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A rare fog covers the Page, Arizona area

Many in Page, Ariz., woke up on January 24, to fog that shrouded the landscape. Fog is a rare event in the desert, especially in the Page area. The weather conditions have to be perfect and it is difficult to predict. When it does happen, the transformation from dry desert to a sea of clouds is a magical treat for the eyes.


Left to right, photos by Phil Clark:

  • As the sun comes out, Tower Butte emerges from its shroud of fog with the Kaiparowitz Plateau and the Grand Staircase in the background.

  • “Flames” of fog dance at the base of Vermilion Cliffs National Monument with domes of sandstone from petrified sand dunes in the foreground.

  • Glen Canyon and the Colorado River, below the Dam is filled with fog, while the Vermilion Cliffs stand out. The power line seemed to attract the fog.


The morning start­ed much like most mornings with the sun slowly lighting up the cliffs and canyons of the high desert. With sleep still clinging to my eyes, I glanced out the window and my eyes lit up, realizing how special this day was starting to be.


I couldn’t believe how Mother Nature had blessed us this morn­ing! Fog had settled on Lake Powell near Page and turned the other­wise beautiful desert into something even more rare and exqui­site. Quickly putting on warm clothes and rushing out the door, I didn’t really where to go for a good view and would figure out vantage points while driving.


Once on the road, looking around and assessing the extent of the fog, I knew where I needed to start: an overlook in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, just north of Page that some long-time locals call Beer Can Hill. The official name is Wahweap View. Ar­riving at the top of the hill, locals and visitors had already arrived and were wandering around taking photos. Locals knew how re­markable the fog was. Most visitors marveled at the view, oblivious to how rare it was. Some commented that it was a shame that the view was obscured by clouds. The Vermilion Cliffs poked out of the fog in the distance and it seemed the area between the Beer Can Hill and the cliffs was a sea of fog. From this vantage point, it was clear that the fog was concentrated south of Page.



It is rare for fog to appear in the high desert around Lake Powell. For science nerds, according to The Weather Guys at wxguys.ssec.wisc.edu, evaporative fog is formed when a body of water is warmer than the air and water on the ground surface water evaporates into the air, raising the dew point and form­ing a fog layer above the ground. With the recent rains and snow, there was at least some water almost every­where in addition to Lake Powell.


As the sun heated up the air, the fog slowly started to van­ish. South of Page is the locally named Little Cut, the first viewpoint on US 89, south of Page. The viewpoint dominates Lees Ferry, the Paria Canyon, Page and in the distance, Bryce Canyon. The wide view is already breathtak­ing on a normal day. The fog took it to a higher, more memo­rable level. Wisps of clouds seemed to dance along the base of the cliffs above the Colo­rado River as if they were white flames.


Driving home, I still couldn’t believe what I had seen, marking an otherwise ‘normal’ day into something truly memorable. When would people see this again? Only God knows. Today, I was thankful that Mother Nature had made this day as spectacular as it was.

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