Guide to Visiting Antelope Canyon

A Guide to Visiting Antelope Canyon

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Legend has it that Antelope Canyon was discovered by a young girl that was tending to her sheep in the desert. I can’t imagine what that moment was like for that girl, but thankfully she paved the way for all of us to visit this incredible natural wonder.

This formation was formed over millions of years by rushing water and expands through one and half miles. Located just outside of Page, Arizona, it opened to the public in 1997 and has attracted over one million visitors each year. For photographers, it is a magnet that draws them into the jagged edges and falling sand in sunlight. Having visited myself, it does feel like another world.

Now, to the important stuff. Traveling to this location does require a bit of planning. So, here are a few tips to make the most of your visit to Antelope Canyon.

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Things to Consider before Visiting

Things to Consider before Visiting

If you are claustrophobic, this location might not be for you. You are going to be in extremely tight quarters with a bunch of other people. Just a heads up.

Also, you will be walking at least half a mile for the Upper Canyon and over a mile for the Lower Canyon. Mother Nature did not take ADA into consideration when she sculpted these canyons and there is, therefore, no space for wheelchairs or strollers.

No purses or backpacks can be brought into the canyons, with the exception of baby carriers that can be worn on the person.

How to get to Antelope Canyon

antelope canyon arizona

The closest airport is Las Vegas McCarran International or Phoenix Sky Harbor. Rent a car, public transportation is quite limited, and drive about an hour to the canyons located on Navajo Nation land.

Which canyon should you visit

Antelope Canyon

Each of the canyons require a separate tour. If you will be limited on time, do a bit of research and figure out which canyon you would prefer to see the most. If you hit both, then book both! You won’t regret it! They are different enough that you will not regret having done so.

Upper Canyon

Most people go to the Upper Canyon and those are the photos you most likely will see on Instagram. I visited the Upper Canyon but would love to go back and see the Lower. Photography tours can be arranged in the Upper Canyons, and I can tell you that it is worth it! The guides make sure that people are out of the way and assist you in getting the best vantage points.

Lower Canyon

The Lower Canyon is less crowded and is twice as long as the Upper. This canyon does require a bit of work. You will need to climb down five flights of very steep stairs at the beginning of the tour. If you are like me, slightly terrified of heights, or have mobility issues, you may want to reconsider.

How to visit Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

Both canyons are located on the Navajo Nation land and can only be visited with an approved tour company. There are five approved tour companies that can take you into the Upper Canyon. 

Keep in mind that the Upper Canyon tends to be a little bit more expensive than the Lower tours. There are two approved tour companies for the Lower Canyons. 

If you want to experience the beauty of the slot canyons without all the crowds, consider visiting the Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon.

Also, if you are wanting really good photos without a bunch of people in them then look into the photography tours that most of the companies offer. They get people out of the way so you can take some killer photos. You can bring a tripod and you get a few extra minutes to photograph and enjoy the scenery. 

Antelope Canyon tours

Upper Canyon Tours

Lower Canyon Tours

Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon

Antelope Canyon photography tips

Antelope Canyon photography tips
  1. Book a photography tour! As I mentioned earlier, it is worth it!!
  2. These are slot canyons, so lighting is very important since the sun cannot reach every corner of the canyon at one time. That being said, mid-day is the best time to photograph Antelope Canyon. Usually between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., between the months of March and October. This will allow you capture the beams of light shining into the openings.
  3. Bring a tripod. You will need this to stabilize your camera to get the sharp contrasts and to eliminate blur.
  4. Use the “cloudy” mode to achieve the warmer tones you see in real life.

What to wear during your visit

Hiking in this area is dirty work but so worth it! You don’t need any kind of crazy gear but you will most certainly need items such as hiking boots to make the walk a bit easier. Also, Arizona tends to be very warm, especially in the summer months, so lightweight pants and shirts are a must. Here are some of my favorites.

Where to stay near Antelope Canyon

The closest town to Antelope Canyon is Page, Arizona. If you are looking for a luxurious and modern hotel then consider Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell.  A more economical option is Best Western View of Lake Powell Hotel that is only about 10 minutes away from the canyon and 15 minutes from Lake Powell. My last recommendation is Lake Powell Canyon Inn. This is a simple and less expensive place to grab some sleep before taking in the canyons.  

No matter your choice of canyon during your time at Antelope Canyon, you will not be disappointed. The formations, vivid colors, and light make a visit to this location truly magical.

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Kristal Ham

Hi fellow nomads!

Traveler and Photographer

My name is Kristal and I am so happy to have you visit my site! 

I hope that the travel guides, fun facts, and photography you find here will inspire you to explore new places!

Kristal

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