Visiting Antelope Canyon Arizona? Antelope Canyon is one of the best natural wonders of the Southwest USA. Here’s everything you need to know to visit Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ.
American Southwest unfurls extraordinary natural wonders as you travel through the region. The US States of Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah make the Southwest.
We explored the national parks and natural landscapes of Arizona, Utah, California, and Nevada during our Southwest USA road trip.
It was an unmatched experience. I mean, you can imagine the thrill of driving some of the best driving roads in the USA.
Well, that’s a story for another time.
Coming back to the natural wonders of Arizona, Antelope Canyon Arizona is one of them. Ummm…in fact the best of them!
Though Grand Canyon was the sole reason we planned the Southwest road trip, Antelope captured our hearts. Ah! those curves, swirls, lights, ever-changing tones and the spellbinding power of nature.
No doubt, Grand Canyon is unlike any other in the American Southwest but Antelope is also second to none.
Do you know, apart from Antelope, the Southwest has endless number of slot canyons – Buckskin Gulch, Zebra Slot Canyon, Mountain Sheep Canyon, Deer Creek Narrows, Rattlesnake Canyon, Peek-a-Boo and Spooky Gulches, Willis Creek, Zion Narrows, Kanarra Creek, the Little Wild Horse, Pastel Canyon, White Domes Canyon, Baptist Draw, Owl Canyon, Keyhole Canyon, Beartrap Canyon, Pumphouse Canyon, Moonshine Wash, Long Canyon….and the list continues.
Most of the canyons are located within a 10-12 mile radius.
No wonder the American Southwest is nicknamed as the Cayon Capital of the World.
No. No. I haven’t visited all but got to know about them while researching the internet. I added a few to my bucket list 😉
So many places, so little time. Is it even possible to see the entire world in a lifetime? Sigh!
Oh, I’m again going off on a tangent. Okay. I’m here to let you know all about the pretty Antelope Canyon in Arizona.
What’s Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon is the most popular and most photographed slot canyon in Arizona.
Now you may ask, What’s a slot canyon?
A slot canyon is a tiny very narrow canyon formed by the powerful rush of water into the crack in the rock bed.
Often referred to as narrows, slot canyons are deeper and taller than they’re wide and are usually found in the areas with low rainfall or deserts.
It takes thousands of years of extreme weather conditions and the process of natural erosion to form a slot canyon.
How was Antelope Canyon Formed?
Like any slot canyon, Antelope Canyon was formed by the wind, sand, and water erosion of sandstone rock face.
The intermittent flash floods caused by a creek that empties into the Colorado River now, followed by the dry and hot periods when sandstorms rubbed the walls of the canyon to appear wavy, swirly, and stripy contributed to form this beauty.
The native Navajo tribe treats Antelope Canyon as a sacred place. They pause and pray before entering the canyons.
When was the Antelope Canyon Discovered?
This masterpiece of Mother Nature was discovered in 1931.
Who Discovered Antelope Canyon?
History has it, Sue Tsosie, a 12-year old Navajo girl first discovered Antelope Canyon while herding sheep.
How Did Antelope Canyon Get its Name?
Legends say, the sandstone slot canyon was the home to herds of Pronghorn Antelope years ago, hence the name.
Where’s Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon is just outside of the city of Page in northern Arizona off of Highway 98 on the Navajo Nation tribal land within the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona.
How to Get to Antelope Canyon?
The best way to get to Antelope Canyon is by road from Las Vegas or Phoenix.
Page Municipal Airport has flights (Contour Airlines) to and from Las Vegas and Phoenix. However, there’s nothing like taking a road trip through Southwest USA.
If you plan to take a road trip through American Southwest, you can check our Southwest Road Trip Itinerary here.
Southwest USA highlights include Hoover Dam, Grand Canyon National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Glen Canyon Dam.
We rented a car in Las Vegas and drove to Antelope Canyon. It was one hell of a road journey.
Antelope Canyon is about 4 hours 30 minutes from Las Vegas (Nevada) and Phoenix (Arizona) both.
Alternatively, you can book a day tour from Las Vegas.
This Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe bend day tour from Las Vegas is the best bet. Horseshoe bend is just about 10 miles away from the Antelope Canyon.
What’s the Best Time to Visit Antelope Canyon?
If you want to see the magical light beams entering the canyon, the best months to visit Antelope Canyon are between April and October. These months see the highest crowds.
The summer months of June, July, and August are the best months to witness the unique light beams phenomenon in Antelope Canyon. Light beams are seen in the Upper Antelope Canyon and X Canyon.
If crowds put you off, then November to March is the time for you. These months are quieter.
Based on our experience, I’d certainly recommend the low season.
What’s the Best Time of the Day to Visit Antelope Canyon?
Well, as a tourist, time really doesn’t matter as the canyon looks awesome no matter what’s the time of the day. Of course, It does matter to professional photographers.
