Can ya believe these canyons?

We zig-zagged from California through Nevada and headed back to Arizona. Outside of the small town of Page is the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area which includes Lake Powell, Lone Rock and Horseshoe Bend. The Navajo Nation borders this area and there are great mountains, buttes, mesas and Antelope Canyon to visit, too.

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, created by water rushing through the sandstone during flash floods. The water carves a winding path through the stone, forming round and waving walls marked with delicate lines. Unlike the Grand Canyon, which is extremely wide (18 miles), a slot canyon is much deeper than it is wide. 

Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo Nation land and it is considered to be sacred. The canyon is divided into an upper and lower sections. We toured the lower canyon. The lower Antelope Canyon is a half mile long and 120 feet deep. A Navajo guided tour is the only way to visit the canyon. Our tour lasted about an hour and it was breathtaking. Each section revealed more beautiful eroded sandstone colored by the sun.Our guide took our camera, had us pose and instructed us to run behind her and stop on the opposite side of the small room; she had used the panoramic function on the phone:Exiting the canyon, the ground does not reveal the beauty hidden below.Only 10 miles from Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend is not located on Navajo land. The National Park service uses an image of horseshoe bend as its symbol for Glen Canyon. Horseshoe Bend is a 270-degree horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River. 

It is a short hike on sandy ground to reach the view of the hidden bend and it is pretty cool.It is possible to boat around the Bend and to walk on the center rock…but not from the location we entered.

Next, we selected a boat tour to get a look at Lake Powell, the dam and several of the canyons from the water. Once again, we were struck with the size and beauty of the canyons.

Lake Powell was created as a reservoir for the southwest with a dam of the Colorado River in Page, AZ. It holds enough water to supply Phoenix, San Diego and Los Angeles through drought conditions. Before the dam was built, more than 500 feet of Glen Canyon was exposed, now, less 200 feet of canyon walls are visible. Our excursion took us through Antelope Canyons narrow serpentine for several miles. This would eventually lead to the slot canyon we toured earlier. We also passed through more winding waters of the Navajo Canyon where the walls tower 600 feet above the water. The walls of Navajo Sandstone are mostly red and burnt orange rocks. The rocks are striped with black manganese and other minerals leaving unique designs. It is also called desert varnish or Navajo Tapestry. There are lots of water activities and an incredible amount of house boats for rent. Though not usually mentioned in lists of amazing National Parks, the unique beauty found here makes this a ‘must see’.

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