Originally posted June 2020; revised and migrated February 2021
Travel Date May 2020
After leaving Winslow, we followed Hwy 89 through Navajo Nation towards our next stop: 2-days in Page Arizona. To see how to spend one night in Winslow, check out my blog. Page was the final stop on our Texas to Utah road trip to Zion National Park.
Where should I stop in Arizona?
I would recommend stopping in Page when road tripping through Arizona. We only had 2-days in Page but were able to see several attractions in the area, including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Horseshoe Bend, and Navajo Bridge. It is possible to experience the area on one fully-booked day if you are more limited on time.
Navajo Nation Arizona Road Trip
I’d previously heard on the news the Navajo Nation was particularly hard hit by the virus. Our experience confirmed this.
All of the usual roadside stands selling jewelry and souvenirs were closed. We also saw several educational signs reminding people to social distance, wash hands, wear masks, etc. The most shocking were hand-painted signs on people’s mailboxes – “Save our People; Stay Home” and “No Visitors- Stay Home”.
I hoped to stop at Petrified Forest National Park and Canyon de Chelly National Monument but both were closed due to this virus hotspot. Thankfully our revised itinerary didn’t require any stops on the reservation so we just passed through.
Where to camp for free near Page Arizona?
I wanted to explore the Page Arizona area but the campgrounds along our route were closed due to COVID19.
I used campendium, a crowd-sourced web-based app, to find free camping on public land. The western part of the US has an abundance of public land that permits overnight camping, grazing livestock, and off-roading.
What to expect when camping on public lands?
I chose Soap Creek Dispersed camping area in the Vermillion Cliffs National Conservation Area based on Campendium reviews. This was our first experience camping for free on public land, so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect.
Upon arrival to the Soap Creek Dispersed GPS coordinates, we parked Pippi along the roadside and drove our toad (Ford Fusion towed behind our motorhome) to scout campsites.
BLM Roads: What to Expect
We met a young local couple in a pickup truck at the gated entrance to the Bureau of Land Management land and I confirmed with them that we were in the right place. The girl told me to “go really slow” and the guy said, “the road is very rocky, go slow but you shouldn’t get stuck or anything”. My stomach was full of butterflies after these warnings.
Kevin drove the car on our first trip down this road and I am thankful because he was able to give me some tips for driving on uneven rocky roads.
To be clear, I grew up on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere but this road was rough. We drove super slow and still scraped the bottom of the car in a few spots.
After scouting we decided to take the final spot on the right leg of the road so we could get closer to the cliffside and hopefully not be bothered by passing traffic.
Kevin drove Pippi and I drove the car and we didn’t damage anything on the trip. Our campsite was peaceful and beautiful despite the stressful drive to get there. I’ve since gained confidence driving our car on rough BLM roads.
From our campsite in Soap Creek BLM, we hiked about a mile towards the nearby Vermillion Cliffs rim.
We saw several beautiful cacti in bloom and from the rim, we could see the Colorado River in the distance.
What is Page Arizona known for?
Page is known for nearby Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend which are both spectacular natural attractions. They have both gained popularity thanks to amazing images on social media and the internet.
What is there to do in Page Arizona?
During our 2-days in Page Arizona, we visited Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Navajo Bridge, Horseshoe Bend, and ate lunch at the Birdcage. On our next trip to Page, I hope to kayak the Colorado River and visit Antelope Canyon.
What is there to do in Page AZ for free?
The Lee’s Ferry location of Glen Canyon NRA was open to the public but not collecting fees. In non-COVID times, a national parks pass would provide entrance to the area. Navajo Bridge is always free for visitors.
Navajo Bridge: Free Things to do in Page Arizona
The Navajo Bridge is one of seven land crossings of the Colorado River. A new bridge was built and opened in 1995. The historic bridge, dating back to 1929, was converted to a pedestrian bridge.
It offers a great view of the Colorado River. There is no fee to visit the bridge.
