A Vegan's Guide to Visiting Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon
 

Although you may not have heard of Page, Arizona, I can almost guarantee you have seen countless photos of it. Home to Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon of swirling golden walls reaching the clear blue sky above and Horseshoe Bend, the famous, rainbow-hued incised meander of the Colorado River, Page's landmarks are unbelievable Instagram fodder. Regardless of your affinity for the 'gram, Page and its natural beauty are CERTAINLY worth a visit, but with a population of less than 8,000 residents, Page's food scene has definitely not started to cater to plant-based visitors quite yet. My husband, Justin, and I stopped in Page during our road trip around Arizona (also making stops at the Grand Canyon and Sedona, as well) and can offer some solid recommendations of where to get vegan eats and how to best navigate its landmarks.


Sunset at Horseshoe Bend

Driving after our morning stop in the Grand Canyon, we arrived in Page in the late afternoon and pretty much immediately headed to watch the sunset at Horseshoe Bend. I’m not sure if it was because we visited during a holiday weekend or what, but I have NEVER been to a place as rabidly packed with crazed humans than this place. I suspect social media has exponentially increased the popularity of the spot, but the itty bitty parking lot (and even overflow parking lot) are completely insufficient to support the seeming thousands of tourists vying for a parking spot in hopes of landing an Instagram-worthy pic. If and when you find a spot to park amongst the foaming-at-the-mouth masses, you’ll walk about 0.6 miles along an uphill, sandy trail to reach the Bend’s overlook. Once I reached the viewpoint, people were completely unaware of their space and at times, super pushy (which is not an adjective you want to use when you’re talking about standing on a 1,000 foot edge of a cliff) so please be super careful and mindful of your surroundings (some locals told us that several people had fallen to their deaths in recent months due to the insane crowds). All that being said, the canyon was completely gorgeous at sunset, turning these crazy shades of indigo and violet as the sun sank beneath the horizon. If you’re looking for any kind of serenity or are especially averse to falling off a cliff, I may recommend coming back to enjoy this spot as sunrise instead.


Finding a Vegan-Friendly Dinner in Page, Arizona

For dinner, we went to Fiesta Mexicana Restaurant (125 S Lake Powell Blvd, Page, AZ 86040; 11 am-10 pm Sunday through Thursday, 11 am- 11 pm Friday and Saturday), a brightly colored, festive eatery featuring the standard free chips and salsa and almost comically large portions. Justin and I split a veggie fajita dinner (ask for no cheese and no sour cream) and between the two of us (both with pretty hearty appetites), we were unable to finish the sizzling plate.  I’m a pretty big fan of hole-in-the-wall family Mexican restaurants and this one checks all the boxes- homey, cheerful decor; delicious and savory Tex-Mex favorites (other veganizable offerings include a veggie burrito, avocado salad, and black bean tostadas), and knock-your-socks-off strong margaritas. Tuckered out for the evening, we headed back to our Airbnb, but we had originally planned on grabbing a nightcap at The Blue, a coffee and wine bar that occasionally features live music and has amazing online reviews.


Breakfast Options in Page, Arizona

We had an Antelope Canyon Hidden Canyon kayaking tour that left at 7:30 in the morning, so there was pretty much no breakfast places open before we left. We packed a box of Clif Bars for this trip and we leaned heavily on them due to our early mornings and long drives between stops, including breakfast this day. While not the most exciting, there is a McDonalds (the fruit and maple oatmeal is vegan if you ask for it without cream) or Starbucks (the blueberry oatmeal and sprouted grain bagel are good options) if you have to pick up your breakfast on the go.


Kayaking Tour of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Antelope Canyon

Our tour group left from the Antelope Canyon launch ramp in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It costs $25 to enter the park (protip- since Grand Canyon entry cost $30, I picked up an annual America the Beautiful National Park pass for $80, which you can either buy online or pick up at most federal recreation sites, since I am planning on going to at least two to four other national parks within the next year), but the park is well-worth the expense, with its technicolor cliffs and big, beautiful Lake Powell. 

With the tour (about $90 per person for a 4-5 hour tour), we kayaked three miles on Lake Powell into Antelope Canyon, where the deep, crystal blue water continuously gets shallower and shallower until we eventually hit land. Hiking about a mile in the slot canyon, we watched the vibrant rust colored canyon walls twist and curve above. The portion of Antelope Canyon that you can kayak to is not part of the more famous Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon and while this portion of the canyon did not feature its more famous brother’s light beams, there was literally no one else in the canyon on our hike into the stunningly extraterrestrial terrain (unlike the other parts of Antelope Canyon, which a local described like “herding cattle”). Due to the crazy influx of tourism for these landmarks, more slot canyons have recently opened up for public tours- a nice couple we met at Horseshoe Bend went to Waterhole Canyon, which they reported to be full of light beams and free of other tourists (another option is Canyon X). Ultimately, if Horseshoe Bend is any reflection of the mania in Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon, I would 1000% recommend checking out one of the lesser-known spots instead and this kayaking tour was a super awesome and unique way to explore Antelope Canyon (to find out what you should bring along on your kayaking tour, check out this post). 


Vegan-Friendly Lunch Options in Page, Arizona

After kayaking six miles round trip and hiking a couple of miles, we were ready for lunch time. Unfortunately, our original plan, Blue Buddha (with tofu or veggie rice bowls) is closed on Sundays, so we decided to check out State 48 Tavern (614 N Navajo Dr, Page, AZ 86040; 6-11 am; 5-11 pm Monday through Thursday; 6-11 am; 5 pm-12 am Friday; 7-12 am Saturday; 11 am-11 pm Sunday), who both our tour guide and Airbnb host recommended. The restaurant has kind of an upscale hole-in-the-wall type vibe, with a plant-filled patio, an epic tap list, and at least one pretty yummy veg-friendly offering- an avocado and portobello sandwich. Unfortunately, they were out of mushrooms when we arrived and most of their other options contained some sort of animal products (including the rice! What!). Since we were starving (and options in Page are admittedly pretty limited), we tried to find a small meal to split until we made it to our next stop, the much-more vegan-friendly Flagstaff. We worked with our waitress (who was really helpful and took plenty of time to ask the kitchen questions on our behalf) to concoct an avocado taco plate with lots of pico and lime juice. I would recommend calling ahead of time to confirm that they have the makings of the avocado and portobello sandwich on hand prior to stopping in, but I was generally pretty happy that the staff was at least trying to accommodate our dietary needs. 


Drive Along the Vermillion Cliffs Scenic Highway

If you head out of Page, like us, to the south, make sure to drive along the Vermillion Cliffs Scenic Highway (Highway 89A)- although we had driven through much of the same landscape on our drive in, it was stuffed with just as much unbelievable eye candy, our mouths hanging open with awe the entire two-hour ride.


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If slightly lacking in the food department, Page more than makes up for it in its vast array of natural beauty; I would have gladly explored this Page's gorgeous landscapes for several more days if given the chance. Do you have any recommendations of things to see or eat in Page? Let me know in the comments below!