On our journey through Arizona, we were excited to be visiting Antelope Canyon, and being able to witness the most visited and most photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. Located in Page, Arizona, within Navajo Tribal Park, the canyon has two separate exploration points: the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon.
During our visit, we enjoyed wandering the Lower Antelope Canyon, known as Hazdistazí, or “spiral rock arches” by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department.
The Antelope Canyon is closed to tours due to the Navajo Nation Health Order. The start of the 2021 season is unknown. There is no anticipated reopen date.
Here is what you need to know before visiting Antelope Canyon:
Table Of Contents
- How To Get To Antelope Canyon
- The Best Time Of Day To Visit Antelope Canyon
- Summer Weather
- Antelope Canyon Tickets
- Which Is Prettier: Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?
- The Best Time Of Year To Visit Antelope Canyon
- Should I Do Both Upper And Lower Antelope Canyon?
- Canyon Layout
- What To Wear
- Flash Floods
- Photography Tips
How To Get To Antelope Canyon
To get to Antelope Canyon, it will take a combination of flight and car. The closest major airports are Phoenix and Las Vegas International Airports, both a five-hour drive away from Page.
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
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.
Summer can get extremely hot around the canyon, with daily highs in the 90s. Prepare appropriately for the heat.
Antelope Canyon Tickets
Antelope Canyon Tour
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What To Wear
You are going to want to be comfortable when exploring the canyons. March to September can get quite hot, so ensure you are adequately protected from the hot sun. Also, wear proper running shoes, forget the flip flops or anything with a heel.
Rains during the monsoon season can quickly flood the canyon. Rain does not have to fall on or near the Antelope Canyon slots for flash floods to whip through, as rain falling dozens of miles away ‘upstream’ of the canyons can funnel into them with little prior notice.
- As mentioned above, hit the canyon in the early hours or late afternoon.
- Turn off your flash.
- Do not take photos into the direct sunlight. You want to be positioned so that you are taking the ‘reflection’ of the sunlight instead, bringing out many colors.