Hiking Page and the Surrounding Area

Page Rim Trail

Page’s Rim Trail offers excellent outdoor enjoyment for both residents of Page and visitors alike. The trail follows the perimeter of the Manson Mesa upon which the City of Page is built, along an approximately 12-mile course (see map trail outline in red). Hiking distance can be shortened to approximately 10 miles by bypassing Potato Hill (see map trail outline in green). The views are incredible: to the west are the Vermilion Cliffs and Glen Canyon Dam, to the north Antelope Island and the Kaiparowits Plateau, and to the east Navajo Mountain, Tower Butte, and Antelope Canyon.

The Rim Trail is mostly a level, flat hike with just a few short grades. There is no shade anywhere along the trail, so during summer months it is best to hike in the morning or evening. Two liters of water are necessary for summer hikes, one liter for winter hikes. The Rim Trail may be accessed from several places within Page: the North Navajo trailhead, North Lake Powell Blvd below the Best Western hotel, Date Street at North Navajo, and behind the Page Public Library.

This guide uses hiking times rather than miles. Hiking times are based upon a 4-mile per hour pace. For ease of access for Page visitors, this guide begins at North Lake Powell Blvd behind the McDonalds and proceeds clockwise around Page.

 North Lake Powell Blvd to the (West) North Navajo Trailhead Sign – 19 minutes

  • Trail starts just behind the McDonalds then follows two switchbacks to the rim of the mesa. Please stay on the trail and do not cut across the switchbacks. Cutting switchbacks leads to rapid erosion.

(West) North Navajo Trailhead Sign Around Potato Hill to the (East) North Navajo Trailhead Sign – 30 minutes

  • Note that people on ORVs have damaged the trail on the east side of Potato Hill; watch closely for the hiking trail.

North Navajo Trailhead Sign to Navajo Generating Station Interpretive Panel – 23 minutes

  • When you come to forks in the trail, stay left. Great views through this section and easy access to the rim of Glen Canyon. As of this writing, you are more than 115 feet above Lake Powell. Do not attempt to cliff-dive, you will not survive. If hiking down to the rim, be careful not to hike through the microbiotic soils.

Navajo Generating Station Interpretive Panel to Metal Foot Bridge – 45 minutes

  • Antelope Canyon is in view to your left. You can get down to the rim of Antelope Canyon, but you can’t get into the canyon from here. Also, Antelope Canyon is in Navajo Tribal Land; you should not hike there without permission.

Metal Foot Bridge to Coppermine Road – 10 minutes

  • This area has really been trashed by people on ORVs. Navigate as best you can toward the Vermilion Cliffs—you will intersect the trail again.

Coppermine Road to Page Public Library – 15 minutes

  • This is a confusing road crossing. Angle toward the mesa edge and you will find the trail again.

Page Public Library to North Lake Powell Blvd – 29 minutes

  • The trail passes behind and below the library. Cross South Lake Powell Blvd. You are paralleling the golf course all the way. In the summer, there are green water coolers along the golf cart path

Trail Notes by Kirk W. Robinson, Summer 2004

Wiregrass Canyon

Many of the more recognized hikes in Glen Canyon NRA take the visitor through side canyons and slots in the pink-hued Navajo Sandstone of the early to mid Jurassic period (see geology chart on the Natural History page). But northwest of Page, Arizona, and still within Glen Canyon NRA, the geology changes to the more neutrally colored sandstones of the late Jurassic-early Cretaceous periods.

Wiregrass Canyon was formed by rainwater draining toward Wahweap Bay. While it was formed in the same manner as canyons and slots in the Navajo Sandstone—flash floods surging toward a low point—Wiregrass Canyon was carved through Entrada Sandstone. Many canyon hikes are similar, but different geologies offer different colors and formations and make fascinating comparisons.

To find Wiregrass Canyon, travel 14.3 miles north of the Carl Hayden Visitor Center on Hwy 89 to the town of Bigwater (formerly Glen Canyon City), Utah. Turn right on Ethan Allen Road in Bigwater and proceed 4.6 miles to the Wiregrass Canyon sign. There is a small parking area on the right, and the entrance to the canyon is at the north end of the parking area. You will navigate toward the east, dropping down through Dakota Sandstone and Morrison Formation layers. Two side canyons will merge with the main canyon just before you reach a large pour-over. Take note so that you do not go up the wrong canyon on your way out. If you do take the wrong canyon out, you will still reach the road, just ¼ to ½ mile from where you parked. To get around the pour-over you will bear right, following cairns and a trail that lead back into the canyon.

Proceeding down the canyon, the canyon walls become steeper, penetrating the Entrada Sandstone layer. Within a mile, the canyon will neck down into a narrow slot. As of this writing (June, 2004) you can negotiate the pour-overs in this slot. If the pour-overs prove to be unnavigable, bear left before the slot and follow the cairns out of the canyon, along the rim, then back in to the canyon past the slot. Beyond the slot, you will come to the first of two natural bridges where floodwaters have broken through from a side canyon. This side canyon ultimately rejoins Wiregrass Canyon further on.

For the next 1 ½ to 2 miles, the canyon widens to expose fascinating geologic formations along the rim—and several side canyons—before coming to the second natural bridge. At full pool, Lake Powell would fill to just below this bridge. Today, Lake Powell is approximately 2 more miles away. Shade from the overhanging canyon walls and the blast of air through the bridge make this a great place to rest before turning back or going on.

Through and past the second bridge, Wiregrass Canyon widens and becomes shallower. Russian Thistle chokes the last ½ mile or so of the canyon and is difficult to hike through. If you attempt to hike to the water, be aware of the sediments near the lake. These sediments act like quicksand and will feel firm at first. The impact of your footsteps can liquefy the sediments and you can find yourself sinking suddenly. Stay close to the canyon walls, and do not attempt to cross large, open areas of sediment.

Hiking to Lake Powell and back is an approximately 10 mile round trip; to the second natural bridge and back approximately 6 miles, so carry enough water for your hike. The lighter colored sandstone of Wiregrass Canyon reflects a lot of heat. Within Wiregrass Canyon are large areas of microbiotic soil that can be damaged by inattentive hikers. As always, do not attempt this hike if rain is in the forecast or if conditions indicate rain.

Wiregrass Canyon is located on the USGS Lone Rock 7.5’ quad map, available for purchase at Carl Hayden Visitor Center.

Trail Notes by Kirk W. Robinson, Winter 2004