Day 4: Moab to Page (Goosenecks State Park, Monument Valley, Horseshoe Bend)
The drive from Moab to Page takes about 4 1/2 hours without stopping. However, factor in all of the stops and this is an all day affair. We got on the road early and made our way out of Moab.
About 2 hours into our drive, we came to Goosenecks State Park. There is a $5 fee to enter the park, but we used this as our lunch stop as there are plenty of picnic benches around, and we had a great view!
We continued our drive and soon we could see Monument Valley in the distance. There are plenty of spots to pull over and take the infamous “Forrest Gump” photo, as many people were doing. In fact, it was a bit difficult to get a shot with no one else in it!
Continuing along towards Page, we came across the Utah/Arizona border. Of course we had to stop and take a photo to commemorate the event!
Next up would be Monument Valley. Monument Valley is a Najavo Tribal Park with many interesting geological formations. It has been featured in many movies and there are plenty of tour options, but we decided to do the self-drive Tribal Park Loop. This 17 mile loop takes you through some of the park’s most interesting sites, and although not recommended, we took our mini-van through it and were totally fine (4 x 4 is typically recommended).
Our first stop would be the Visitor’s Center, which not only had maps and souvenirs, but also great views of the entire park below.
Next, we hopped in our van and drove to the Tribal Loop. The map from the Visitor’s Center points out different interesting formations and their history, and it’s very easy to follow. Keep an eye out for West Mitten Butte (named for it’s mitten-like shape)!
After a short while, we got to John Ford’s Point. This is a popular lookout point made famous by it’s multiple appearances in Western movies. This spot was definitely the most crowded, and there was a Native American dressed as a cowboy that you could take pictures with for $5. There were also lots of traditional souvenirs sold here.
After spending some time at John Ford’s Point, we headed back the way we came and exited the loop. Our next stop would be John Wayne’s Cabin, just a short drive away. There was some fun movie history, as well as Najavo history, in this little museum. It was also FREE, but donations were accepted. (Also a great spot to use the restroom!)
After using the restroom, it was onto Page, Arizona! In Page, we’d be staying at the Best Western View of Lake Powell, because honestly it was the cheapest option we could find (and had a great view)!
But before checking in, we arrived in Page just in time to see Horseshoe Bend at sunset! There is a 3/4 mile hike to reach this incredible viewpoint, but it is not very difficult. It is also a popular tourist destination, and there is no fence, so be careful! Every year there are multiple accidental deaths because people were trying to get the perfect selfie.
After watching the sun set, we checked into our hotel and then ventured out into Page for dinner. We happened upon Big John’s Texas BBQ, which was affordable, delicious and had live music! I’d definitely recommend this place if you like authentic bbq food.
Day 5: Bryce Canyon National Park
So full disclosure, I THOUGHT I booked Antelope Canyon on this day. When in fact, I had it booked the day after. If you are following this itinerary to a T, then book Antelope Canyon when you are in Page (this day). Unfortunately, once we got to the tour place and found out that we had booked for the day after, it was too late. The tour for that day was full and our tickets could not be rescheduled.
Instead, we opted to drive to Bryce Canyon National Park. It was about a 3 hour drive from Page to Bryce. Our first stop would be the Glen Canyon Dam. This is the dam that creates Lake Powell. Stop by the Visitor Center for information about the construction and history of the dam.
Once we arrived in Bryce Canyon, our first stop would be Bryce Point. This is a great overlook with 270 degrees of views! SO MANY HOODOOS! (Hoodoos are the rock formations found in these parks.) There are longer hikes here but we just took the short hike from the parking lot to the overlook.
Next, we drove to Inspiration Point. This is another short hike to a beautiful overlook!
Our next stop would be Sunset Point. Not only is this a beautiful lookout spot, but this is the starting and end point of one of the best trails in Bryce – Najavo Trail! Take a minute to take in the views from this spot and then if you’re feeling up for it, start descending into the hoodoos for a 1.4 mile loop hike (rated moderate in difficulty).
We finished our hike right about sunset time, so we watched the sun go down over the park with many other tourists. I then got to use my nighttime lens some more.
That night we stayed at America’s Best Value Inn and Suites – Bryce Canyon.
Day 6: Antelope Canyon
Due to my booking error, we had to drive BACK to Page for our Antelope Canyon tour. Obviously if you were doing this correctly, today would be the day for Bryce Canyon. However, the drive back was TOTALLY worth it! Antelope Canyon was one of my favorite destinations of the trip. There are lots of different options for tours (which are legally necessary to see this canyon), but we opted for the Upper Antelope Canyon tour.
While VERY crowded in the canyon, it was still a beautiful site to behold and you shouldn’t miss it!
After Antelope Canyon, we headed towards our Airbnb for the night, which was my absolute favorite lodging of the trip! It was a “glamping” experience, which included a king size bed in a tent. You were given a heater, chairs, firepit and wood, etc – everything you needed to be cozy for the night! The bathrooms were only porta potties, so if you NEED a real toilet, then this may not be the place for you. The Airbnb was located right outside of Zion National Park, about a 2 hour drive from Antelope Canyon.
We spent the rest of the night relaxing around the fire and stargazing. It was the perfect spot for it!
Day 7: Zion National Park
This morning we woke up and made our breakfast over the fire in the shadows of Zion National Park. Our plan would be to get to the park and do some of the many hikes offered. Some of the most famous hikes are Angel’s Landing and the Narrows. Knowing that I wanted to do these, we stopped by Zion Adventures for gear rental. It was November and the water can be FREEZING at this time (although gear rental is probably a good idea year-round).
PRO TIP: If you plan to hike the Narrows from the top down, you will need a permit. You can request one here.
Once we arrived in Zion, we walked to the Visitor’s Center and found out that Angel’s Landing was actually closed due to someone defecating on the trail! Gross! We hopped on the free mandatory shuttle bus (no personal vehicles are allowed in the park) and headed towards the Temple of Sinawava, the last stop on the shuttle but the start of the Narrows hike.
I would be doing this hike alone, while my mom and aunt rode the shuttle bus and explored the other stops. You can go as far as you like or not into the Narrows. I geared up and started my way on the “trail”. Note – there is no actual trail, you will be walking in the water (sometimes above your waist) the entire time.
I’m honestly not sure how far I went, but I was hiking for several hours. It was very beautiful, but at one point I slipped and my top half fell into the water and I was starting to get very cold, so I headed back.
After the Narrows, we drove 2.5 hours back to Las Vegas and checked into our hostel for the night, Hostel Cat. Since we were close by, we walked to the infamous Little White Chapel and poked around before heading to bed.