Alternative areas that may remain accessible to vehicular travel and dont require a permit

The diversity and options that can be found in this part of the world are almost unimaginable.  All of the following areas offer incredible opportunities to see nature at is best!

  • Antelope Canyon

  • Horseshoe Bend Overlook

  • Lake Powell

  • Alstrom Point

  • Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon (formerly known as “Secret Canyon”)

  • Antelope Canyon X

  • Mountain Sheep Canyon

  • Rattlesnake Canyon

  • Wind Pebble Canyon

  • Ram’s Head Canyon

  • White Pocket


  • The “New” Wave

  • Stud Horse Point

  • Thousand Pockets

  • Grand Canyon Toroweap Overlook

  • Mystical Slot Canyon

  • Peek-A-Boo Canyon

  • The “White” Wave

  • Zion National Park

  • Bryce Canyon

10 Responses

  1. Hi Alley,

    Greetings from London, UK. What a fantastic job you have done with this wonderfully informative site!

    I wonder if it would be possible to tap into the benefit of your experience? My lovely wife and I will be staying in Page in mid October and would love to see some of this amazing area. The problems being, of course we won’t be getting a permit, but also we will be in a rented Mustang.

    Do you have any advice as to anywhere we could visit without permits and in a low clearance vehicle please? Given the time we would arrive, I’d say we could fit in a hike of around 5 miles but a hike isn’t essential. We’re more interested in good spots for scenery / landscape photography. I’ve done a fair bit of research already and almost everything I’ve found so far is either too long a hike and or requires permits and a high clearance vehicle. Our trip is wiping out our funds somewhat so that has ruled out paying for a tour also.

    We will hit Horseshoe Bend for sunrise the next morning. And we don’t really have any interest in playing sardines in Antelope Canyon!

    So far, all I can come up with is doing the Cathedral Wash Trail, which looks to be a pretty good option but if you have any other advice of places I could look into that would be very much appreciated.

    Best regards,


    1. Hi Mes,
      I know you’ve already traveled, but your inquiry might be of benefit to other travelers to the area!
      In a low-clearance vehicle, you will be somewhat limited as to where you can go, but you’ll have no shortage of beautiful sights to visit.
      If you’re up for a 5+ mile hike, you might try hiking for a ways on the Page, AZ, Rim View Trail. This relatively easy trail encircles Manson Mesa, where the original town site of Page was built on. This trail offers great views of landmarks such as Navajo Mountain, Tower Butte, the Vermillion Cliffs, and Lake Powell, but no access to the lake itself. The full length of the trail is 10 miles, but you don’t have to commit to all that. There are several “spur” trails off the main trail that will get you back to populated areas in relatively short order.
      Depending on conditions at the time of your visit, you might also visit The “New” Wave, aka the Beehives, which are located across from the turn-off to the Southern entrance of Lake Powell Resort on US89. The road into this area is unpaved, but regularly graded. However, if any storms have occurred in the days leading up to your visit, you might take a pass on this area as this could render the access road impassable to low-clearance vehicles.
      Another good hike located on US89 between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, is the Paria Rimrocks/Toadstool Hoodoos Trail. The parking lot, located near mile marker 19, is paved, you would then walk in from there.
      You might also drive down to Lees Ferry, where you can actually walk right up to the banks of the Colorado River. Time permitting, you might also take a walk around the Lonely Dell Ranch Historic Site and save room for a meal at Cliff Dweller’s Lodge Restaurant.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays to all!
      Alley 🙂

  2. We are from overseas and we intend to drive from Las Vegas to Zion (stay one night only to walk the Narrows the next day), then stay in Kanab so that we can visit: The Wave, Grand Staircase-Escalante, Marble Canyon, Paria Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon, Goblin Valley State Park, and Arches National Park. Do you have any comments on this route?

    I have just started to do research for my August/September trip, so please pardon my ignorance and possibly silly questions. My friends and I are not very sporty, we don’t prefer to do some serious hiking. Last time, we snowshoed at Zion for 2 hours and that was difficult enough for us. Do you think we can drive a do some short walk (say, 1 hour or so) to appreciate the Wave?