From the photographer’s standpoint, midday (10 am to 12 pm) is the most popular time to visit Antelope Canyon as the rays of the sun are at the right angle to the canyon and you can see varied colors.
The colors change from red to orange to purple depending upon what time of the day it is.
Again, if you are more concerned about the hordes of tourists than the ideal lighting thing, go early morning or late afternoon.
Check the weather before planning a trip. It shouldn’t be cloudy. Bright and clear day translates to magical Antelope Canyon experience.
Timing is more crucial for the Upper Antelope Canyon where light beams enter through ceiling crevices and fall on the ground to create a mesmerizing sight.
Can you visit Antelope Canyon without a Tour?
No. You can’t enter Antelope Canyon without a tour guide. All the areas of Antelope Canyon are accessible through guided tours only.
We only knew about two different Antelope slot canyons – Upper Slot Canyon and Lower Slot Canyon. After our visit, we came to know about another slot Canyons – Canyon X.
Guided Tour Operators for Antelope Canyon
Since Antelope Canyon is located within the Navajo Tribal Park, it’s managed by Navajo Nation. A native Navajo guide accompanies you on a tour.
There’s no way to see the Antelope Canyon but with a tour guide.
There are designated tour operators for each slot canyon.
Upper Antelope Canyon Tour Operators
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours
- Antelope Canyon Tours by Roger Ekis
- Antelope Slot Canyon Tours by Chief Tsosie
- Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours
Lower Antelope Canyon Tour Operators
Canyon X Tour Operator
What time Does Antelope Canyon Open?
The tours operate 365 days a year.
Timings differ depending upon a tour operator.
Also, winter tour hours and summer tour hours differ.
It’s important to note that Navajo follows Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) during summer contrary to most of the areas in Arizona that follow Mountain Standard Time (MST) meaning it’s one-hour behind the Navajo reservation.
Antelope Canyon Tickets, Costs, and Tour Packages
How much does it cost to visit Antelope Canyon? Navajo Nation (US Indian Reservation)
Visiting Antelope Canyon is pricey but worth it. The tickets cost anywhere between $40 to $90 per adult depending upon the tour operator and tour you choose. The tickets for children come a bit cheaper of course.
There’s an additional $8 Navajo Park Permit Fee and 6% Navajo Sales Tax.
Check the individual tour operator’s website for accurate information on timings, tours, and prices before planning.
- Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon Tours
- Ken’s Tours Lower Antelope Canyon
- Antelope Canyon X by Taadidiin Tours
- Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours
- Antelope Canyon Tours by Roger Ekis
- Antelope Slot Canyon Tours
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours
Upper Antelope Canyon
It’s the most popular and photogenic slot canyon because of the unique light beam phenomenon. Thus, the tours to Upper Antelope Canyon cost more than the Lower Antelope Canyon tours.
The canyon has a narrow ceiling and a wide base. The light beams filter from the narrow top into the base of the canyon when the sun is at the right angle.
Book a Photography Tour with Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours to get the most out of your visit to the Upper Antelope Canyon.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon is longer than Upper Antelope Canyon. It’s narrow at the base and wide at the top.
Here, you can’t see the light beams.
The unique selling point of Lower Antelope Canyon is its walls’ patterns, shapes, and changing colors.
It requires you to go down the steep metal stairway. A bit difficult with kids in tow.
We didn’t have any idea about X Canyon when we visited Page. It’s as mesmerizing as Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons.
Its plus point is fewer crowds than Upper and Lower Canyons.
So, it can be a good alternative over insanely popular and crowded Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons.
A 4WD vehicle takes you to the mouth of the canyon which is about 3 miles from the site. The canyon has been named so after an X opening at its ceiling.
Like Upper Antelope Canyon, X canyon too showcases sunbeams shooting down from the ceiling if visited at the right time of the day and year.
Upper Antelope Canyon Vs Lower Antelope Canyon
A burning question. Which one’s better? Which one to choose?
Well, both have their own pièces de résistance. I’d say if you’ve time and money, do both.
In case, you don’t have enough time and have to choose one then the choice depends upon your interests.
If you are interested in photography then Upper Antelope Canyon is the right choice for you. It’s more photogenic.
The Upper Canyon is also the right choice for families traveling with infants and toddlers as it’s much safer and easier to navigate with little ones than the Lower Antelope Canyon.
Else, you can choose to visit Lower Antelope Canyon as it’s less expensive and fairly gives a slot canyon experience.
Better yet, visit the X Canyon that promises an experience as good as Upper and Lower canyons with fewer crowds and less chaos before it’s overrun by tourists.
Antelope Canyon with Kids
This is tricky.
As said, Upper Antelope Canyon is more child-friendly than Lower Antelope Canyon and X-Canyon though there are certain points to be taken care of while planning a trip to Antelope Canyon with young kids.
As for Upper Antelope Canyon, only two tour operators (Antelope Canyon Tours and Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours) allow infants and younger children.
Strollers and backpack carriers are not allowed as the canyons are narrow so you’d have to carry your child all through the tour.
