Visiting Antelope Canyon

Last Updated on March 11, 2023

Antelope Canyon is located in the southwestern corner of the United States, within the state of Arizona. Located near Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is situated on Navajo land and is part of the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department. The main attraction at Antelope Canyon is its slot canyons that have been carved out over millions of years by wind and water, and the result is a breathtaking sight. Visitors can explore two of these slot canyons, Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, both of which are accessible via guided tours.

Antelope Canyon is a popular tourist destination for those interested in Arizona’s unique geography and the Navajo culture. With its stunning red-hued walls, narrow passageways, and captivating light rays, visitors can’t help but be mesmerized by the beauty of Antelope Canyon. In addition to sightseeing, visitors can also enjoy photography, as these slot canyons provide a unique backdrop for both amateur and professional photographers alike.

During our visit, we enjoyed wandering the Lower Antelope Canyon, known as Hazdistazí, or “spiral rock arches”.

Here is what you need to know before visiting Antelope Canyon:

Table Of Contents

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How To Get To Antelope Canyon

The easiest way to get to Antelope Canyon is by car, as it is located about 10 miles east of Page, Arizona. From Phoenix or Flagstaff, the drive will take approximately five hours from Phoenix, or two and a half from Flagstaff. Once in Page, visitors can sign up for a guided tour with one of the tour companies that provide access to the canyon. The tour usually lasts about an hour and will take you through the rugged terrain of Antelope Canyon.

For those looking for a more adventurous trip, there is also the option to explore Antelope Canyon on foot via hiking trails located near the slot canyons. However, these trails are strictly regulated by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department, so visitors should contact the department for more information on permits and regulations.

The closest major airports are Phoenix and Las Vegas International Airports.

We were doing a road trip from Phoenix to Las Vegas, so we stopped at Antelope Canyon on our route. We enjoyed having the freedom to explore the surrounding area as well, at our own pace. If you do not want to rent a vehicle, there are also companies that offer a day tour to Antelope Canyon from Vegas. We would recommend an Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend tour.

You are able to drive yourself to the canyon, but you are unable to enter the canyons without a guide.

If you’re road tripping around Arizona, the Grand Canyon is a short 124 miles (or two and a half hours) away from Antelope Canyon. The Grand Canyon, considered one of the seven natural wonders of the world, is another destination you should not miss on your next trip across the West Coast of the United States. It is totally worth taking the time to also add visiting the Grand Canyon into your itinerary.

We also recommend taking some time to enjoy the sights in Page. You’ll be able to enjoy Horseshoe Bend or take a rafting adventure on the Colorado River. There are so many adventure possibilities in Page, Arizona.

Related Story – Visiting The Grand Canyon: A Guide

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The Best Time Of Day To Visit Antelope Canyon

The best time of day to visit the Lower Antelope Canyon is in the early hours and late afternoon when the lighting is the best to bring out a myriad of colors. We were thrilled to have such great lighting and a very informative tour guide that was able to point out different views when inside the canyon.

The Upper Antelope Canyon is known for the magical light beams that reflect off the canyon walls during the summer months, summertime is a really popular time to visit. You’ll want to reserve your tour ahead of time as the reservations can fill up fast.

Even if the sun isn’t shining, do not worry! You will still get some marvelous photos of the canyons’ layers and incredible formations.

During the summer months, you can expect a crowd, but if you book a tour mid-week, you may have fewer people around.

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Summer Weather

Antelope Canyon can be dangerously hot during the summer months. Temperatures inside the canyon can reach up to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, and there is little shade or water available. As a result, visitors need to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. Drinking plenty of water, wearing loose-fitting clothing, and avoiding strenuous activity are all important steps to stay safe in the heat. By taking these precautions, visitors can enjoy Antelope Canyon without putting themselves at risk.

Antelope Canyon Tickets

Antelope Canyon Tour

Unfortunately, visitors to Antelope Canyon can only see it with a tour guide. The canyon is located on Navajo Nation land, and access is strictly regulated in order to protect the fragile ecosystem. Due to its spiritual significance, Antelope Canyon was named a Navajo Tribal Park in 1997. This is why when visiting Antelope Canyon, the canyon cannot be entered without a tour guide present. Visitors must also obtain a parking permit before touring the canyon.

While this may seem like a hassle, the tours are actually quite enjoyable. The guides are very knowledgeable about the canyon and its history, and they make sure to give everyone plenty of time to take photos and enjoy the scenery. In addition, the tour groups are small enough that you never feel rushed or crowded. So if you’re ever in the area, be sure to sign up for a tour of Antelope Canyon – it’s an experience you won’t soon forget!

