From the Grand Canyon, we headed north on Route 89 to Page, Arizona. Page, a small town of about 7,000 people on the Arizona-Utah border, is in close proximity to several must-see attractions: Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. While these sites are not as renowned as, say, the Grand Canyon or Zion National Park, they should not be missed on a trip to the region, especially because it doesn’t take too much time to thoroughly enjoy these unique land features.
We had reserved two nights at Lone Rock Campground, about 15 minutes north of Page over the Utah border. Lone Rock is part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, so when we pulled up to the ranger station, the ranger advised us that we purchase an annual National Parks pass. For $80, Jolyn and I would be able to access every National Park on our trip, each of which costs $30 on their own to enter. She even subtracted the price of the Grand Canyon pass, since we had already paid for it. (Additionally, we now have entry into any National Park/Monument/Recreation Area for a year! It’s definitely worth it if you are visiting several parks on one trip. For more information, go here.) Lone Rock is known as a “primitive campground,” meaning that there are no RV hookups, grills, or picnic tables – you’re on your own. Fortunately, they did offer rudimentary restrooms (one step up from a port-a-potty) and (cold) showers. But for $14 a night, it was hard to argue with the amenities.
After pulling into Lone Rock, you will see some tents and campers set up by Lake Powell. You will have to drive down to the shores of the lake, unless you want to leave your car in the parking lot and then walk about 1/4 mile through the sand to your campsite. While you will have to drive on the sand, if you turn immediately to the left towards the lake as soon as you pass the parking lot, the sand is nicely packed down so you can even take your two-wheel-drive car on it. Just drive carefully and keep an eye on the terrain ahead so as to make sure you are on solid sand. If you have a two-wheel-drive, don’t try to go too far down the beach after the parking lot, because the sand gets soft pretty quickly. We saw two cars get stuck a bit further down the beach.
At Lone Rock, you are immediately struck by the beauty of your surroundings. It’s truly a unique place to camp. If you’re from the northeast like us, it’s unlike any kind of camping you would do here. It combines beach camping with the fascinating scenery of the southwest. It’s really unbelievable. Soon, you forget that you have left behind the comforts of home, such as a kitchen, Wi-Fi, and a hot shower.
One of our favorite memories of the entire trip was sitting on the shores of Lake Powell and cooking on our campfire. We made steaks, veggies, and potatoes, washing it down with some local beer. At about 10pm, we saw the most incredible stars we had ever seen in our life at Lone Rock. The sky was filled with stars, and strands of the Milky Way streaked across the sky. With almost zero light pollution, the sky was lit up from horizon to horizon. As soon as we were wondering where the moon was, we saw a giant “harvest moon” peeking over the horizon of the lake and rising higher and higher. It was easily the most remarkable night sky we had ever experienced, and unfortunately, none of the pictures we took could possibly do it justice.