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August 15, 2014

Utah outdoors adventures: Camping at Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon

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Senior Airman GRACE LEE
56th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The sun rises over Lake Powell, a major vacation spot to about 2 million people each year.

One day my friends came up with a great idea—camping. The last time I recalled “camping” was during Vacation Bible School, which consisted of sleeping in a tent at our church’s playground for one night. As hesitant as I was I agreed, and the next thing I knew we were in the car on our way to Lake Powell.

Prior to our arrival, we stopped at the lower part of Antelope Canyon located 15 minutes east of Page, Arizona. We decided to go on Ken’s Guided Tour of the canyon. Known as “Hasdestwazi,” which means The Corkscrew in Navajo, lower Antelope Canyon is a great gathering spot for photographers and tourists from around the world. For those who don’t know, Antelope Canyon was formed over thousands of years by the forces of water and wind that eventually formed what we see as the canyon today.

After paying for the tour, we waited a little over 40 minutes before our tour began. It was less than a 10-minute walk before we got into the canyon. I was a bit skeptical since I imagined having to climb the canyon walls, but accessing the canyon floor was easy. There were built-in steel stairs with handrails available.

The canyon itself was better than what I saw in pictures, from how the sunlight and shadows created different colors on the canyon walls to how beautiful the textures and shapes of the walls were. Our tour guide was phenomenal with helping us set up our camera to take the best photos and in pointing out where the best shots were. We probably spent a good hour in the canyon, but it was the most fun I’d ever had in an outdoorsy setting.

There are no reservations needed to take the tour since a new tour starts every 30 minutes. Take note that it is cash only. It is $28 per person for adults and $20 per person for children. Tours begin at

8:30 a.m. and the last tour leaves at 4 p.m.

A popular view of Lower Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, which is a narrow canyon formed by water rushing through rock over time.

Once the tour was over, it took us about 20 minutes to reach Lake Powell. Located between the Utah and Arizona border, Lake Powell is a major vacation spot to nearly 2 million people every year.

The entrance fee was $15 and covered all of us in one vehicle. Finding a campsite at the lake was difficult since we went on a weekend, but we got lucky when a family just barbecuing for the day left. Also, driving wasn’t an easy task because the lake is surrounded by sand. Campers would need a truck or SUV with four-wheel drive if planning to camp by the lake.

So there we were, vehicle parked and unloading our gear, when a sandstorm began to emerge. Note to self, never attempt to setup a tent in a sandstorm. We waited in the car for the storm to die down before we successfully set up one of our tents. Subsequently, we pitched our second tent and ate a mean dinner of hamburgers and hotdogs before hitting the hay.

The next day it seemed like a different place altogether — clear skies and a beautiful view of the lake. We prepared our breakfast before pitching up a canopy. The rest of the day was spent swimming, tubing and sharing stories. Bathroom breaks weren’t so bad since there was a restroom within walking distance. The one part of camping I won’t miss is not taking any showers. This is where baby wipes came in handy. I later came to find out community showers were available near the entrance. Other than that my overall camping experience was great.

The lake’s walls are a historic record of the water levels over time. Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas Canyons Adventure boat tour included information about the lake’s history.

If you have enough people going, you can also rent houseboats to take around the lake, as well as jet skis or boats. There are also several boat tours available for those who’d like to explore more of what the lake has to offer. We went on the Lake Powell Resorts & Marinas Canyons Adventure tour, which lasted for a little over two hours. They gave great information about the history of the lake during the tour, as well as providing refreshments.

All in all, if I was to go camping at Lake Powell again, I would. It’s a great place for families and those who’d like to have fun with friends. The water was clean and not too cold to swim in, and the weather was perfect other than the sandstorm that is.




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