Antelope Canyon – Nature inspired wonderment
The photos of Antelope Canyon (upper and lower) have inspired the world over. The long and smoothly carved sandstone slot canyon is located on Navajo land in northern Arizona and is one of those places that photos often do justice to the awe-inspire sight. Antelope Canyon is a mecca for photographers, due in part to the light beams that shine down into the narrow canyon for just a short period each day, putting on a dramatic display for onlookers. Tip: The light beam is best seen when a handful of sand is thrown in the air. And, the light is best between 11:30am and 1pm. Note: Be mindful of your camera equipment with partials in the air.
The smooth, wave-like walls of Antelope Canyon have been shaped by years of occasional flash flooding, eroding the sandstone into the natural wonder we see today. The lesser-known portion of Antelope Canyon (located across the road), known as Lower Antelope Canyon (“spiral rock arches” to the Navajo) is a bit less dramatic, but there are also a lot fewer people to contend with. This area does requires a bit more climbing/hiking to truly enjoy, but for me, that’s half the fun. The Upper part of the canyon is really the star, making it the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the Southwest. The canyon can be very crowded during peak light beam hours, however it’s still highly worth the visit—just be prepared to jockey for photographic positions.
Visiting Antelope Canyon
If you’re thinking of visiting Antelope Canyon while in Arizona, here are a few tips:
- The closest town to Antelope Canyon is Page, Arizona , which is home to Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. If you plan to visit in the summer months, be sure to book accommodation early, as lodging in Page fill up quickly. Click the following link for information on Page/Lake Powell.
- If you want to catch the light beams, plan to visit between 11 a.m. and 1pm on a clear day – the beams appear the best when the sun is high in the sky. If you want truly amazing photos inside the canyon, be sure to bring a tripod and a camera that allows you to take longer exposures!
- Visiting both upper and lower parts of Antelope Canyon requires a permit and guide as the canyon is located within a Navajo Tribal Park. You can book a tour in Page that will include all fees, or you can simply show up at one part of the canyon an hour or so before you’d like to go in to get a ticket for a specified entry time. (The cost for the Upper portion of the canyon was $25 for an hour-long guided canyon tour, and, a $6 fee to the Navajo tribe.)
- Beware of the weather. The flash floods that helped shaped Antelope Canyon still occur from time to time, and you definitely don’t want to be stuck inside when a wall of water comes roaring through. This means no trying to skirt the fees and sneaking in outside of operating hours!
- Click the following links for additional Navajo park fees, etc., as well as other things to do in the Page/Lake Powell area.
If you’ve ever been to Antelope Canyon, please leave any tips or suggestions in the comment section below. Or, if you’ve ever been on a Northern Arizona road trip and have other sights worth visiting while near Antelope Canyon, please include those as well.