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Visit Antelope Canyon
This tour is for the traveler who wants to discover a spectacular, off-the-beaten-track gem that offers scenery unlike any other location in the country. Antelope Canyon is one of the American Southwest's best-kept secrets, and it begs to be discovered and explored.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona.
Antelope Canyon is a popular location for photographers and sightseers, and a source of tourism business for the Navajo Nation. Private tour companies have been permitted to offer tours since 1987. It has been accessible by tour only since 1997, when the Navajo Tribe made it a Navajo Tribal Park. Photography within the canyons is difficult due to the wide exposure range (often 10 EV or more) made by light reflecting off the canyon walls.
Here are the top 10 things you need to know before visiting Antelope Canyon.
IT IS ABSOLUTELY MIND-BLOWING
There is a reason Antelope Canyon is on countless travel destination lists. It is one of the most unique places in the world that is also very easily accessible. The walls of the canyon come to life with color and movement that you have never seen in nature before.
THERE ARE TWO ANTELOPE CANYONS
Many don’t know it, but Antelope Canyon is actually divided into two separate sections – the Upper Canyon and the Lower Canyon. Just a mile or so apart, we recommend visiting both if you have time.
GUIDES ARE REQUIRED
Antelope Canyon is located on Indian reservation land and no visitors are allowed to access the canyon without a guide (this is also for safety reasons).
THE LOWER CANYON IS SO MUCH BETTER
The Lower Canyon is underground (making the temperature much cooler than the Arizona heat you’ll experience above ground) and is V-shaped; the base of the canyon is narrow (only one person could squeeze through at a time in certain areas) and is wide at the top. The specific shape of this canyon allows plenty of sunlight to seep in and filled the space with vibrant reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, and purples.
The Lower Canyon is for the more adventurous type; you will descended into the canyon through a network of steel stair cases and ladders. What I particularly appreciated about the lower section of Antelope Canyon was that the guides take a single group, of about 10 people, into the canyon at a time. Each group is spaced out about every 15 minutes, giving you isolated time to enjoy the canyon in a more serene environment.
THE UPPER CANYON IS MORE EASILY ACCESSIBLE
This section of the canyon is above ground and shaped like an upside down V (opposite of the Lower Canyon), with a wide base and a narrow opening causing it to be rather dark. The ground of the canyon is level and there is no climbing up and down ladders, like in the Lower Canyon. The only light emanates when the sun shines through the tiny openings in the canyon’s roof. These small openings create light beams that can only be seen in the middle of the afternoon when the sun is directly overhead.
BRING WATER AND HIKING SHOES
This is Arizona. It’s hot and dry. You will get dehydrated faster than you can say the word dehydrated, especially in the summer months. Make sure to have a water bottle with you at all times. If you are visiting the Lower Canyon, you’ll want to have sturdy hiking or tennis shoes as you will be descending ladders and climbing through small openings.
TIME OF DAY MATTERS
It’s best to visit the Lower Canyon in the early morning to avoid the crowds. The Lower Canyon does not take reservations and operates on a first-come-first-serve basis only. Reservations are accepted through many different tour companies for the Upper Canyon. The best time to visit the Upper Canyon is around noon, when the sun is directly overhead; this gives you the best chance to see the sun beams entering the canyon.
IT CAN BE DANGEROUS
Arizona is well known for its flashfloods, particularly during the monsoon season. In August of 1997, 11 people drowned in a flashflood in the Lower Canyon when a 50 foot wall of water swept through the canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon remained closed for 9 months before it reopened with improved safety features. All visitors must now be accompanied by a guide who is qualified to assess the safety and weather conditions. Avoid the canyon during rainstorms. Even if it isn’t raining at Antelope Canyon flashfloods can travel from miles away.