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Need help with itinerary - stops between Page and Bryce, difficulty levels of Upper Level in Antelope Canyon/Bryce trails, etc.

Need help with itinerary - stops between Page and Bryce, difficulty levels of Upper Level in Antelope Canyon/Bryce trails, etc.

Aug 9th, 2007, 01:34 PM
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Need help with itinerary - stops between Page and Bryce, difficulty levels of Upper Level in Antelope Canyon/Bryce trails, etc.

Hello everyone -

First of all, THANK YOU to all the wonderful people here. What an incerdible resource and group of people you all are. We are trying to figure out our itinerary and timing for our trip to Arizona. I am sure that I will be back here for more questions but the sticking part in our planning process right now is whether or not we should make a side trip to Bryce on our way from Page to Las Vegas, and whether or not we need to stay overnight there for that.

Our plan is to go to GC South Rim and leave through the East Entrance, passing through the Desert View route, pass through Cameron , then go north to Page with a stop at Antelope Canyon and from Page drive the 4 hours to Las Vegas.

First question is, there's 4 of us in our party consisting of 3 generations - me and my husband(40 yo), our 6 year old daughter and 67 yo mother-in-law. We are all fairly healthy but are not heavy duty hikers and can probably only manage fairly easy, gradual elevation/descent trails. Is the Upper Canyon in Antelope Canyon fairly doable? I suppose we will not be able to do the Lower Canyon because of the ladder climmy daughter and mother in law will have difficulty doing that).

Second question is, what is the ease/difficulty level of the trails in Bryce? If they are fairly manageable given what I mentioned, we might stay overnight to give us more time to do some of the trails - suggestions please? If if it's not, are there drives and look out points that we can do to see the views, and is it worth the additional 3 hour detour that we will be adding to our trip?

Thirdly, how is the drive between Page and Bryce and Bryce to Las Vegas, and the drive from Page to Las Vegas? Is it pretty isolated or are there places to stop along the way to break up the trip to just stretch our legs and take a break?

Thank you so much!
Aug 9th, 2007, 05:57 PM
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Aug 9th, 2007, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 861
Not sure about Page and Antelope Canyon, but Bryce is well worth a detour and an overnight. It is a unique landscape and simply gorgeous. There are several easy hikes including the Rim Trail and lots of great overlooks along the scenic drive.
If you aren't able to get to Antelope Canyon, then I'm not sure Page has much else that's interesting. I'd skip Page. Spend a night at Bryce and drive to LV thru Zion.
sharondi is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 07:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 1,322
Upper Antelope Canyon is really flat--you're walking on sandy soil through the eroded rocks. Anyone can do that walk.

Are you aware that you can't just walk into the canyon by yourself? You can either drive to the gate and see if an Indian guide is available, or you can book a tour in Page, which I recommend.

If you have a chance, take a tour of the dam at Page. You get to see a lot more there than at Hoover Dam. Be sure to lock everything in your trunk--you can't even take a purse inside.

Horseshoe Bend, just outside of town, is a popular viewing and photographic site. Have a good trip!
happytourist is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 07:30 PM
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Yup. Upper Antelope Canyon is completely flat and 100-200 yards long. I think your 6-year old might enjoy Lower Antelope Canyon. Last time I was there, a father had two kids with him about the same age walking around the canyon.

Bryce is a nice stop, and the views are excellent at sunrise. The trail along the rim is flat, but everything else is a up and down with some steepness. A better stop would be Zion, I think for hiking. There are a number of level trails, including the beginning of the Narrows walk. It's also half way between Page and Vegas, so it's a good break.
lifelist is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 07:40 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 182
As HappyTourist says, Antelope Canyon is flat & sandy. The tours are slow and take their time for photos. The ride out is rough & dusty so protect yourself and camera. It is a worthwhile experience so take lots of photos. With digital, set you camera on 'Night Scenes' and lean against the walls to steady yourself. If you book a tour ahead and the weather causes a cancellation, you may not get your money back but get credit for another tour. Don't imagine you will have any problem either booking a tour once there or driving out to the gate and getting on a tour. Bryce trails can be tiring and begin at about 8,000 ft. Recommend Queens Garden trail as fairly easy. When you walk down, you have to come back up. Take your time and take water. If you go from Bryce to Page, I recommend rte 89 alt (the southern route). Great scenery and a nice drive. Stop at Navajo Bridge for some Indian Jewelry (old bridge) and a short detour to Lee's Landing to see some huge balanced rocks and you can drive down to the Colorado River below Glen Canyon Dam.
LarryT is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 08:13 PM
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thanks to all who have responded...

Lifelist - what is the difference between the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon - correct me if I am wrong, are both what they call slot canyons and so when you are in it, has a similar look, except geographically, one is on a higher elevation than the other as the name suggests?

