There are not many places on planet Earth as beautiful and unique as the Antelope Canyon. It is considered the most photographed canyon and it is a famous natural landmark located just east of Page, Arizona, USA. The canyon includes two separate, scenic slot canyon sections, knows as the “Upper Antelope Canyon” or “The Crack” and “Lower Antelope Canyon” or “The Corkscrew”.
Formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic “flowing” shapes in the rock.
Nature finds a way and the Antelope Canyon is a true testament of what it can do with just two ingredients: time and water. Note that the canyon is not harmless and you need to pay attention during which season you visit it. It has had a deadly accident during a summer storm which swept a group of people enjoying the views.
Antelope Canyon Tour
The canyon is not directly accessible and the only way to visit it is via a tour. It is a very tightly preserved and controlled by the local Navajo Tribe. In order to visit you need to schedule a tour with one of the local companies. Have in mind that the best time is around noon for pictures. If you are a photographer you should consider a photography tour. On these tours, only a few people are allowed in the park at the same time. On the regular tours, more than 10 people go inside at once and it does get crowded. Also, it is not only one tour at a time in the canyon but many. They just go one after the other etc.
Things to keep in mind is that taking good pictures is really hard on the regular tour. Also flash is a no-no. We would absolutely try to go again soon and be on a photography one with tripods etc. No tripods of any kind are allowed on the regular tour. They are pretty strict on the rules. Depending on the tour company you get to ride on a nice and fully closed minibus or on modified open pickup trucks with benches. During the winter it does get cold on the open ones so have that in mind.
Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon is called Tsé bighánílíní, ‘the place where water runs through rocks’ by the Navajo. It is the most frequently visited by tourists for two reasons. First, its entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing. Second, beams or shafts of direct sunlight radiating down from openings at the top of the canyon are much more common in Upper than in Lower. Beams occur most often in the summer months, as they require the sun to be high in the sky. Winter colors are more muted. Summer months provide two types of lighting. Light beams start to peek into the canyon March 20 and disappear October 7 each year.
We visited the Upper Antelope Canton due to its ease of access and we travel with a small child. The lower one is already in our to-do list in bold. Overall it is an experience like no other and you should absolutely consider this adventure. Also, have in mind that Horseshoe Bend is very close and this is another unbelievable place to experience and you could visit them both in one day (like we did). Hotels at the city of Page, AZ overall ware quite nice so you can plan to stay there for a night.