Beyond Mountains was captured and written by FiftyTwo45 Travel & Lifestyle Influencer, DABITO.
We decided to do a fun canyon crawl in Arizona, and to kick off our adventure, we stopped by the Grand Canyon! From Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend, I was told that Grand Canyon is like Disneyland. It’s their peak season. Luckily, I did some research beforehand and found an alternate entrance, which is the east entrance (aka Desert View), that’s lesser used via Lonely Planet. We took highway 89 up from Flagstaff which was about 1hr 15mins. I’m so glad I found this tip because it wasn’t crowded at all when we went. Once you’re in Grand Canyon, it’s a string of amazing vista points where you can easily turn in, park and wander freely. Our first stop was Desert View. My favorite was Navajo Point pictured above which is the stop after Desert View. It was basically deserted so we sat there for awhile to take in the immensity of this natural wonder. There was a layer of purple haze mixed in with scattering clouds that made it even more magical. We were reminded how teeny tiny we were. It’s incredible how the Grand Canyon was formed over 5 million years ago from the Colorado River, and with the help of wind, cutting and carving through it. It stretches 270 miles long and 80 miles deep. Each intricate rock layer and color reveals Earth’s history.
The next stop on our canyon crawl is the breathtaking Antelope Canyon. It’s located on Navajo Nation land in Page, Arizona. The canyon is separated into two separate sections – the upper and lower. Both have their unique features and when I couldn’t pick one, I decided to visit both! They’re across the street from each other so why not?! The drive was about 2hr and 30min from Flagstaff. Antelope Canyon can only be visited through guided tours. Because of flash floods, it can be very dangerous, even if there aren’t any rain in the area. I made reservations ahead of time, thinking that was the only way to get in but when I got there, it looks like they accept walk-ins as well. This was most definitely the highlight of our trip. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé Bighánílíní, which means, “The place where water runs through rocks.” This is the more popular canyon of the two because it’s at ground level and requires no climbing. The shape of upper canyon is more like a cone so the famous light beam are more common here. There are only five tours that will take visitors on this beautiful journey. We chose the Antelope Canyon Navajo Tour, but you can also check out the Antelope Canyon Tour, Grand Circle Adventures, the Overland Canyon Tour and the Tse Bighanilini Tour. Depending on your tour time, you will get to witness the light beams in the canyon. Our tour started at 9am and we didn’t get a chance to spot any. It’s $40 a person, plus another $8 for entrance fee. The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdestwazi or “spiral rock arches.” There’s only one tour servicing this canyon and it’s Ken’s tours. So, I know everyone’s favorite is the upper but I loved Lower Antelope Canyon more. I loved that we got to climb into the canyon to experience it. And by climb, I really mean, just walking up and down a few stairs. I saw 5 year olds doing it, so it’s nothing crazy. And I wasn’t really expecting any light beams here but guess what, we got some! And it only cost $20 for the regular tour. They also offer a photography tour guide for $42.
Alright, we have reached the last stop of our canyon crawl. After strolling through the gorgeous Antelope Canyon, we checked out the stunning Horseshoe Bend. This is just too much beauty for one person for one day. Horseshoe bend is about 15 minutes from Antelope Canyon, so definitely add it to your must-see list. Once you arrive at the parking lot, there’s a short trail that leads you to the overlook. Down below is the Colorado River gleaming in emerald and carving through the canyon in the shape of a magnificent horseshoe.