Days 68 – 71 – Horseshoe Bend & Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon National Park

This entire trip most things have been planned as we go, we’ve had certain points picked out along the way but whether we do them or not is a whole other conversation. On our way from Santa Fe to our next campsite the original plan was to see Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. It turns out that Antelope Canyon requires reservations in advance, and it was quite a bit out of our price range for the trip. However, we will be back someday to experience it. Page, Arizona is really a beautiful area, even if you’re just driving through regardless. A few miles away from our campground Horseshoe Bend is right off of a main road, a bit hidden… But a ton of people know about it.

We had just stopped at the Four Corners Monument on the way to Page, so we weren’t really in the mood to deal with crowds. Originally the Four Corners wasn’t even on our list of things to do. We both wish it had stayed off of our list. It was $5 a person to get in, which is dramatically overpriced in my opinion (they don’t take National Parks Passes as payment) and you’ve got to wait in a line of people depending on how busy it is to get your photo taken. It was a weekend, so we waited a bit to get up to the photo but it wasn’t the big deal that everybody makes it out to be. Regardless, we took the photo and we stood in the two states we hadn’t been yet; Utah & Colorado.

Four Corners Monument

While we were at Big Bend we found out that Spring Break was on our tails. We were only camping in Page for one night, but the campground was extremely busy. We knew once we got to the Grand Canyon National Park the camping was going to be non-existent. We stopped at Horseshoe Bend the next morning and it was still just as busy as the night before but we walked down the path anyways. It was quite the amazing view, and there were many look-out points so we managed to find a gap to take some photos. Horseshoe Bend is only 5 miles from the start of the Grand Canyon National Park but it’s around 140 miles from the North and South Rim. It was a great view!

Horseshoe Bend

From Horseshoe Bend we made our way down to the Grand Canyon National Park. We managed to make it there before the visitor centers closed, however as we suspected all of the camping was filled to the brim. Apparently the Grand Canyon sees around 6 million people a year, that’s more than 16,000 people a day on average. That’s a lot of people. Thankfully, right outside of the South Entrance to the park there’s a ton of free camping for both tents and campers in the Kaibab National Forest, which has no amenities but there’s a gas station nearby if you need anything.

Grand Canyon National Park

The next day we got up to hike the South Kaibab Trail. We decided before we went that we were only going to go to the third lookout point. The Grand Canyon isn’t like most hiking situations that we’ve been in. When you’re hiking into a canyon what goes down, must come up… So if you go down all the way, you’ve got to come back up all the way. It was only 75 degrees the day we went down the canyon, but it felt a lot hotter because of the sun. We brought 4 liters of water for the two of us and we wished we had brought more. Whenever we go on hikes, we always bring lunch with us though so at least we had a pick-me-up!

Grand Canyon National Park

The next day we did the Rim Trail, which is a super easy walk across the rim of the canyon. We give the Grand Canyon major props in the handicap accessible trail and the availability of water at the top of the trails, but otherwise everything honestly felt like you were waiting in line at Disney. We really enjoyed the views, but maybe during Spring Break wasn’t the best time to visit a national park.

After our time in the Grand Canyon we drove back up to Page, Arizona to spend the night. It was pretty inexpensive and we got to take a shower (It was our 13th day camping in a row, we like showers ever 4 days at least). The next morning we got up at 5:30 AM to be apart of a lottery to hike into The Wave in Coyote Buttes in Utah. To protect the landscape they only allow 10 people a day to hike the trail to see the wave, unfortunately we didn’t make the lottery but at least we tried! Off to Zion National Park we went!

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