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.

Antelope Canyon by Mike Shubic of MikesRoadTrip.com

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.

Antelope Canyon in Page Arizona

Visiting Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon Moon image by MikesRoadTrip.com

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.

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.

7 Comments

  1. What a great photo and video Mike, I have always wanted to go here, but given that I live on the east coast, not sure when I’ll make it.

  2. Hello! My two boys and I are in Flagstaff Arizona. We drove from Houston and going back tomorrow Friday. Where do you recommend to stop on the way back?

    1. Hi Daniela…I assume you’ll be heading out of town on I-40. I would drive through the Petrified Forest and the Painted Desert to start (1.5-3 hours). Past the park drop down Hwy 191 to AZ61/NM53 is El Morro (http://www.mikesroadtrip.com/el-morro-national-monument)…fantastic place for an easy hike and/or picnic. Not much farther across is a neat little park with an Ice Cave that might be worth a stop (1-2 hours. Near Grants, NM off Hwy 53). It’s a little out of the way, but Santa Fe is fantastic. If you’ve never been, this would be a wonderful place to stay the night. Those are a few suggestions and probably the most notable. Hope that helps. Have fun. Cheers, Mike

  3. Oh perfect timing for this post! We are planning a 12 days road trip from Albuquerque(Balloon fiesta) to Las Vegas via National parks! So much to see, I just hope we have enough time! The Antelope Canyon is on the list! Have you heard about Buckskin Gulch? I’ve read that it’s as equally amazing as Antelope?

    1. Hi Josee…thanks so much for stopping by. Oh, that is going to be an awesome road trip! I have heard of Buckskin Gulch, but have not been there. There are a number of amazing slot canyons around the area, but some are difficult to find. Antelope is very touristy, but still worth going. If you’re into photography, I would recommend doing that tour. It’s a bit more money, but there will be fewer people on your tour. Hope you have a fantastic time. Cheers, Mike

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