Aug 9th, 2007, 10:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189
We didn't do the Lower Antelope Slots Canyon, but they are just across the road from each other. The Upper Antelope Slots canyon is the one you see in most pictures: http://www.utahtea.lithium.com/pages...lopecanyon.htm

We couldn't do the lower canyon because of my BIL's bad knees.

When my oldest was only 3 1/2 he did the Queen's Garden hike in Bryce. I don't know what kind of shape your 67 year old MIL is in, but the elevation of 8,000 feet and hiking out of the canyon might be hard on her. There are good trails along the canyon rim that make for great views.

There are going to be some long stretchs between towns and some without cell service, but there's plenty of traffic if you break down. Kanab might be a place to stop. There's an old west town that might be fun to stop.

Grand Canyon to Page is 137 miles and a little under 3 hours driving time.

Page to Bryce is 155 miles and a little over 3 hours diving time.

Bryce to Las Vegas via Zion National Park (even if you don't have time to stop...you should drive this route) is 245 miles and about 5 hours drive.

I agree with lifelist that Zion National Park might be the better choice for a stop since it's right on the way to Las Vegas from Page, AZ. The two mile Riverside Walk is wheel chair accessible and a very nice hike.

Also, I see that Alt 89 was mentioned...this will be a 40 miles out of your way if you go to Page. It's also more mountain scenery instead of the southwestern desert...which may or may not appeal to you. It's also a slower drive if you get stuck behind a motorhome on the curvey parts of the road.


utahtea is offline  
Aug 9th, 2007, 10:21 PM
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Utahtea -

THANK YOU for your response - I was hoping that you will see my post and give input as well. I'm a silent fan seeing that you post and impart a lot of great advise, as with a lot of others also. Did you know that you have some quotes in the Fodors 2007 Arizona and Grand Canyon guide? I did see your pics that you kindly shared with the group and it was what basically sold us to making it a point to make a stop there - I've never even had an idea of Antelope Canyon until I saw your pics and post - I did see pics of those in a book but was not labeled and didn't know where and what it was but thought it was so beautiful and finally put the picture and the name of the place together from your album.

Now I really need to figure out the timing for this. As I kept reading a lot of the posts about the trails in Bryce, I'm convinced that my MIL might have difficulty, not even to mention that I'm afraid that I will too(inexcusable : ), with the high elevation and the heat. Will it still be as dramatic from the rim trail? I know this is subjective but was curious anyway.

Thanks once again!

Aug 10th, 2007, 03:02 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,070
I was in Bryce, Zion, Page (actually not Page but Horseshoe Bend & Upper Antelope Canyon), GC (South Rim) and Swedona in early June.

I'm 63 years old and only do "easy".

I was in Bryce for 2 days and hiked Navajo Loop/Queens Garden the first days.

The second day I did the same thing and squeezed Peek-A-Boo trail in between. I was tired and it was long but worth it. I was in shape.

While people of all ages seemed to be walking these trails it will have to be your call about conditioning. There's nothing like going down into the formations but....

My concern is for the MIL and not the daughter. The trails are not difficult and they're wide.

While not as spectacular as hiking down walking along the rim does give you an idea of what's there. I would walk the rim around Sunset Point or Bryce Point. At sunset point you are closer to some named formation such as Thor's Hammer that right in front of you.

If I remember correctly (someone please help confirm this), the first 100 yards or so going down Navajo loop is a smooth pathway that really isn't very steep at all.

What I would do is have all of you walk the start and take MIL back up to sit for an hour or so while the rest go down.

Just going down that little bit will get her in among the hoodoos and you can look up at Thor's hammer. At that point she can decide.

On the other hand, if she's in pretty good shape, these trails and not difficult, just the slopes. They're smooth and relatively wide.

I realize I'm waffling here but as we get older every year could make a difference and physical condition of individuals could be very different. At worse she could just walk slowly. Nobody will push her to walk faster.

= = = = =
Don't miss Antelope Canyon. Very easy level walk. Just amazing.

Horseshoe Bend is also amazing but it's a hot 3/4 mile walk each way.
= = = = =
Zion is beautiful but there are many beautiful places. Bryce is one of a kind. However, as has been mentioned, Bryce is out of your way going from Page to Las Vegas.

Riverside Walk in Zion is beautiful and very easy to walk.

The drive from Bryce to Las Vegas (thru Zion) is close to 5 hours and from Bryce to Zion is about 1.5 hours.