Also, there are no restrooms. Make sure to change your kid’s diaper before the tour starts.
Lower Antelope Canyon needs you to descend a staircase into the canyon which is a bit of work with an infant or young kid.
There are several ladders inside the canyon to navigate the narrow passages that again is a task.
Been there, done that.
We haven’t done X-Canyon but after reading and hearing about it from fellow travelers we have an idea about it.
It’s also rugged and has steep ladder climbing at several places like Lower Antelope Canyon.
The Upper and X-Canyon need you to take a bumpy ride in a jeep or SUV, so you need to bring a child car seat. Also, there’s a limit on the number of spaces for car seats, so book a space in advance.
We visited the Antelope Canyon in September.
The dozens of tourists in multiple tour groups jammed the narrow passageways. We couldn’t really stop and admire the beauty of the place as the people behind us shoved to move further. But, our guide was kind enough to click all of us in one frame somehow crowd-free. Our pictures tell the story 🙂
All in all, it was magical to see the ever-changing reddish-orange and purplish-pink colors and unique shapes formed by the canyon walls.
There were two or three tour groups operating inside the canyon at the same time. The guides were asking people to move. It really made the entire experience chaotic and messy.
I feel they should cap the number of people inside the canyon so everyone should have a fair experience of this stunning natural formation.
Where to Stay in Page, Arizona?
We stayed at Days Inn & Suites by Wyndham Page Lake Powell. It’s great per se location as Lake Powell is just 5 minutes’ drive away from it and is family-friendly.
Next time around, we’ll love to stay at Kaedoe for an alternative and adventurous experience. It’s an image design RV (mobile home) owned by the Navajo Nation native family and is located in LeChee, Arizona.
Airbnb has some really nice stay options in Page, Arizona. Check out here.
Where to Eat – Best Restaurants Near Antelope Canyon
There’s no dearth of good places to eat near Antelope Canyon. The meals and restaurants near Antelope are as rewarding as the slot canyon experience itself.
Here’s our pick of top 5 restaurants you should dine in after an amazing Antelope Canyon experience:
The BirdHouse is famous for its fried chicken. The vegetarian options are minimal though. Vegans and vegetarians can enjoy the vegetarian side dishes like salads and fries.
Big John’s Texas BBQ offers scrumptious barbequed foods with gluten-free options. It’s one of the finest eating joints in Page, Arizona.
I love Mexican food. It saved a vegetarian in me during our trip to the USA. Fiesta Mexicana is a great place to get the taste of Mexican cuisine. It’s by far the best vegetarian-friendly restaurants in Page, Arizona. The restaurant got vegan and gluten-free meals covered.
Do you love American Fast-Food? Mini-me does 🙂 If you and your kids do, Slackers is the answer! The burgers are non-veg by large but vegetarians can have veg sandwiches, onion rings, salads, and fries.
Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge offers Japanese cuisine and is quite a famous one in Page.
LP Espresso is a cute little cafe to drop in for a cup of Espresso with tasty treats like cakes, pastries, and cookies. Try it out!
If you don’t have time to stop by for lunch or dinner, you can go for Deli’s pre-packaged sandwiches, salads, or dry snacks from Safeway. It’s just opposite to the Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge. And can have a coffee on the go from Starbucks inside the Safeway supermarket.
Things to Know Before Planning a Trip to Antelope Canyon
- You’re expected to wait for about 45 minutes to an hour even when you’ve booked your tour in advance.
- Bring a lot of water. Keep yourself hydrated at all times as the tour needs you to wait in the desert heat and then walk a lot.
- Check the weather before booking a tour.
- Bags, backpacks, handbags aren’t allowed inside the canyon. I was allowed to carry my sling.
- Put the preferred lens on your camera before entering the canyon as you can’t take all your lenses or a camera bag inside it.
- Tripods are only allowed for Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours.
- Selfie sticks, Drones, GoPros, and camcorders are a big NO.
- Wear comfortable sneakers.
- Carry a hat, sunglasses, a shrug, and a scarf to cover yourself no matter what’s a season. It’s dusty inside the canyon. Also, sunblock is recommended for all seasons.
- The jacket is recommended during the fall and winter seasons as it can get quite chilly.
- Pets aren’t allowed inside the canyon.
- Strollers and wheel-chairs aren’t allowed as the slot canyons are narrow and it can be risky.
- I’d suggest carrying an infant in a front chest carrier than in a backpack carrier or better yet, carry your baby in your lap to be on the safer side.
- Every tour has a strict passenger limit that includes the children of all ages. While booking, make sure to reserve a seat for an infant or toddler with a car seat.
- Be prepared to rough it for a while. It’s an adventure in its own right.
Did you know, a pic of Antelope Canyon was sold for $6.5 million? No wonder, it’s one of the most photographed places on earth.
I hope our guide to Antelope Canyon helps you to plan your trip to the magical slot canyon. If it does, please share it with the world. Because love only grows by sharing 🙂
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