Utah, Where We've Been

Horseshoe Bend, Buckskin Gulch & Antelope Slot Canyon

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Horseshoe Bend

The Colorado River cuts deep into the walls of the canyon near the beginning of the Grand Canyon in Page, Arizona. This canyon system is a great example of how rivers wind themselves around the landscape instead of taking the easier, straight path. At some point in the future, the water will have chiseled away at the other end of the bend long enough to connect the upstream and downstream river. At which point, that will turn Horseshoe Bend into an oxbow lake. But for now it carries the water of the Colorado River downstream to the Grand Canyon.



Buckskin Gulch via Wire Pass Trail

Buckskin Gulch is one of the larger slot canyons in Utah and is accessed by the Wire Pass Trailhead. To get there, we had to drive on an unmaintained gravel road for about 8 miles, going 15-20mph. If you thought the suspension in a Ram 3500 was rough, try this road for a new perspective.

The trail through Wire Pass is a little under 2 miles long. It’s along a mostly flat, sandy path until we got to the first slot canyon. This slot is just wide enough to walk through. Looking up is the most amazing sight as we were able to just see slivers of the sky overhead and ahead of us, only walls of rock.

There’s a large, sturdy ladder in this slot because of a large drop off that would be impassable without it. Making it out of the slot led us to the intersection of Buckskin Gulch. A huge crevasse was carved out of the canyon wall whose scale is unrealized without a person standing in it.

A little farther down, at the corner of the intersection, are petroglyphs carved into the wall. It’s unknown how old they are or who carved them. They’re pictures of what appear to be rams and possibly a river or flash flood that would have run through this area. Perhaps they tell a story of what happened here many years ago.

We walked into Buckskin Gulch, a slightly wider, but much longer slot canyon. There had been a ladder perched between the walls of the canyon, but now all that remains are a few pieces at the top, nearly 20 feet high. The rest of the ladder had been swept away in a flash flood that entered the canyon some time ago.

Before embarking on a hike through a slot canyon, be sure to check the weather report first! Even if you have sunny skies where you’ll be hiking, water can travel down the slot from another area it has been raining, and cause a flash flood event.


Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is the epitome of slot canyons in southern Utah. The way that the water has swept through this canyon has carved it into a beautiful form of artwork. 

The canyon is on Navajo land, so the only way it can be accessed is through a tour. Our guide was a Navajo Indian who has been doing these tours for many years. As such, he knew exactly where to take the best pictures and pointed out for sand forms and faces that can be seen in the shapes of the rock. 

At the entrance is the location that the award winning photograph of Antelope Canyon was taken. During the summer, at high noon, the light streams into the canyon at this one location to form a beam of light that hits the sandy floor. 

Near the middle of the canyon, just enough light peaks through to make the shape of a heart. This, as he called it, was the heart of the antelope.

At another location, our guide perched himself in what he called the “angels wings.” He pulled out his flute and played a native melody that echoed throughout the chambers. 

He also pointed out the location where one of the Windows 7 wallpaper was taken.

I didn’t tour the Lower Antelope Canyon, but the main difference between it and the Upper Antelope Canyon is the narrowness of the walls at the opening and floor of the canyon. The Upper Antelope Canyon has a much wider base and narrower top which allows a small amount of light to flow through to the bottom. It creates a more captivating photographic picture. The Lower Antelope Canyon, while also located underground, is wider at the top and very narrow along the bottom. This allows a lot of light to flow into the canyon.

While the tour itself was great, it felt a little rushed. There were a lot of tour groups scheduled to come in and only brief moments were given to each chamber, so trying to take a picture without someone else’s feet, arms, or head showing was a bit of a challenge. If the tour was better spaced out, it would have been five star, but as it was, visiting Antelope Canyon is a must if you’re in the area.


Boondocking in Big Water, Utah

Solitude. The name of the model of the fifth wheel and our location in Big Water, Utah. Nothing but the vast, open landscape for miles surrounding us. When God told Abraham to count the stars, the night sky on these dark nights was just as Abraham would have seen it. 

Big Water is a tiny town within the Utah border, about 25 minutes north of Page, Arizona. There are several boondocking sites near here, but this one was ideal for its proximity to Page and Buckskin Gulch. Easy access and plenty of room for big rigs.

Starlink was again very fast. Verizon was also good.

Would absolutely, without a doubt, stay here again.