Depending on your timing you could leave Bryce, park you car in Zion and take the shuttle thru the park to Riverside Walk. The Walk is about an hour and well worth it. You can then shuttle back and continue the drive.
This sounds rushed but really it isn't.
= = = =
Oh yes, in case you're not aware. Your MIL can buy a lifetime Senior pass to the National Parks for $10. I believe it's good for the entire car of up to 4 people.
= = = =
You can see my trip photos at:


Select the Bryce, Zion trip on the lower right side of the page.
Myer is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 07:45 AM
Join Date: Mar 2005
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Upper Antelope has been fairly well described. Lower Antelope is a slot canyon, like Upper, but instead of walking through the bottom, you start at the top and descend into the canyon. The ladders are generally only for short sections at the beginning, but the canyon descends from the beginning to the end, so there's a higher climb a the end. It's hard to say what it's like exactly since the canyon changes every year because of the flash floods that come through. This is true of both canyons - I'm always surprised at how different each canyon looks every time I go. The formation of the lower canyon is different than upper since it does get narrower for longer stretches and there are some interesting rock formations.

Lower Antelope is certainly more adventurous, but not a lot more. You'll also have the place mainly to yourself since it doesn't get all the visitors that Upper gets, and nobody guides the Lower canyon.
lifelist is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 07:52 AM
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<As I kept reading a lot of the posts about the trails in Bryce, I'm convinced that my MIL might have difficulty, not even to mention that I'm afraid that I will too(inexcusable : ), with the high elevation and the heat.>

Maybe I've missed this, but when are you going?

Doubtful the heat will be an issue in Bryce unless you're going mid-summer and there's a heat wave. It doesn't usually get real hot there.
Aug 10th, 2007, 09:42 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,070
I agree with Weasel. Bryce is a lot cooler than Zion due to the altitude.

When compared to Zion, I found Queens Garden, Navajo Loop and Peek-A-Boo trains smoother and wider. Unless you try hard you won't be hanging over a cliff. There's nobody pushing you so if you're winded due to altitude, stop, rest, drink some water and have a snack. Then continue.

I mentioned my web site photos above. If you look thru them you'll come to a sign for the Queens Garden trail.

Look on the left side of the photo and you'll see a couple hiking up the hill. Compare you and you MIL to those people. They didn't seem to have much trouble.

Altitude (8,000ft) doesn't cause a physical restriction. You just get winded a lot easier. Stop, rest and continue.

It may also help to increase physical exertion for a month before the trip.
Myer is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 02:52 PM
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<Maybe I've missed this, but when are you going?

Doubtful the heat will be an issue in Bryce unless you're going mid-summer and there's a heat wave. It doesn't usually get real hot there.?>

We'll be going next Friday. I've read and heard that in July and August, it gets very hot in AZ and glad to hear that it doesn't get that hot up there. Is it the same case in GC? I checked the weather and it looks like it will be raining for the whole week in GC until just the day before we arrive and am now wondering what happens if it rains continuously like that for several days and how that might affect our plans so we could plan accordingly.

The statement I made correlating the high altitude and how that might affect our ability to manage the trails is actually more bourne out of ignorance more than anything else and am hoping for some clarification - As I was reading a lot of the posts, altitude (and heat) were mentioned several times as factors to consider and not sure exactly why so if what I inferred is a mistaken assumption, would love to hear clarification. I do remember though that when we drove up Mt Haleakala in Maui that we all felt very very dizzy, disoriented, sleepy and tired and actually had to stop for an hour and felt very very disoriented. I haven't had a chance to compare Haleakala's elevation to GC and Bryce.

Myer mentioned something about conditioning, can you clarify that a bit more?

Myer - Thank you for responding to my post. I have already seen your pics of Bryce and Antelope and a bunch of others when I read your excellent trip report and it was your pics of Bryce and Antelope(as well as utahtea's) that made us consider those places - we were just planning on going to GC from Sedona and the surrounding areas and then head on directly to Vegas but when I followed your link and saw the pics, I finally found out the name of those places that I've only seen and admired in pictures in books in the past but since they were not labeled, didn't know where they were, and just assumed that it would take a very long hike to go to those places which is pretty much out for us. After reading a little bit more that they might actually be doable, started seriously considering it.

I saw who I would presume is you on one of the pics and I do have to say that you are probably a much more fit 63 year old than me, my husband and MIL combined so I'm not sure using you as a basis of how well we could do this would be a good idea : ) I saw in your previous posts that you prepared yourself for these hikes and am afraid that our exercise is only limited to running after my daughter : )

After reading a more detailed description of the trails in this post though, and pointing me to the picture of the couple doing the Queens Garden trail, I think have allayed most of our concerns.

WI am more encouraged. Thanks!
Aug 10th, 2007, 04:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,070
Ok. I'll try to answer.

My normal excercise regimen includes a stationary bike for 30 minutes 3x a week. Also, some light weights. Exactly a month before the trip I added the following 3x a week: I alternated running and walking (100 - 200 yards of each alternating) about a half mile to our development clubhouse, used the StairMaster starting with 5 minutes and upped that 1 minute each day to 15 minutes, and then the running/walking thing back. I only did this for the last 4 weeks before the trip. The running part wasn't fun.

