The first 13 things to do in Page, Arizona, listed on TripAdvisor are outside and athletic. They involve hiking, off-road touring, rafting, etc. #14, the John Wesley Powell Museum, is indoors and worthwhile.
On the corner of Lake Powell Boulevard and North Navajo Drive in the city of Page, this Museum is more than just a tribute to Powell. It’s also a tourist information and booking center and toy shop and art gallery and jewelry store and archive. Its exhibits include the history of the Colorado River, the Colorado Plateau, and the city of Page. If you have time, you can listen to early residents talk about the time when their town was little more than a construction site for the Glen Canyon Dam and learn about local dinosaurs and the Native Americans who lived on the Colorado Plateau.
But the main focus of this facility is John Wesley Powell. With Lewis and Clark and Pike and Smith and Frémont, Powell must be on any list of 19th century explorers who surveyed and documented The West. Powell was a traveler. Born in New York State, he lived there and in Ohio and Wisconsin and Illinois before he was 20. He reportedly rowed down the Mississippi alone from what is now Minneapolis to this River’s mouth at age 22. During the Civil War, he fought in the battle of Shiloh and lost his right arm at Pittsburg Landing. In 1869 he led a nearly 900 mile expedition of 10 men down the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon, one of the greatest geographical adventures in U.S. history. This took 85 days during which 1 of the expedition’s 4 boats and lots of provisions were lost and temperatures of 115º were endured. He attempted this again in 1871. The 2nd trip was shorter but better documented. He went on to become director of the U.S. Geological Survey and one of the 33 founders of the National Geographic Society.
#10 on TripAdvisor’s list is the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument. This 280,000 acre spread of plateaus and canyons and scorpions and extreme wilderness established in the year 2000 is a rugged expanse with unmarked, unpaved roads and no Visitor Center. It takes several days and lots of endurance to explore it, but if you want a small taste, travel from Page to the spectacular Navajo Bridge over Marble Canyon on Highway 89A. You can see the Vermilion Cliffs (pictured above) from a distance, observe condors in flight, and perhaps see the Navajo Interpretive Center. A restroom fire there caused extensive damage but it was scheduled to reopen in spring, 2015. It was still closed when Ruth & I were there in March.