The natural beauty of Antelope Canyon makes it one of the most sought-after tourist attractions in the world, yet entry to this natural wonder is only possible with the help of a Navajo guide. Here, we’ll walk you through the steps of visiting this incredible location.
Antelope Canyon is unlike any other place on the planet. When the sun shines brightly in the middle of the day, shafts of light cut into the canyon, highlighting the canyon’s thin orange and yellow sandstone walls. Photographers from all over the world come to capture the effect, which is almost unreal.
Visiting Antelope Canyon, on the other hand, isn’t as easy as pulling up to a parking lot and going up to the entrance. However, we’re here to show you the ropes, from how to hire a Navajo guide to how to capture the changing light.
Where is the Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon is located in the state of Arizona.
It is part of the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park, which is located 10 minutes east of Page, on the Arizona-Utah border, and was formed by millions of years of erosion.
Although there is just one slot canyon in the park, there are two places to visit: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Upper Antelope Canyon is the more popular entry because it is at ground level and has a less than 2% slope.
Lower Antelope Canyon necessitates descending (and ascending) many flights of steps and ladders.
The trip from Phoenix to Antelope Canyon takes around four and a half hours.
When you include in parking, travel time, and real time spent in the canyons, your excursions might run up to two hours after you arrive.
As a result, many individuals choose to stay at least one evening.
The majority of excursions begin in Page or near the park’s Highway 98 entrance.
Arrive 15 minutes early at the very least.
How to get to Antelope Canyon?
What is the best way to travel to Antelope Canyon?
You may either drive yourself or take a guided excursion to Antelope Canyon.
If you’re intending to drive alone, Phoenix and Las Vegas are both common beginning places.
Regardless of where your adventure begins, you’ll need to drive as far as Page, Arizona to reach Antelope Canyon:
The journey from Las Vegas to Page takes around 4.5 hours one way, and you’ll pass by many other famous Southwest sights along the way, including the Grand Canyon’s South Rim.
Page is roughly a 5-hour trip from Phoenix.
This route passes via Flagstaff and Sedona, two renowned Southwest destinations.
The only way to enter Antelope Canyon and view it up close from Page is to take a guided trip.
To access Upper OR Lower Antelope Canyon, you must be accompanied by a guide.
Guided excursions are offered from both Las Vegas and Page, Arizona.
Some guided excursions from Las Vegas fly to Page, so instead of a 4.5-hour drive through the desert, you may be to Antelope Canyon in just two hours—and in the luxury of a specially-designed sightseeing jet.
You’ll join one of the guided excursions that depart from Page after you arrive.
Should I go on a self-directed tour or a guided one?
When it comes to Antelope Canyon guided tours, you have four options:
- Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon standard tour
- Upper Antelope Canyon photo tour
- Upper Antelope Canyon at Night Tour
- Tours on the water
Both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon have standard tours offered.
A knowledgeable Navajo guide will accompany you around the Canyon, pointing out some of the most impressive structures.
They’ll also be able to offer advice on how to take better photos with your smartphone or small camera.
You’ll need to schedule a special photo trip if you want to get that ideal sunbeam image or a snapshot without roaming visitors in the backdrop.
While you take photographs, your Navajo guide will stop other visitors from passing for 1-2 minutes.
They’ll also teach how to use your camera’s best settings and provide other helpful hints for capturing the perfect image.
You’ll need a permission from Navajo Parks Management if you want to sell your Antelope Canyon photographs.
Permits are $50 if purchased in advance, but they cost $200 if you are found selling a photograph without one.
Night time tours
After twilight, take a stroll around Upper Antelope Canyon.
Your guides will use an LED light panel to paint the sweeping walls of Antelope Canyon in order for you to capture a surreal long-exposure photo.
There are both photo and non-photo tours offered.
Tours on the water
A boat trip of Antelope Canyon’s waterside is available.
The duration of a boat excursion is usually between 60 and 90 minutes.
Antelope Point Marina and Wahweap Boat Tours are the two boat tour companies.
Hidden Canyon Kayak Tours offers kayak tours as well.
No prior kayaking experience is necessary, and all equipment is provided.
What is the best time to go to Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon is open all year; however, most visitors prefer to visit during the day on weekends between March and October, when the light shafts occur.
The crowds will be at their height, making it tough to capture that ideal image.
During the off-season, from November to late February, and especially in January, you’ll find lower rates, less people, and still spectacular vistas.
Antelope Canyon may close during days of severe rain or snow; however, this is unusual.
During Arizona’s monsoon season, from June through September, this is more likely to happen.
Experts and reviews agree that the ideal time to see Antelope Canyon is in the middle of the day, between 11:00 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
The light beams are powerful at this time of day, and you may capture them clearly on your camera.
The explanation for this is simple: around midday, the sun is perpendicular to the canyon, making the light effects more noticeable as more solar rays impact the enormous rock formations within the canyon.
