While Google will tell you it should take just over 2 ½ hours to drive from St. George to Page, Arizona (about 154 miles), it doesn’t tell you is that the scenery will be simply stunning along the way. Gorgeous landscapes that you would quickly try to imprint in your mind as you drove past. Each mountain pass, each change of the sunlight, each new vista seemed to be better than the one before. There was seriously competition for the best view on the day’s drive. This was like a movie playing on either side of the car and it was nature in all its glory.
Google also fails to mention that bathroom facilities are few and far between (about an hour apart) so while you are in desert like surroundings and expecting to drink buckets of water, if you are like me, you will limit your water consumption to avoid becoming one with nature along the side of a road with zero hiding spots or bushes. You’d think with the amount of traffic on the road someone would have built a roadside convenience shop or trailer shop by the side of the road by now, but alas, there is nothing.
Driving from St. George to Kanab, Utah
When I left the St. George airport after picking up my Hertz rental car, a lovely Hyundai Sonata with XM Radio, the road ahead was mostly highway (UT-9E) until I followed Google and missed a turn at US89-S (the signs showed US-89 with a left arrow and a straight arrow, how does that help?). Anyway, I was driving along the barren two lane road with nary a car in sight ahead or behind me as I climbed up the mountain, drove around it and back down to the road below. Each twist and turn revealed something new and exciting for my eyes. It was at this time, I wished the rental car had a dash cam to record the stunning landscapes around me – a huge differences to my life at home full of small space, city skyscrapers and congested highways.
Along the route, I finally saw a Chevron gas station that advertised “clean restrooms” and pulled over quickly to get a few snacks and see how clean those restrooms were (surprisingly quite nice). For me the initial road trip snacks are chocolate, banana, apple juice and water. From here I continued on the road not really knowing how far from Kanab I was yet – Google Maps had an estimate but didn’t clue me into the rural roads, the farm animals and other interesting small town life I would encounter along the way.
Driving from Kanab to Page, Arizona
The halfway point for me (and confirmed with the front desk prior to leaving Red Mountain Resort) was Kanab, Utah. It would take more than an hour to reach this town and I was directed to stop at Glazier’s Market to stock up on supplies and use their bathroom. They also had a prepared food area in the back with a few seats so you could eat in house and not in your car. I picked up bananas, a package of bottled water and contact lenses solution (I flew carry on with limited toiletries). I surveyed the town as it would be my halfway point back from Page, Arizona after seeing Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon on my way to Zion National Park. The area had the required gas stations and a few fast food outlets to satisfy all road trip needs. I only wished I had planned enough time to visit the Best Friends Santuary in town for a tour or volunteer day (it will need to wait for another trip).
As I set out from Kanab, Utah back onto the roads of landscape after glorious landscape, I had a bit over an hour before arriving in Page, Arizona. One bonus on the long two lane roads in the middle of the mountains was that the speed limit was 80! I had to look again as my city life is limited to 25, 35 and 55 mph on the roads. Driving 80 mph is a rarity at home so when I drove 80 on the way to Page, I was surprised to have a bunch of cars overtake me and pass clearly not wanting to tailgate me any longer at my slow pace of 75-80 mph! This took a bit of getting used to as I preferred to wait until passing lanes appeared as trying to judge the distance of the pass with oncoming traffic you could (and couldn’t) see was a bit precarious especially the trucks which were pulling double or triple loads.
Roadtrip to Page, Arizona
The Utah views definitely differed from the roadside life of Arizona (speed limit 60, 55, 35, 25 mph). As I slowed down to enter Arizona, I saw a bridge in the distance that spanned over the Glen Canyon Dam along the Colorado River. Once I crossed that bridge, I was very close to my hotel for the night, the Courtyard Marriott Page. The whole of the town and its many food outlets and tour companies was only right up the road. When I say “a whole town”, I mean a few stretches of road, it’s not a big town – everything (food, shops, hotels/motels) seemed to be clustered in the few blocks of road ahead.
Road trip Verdict – St. George to Page, Arizona
I rarely get the opportunity to road trip by myself in the vast expanse of the country and this drive was quite restorative with a wonderful XM playlist to accompany me. With hints of acoustic coffee house mixed with channel changes to classic rock of the 70’s and a side of Tom Petty, I was pretty happy on the road that day singing in the car on the road trip from St. George to Page Arizona. The gorgeous landscapes made me forget the real world at home and allowed me to escape to the desert and mountains that called me back to the West.
Note: I would recommend doing the drive in daylight hours to enjoy the incredible scenery and not need to worry about driving a two lane highway at night with the twists, turns and potential wildlife hazards. I would also recommend bathroom breaks in each town.