When someone mentions Arizona, one of the first images that comes to mind is probably the Grand Canyon, but just a couple hours north in Page, AZ lies a hidden gem in the Arizona desert. You’ve probably even seen pictures of it, although you may not have known what it was.
It’s been named one of the 10 most beautiful slot canyons in the world. The water-worn passageways of Antelope Canyon attract visitors from all over the world every year and we’ve created a list of reasons why you need to see it too. The canyon is divided into Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. We toured Upper Antelope Canyon.
- Intimate canyon. The Antelope Canyon tour is an intimate experience. From the moment you enter, you are up close and personal. You see the water warped walls, you feel their texture, you feel the temperature drop and feel the sand displace beneath your feet.
- Colors change. Depending on the time of day and the time of year you visit the canyon, you will see a different palate of colors. In summer, you’ll see a bright glow of reds, oranges and yellows. In winter, you’ll see more deep purples, blues and pink.
- Hidden Gem. The entrance to the canyon is not obvious or easy to find. It’s seclusion and secretiveness make you feel like you’ve found the entrance to Narnia or a world from another time.
- Artistic Experience. Antelope canyon is natures brushstrokes and carvings at its best, painted with light and carved by water. Then there’s those amazing light beams cast into the canyon by the sun. Late spring and summer are the best time of year to see them.
- Always Changing. The canyon will flood when it rains, and therefore changes multiple times a year. You’ll never see the same canyon twice.
Antelope Canyon was by far our favorite stop in Arizona. Don’t get us wrong, the Grand Canyon was amazing to see as well, but there’s just something about this little slot canyon that makes us want to visit every year. Our Navajo guide made our experience even better because of his passion for the canyon and his heritage. He shared parts of his culture with us, as well as the geology and history of the canyon.
There’s a few things to keep in mind before your trip to Antelope Canyon.
- Watch the weather. Flash flooding is a natural occurrence in the area, even if there’s no rain in the immediate area. A storm 10 miles away can cause the canyon to flood. The tour companies watch the weather very closely and will cancel tours last-minute so keep your itinerary flexible.
- Two Canyons. Antelope Canyon is divided into Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Upper Canyon can be entered at ground level and remains level throughout. Lower Canyon requires climbing stairs to get in and out of the canyon. Both require a guided tour, as you cannot tour them on your own.
- Book Early! These tours fill up very fast. You will need to make reservations months in advance to assure you get the date and time you want. We used http://navajotours.com, but there are other tour companies available.
- Consider the time zone. Arizona doesn’t recognize daylight savings time, but the Navajo Reservations do. Most of the tour groups, however, are on Arizona time to cater to confused tourists. Contact your tour group to verify.
- Bring cash. When we booked our tour, we didn’t realize that we had to pay in cash. Luckily we had enough cash on us and didn’t have to run back into Page.
- Tip your guide! Our guide was amazing! He was very knowledgeable about cameras and camera phones and was able to help everyone set up their cameras to get the best possible photos. He also brought a hand carved Navajo flute and played it for us inside the canyon so we could hear how the music reverberated off the canyon walls.
We visited the canyon in early March. The weather was cooler and the tour group was smaller than they are in the height of tourist season. We ended up with so many beautiful images from our tour, we’d love to see some of yours and to hear about your experience!