Gardens: This is another really short (less than 1.5 miles) stroll near town, with some pretty views of the river in the distance. Climb up above the “garden” to find a great place for a picnic, with a smooth hump of rock cliff to use as a backrest as you stare out over the rocky landscape.
Spencer Trail: We’re not sure we’d recommend this grueling 4-5 mile hike (depending on how much you want to scramble around for views up top) near Marble Canyon, AZ, that basically goes straight up the side of a cliff overlooking a bend in the Colorado at Lee’s Ferry. Loved the views, moaned and groaned the whole way up to the top, almost fell on my face several times on the way down.
State 48 Tavern: The bartender at Canyon King suggested Dam Bar and Grille its neighbor State 48 Tavern as other potential bar crawl destinations. We liked the look of State 48 better, and it was a good choice, because I had dinner there and it was dynamite: a plate of fried kale-Brussels sprout hybrids, and a giant pile of sweet potato fries smothered in goat cheese, black beans, scallions, and avocado. Can I eat that every meal please. J only had beer here because he was holding out for dinner down the road at…
Big John’s Texas BBQ: Outdoor seating, live music, local beer, and all sorts of meat things from the smoker combine for a really fun experience. Bugsy sat with us on the dog-friendly patio–and the waitress brought her a beef bone!–before asking to wait in the car when the band got rowdy.
Canyon King Pizzeria: We had grand plans of going on a Page Bar Crawl, but options are limited. Canyon King was our first stop, as Google said it had the best local beer selection. Not sure that’s really the case, but the restaurant is unique: it’s built in an old riverboat complete with a paddlewheel. We had a beer at the bar and chatted with some locals who told us that the tourists only started pouring in a few years ago. Growing up in Page, they always thought the cliffs were pretty, but didn’t think all that much about the scenery.
State 48 Tavern: Stop 2 on the bar crawl; see above for details.
Big John’s Texas BBQ: Stop 3 on the bar crawl; see above for details.