It's not important that you do more or less than I did. If you get into slightly better shape it will help. I'm sure many people that I met on the hikes did no preparation. I ended up walking all day every day. Motrin probably helped too (ha!!).

Mt Haleakala is over 10,000 in elevation. Bryce Canyon is just over 8,000 ft. That makes a difference. You shouldn't feel anything at 8,000 feet until you exert yourself.

There is less oxygen in the air and your body can't get enough in. Drink some water every 20-30 minutes and have a snack. If you rest whenever you get winded you'll be fine.

Zion & GC and Sedona are about 4,000 in elevation. The thinner air probably affects you somewhat but you probably won't even notice it. Zion will be quite a bit warmer.

I'm used to being out in the warm sub since I live in South Florida. I wore a wide brimmed hat and used #50 lotion. I've never used more than #23 before. The sun in elevation is much stronger than you'd expect.

One last thing about the hikes. The Riverside Walk in Zion is really beautifull; streams, rock, high mountains and all. I also walked past some deer a few times. It's deep in the canyon so unless it's mid-day and you try hard, you'll spend a lot of your walking time in shade.

In Bryce Queens Garden is not very hard. The most that can happen is you'll find the walk back out (In Bryce you start at the top and go down then climb back up to get out) tiring. Just stop and rest every 50 yards if you have to. It's not like you're pulling yourself out with ropes.

Oh yes. Of the observation points. In my opinion the best are Bryce, Sunset (where Navajo Loop starts), Sunrise (where Queens Garden Start and Natural Bridge. I wouldn't bother going past the natural bridge as the other look the same.

And have fun!!!!
Myer is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I won't even try to fix all of my typos.

I just want to mention that my English really is better than that last post.
Myer is offline  
Aug 10th, 2007, 06:54 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 182
I was at Bryce in early June. The Queens Garden & Navajo Loops were not connected due to washouts. Queens Garden is much easier and gentle. Navajo Loop is a bear at the start which is also the finish as you have to come back up a pretty steep trail. Do recommend Queens Garden as well as the rim lookouts. I'm pushing 67 and not in good shape. Just took my time and enjoyed it all.
LarryT is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 12:03 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,189

Thank you for all the compliments! Yes, I've seen my name in print in both the Utah and Arizona Fodor's travel guides. I've even purchased the Utah guide! Wouldn't it be nice if Fodor's gave the people they quote free guides...HINT...HINT!

There is just so much to do and see in this area, but rest asure, you will enjoy which ever place you decide to go.

Isolated Thunderstorms are normal in this area this time of the year. There's a chance you won't even see a storm and if you do, it will probably come and go in a few hours. Just don't go hiking if a thunderstorm is approaching. Sometimes you don't know. The last time we did the Navajo - Queen's garden loop it was a sunny day and by the time we go to the bottom a storm started coming in. As we were heading up (faster than we planned) we could hear thunder and see lighting...now you know why we were going faster than planned. We hit the rim and it started to pour...we were lucky! They come and go that fast! Sometimes they will linger for hours at a time.

To Myer..I just hope I'm as fit as you are when I reach that age. DH and I do try and get out and walk more before we go on a trip.

utahtea is offline  
Aug 11th, 2007, 04:43 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I was also there at the start of June.

Actually, Navajo Loop isn't washed out. They had a rock slide within the past year. People were in the area but nobody was hurt.

At this time it's not a Loop. You can go down the steep portion for a 1/4 mile until the blockage at "Wall Street". Then you're supposed to come back up. I spoke with some people who said they climbed over the rocks. The plan is to cover over the rockes and make it passable that way.

Going down the other side of the loop you can go to the back-side of the rock slide for a 1/4 miled, you can add in Peek-A-Boo loop for another 3 miles (I did that on my second day) and/or meet Queens Garden and go back up that way.

I didn't really notice the difference between Navajo Loop and Queens Garden.

The description have it that Navajo Loop is steeper so most people go down Navajo Loop and up Queens Garden.

About weather. During my first evening in bryce I head that a storm was expected the next day (June 6th). When I woke up the roads looked a bit wet. i drove over to Inspiration Point and it began to drizzle for a couple of minutes. Then it got thicker and turn to a dusting of snow.

Someone forgot to tell them it was June. It melted by 9AM and gor progressively clearer as the day went on.

That day was a "jeans" days as opposed to the first day that was a "shorts" days.
Myer is offline  
Aug 13th, 2007, 02:50 PM
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Thank you for all your very helpful replies.

utahtea, regarding thunderstorms, where do you get an advisory on this? We are hoping to go to Antelope Canyon and I read somewhere that if there is any rain within 30 miles of the area, (I think it was even you who posted that very valuable info), they cancel the tours. Is there a hotline we can call - granted cell phones will work : )
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