Things you need to visit the Antelope Canyon
To visit Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon, you’ll need to make a reservation with a Navajo guide ahead of time.
Before you go, make a reservation online because excursions sometimes sell out weeks in advance.
You’ll also require the following:
A permit is required; however, it is generally included in your guide’s charge. If you’re visiting Lower Antelope Canyon, you’ll need good walking shoes.
How much does it cost to visit Antelope Canyon?
Until recently, the price difference between a sightseeing and a photographic excursion was substantial.
However, because photography excursions regularly caused bottlenecks by enabling photographers to bring their tripods and spend extra time setting up photos, the tribe has restricted the availability of these tours.
The majority of Upper Antelope Canyon 90-minute excursions cost between $50 and $90 (slightly less for children), however some operators offer early bird and last-minute discounts.
Lower Antelope Canyon excursions last an hour and cost $40, with luxury versions costing up to $80.
Taxes and the $8 Navajo permission fee are usually included in the purchase, but not always.
(If you have any queries concerning additional fees, contact your tour provider.)
Things you need to bring when coming to Antelope Canyon
When you come to the Antelope Canyon, you should layer your clothing and wear closed-toed, sturdy shoes.
Even in the cold, use lots of sunscreen. Bring a cap or a handkerchief to keep the sand out of your eyes, and if you wear contact lenses, opt for eyeglasses instead.
You may carry one bottle of water with you (and we highly recommend you do).
Just remember to take it with you when you leave the tour.
Bring nothing with you: Bags, purses, fanny packs, tripods, monopods, selfie sticks, food, and beverages are all forbidden in the canyon.
In the canyon, there are no garbage cans or facilities.
Prepare for the journey across the canyon
Prepare to journey in a four-wheel-drive vehicle across a sandy riverbed to the canyon, whether you start in Page or at the park’s entry.
Each vehicle has a Navajo guide who leads the party around the formations, gives information about them, and even assists in the staging of certain photographs, such as sand flowing over a rock ledge.
Sand is all over the place.
Dust can drift into your nose, mouth, and ears on windy days. If you have a DSLR camera, keep it covered when not in use (a plastic shower cap would suffice) and don’t change lenses while inside the canyon.
Bring your tripod along with you
Without a tripod, photographing Antelope Canyon is more difficult, but you may still capture stunning shots.
When using a DSLR, choose a high ISO and a wide aperture.
From May through October, plan a trip that will be in the canyon between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to capture the light beams. Remember to glance up, especially if the canyon is busy.
Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Excursions, for example, also offers tours to neighboring, nearly-as-spectacular canyons.
Photographers who are serious about their craft might wish to book one of these excursions as well.
Simply ask while making a reservation.
Where can you stay?
Antelope Canyon, though not very isolated by Arizona standards, is nonetheless a long drive and climb for many parts of the state.
Horseshoe Bend, White Pocket and the Vermilion Cliffs, and Lake Powell are just a few of the spectacular sights nearby, so many visitors want to stay at least one night to get the most out of their vacation.
This national company is one of the area’s newest hotels, and former customers rave about its clean, comfortable rooms, helpful staff, and complimentary hot breakfast.
Boats, buses, and RVs may all be parked in the big parking area.
The Bear’s Den B&B is run by “Bubba and Deb-B,” who run an ADA-compliant three-room bed and breakfast in Page.
Pillowtop beds, a tiny fridge and microwave, private bathrooms, and plenty of bear décor are among the amenities.
Book a Navajo Hogan or sheepherder wagon at this sustainable glamping campground and B&B run by Baya, a Navajo Nation member, for a genuinely unique experience.
You’ll be staying on Navajo territory in one of eight basic cottages with nothing but vistas for miles—no power or running water, but plenty of pure drinking water.
Why should you visit Antelope Canyon?
Here are some of the reasons on why you need to come to Antelope Canyon.
If a trip to Lake Powell and Glen Canyon National Recreation Area is on your bucket list, a stay at this resort in Page’s Wahweap Marina is the best way to get there.
For a memorable day on the water, hotel guests may arrange a boat tour, dinner cruise, or hire their own powerboat.
Now you have a basic understanding on what Antelope Canyon is all about. On top of that, you also know how you need to come here. Antelope Canyon and the Navajo Nation’s lands are unique areas with beautiful scenery and natural habitats for native animals that should be preserved. Follow the Leave No Trace principles to the best of your ability so that future visitors can continue to enjoy the area.
You should know that the greatest time to visit Antelope Canyon’s Upper Canyon, Lower Canyon, or both the Upper and Lower portions of this region is when the weather is sunny, and the light beams shine on the rock formations. So, while there is no “best” time to visit Antelope Canyon, you may appreciate its beauty in any season, we recommend going when the weather is warm, sunny, and there are few visitors. Antelope Canyon is a once-in-a-lifetime event that will leave you dumbfounded. We’ve included some information on the ideal time to visit Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas, Phoenix, or anywhere else.