The Wonders of Slot Canyons

There are so many beautiful and amazing natural wonders around the world that sometimes I forget we have beautiful and amazing natural wonders right here in the United States too. (Cue the Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corp playing America the Beautiful.) Last month, Bob and I were fortunate enough to visit one such natural wonder, the Slot Canyons of Horseshoe Bend, on the Navajo Reservation just outside of Page, Arizona. IMG_6377We were on a long weekend getaway with Bob’s sister and her husband, hiking in both Zion and Bryce National Parks—two more natural wonders that we’ll cover in a future newsletter. But we had heard great things about the slot canyons in the area, and took an opportunity to explore.

There are several majestic slot canyons in the Bryce/Zion area and, most, if not all, require a guided tour or permit from the Navajo Reservation. We chose Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours because a) they have the best reviews on Trip Advisor, b) they have their own private slot canyon, and c) they are Navajo and female owned. Our tour had ten people plus a guide, and we were the only 11 people in the canyon.

Formed by the wear and tear of water and wind rushing through rock, IMG_6383slot canyons are much deeper than they are wide, and their color variation is a site to behold. Our tour left from the town of Page, in an open air jeep that easily sat our group of 10. From Page, we drove about three miles onto the Navajo Reservation, before turning off onto a private dirt road. About six bumpy and fun miles later, we arrived at Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon. Our guide Nick first explained the history of both the Canyon and the family who owns the land that it is on. He also educated us on the area’s flora and fauna and even offered a few IMG_6365excellent tips for slot canyon iPhone photography. It wasn’t long though before we were hiking along the narrow, sandy canyon floor, with its walls reaching high above, and exploring its beautiful colors, shapes, and cracks and crevices.

After our slot canyon experience, Nick drove us to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook (again, in a private location, with only our group of 11) for a sunset view IMG_6441of the Colorado River 1000 feet below. Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe shaped section of the river, just five miles from the beginning of Grand Canyon National Park. Our cliffside view, with the sun setting in the distance, a few clouds dotting the sky, and the river bend below, was quite a spectacular.

Our tour lasted almost four hours, and cost $120 each. Other popular tours, including the Antelope Slot Canyon, are less expensive and while equally beautiful, they are also significantly more populated. We were delighted with our experience, and felt like the cost was well worth it.

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