    1. Hi Ava,
      I took your two questions and integrated them, and I’m gonna work a bit backwards if that’s OK.
      RE: The Wave — it’s a 6+ mile out-and-back walk, so, no, there’s no way to just walk “an hour or so” to see/appreciate it. The biggest obstacle to seeing The Wave, however, is the very strict permit requirement. Only 20 people per day are allowed out there: 10 spots are give by online lottery 4 months in advance, then another 10 are distributed by walk-in lottery the day prior to when you wish to hike at the Grand Staircase Escalante Visitors Center in Kanab. The process is very competitive, so statistically, the chances of you getting a permit are very slim to begin with.
      Another area in the Vermillion Cliffs/Paria Cayon Wilderness area that is absolutely stunning and doesn’t require a lot of walking, or a permit, is White Pocket. The hardest part of accessing that area is the drive: a lot of sand, occasional boulders, a 4WD vehicle is definitely required, along with experience in driving that kind of terrain. For your safety and enjoyment, going with a licensed tour outfitter is the best way to go. There are several in Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, but a couple we know personally are Paria Outpost & Outfitters and Vermillion Adventures.
      As for the rest of your plan, using Kanab, UT, as a base camp from which to explore the parks and monuments out here is OK for the most part, except when you get to Arches/Canyonlands and Goblin Valley. It takes 5 hours — one way — to drive from Kanab, UT, to Moab, UT, the gateway community for Arches/Canyonlands. Goblin Valley State Park can be visited en route. If you wanted to hit Bryce on the way, you could do that, too, as well as Capitol Reef, for that matter. At that point, it’s best to break up the drive about half-way. Torrey, UT, would be a good candidate for an overnight, or Fruita, or Hanksville. Then you need at least 3-4 days to do Moab, UT, justice. If you’re flying out of Las Vegas after your vacation is over, you might want to do this part of the trip first, so you don’t have such a long drive at the end of your trip, when you’re tired.

      Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell can be visited in one day’s time as a day trip out of Kanab, UT. It takes 1 hour and change, each way, to drive to Page, AZ. You need reservations to tour Antelope Canyon. If you’re wanting to tour both Antelope Canyon and do a short boat tour on Lake Powell, consider booking both tours as “bundle” for optimal convenience. If you wanted to, you could return to Kanab via Marble Canyon and make it a nice “loop” drive.
      With Grand Staircase-Escalante, that area is huge, and you actually have views of that area all around you traveling between Kanab and Page, and then as you travel between Kanab and Moab. Lower Calf Creek Falls is a nice hike you might do, although it is 5.5 miles total.
      The biggest over-arching concern with using Kanab, UT, as a base camp to make day trips to the various attractions out here is to keep an eye on the time. You need to ensure that you get back to Kanab before sunset, which occurs at ~8:30 PM, Kanab time. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the US due to lack of ambient lighting on local roads, and the possible presence of deer, elk, free range cattle, and even wild horses. The stretch of road between Page, AZ, and Kanab, UT, is especially notorious for nighttime collisions with large wildlife, which will ruin a vacation in a hot second. HOWEVER — you must also keep in mind that Arizona DOES NOT observe Daylight Savings Time, whereas Utah DOES observe it. This means that Kanab, UT, will be one hour “ahead” of Page, AZ, so you’d “gain” an hour passing from Kanab to Page, then “lose” it again as you travel from Page to Kanab.
      Oh, one more thing: if you wish to see The Wave, but don’t get a hiking permit and/or aren’t prepared to walk 6+ miles, you might consider chartering an airplane or helicopter over it out of Kanab, UT, or Page, AZ.
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  3. Alley – So appreciate your posts and information. I am trying to plan a bday trip for my husband from 2/20 -2/22 between the Grand Canyon, Sedona and now Page with all the awesome options I am seeing.
    I planned a helicopter trip over the Grand Canyon for the morning of 2/20 and think I would like to head to Page after that. With the late afternoon of 2/20 arriving into Page.
    What would you recommend as the best spots to visit and the timing of hitting those spots. We are pretty flexible for 2/20 afternoon and all day 2/21 & 2/22.

