Angel's Landing in Antelope Canyon
The more I travel, the less significant I feel comparing to beauty and magic of our planet. Every place I go reminds of how lucky I am to be entitled to observe this beauty that was shaped through billion year lasting processes. And there are places, like Zion National Park and Antelope Canyon, which change you in a very peculiar way - the beauty of those places overwhelms you and you never same again.
Las Vegas – Valley of fire state park - zion national park - glen canyon dam - lower antelope canyon - bryce canyon national park - las vegas
Our plane landed in McCarran International Airport early morning on May, 26th. The heat of Nevada immediately struck us. When you live in San Francisco, you can expect the same weather throughout the year with slight fluctuations. It was nice to feel the warmth on the skin and in the air and, later, when we were driving to our first destination, observation of temperature rising from low-70s to mid-90s was really blowing our mind.
Valley of Fire State Park
Before unleashing the full potential of our journey to the canyons, narrows, heights, and sandstone, we decided to stop by Valley of Fire State Park. It lies hour away from Las Vegas and provides a great introduction to new landscapes and formation. Since Angel's Landing was the main destination for the day, we decided to go for only one hike and just stop by other attractions to admire them for a brief moment.
The park admission costs $10 and you can easily spend a whole day there. However, if you are like us and have to rush to Zion, we highly suggest doing The Fire Wave and driving to the natural arch. It provides you with a beautiful scenery.
Zion National Park
The next destination on our journey was Angel's Landing in Zion National Park. After hiking Half Dome up last year in Yosemite, we felt obliged to try it too – a lot of people were comparing the scenery (wrong). The adventure started on approaching the park - the parking lot was full and you had to park in Springdale, UT, many miles away from the entrance. We found a parking spot and estimate how long would it take us to get to the park's entrance. Google Maps showed around 5 miles and we, very upset, started to walk. At this moment we felt very lucky because a nice couple picked us up and gave us a ride to a shuttle bus stop! Bingo!
The bus shuttle took us to The Grotto shuttle stop where we got water re-fills and started the hike. Besides the beauty of nature, the first thing really impresses you is the crowd of people. It just blows your mind off watching HOW MANY PEOPLE are there on the trail. A bit skeptical about the hike, we proceeded.
The real challenge is not a fear of heights or the chains or the inevitable fatalism - it is the other people. There are too many people. And if you fall, it's not because it was too challenging - the reason would be somebody knocked you down.
When you get to the top, your breath is taken away. This is an unbelievable feeling of being on the top of the world, which would for sure make your heart skip the beat. By the way, there would be at least three moments on your hike when you would ask people - is it the end? And they would laugh and say - no, it is not.
Glen Canyon Dam
We had some time to kill next day before the Antelope Canyon and decided to have a look at the Glen Canyon Dam. You can have a guided tour for $5 that will take you on a dam and to the very bottom. I really enjoyed the experience – because I am a nerd. But I highly recommend checking it out if you have some time. It provides interesting perspective on Lake Powell and you can also learn more about energy generation, which is kinda awesome.
After that we were just driving around, stopped by Navajo Bridge and enjoyed the beautiful nature outside.
Lower Antelope Canyon
On going to Lower Antelope Canyon, make sure to follow the instructions on the ticket. Yes, the ticket. You cannot just go there and see the beauty. I mean, you sure can, but your chances in the season will be approaching the infinite zero with a light speed. And if your ticket says to check-in one hour before the stated time - make sure to be there one hour before the tour departure. This is really tricky.
Otherwise, get ready for the adventure. Lower Antelope Canyon is really beautiful. The guide will nicely show you how to take photos with the best angle and lightning and which built-in iOS filter to use. You will be climbing, bending over, making your way through the narrow paths, and it makes it a great experience. What doesn't - the crowds of tourists. So make sure you found the sweet spot in the back of the group, or ahead the group, to take photos without other people.
Horseshoe Bend is another very photogenic place in Page, AZ. After a short hike, you can get to the amazing view of the river. And we highly recommend going there during the sunset. Well, if you want to enjoy the moment and feel connection with the universe. Some complain about terrible sun spoiling the photos. We do believe - screw photos, if you can have your breath taken away.
Bryce Canyon National Park
And in the end we drove to Bryce Canyon National park. And my ADHD really kicks in on writing this blog. So let's make it short and sweet - take your car to drive around the main attraction, it will take you approximately 2 hours. Do short or long hikes - there are plenty of them. The hike next to The Sunrise Point was out favorite one. Go back to the visitor center, park your car, and take shuttle to see the Bryce Canyon itself, the part which gave its name to the park. Aaaand done - get ready for 4 hours drive and get to LV to come back home.