Ticket Pricing

The Navajo Indian Reservation controls the price of the Antelope Canyon entrance fees. This ensures that all companies that offer Navajo guided tours to Antelope Canyon cannot price gauge; the pricing must all be the same.

The tours may seem pricy, but that is just supply and demand. The canyons are extremely popular and even more so when the lighting is at its best mid-day.

Tickets for the Lower Antelope Canyon range from $50.40 (13 years – Adult), $29.20 (Ages 4 – 12), and Kids 0-3 are free.  This includes an $8 permit fee and sales tax. Tickets for the Upper Antelope Canyon range from $63- $88 per adult and $53-$78 per child (Age 6 – 12). No infants. This includes an $8 permit fee and sales tax.

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How To Choose Your Guide

Since pricing is all the same, what we looked for was the schedules. All tour guides will have a slightly different schedule availability. For the Lower Antelope Canyon, we would suggest either Ken’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours or Dixie Ellis’ Antelope Lower Canyon Tours. If you would prefer to visit the Upper Antelope Canyon, take a look at Ekis’ Antelope Canyon Tours and Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours.

Tour Length

Both of the standard tours for the Upper and Lower Canyons last around 1.5 hours.

Which Is Prettier: Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?

Both canyons are unique and beautiful. The Lower Antelope Canyon costs a little less and is less busy when compared to the Upper Canyon. If you’re in search of the light beams that happen from mid-March until mid-October, you will want to choose the Upper Canyon. However, you will get incredible photos from either location.

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The Best Time Of Year To Visit Antelope Canyon

The best time of year to visit Antelope Canyon is much the same as most attractions: peak season and low season both have their benefits.

In peak season (March to October), you will be able to catch light beams mid-day in the Upper Canyon. You may find a quieter attraction in September and October, once school is back in session. It is quieter in the low season (November to February), though you will not get the chance to see light beams.

Should I Do Both Upper And Lower Antelope Canyon?

We did not have time to do both when visiting Antelope Canyon, so we randomly chose the Lower Antelope Canyon. If you do both, we were told that it is best to do the Upper Antelope Canyon tour in the morning and the Lower Antelope Canyon Tour after lunch in the afternoon.

Canyon Layout

The Upper Canyon is narrow at the top and wide at the bottom where you will be walking. The Lower Canyon is V-shaped and therefore wider at the top and more narrow at the bottom. The canyon walls feel almost 3D. This means that there are many more different surfaces and angles for the light to reflect off as the light enters the canyon.

It may help you make a decision to know that the Upper Canyon is the same elevation throughout on a flat surface. In the Lower Canyon, you have a lot of ascending and descending of varying inclines on pre-installed metal stairways. The canyon is narrow in spots, and the footing is uneven in some areas. At the end of the tour, the climb out requires several flights of stairs. Be prepared for some steep steps, both up and down. I did this with baby Madison strapped into the baby carrier. We went slow and steady and did not have any problems.

Stairs into Lower Antelope Canyon

What To Wear

When visiting Antelope Canyon, it’s important to dress for the conditions. The canyon is located in a desert climate, so it can be hot and sunny during the day, but cool and windy at night. Closed-toe shoes are a must, as there are areas of loose sand and gravel. It’s also a good idea to wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing to help keep your skin cool and protected from the sun. And don’t forget your sunscreen! The reflection of the sun off the canyon walls can be intense. Finally, be sure to bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Antelope Canyon is a beautiful and unique place, and with a little preparation, you can make the most of your visit.

March to September can get quite hot, so ensure you are adequately protected from the hot sun.

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Flash Floods

The canyon, which is carved from red sandstone, features winding corridors and towering walls that have been shaped by centuries of erosion. Visitors can explore the canyon via a series of elevated walkways, and many tour operators offer boat rides through the narrowest sections of the canyon. Although Antelope Canyon is a beautiful and popular spot, it can also be dangerous. The canyon is prone to flash flooding, and in 1997, 11 people were killed when a wall of water swept through the canyon. As a result, visitors are advised to check the weather forecast before embarking on a tour and to be aware of their surroundings while they are in the canyon. By taking precautions and being mindful of the risks, you can enjoy a safe and memorable visit to Antelope Canyon.

Photography Tips

  • Select a tour of the canyon in the early hours or late afternoon.
  • Turn off your flash.
  • Do not take photos in the direct sunlight. You want to be positioned so that you are taking the ‘reflection’ of the sunlight instead, bringing out many colors.
  • Be sure to respect the Canyon’s fragile ecosystem by staying on established trails

 

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