The west side of the bridge, on National Conservation land, has a National Park visitor center and gift shop. The east side of the bridge, in the Navajo Nation, has craft vendors during non-pandemic times.
The river visibility from the bridge was impressive; I could see fish moving in the shallow areas 470 feet below us.
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area covers 1.25 million acres so we knew we couldn’t see everything in our limited time. We decided to explore the Lee’s Ferry area based on its close proximity to our campsite.
What is Lee’s Ferry at Glen Canyon known for?
The Lee’s Ferry area along the Colorado River was settled by miners. The miners did not find gold but left a lot of interesting items behind including a steamboat, mining equipment, a few stone buildings, and a very nice orchard.
Free Fruit at Lee’s Ferry Orchards at Glen Canyon NRA
The National Park Service has maintained the settler’s orchard at the Lonely Dell Ranch and allows visitors to pick up to five gallons of fruit per day for personal consumption. Apricots were the only ripe fruit during our visit but the orchard had many tree varieties.
We saw a couple of local ladies with large rolling carts that were definitely picking their limit of apricots. Kevin and I only picked about 10 apricots because we knew anymore would be wasted.
They took a few days to ripen but they were delicious and you can’t beat free fresh food.
Riverside Trail: Hiking in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
After picking apricots, we hiked the Riverside Trail. It was a fairly easy three-mile trail with great views of the cliffs alongside the Colorado River.
I was amazed at how clear the river water was.
Hope you enjoy the pics of my hiking outfit which was chosen solely for sun protection and comfort. Please expect many more funny outfit choices in my future hiking posts.
We also saw our first Balance Rock of the summer at Lee’s Ferry.
Horseshoe Bend: Things to do near Page Arizona
One of Page Arizona’s top attractions is Horseshoe Bend. It is on National Park property but the parking is on City of Page property. Therefore, they do not accept the National Parks Pass and charge $10 to park.
Is the hike at Horseshoe Bend difficult?
The walk from the parking area to the Horseshoe Bend overlook is less than one mile on a paved path. The walk had some gentle elevation changes but we saw several benches along the path for those needing a break. The overlook area was uneven sandstone but still quite accessible.
What to bring to Horseshoe Bend?
Signs warned people to wear sun protection and to take water on this walk. I was glad we had water because the dry air and Arizona sun are serious even on a mild spring day. The view was beautiful and worth the stop.
Where to eat in Page Arizona?
Since we were so close to a town, we decided to save our protein bars, crackers, and tuna packets for another day and support a local restaurant.
Great Experience at The Birdhouse in Page Arizona
After a little TripAdvisor searching, I found a highly-rated local fried chicken shop, the Birdhouse. Thankfully they were practicing social distancing with lines taped on the floor and offered outside seating.
We decided to try both the Spicy and Honey Butter chicken with their housemade ranch and honey mustard dips.
The service was friendly, the food was fast and delicious and the beer was cold. With a variety of sides, I chose the broccoli salad and was very impressed with the whole meal.
Due to COVID-19, we were sadly not able to visit Antelope Canyon during our 2-days in Page Arizona. The picturesque slot canyon is definitely still on my bucket list.
Can you go to Antelope Canyon without a tour?
Antelope Canyon is protected by Navajo Parks and Recreation and can only be visited by authorized tour providers and their guests. To visit Antelope Canyon, book a tour in advance.
Texas to Utah Road Trip
To wrap up our week-long Texas to Utah road trip, we left Arizona heading to Zion National Park in Utah to join the holiday crowds. During the COVID19 shutdown, I found Memorial Day reservations at Watchman Campground likely from someone else’s cancellation. Watchman is usually booked 6 months in advance and finding availability is rare.
Things you cannot miss during 2 days in Page Arizona
During our 2-days in Page Arizona, we enjoyed a few of the top attractions including Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Horseshoe Bend, and the Navajo Bridge. Sadly, we were not able to get an Antelope Canyon tour on this trip so it’s still on our bucket list.