All you need to know while planning a trip to Upper Antelope Canyon
It’s unbelievable, how flash floods and wind can create something so magical and magnificent. Light plays its part by illuminating and bringing the vermilion colored walls to life.
Antelope Canyon is one of the most stunning and awe-inspiring masterpieces of nature.
If you are visiting Arizona or Grand Canyon (checkout a day itinerary to Grand Canyon), Antelope Canyon is one place you must include in your itinerary.
During our visit to Grand Canyon last year, we happened to visit the Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe bend, although it was not a part of our travel plan. And I am so glad that we made this visit.
This article will help you with all the information you need to know during your visit to the Antelope Canyon.
Where is Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyons are the slot canyons, made of red sandstone carved by the action of flash floods and wind over millions of years.
Located in Page, Northern Arizona on Navajo Land, the Slot canyons are divided into two sections, the Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. Both are located on opposite sides.
How to reach Antelope Canyon?
- The nearest airport from Antelope Canyon is in Las Vegas. From Las Vegas, you can book a day tour to Antelope Canyon. If you prefer to visit on your own, then you need to rent a car.
- In either case, you need to reach the Tour operator’s office in Page, from where they take you till the Antelope canyon in a 4×4 vehicle.
- During our 3-day visit, we opted for a rental car for flexibility. We visited Grand Canyon on the first day and Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe bend on the Second Day.
Antelope Canyon from Grand Canyon
Antelope Canyon is 220 miles away from Grand Canyon Village and it takes around 3.5 hours. It’s recommended keeping a day in your itinerary for visiting Page.
Which is better- Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon?
With limited time, it was not possible to cover both. We chose the Upper Antelope Canyon. Here are a few highlights of both to help you decide.
Upper Antelope Canyon
- You can experience the famous light beams and sand cascading from the crevices.
- Easy access and walk inside the Canyon (1/4th of Mile)
- Less time consuming (1 hour)
- More popular and hence crowded
Lower Antelope Canyon
- You need to go down and climb up the staircases (hiking)
- Narrow alleys
- Less crowded
- Cheaper entry tickets
- No photographic tour option available
Best time to visit Antelope Canyon
If you wish to witness & photograph the famous light beams entering the upper Antelope Canyon, then March to early October is the best time to visit. However, due to peak season, the slot Canyons are super crowded.
If you are not very keen on capturing the light beam, it’s good to visit during the winter between November to March
Best time of the day to visit Antelope Canyon
The light beam appears from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., so don’t forget to book your tour during the right time slot. If you are claustrophobic like me or looking for a lesser crowd, then the late afternoon is better.
We visited the Antelope Canyon during early October and opted for a 3.30 pm sightseeing tour.
Upper Antelope Canyon tours
Both the Canyons are located in the Navajo Nation and can be accessed only by the Navajo operated guided tours. Many tour operators are offering different packages. Some of them are.
- Antelope Canyon Tours by Roger Ekis and Carolene Ekis
- Adventurous Antelope Canyon photo tour
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours
- Antelope house tours
- Antelope slot canyon tours
- Antelope valley canyon tour by ligai Si’anii, LLC
Many of the tour operators also offer a combination of Lower as well as upper Antelope Canyon along with other popular destinations like Boat tours etc. but here I am mentioning tour only for Upper Antelope Canyon.
Upper Antelope Canyon Sight-seeing tour
Duration: 1.30 hours
Charges: Adults (8 & above): $ 54
Child (up to 7): $44
11 a.m. tour (where you can witness the light beams and the illuminating phenomenon)
Charges: Adult (8 & older): $69
Child (up to 8): 59$
There is an additional $8 Navajo Park Fee for adults plus surcharge
Departure times: *7:00 a.m., 8:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., & 3:30 p.m. (do check the current timings before booking)
These are guided tours, which take you to the Canyon point in a 4×4 vehicle and from there the driver takes you inside the Canyon. The guide shares information like how Antelope Canyon is formed, its history, popular photo spots, and other interesting information including your questions. This tour provides ample opportunities to click pictures at various spots.
A photographic tour of Antelope Canyon is also available which lasts for around 2 hours and costs a little more than the sightseeing tour. This tour lets you set a tripod and Camera at various points inside the slot canyon and capture some of the magnificent pictures.
Having seen Antelope Canyon in many pictures on Instagram, it was always a dream destination but not a part of our plan. After spending a day in Grand Canyon, we realized one day was enough if you have no hiking plans. We decided to utilize the second day to visit Page and explore Horseshoe bend and Upper Antelope Canyon. The drive from Williams (where we stayed) was very scenic and an experience in itself.
As it was an unplanned trip, we dint made prior reservations. We were lucky to get the last slots and 5 of us were the last to get the tickets. After waiting for half an hour in a windy open area, a 4×4 open vehicle drove us across the desert in a bumpy ride.
After 20 mins, we were outside what looked like a crevice, but turned into a magically illuminated wonder once we stepped in. Moving along the narrow path, wondering how these twisted shafts would have formed, we stopped by at popular photographic spots. By the way, every inch of the Canyon feels like a photo spot. The intricate waves like carvings reflect the light in different forms and shades. In some areas, the Canyon grew narrower otherwise it was around 8 to 12 ft wide. It was crowded inside including the photographic tour groups, so we dint get any secluded corner to click pictures. Nevertheless, it was an unforgettable experience.
What you need to know before visiting Antelope Canyon
- Make your reservations in advance. Do book online tour (we just got lucky by getting the slot on the spot)
- If you wish to try your luck and book the tour on the spot, do carry cash with you as cards are not accepted at the tour operator’s office.
- Do check the weather before traveling, the temperature may vary.
- Carry scarfs and sunglasses to cover your hair, face, and eyes. A lot of sand blowS with the wind.
- Do carry a water bottle.
- Bringing Selfie sticks, tripods, backpacks, bags & purses, strollers, drones, pets is not allowed and you need to leave it your car (for photographic tours tripods are allowed)
- Keep your car stocked up with snacks and water, no stores are available in the vicinity
- Reach the venue 30 minutes before.
- Carry a protective covering for your Camera.
Have you visited Antelope Canyon before? How was your experience?
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