    1. Hello Jane, and thank you for visiting our site!
      The trip from Grand Canyon South Rim to Page, AZ, is ~150 miles, and takes about 2.5 hours – if you drive direct and don’t make any stops. That rarely happens as the drive is very scenic and you’ll no doubt find yourself stopping to take pictures at the 6+ named overlooks of the Grand Canyon you’ll pass on the way to Desert View Point, the Little Colorado River Overlook, the Cameron Trading Post, Chinle formation/”badlands” views, and The “Cut” Overlook… just to name a few 😉 In light of all this, 3.5-4 hours ends up being a more accurate figure.
      However, you want to be sure to time any drives you make so that you’re at your destination prior to sunset. Nighttime driving is strongly discouraged in this part of the US due to lack of ambient lighting on local roadways, plus the possible presence of deer, elk, coyotes, free range cattle, and other wildlife. Daylength in February is relatively short: sunrise occurs at about 7:15 AM, and sunset takes place shortly after 6:00 PM.
      Timing and parking permitting, you could hit the Horseshoe Bend Overlook on the way into Page. It’s located a few miles South of town, so it’s right on your way. However, this is a very popular spot for sunset, so you might find the parking lot already full. If that’s the case, plan on going back the next morning, just after sunrise. The views are just as pretty, and there tends to be fewer people to contend with.
      The next day, plan on touring Antelope Canyon. If you can grab a mid-day spot, that’s generally regarded as the best time for lighting in the canyon. If these spots are already full, which is entirely possible at this point, then go whenever there’s space available that fits your schedule. If you’d rather not mess with all that, you might also consider touring one of several “alternate” slot canyons that are just as beautiful, but far less crowded.
      As for other things you might do, water-based activities such as Lake Powell Boat Tours and the Glen Canyon Float Trip are on seasonal hiatus. If you have another full day to work with, I’d suggest doing a tour to White Pocket or maybe Alstrom Point. White Pocket is an area in the Vermilion Cliffs/Paria Canyon Wilderness renowned for its amazing rock formations, and the fact that you don’t need a permit (yet, knock on wood) to visit it. Tours to this area are offered by several companies. The ones we’re most familiar with are Paria Outpost & Outfitters (located between Page, AZ and Kanab, UT) and Vermilion Adventures, which is a division of Roger Ekis’ Antelope Canyon Tours, located in Page, AZ. For Alstrom Point, we recommend Alstrom Point Tours, a division of Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours, also located in Page, AZ.
      These are just a few suggestions; the possibilities are almost endless! Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, AZ
      Hope that helps! Best wishes for safe travels, and a Happy Holiday Season 🙂

  4. On the above list I have already been to Bryce Canyon and Zion. Are there any of the others you can recommend that does not entail too much walking? My days of doing that are over but I would like to see more sites. I would just rather drive to these places and get out and walk some if I have to.

    1. Hello Sindi,
      Fortunately you’ll find lots of parks and other attractions in the Southwest where you can keep exertion to a minimum if needed. The most notable entrant: Grand Canyon South Rim. It is very easy to tour using your own vehicle on the East Rim/Desert View Drive and the free shuttles out to the Hermit’s Rest/West Rim overlooks. Sedona and the surrounding area can also be enjoyed by car, with the backcountry areas accessible by jeep tour. In Page, AZ, Upper Antelope Canyon is one of the most, if not THE most accessible attraction in the area at just 100 yards in length, with a flat trail out and back. Horseshoe Bend is another must-do attraction in the Page, AZ, area, but the walk can be a challenge for some. If you think you might fit into this category, there are alternate means of seeing Horseshoe Bend, such as flying over it, or taking a shuttle to the Navajo Reservation entrance, that will eliminate much, if not all of the need for strenuous walking.
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

      1. A friend told me about a canyon near the wave that’s not so crowded and every bit as spectacular. Do you know what and where that might be?

        1. Hi Mary Rose,
          That sounds like either Wire Pass Canyon or Buckskin Gulch. You access either one of these via the House Rock Valley Road. However, these are slot canyons, so not comparable in terms of scenery to Coyote Buttes North (where The Wave is located), but still beautiful in their own right.
          The most popular alternative to The Wave at the present time is White Pocket. This is an area that, by some miracle, doesn’t require a permit to visit, and doesn’t require a lot of intensive hiking to explore. The hardest part of exploring this area is getting there: the road into it is very sandy, and shouldn’t be attempted in a rental car. Fortunately, there are a number of licensed tour guides in Page, AZ, or Kanab, UT, who can get you to White Pocket in comfort and safety. For more information, visit Hire A Guide The companies we ourselves are most familiar with on a personal basis are Paria Outpost & Outfitters and Dreamland Safari Tours.
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

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