First off, I have to mention that I was inspired by Lucy, a friend on instagram, to do this adventure and if it weren't for her photos and blog post, it wouldn't have happened!
I love to travel and see different parts of the country with my dogs (and husband) by my side. Our latest adventure took us to Antelope Canyon in Arizona! And I want to share with you all our full experience and detail how we managed to bring our dogs along on our adventure.
Antelope Canyon is one of the most beautiful slot canyons in the world and it is also one of the most popular. Unfortunately, that means one of the only ways to see the canyon is to take a crowded guided tour (no dogs allowed). But what most people don't know (including me before reading Lucy's blog) is that the canyon extends out into Lake Powell and is only 1 of over 90 canyons you can visit in Glen Canyon National Recreation area. This means that, if you are up for it, you can bypass the guided tours and find your way into the canyon through Lake Powell--with your dogs! Below you'll find out just how we managed on our latest adventure!
Planning your trip
I made reservations ahead of time at the Courtyard Page at Lake Powell for September 2nd and September 4th with plans for us to camp on the shore of Lake Powell the night of September 3rd and kayak into Antelope Canyon on the 4th early in the morning. I also reserved a double xl kayak ahead of time to be sure everything was set up and ready for us to go before we arrived. We rented it for 2 days so that we could kayak to our camping spot the day before we planned to go into the canyon.
If you're going to Page AZ, be sure to also plan some time to go see Horseshoe Bend! We went at about 8am and it wasn't too crowded or hot--it is a must see!
Setting up camp
We arrived at the kayak rental place at about 1:30pm and they helped us suit up our car for the kayak before heading to Lake Powell. The park entrance fee to Lake Powell was about $30 but because we would be camping on the shore, there was no campsite fee.
We pulled into the marina to unload our kayak and camping gear and Nick kayaked with the gear out to a spot on the beach opposite the boat drop-off while I parked the car in the lot near the marina.
Lucy's blog post has a super helpful map that we used to locate our campsite.
The water from Lake Powell was so beautiful and clear. We even let the dogs drink from it--they're very used to drinking out of natural sources of water and have their Lepto vaccines. I wouldn't suggest drinking from it yourself, so be sure to overpack on water especially if you're going in the summer. When we were there, it was easily over 100 degrees during the hottest part of the day.
Check your weather ahead of time and keep checking it! Since it was bright and sunny when we went, we paid close attention to the dogs and made sure they stayed cool. Tucker doesn't like to swim, so I brought his cooling coat and made sure to keep it wet at all times and encourage him to lay in the shade from our tent.
After enjoying a wonderful day at the fresh water beach at Lake Powell, we grilled up some hotdogs on our portable grill and headed to bed for the night under the stars. We woke up at sunrise so that we could get a good head start to the canyon before it got too hot during the day.
Something important to note: There isn't any shade at the lake or in the canyon. So when you're planning to be on the water and not in it, plan to go early if its during the hotter months. When the sun is rising, if you're near the canyon walls, they will create a bit of shade until the sun rises completely.
Take advantage of these shady spots to take a water break while you're making your
way to or from the canyon.
Kayaking into the canyon
Once we loaded up our kayak with all of the essentials (plenty of water, snacks, and always a first aid kit), we made our way across the lake (which sometimes looks like a really wide river).
Leaving the marina, turn left hugging the bend. This open water is shared with speedboats and jet skis, so just be aware of your surroundings and prepare for the waves and choppy water they may send your way.
Eventually you will reach a wide open space veering to the left. This is the entrance to Antelope Canyon and it's really hard to miss! We thought it was going to be a much smaller turn, but it really is a huge opening that you won't miss. The water in the canyon is much calmer as speedboats should be following the enforced speed limit, but there will still be some passing by, so stay to the left to stay out of their way.
The further you kayak into the canyon, the smaller it becomes. Pretty soon you will reach a bend that only kayaks and paddle boards can access. We only saw a few other paddlers and mostly on our way back to shore after exploring the canyon. The time of year and the weather will greatly determine your ability to get into the canyon on foot. Once you get close, the water may start turning murky and brown (with a stinky smell) and it can be difficult to get through. Luckily, we were able to push through, but it's not uncommon for people to turn around and have to head back because of heavy rainfall making the thick mud difficult to get through. Overall it took us about an hour or a little over an hour to reach land inside the canyon. I've heard that it is about 3 miles, but with the two of us paddling it didn't seem long at all!
Into the canyon on foot
Once we saw land, we pulled our kayak up out of the water and set it to the side. We grabbed our packs and headed deeper into the canyon on foot. There is really nothing quite like it. What a sight! We were just amazed and could have explored for hours and hours. But, we had to keep a close eye on time because of how hot it can get in Arizona during the summer. Make sure that you save plenty of energy for your kayak back. We wanted to be back before noon to be sure that the sun wasn't directly above us while paddling, but depending on the time of year, just make sure you have enough daylight to make it back to your destination.
We spent probably about 1.5 hours on foot in the canyon before we came across some mud/clay. Unfortunately, the dogs managed to sink into it without us noticing and were caked with this stinky mud. The mud was like clay and once it started to dry we were concerned it would bake in the heat and turn hard on the dogs paws and legs. So we used a lot of our extra water to wash off as much as we could from their paws. If we hadn't done this, it could have been painful for them to walk until we got it off. We ended up rushing back to the kayak after this, but luckily we were able to capture plenty of great photos before the "incident".
Once we reached our kayak, we began our trek back and pulled over onto the side of the canyon wall as soon as we reached clean water. We rinsed the dogs off and jumped in for a swim. I HIGHLY recommend this! The water felt amazing and it was a great way to cool off after being in the sun.
It took us about 1.5 hours to get back, not really counting our pit stop for a nice swim and snack. I really think that we left at the perfect time because it never got too hot while we were kayaking.
Once we got back to camp, we spent some time swimming and playing with the dogs until it started to get a little too hot. We then decided to pack up and head back to the marina. And lucky for us, on our way back we met some kind folks who hauled all of our gear back to shore for us on their motor boat! After we returned our kayak, we spent the night at Courtyard Page at Lake Powell again and it was nice to take a shower, relax, and watch The Office after our fun adventures. :)
I hope you enjoyed this blog and that it might inspire you to have a new adventure with your pups! If you'd like to watch our VLOG on this entire trip, watch it on our youtube channel below:
Thanks for reading!