Sunday, February 15, 2015

Antelope Canyon

Off northward again, but this time towards the city of Paige and Antelope Canyon.  Our trusty AZ89 let us down at Bitter Springs, being inexplicably closed.  The only other road was a “scenic” route to Marble Canyon (as though we hadn’t already been blown away by the scenery at every turn on the regular roads!).   Undaunted, we pressed on, following the rosy Echo Cliffs to Marble Canyon , where there may indeed have been some marble, but we were so distracted by the bridge over the Colorado River (a rare phenomenon) that we didn’t really dwell on it.

That however, was the end of the road for us, so we retraced our route 50 miles to The Gap and took Route 20 to Paige.  The first tour operator we approached was sold out for the day (apparently, you need reservations, especially for the photograper’s tour.  The next guy still had space on his 3PM tour, so we signed up.  With over an hour to kill, we drove down to visit the Glenn Canyon Dam at the head of Lake Powell, crossing the Colorado again to do so!

Back to the tour headquarters in time for an Indian ring dance, then a short ride in four-wheel drive trucks to the jumping-off point and a three mile drive down a dry river bed covered in deep sand.  The walk through the canyon and back took about an hour and was truly spectacular.  One of a class of slot canyons, so named for their narrowness, this one served as part of the antelope migration route until the dam was built, thus the name.

Slot canyons start out as seismic cracks that are gradually widened by runoff rain water during monsoon season when short intense rainfalls occur and the desert is unable to absorb all the water.  Swirling through the slots with a burden of sand, the streams carve convoluted paths through the sandstone and fill the dry river beds on the other side.  Whatever the technical reasons, the results are gorgeous.

Then it was back to Old Flagstaff in search of an apparently defunct Greek restaurant.  We settled for a very good Thai one instead.

Entrance to canyon


  1. Impressive! I've seen photos of this canyon before but it must be something special to be there.