Lower Antelope Slot Canyon
Today was a day we looked upon with some trepidation. After months of building up the experience in our heads, we were finally taking a tour of the Antelope Slot Canyons. Could it possibly live up to expectations?
Having done some research ahead of time, we decided to see the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon which is said to not be as crowded as the upper and it’s also less expensive. Although there are tours which will pick you up in Page, we drove ourselves the 10 minutes or so out of town to the lower parking lot.
There are two companies offering tours of Lower Antelope Slot Canyon, Ken’s and Dixie Ellis’. Not only do they share the same parking area, but the pricing is the same as well: $25 per person plus an $8 per person Navajo land fee. We went with Ken’s only because there seemed to be fewer cars and buses parked in front. It should be noted that in the 2018, the price of tours at both companies is rising to $40 person, not including the $8 Navajo land fee. Talk about inflation!
As luck would have it, we were able to get on the very next tour (it was about 9:45) which only had six guests total. For those with longer waits, there is a staging area with some tables and chairs. Coffee, soft drinks and snacks are available and a full scale restaurant was under construction when we visited.
Our tour guide, a Navajo college student, was truly outstanding and we never felt crowded or rushed at all. In fact we only caught occasional glimpses of another group ahead of us. It was a little early in the day and fairly cloudy so we didn’t get the insane colors that full sunlight from above would provide, but it was still breathtaking.
Toadstool Hoodoos and Driving to Zion NP
Fully satisfied by our tour of the slot canyons, we set out for next destination: Springdale, Utah and Zion National Park. Since it didn’t seem like there were many good dining options between Page and Zion, we again stopped at Walmart to purchase some deli items to make a picnic. I have to confess that I detest Walmart and probably shop there once or twice per year at home. But in Page, we had visited twice in less than 24 hours!
Anyway, there was an intriguing, short hike on the way called Toadstool Hoodoos. While it was fun to stretch our legs a bit and we did see some hoodoos, there weren’t a ton of them like in photos. It appeared to me that some may have broken or fallen.
Canyon Overlook Trail Hike
Finally arriving at Zion National Park, we entered from the east gate which takes you on a stunning drive along the Zion – Mount Carmel Highway and leads to our first hike in the park, the Canyon Overlook Trail.
Canyon Overlook Trail is a really fun, satisfying hike with great views at the end. Highly recommended. The parking lot and trailhead is just before the entrance to the 1.1 mile long Zion – Mount Carmel Tunnel if you’re traveling east to west as we were.
After you exit through Zion’s south gate, there is a brewpub literally right outside the park boundary called Zion Canyon Brewpub. We were kind of on the fence about going because their beer list didn’t sound super appealing (read: low abv’s) but felt it our duty to drop in anyway.
It turns out that one of Utah’s bizarre liquor laws is that you have to order food to accompany drinks. Since we truly weren’t hungry at all, we left and went to the state liquor store up the road to buy some beers. You can also buy beer at grocery stores, but the abv is limited to 4.0% whereas the liquor store can sell the higher-octane stuff (and wine).