No trip to Arizona would be complete without seeing the famous slot canyon shaped by water and wind in all its glory
The most photographed Slot Canyon in the world, Antelope Canyon is found in Page, Arizona and is the product of millions of years of water erosion.
The monumental sandstone sculpture is known for its wave-like structure and light beaming directly down into the openings.
The canyon got it shape after an intermittent creek that empties into the Colorado River erupted in flash floods wearing away the sandstone rock face, which was followed by sandstorms creating swirled finishes on the walls.
Located on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, some elders of the Navajo tribe believe that “Long Walk” holdouts took refuge in the Canyon in the late 1800’s and that spiritual beings continue to keep watch over the area.
Antelope Canyon has two sections: lower and upper.
As the canyon is located on tribal lands, a guided tour is required to enter them.
Tip: Take a trip to ‘The Wave’ in Paria Canyon, Arizona. Located in the Coyote Buttes North Special Management Area of the Paria Canyon/Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness Area only 20 people per day are allowed to visit.
In order to be included on the list of visitors, you must obtain a permit. You can either apply in advance for the online Paria Canyon permit lottery through the BLM’s official website (booking is advised four months in advance) or obtain a walk-in permit. Walk-in permits are dispensed for the following day, so must arrange for hotel accommodations accordingly. You need to show up in person at the visitor center between 8:30 – 9:00 AM local time the day before you wish to hike.
Driving to Antelope Canyon takes:
2.5 hours from Zion National Park
2.5 hours from Grand Canyon South Rim
2 hours from Monument Valley
4.5 hours from Las Vegas
The canyon is open all year round, but it’s advised to reserve early to avoid disappointment.
Note: Some operators only allow photos during the weekday and do not provide photo tours on the weekend. Photos are also not allowed during major holidays.
What to take:
- In the summer the canyon is warm but cold during the winter, so it’s advised to dress accordingly.
- It’s advised to dress your camera in a rain jacket to avoid the falling sand that is thrown in the canyon.
How to do the canyon
The most famous section is Upper Antelope Canyon, which is 100 yards in length but longer than its Lower Antelope Canyon counterpart.
Beams occur most often during the summer, with the best views between late March and early October. The best time to catch the light is around 10-11am.
You can go on two different tours: the sightseer’s tour and the photographer’s tour.
The sightseer’s tour lasts around 90-100 mins and is considered ‘easy’ to do, as you simply walk right in at the ground level.
There are no heights involved or ladders. Visitors on this tour are not allowed to take tripods.
The photographer’s tour is the same as the sightseer’s tour but you can experience the Upper Antelope Canyon for 160mins and in smaller groups. The tour guide will be available to patrol traffic. Visitors on this tour can take tripods.
Booking a tour
The Upper Canyon is a flat 100-yard walk following a 2-mile safari truck ride from the Navajo Tribal Park Gate on US98 to the canyon’s entrance.
The Lower Canyon is 600 yards and entails stepping over boulders and climbing stairs from the Tribal Park Gate on US98.
There are several tour guides. Click these options for differing tours:
We used: Antelope Slot Canyon Tours. We paid $78.00 per person for the premium tour (10.30am-1.00pm).
Note: You should plan to be at your tour company’s location 20 minutes before departure.
Tip: Why not get a different view of the canyon by taking a boat tour around Lake Powell. The boat tour that brings you up Antelope Canyon from the water side. Most tours take about an hour.
Where to stay
Camping and RV: Camping is not allowed within Antelope Canyon and the closest campsite available is at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell.
In addition to the nightly fee, you need to pay for the park entrance fee or have an annual pass. Rates are around 28$ for tent / no hook-up to 48$ for full hook-ups.
Page Campground is located less than 7 miles from Antelope Canyon and rates range from $18 for tents to $30 for full hook-ups.
Lone Rock Beach is a few miles of sandy beach just 20 minutes from Page. To pitch up costs $12 a night and there are bathrooms, but no showers or water.
Hotel: Staying at the Wingate by Wyndham Page/Lake Powell hotel enables you to have easy access to Glen Canyon Dam and is just a 5 minute drive from most Antelope Canyon tour companies.
Horseshoe is a 10 minute drive south of Page.
Best Western Plus at Lake Powell is conveniently located in downtown Page and within walking distance to Antelope Canyon Tour offices. (Address: Best Western Plus At Lake Powell
208 N Lake Powell Blvd Page, AZ 86040).
Hyatt Place Page-Lake Powell enables easy access to the Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Zion and Moab. (Address: Hyatt Place Page-Lake Powell 1126 N Navajo Dr Page, AZ 86040.)
If you have time, why not visit Horseshoe Bend – just seven miles from the canyon.
The rock’s walls have a variety of minerals, including platinum and garnet and the overlook is 4,200 feet above sea level giving a breath-taking view of the 1,000-foot drop.
Flying: Page is serviced by regional commuter flights through Contour Airlines, which has flights from Phoenix and Las Vegas starting at $29 each way.
Driving: From Page, go South on Highway 89 to between mileposts 544 & 545. Look for the exit lane and prominent dirt road on the west side of the road leading you to a car park. Parking costs $10 per car / RV.
From Grand Canyon/Flagstaff/Phoenix travel north on route 89A, proceed with caution past the Horseshoe Bend Trailhead. In 1.5 miles, turn right (east) on route 98/89T and parking is on the left after ½ mile.
Horseshoe Bend Overlook is open 24 hours but it’s busiest between the hours of 9:00am-6:00pm.
After you park, you need to hike the ¾ mile to the rim, which is on sand and uphill. Therefore, take plenty of water with you. There are toilets at the car park.
Once at the bend, stand on the edge of the canyon to see the crystal blue river.
There is a Horseshoe Bend Trail Ride that provides a guided horseback tour to see not only the bend, but Lee’s Ferry Overlook, Waterhole Canyon and Loom Rock Range, all led by a Navajo Wrangler.
Click here for more information. Tours start at $60.00 per person.
Checking out C & J.