Just a couple hours north of the Grand Canyon lies the city of Page, Arizona which encompasses the Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation areas. The drive to page had many remarkable views along the way. As you arrive in page you begin to see large power lines along the road. This area is also home to the Glen Canyon Dam which is a major hydroelectric power source for this region of Arizona and Utah.
Coming into page we didn’t have lodging set up yet. While we ate lunch, I found one Campground that had a reservation available for the next few days so we booked that. Many of the campgrounds here are first come first serve so we had a list of places to check for openings. The first place we stopped was at Lone Rock Campground which is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This area is maintained by BLM and dispersed camping is available right on the beach of Lake Powell. The camping here is $7 per night for seniors or people with access passes, and $14 regular price. As we drove down, the dirt road gets a little rough, but even with our low clearance we were able to make it with no issues at all. We found our spot on the beach right across from the huge Rock known as Lone Rock. The campsite does have restrooms available, but no showers or electric. The sunset was one of the most beautiful we’ve seen so far on this trip. Keep in mind, this campground is about a mile into Utah so the time zone changes. Most activities you will do here will be in Arizona, so make sure you plan accordingly. Phones often get confused in this are so we suggest keeping your vehicle clock on Arizona time. Fortunately, the Navajo tour companies seem to use Arizona time to avoid confusion even though their reservation is on a whole other time zone!
The Grand Canyon, the only one of the seven natural wonders of the world that can be found in the United States. After seeing so many amazing Canyons and red rock formations these last few months, we were a little worried that we would be underwhelmed when we got to see the Grand Canyon. Upon entering the park, the lines are very long. Once you enter, the first stop is usually the visitor center which has limited parking considering the number of people that are there to visit. Visiting in March, the park was definitely not as busy as we heard it could be, but also the temperatures were fairly mild. At night, temperatures were in the 20s so if you intend on camping, make sure you pack enough to stay warm and bring your patience to deal with the crowds. Once you find parking, you can relax and enjoy the park. Like most parks, we would recommend going in early to avoid the lines.
The south rim of the canyon is the most visited section of the canyon. You are able to rent bikes to ride the road along the rim, there is a walkway you can walk, or you can shuttle from one point to another. We opted to walk to The Village, which is where the lodge and restaurant are located. It’s about a 7 mile walk from The Visitor Center and fairly easy and accessible. Near the visitor center, we saw several elk, and they we’ll come up pretty close to the walkway where people are. As you turn the corner and get your first glimpse of the canyon , it is anything but underwhelming. Though the formations were quite similar to what we had been seeing, the sheer size of the canyon is remarkable. There are several points along the way that you can stop and take in different views of the canyon. It's a nice walk so take your time and stop off for pictures and to take in the views at each point. Once in the village, definitely stop at the El Tolvar Restaurant. There may be a long wait since it’s the only restaurant and a train stops there for lunch as well, but it was worth the wait. The lunch menu has a small variety of options including some vegetarian options. We tried the Navajo Fry Bread Taco and the Prime Rib Sandwich and both were excellent. Make sure you save room for dessert as well because they have several options to satisfy your sweet tooth!
Sedona has branded itself as the “most beautiful place in the world”. Well, I don’t know about that, but the Red Rocks that are the backdrop of Sedona certainly make your mouth wide open in awe. It is springtime in Sedona and we found a nice campsite in Cottonwood, called Thousand Trails, just about 30 minutes from Sedona. Hotel prices can get quite expensive, but we did manage to find a place to camp for $19/night, with electric. There was also a pool, hot tub, and a lodge here with several activities you can participate in. We have not come across any rattlesnakes, tarantulas, or scorpions here in the desert, but you can hear the coyotes all night and the birds first thing every morning. If any of these things worry you, then camping in the desert might not be a good option for you. Of course, we had some concerns, but with so many other campers here, and learning more about the bugs and snakes here from Scott and Pat at the Albuquerque Bio Park, many of those concerns were put to rest and we slept quite well in the frigid desert nights. If you are going to camp, bring a good sleeping bag and an air mattress to get off the ground. It does hit the high 30s and low 40s here…..brrrr!
This area has so much to offer. There are several State Parks, the Coconino National Forest, the Red Rocks, a Ghost Town, Pueblo Ruins, and of course Downtown Sedona.
Downtown Sedona is a great place if you like to shop in expensive stores, have a nice meal out at a higher end restaurant, or like to be harassed as you walk down the street. It appears that most of the downtown area was bought out by Diamond International. If you have ever been on a cruise just about anywhere, you know what this means…..sell, sell, sell. Lots of high-end shops including jewelry shops, and people on every corner trying to offer you deals on activities if you listen to their timeshare spiel. It’s a shame because as you enter Sedona from the south, the amazing mountains are the first thing you see, and then there are cute local shops revolved around crystals, yoga, metaphysical wellness, etc. It was a really fun and quirky vibe until we got to the newer area. We did walk around downtown to see the various statues based on Western movies, and we stopped off for lunch, but other than that, we spent most of our time hiking among the beautiful red rocks.
One of the most popular hikes is Cathedral Rock. This formation sets itself apart because it is one of the five main vortices in the area. Unfortunately, parking is very limited at many of the trailheads, so after several attempts, we finally found parking elsewhere and decided to hike Bell Rock, which is also known for its strong vortex. The hike was only a couple of miles with a mild to moderate incline, depending on how far you go up. We opted to climb about half way up. The climb to the top gets more strenuous and involves rock scaling. Unfortunately, neither of us felt the vortex energy, however, how could anyone be in a bad mood with such amazing views??? When we finished Bell Rock, we did climb to the top of Baby Bell, which was a moderate hike involving some climbing. From here you can see almost all of the major formations in the area.
Sedona has so much to offer people who love the outdoors. The scenery is breathtaking, and the vibe still has that new age feeling to it, outside of the new downtown. I don’t know how much power the vortices have on people, but the nature there is truly healing. This was bucket list stop for us, and I hope we inspire you to add it to your list as well.
All photos were taken and are owned by Third Rock Explorations. Copyright Protected 2019.