Author: Alicia Kentz
Posted on: January 30, 2017
They say it’s not the destination, but the journey that makes the trip worthwhile. If you’re like me, that’s not so true. Sometimes you just want to get to the destination and not deal with all the trouble of traveling. DETOURS of Arizona is the perfect option for people like me! For my two co-workers and me, this was the best way for to see and explore Antelope Canyon.
Being a native Arizonan, Antelope Canyon seemed more like a mythical land than an iconic landmark located in our great state. When I found out that DETOURS offered the tour, I jumped at the chance to finally check it out for myself. This tour makes its way to Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lee’s Ferry and Navajo Nation, all in a single action packed 15-hour day trip. DETOURS is the only tour company in the Phoenix Metro area that offers a day tour to this unique spot.
Call time starts bright and early in the morning at 5:30 a.m., so a good night’s rest is a must! DETOURS is exceptional with accommodating your needs. They offer a comfortable ride with knowledgeable tour guides that offer a wide range of information. They also pick up at most hotels in the Phoenix area and provide snacks and bottles of water throughout the day. You will make several pit stops as well, so don’t worry about your tummies grumbling!
The first leg of our trip started after DETOURS picked us up at a Tempe area hotel. After we gathered our fellow expeditioners, we were off to experience the beautiful Sonoran Desert! The drive up north, along the historic Route 66 and through Navajo Nation, was stunning. You’re able to catch the sunrise and see all of the best that Arizona has to offer. Who knew there was so much green in the desert! Coffee was a must after a very early start, so we stopped in scenic Camp Verde along the way. As we continued on our route, we made another stop at a Navajo Trading Post where we were able to explore and purchase Navajo gifts to bring home.
Our first official stop was to Antelope Canyon, located about 276 miles northeast from Phoenix. This beautiful slot canyon sits near the Arizona and Utah border in Navajo Nation, just east of Page, AZ. Here, we toured lower Antelope Canyon with a local Navajo guide. After a short walk from the visitor’s center, we arrived at the entrance to the canyon – a steep steel staircase that plunged deep down into the narrow slot. The canyon is made up of perfectly swirled sandstone, that has formed over hundreds of years due to water erosion. The light from above illuminates the sandstone making for a jaw-dropping background. Photo opportunities are endless and the guides know just the angles to get that Instagram worthy shot. The tour takes about 90 mins from start to finish, and is roughly one mile in length. It’s truly one of Arizona’s best kept secrets.
After 6 hours of non-stop fun, it was time for lunch. We took a quick drive to a cute local eatery in Page, called The Rivers End Café. From sandwiches to salads, they have you covered with delicious food that is perfect to fill you up. The café also includes a gift store where you can grab souvenirs to commemorate your Northern Arizona experience. After devouring our lunch, it was time for our next adventure at Horseshoe Bend.
Upon arriving at Horseshoe Bend, we walked down a one-mile trail that led us to a 360 degree bend in the Colorado River. Here, we took in all the mesmerizing panoramic views and rock formations. Thrill seekers can take part in going all the way to the edge of the cliff to get a once in a lifetime view.
To end our day of exploration, we stopped at Lee’s Ferry and Navajo Bridge. Lee’s Ferry is at the ground level of the Colorado River and is the only place where you can easily access the River from both sides. It marks the beginning of the Grand Canyon, and it used to be the only way to get across the Colorado River. Next, we arrived at Navajo Bridge, which is a steel arch bridge that crosses over Marble Canyon between Arizona and Utah. It is one of the only places where visitors can drive across the Colorado River in Arizona, including the North Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.
From there, we began our return trek back to Tempe. We traveled two hours south to Flagstaff for a quick dinner. After 15 hours and 628 miles later, we finally returned home to Tempe, AZ at approximately 9:30 p.m. Whether you are visiting Arizona for the first time or you have been a local for years, Antelope Canyon is something you will have to see to believe!
DETOURS offers a professionally guided experience to various day and multi-day tours. The hardest part of this experience will be choosing which tour to take. From trips to Antelope Canyon, Sedona, Grand Canyon, and the Apache Trail, it will be hard to pick just one. Traveling with DETOURS allows you to relax and enjoy the ride without the fuss of navigating, stopping for gas, or choosing the perfect radio station.
Check out Google Maps to see our entire trip from start to finish.
Plan your next vacation with the Tempe Visitor's Guide.