Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley

This post is going to be a photoessay on our impromptu trip to Arizona and Las Vegas 😄. Impromptu trips almost always turns out to be the best ones, don't you think? In this post I will be sharing only the pics from our trip to Arizona and not Vegas, as I have already shared pics of Vegas on my blog from our previous trip few years back.

In the month of February there was a long weekend, hubby had 4 days off and the same weekend was also my birthday. I had no special plans for my birthday or for the long weekend. All I had in my head was spending some quality time with hubs or maybe go out for dinner some place decent and maybe catch up with friends. To my surprise out of nowhere he suggested that we go somewhere instead of staying home. It had been a long time since we did a short trip. Our last vacation was in June 2016 to Alaska with friends (you can read all about it here) and since then we had not been to any place. Both of us were really missing all the fun of traveling and exploring. So this was the right time and opportunity to plan one and hence we didn't think twice. That is how the same night we found ourselves sitting on the sofa with our laptops planning our 4 day trip to Arizona and Las Vegas. Since all this was last moment, the flight tickets turned out to be the expensive part of the trip. The other drawback of impromptu vacation planning, the WEATHER. Although Arizona was not that cold as compared to what we have here in the East Coast, we were certainly not expecting any rains. Unfortunately the weather for the entire weekend predicted rain showers and clouds. Now this was something that we had no control on. With flight tickets and accommodations all booked, we could only pray that the weather would change its course.

Anyhow in the end this trip turned out to be all that we hoped for. The weather gods were kind enough to us.

We landed on a Thursday night at Phoenix, Arizona, stayed the night at a hotel near the airport and headed to Page, Arizona the next morning. Next morning we went to the airport to pickup the rental car that we had booked and from there it was a 4 hr drive to Page, Arizona. We both decided that each of us will drive for 2 hrs. As we were nearing Page it started raining. Our excitement slowly turned into disappointment because of the weather.

On our way to Page
As soon as we reached Page it was lunch time. Grabbed a quick lunch at John's Texas BBQ (a must try at Page, loved every bit of it) and then we headed to our hotel, La Quinta to freshen up. By this time to our delight the rain had started to dwindle and stopped completely after a while.

My Birthday Lunch :P
Finally the rain stopped and it was time to explore. The horseshoe bend was only around 2 - 2.5 miles drive from the hotel and we decided to spend the evening there. It was a very cloudy day hence no chance of witnessing the sunset. Nevertheless we didn't let the weather spoil our mood. The horseshoe bend overlook was about a mile (roundtrip) from the parking spot. The walk or hike if you may say so is fairly easy, however we would suggest you wear good hiking or sports shoes. Parents who are visiting with kids please be very very careful because the overlook doesn't have any form of rails to hold onto.

On our way to the overlook
Although we went on an off season, we were pretty surprised to see many tourists. So if you are planning to visit this place in the summer be prepared to come across hoards of tourists. Nevertheless the sight was certainly beautiful and one of a kind, just like the pictures you come across on Instagram. We spent a good 1 - 1 1/2 hr at this spot. Later we headed for dinner, went back to the hotel booked tours for Upper and Lower Antelope canyons for the next morning and called it a day.

The Horseshoe Bend

Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons:

The next morning after having light breakfast, we drove to the office of the tour company from where we had to take the bus for Upper Antelope Canyon. Once we reached there, we collected our tickets and waited for the bus. Just so that you know, there are no restrooms near the canyons so use the ones available at the tour office before you hop onto to the bus.

For the Upper Antelope Canyon there are basically two tours to choose from one is the regular scenic tour and the other is a photography tour. We are no professional photographers, so we did the regular scenic tour. You cannot go in alone to visit the canyons. The canyons can be visited exclusively through guided tours only as the canyons can flood very easily during monsoon season and this can be very dangerous. The tour operators that we chose for Upper Antelope Canyon was Navajo Tours.

It was a cloudy day and the sun was nowhere to be seen. Although the Upper Antelope Canyon was beautiful, it was very very dark the whole time and hence we hardly got any good pictures. Sunshine or not, the whole experience was totally worth it. On the other hand the lighting at the Lower Antelope Canyon was much more better and as per our opinion the Lower Antelope was even more beautiful that the Upper. Its simply hard to believe that these beautiful structures and its mesmerizing grooves were formed primarily by erosion of the sandstone as a result of flash flooding. These canyons are simply nature at its best. Take a look at some of the pictures and you can decide for yourselves.

Tip: Cover you cameras with your scarves or bandanas to avoid the crevices of the lenses to be filled with sand at the end of the day. 

Some pics of the Upper Antelope Canyon:

Lower Antelope Canyon:

Even for a very cloudy day, the Lower Antelope Canyon was much more brighter and clearer as compared to the Upper. It is a little longer and narrower in some spots. Unlike Upper Antelope Canyon, this one requires climbing up and down a few flight of stairs. I think overall its fairly easy but it may be a tad bit difficult for people with knee problems or who find climbing a few flight of stairs daunting. The guide we had was very nice. She gave us a lot of info and once inside the guides will also tell you how to adjust the settings of your camera as well as your phone camera. In addition to that they will also help you click pictures of yourselves. The tour operators that we chose for this tour was Dixie Ellis'.

Exiting the Lower Antelope Canyon. Awesome experience.
Monument Valley, Utah:

We finished the Lower Antelope Canyon tour by afternoon and since we had some more time left for the day we decided to check out Monument Valley in Utah which was about 2 hrs from Paige, Arizona. Once we reached Monument Valley we did the Monument Valley Loop Drive which consists of 11 stops/overlooks. The loop drive is pretty much straight forward and all the stops/overlooks are numbered. It is the best and the quickest way to explore this spectacular place. The drive along the loop can get a bit rough in some areas but nothing that a regular car cannot withstand. Although a 4x4 would be much more easy I would say.

Monument Valley is one of the most popular and a must see place in the west coast of USA. Many Hollywood movie scenes were shot at this stunning place. The sand dunes and buttes are super huge and you will only realize its sheer size once you see this place for yourself. It was a very surreal experience. I would highly recommend this place. A must see indeed.

I hope you enjoyed this post. If you have any questions or just want to say hi, please feel free to leave a comment below.

Labels: , , , , , , ,