Planning a Trip to Antelope Canyon

emma in antelope canyon
Want to visit Antelope Canyon? Here are my tips! Our family toured lower Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona as a part of our camping trip out West.

**This is Day 8 of a series of blog posts chronicling our family trip Out West 2018 in which we faced some massive car issues while pulling our pop-up camper.  If you’d like to catch up, here’s

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7**

What is Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon on the Navajo Reservation east of Page, Arizona, where we were staying. A slot canyon is a narrow little canyon carved out by wind and water, usually in the desert. There are several in the Southwest United States, but Antelope Canyon is probably one of the most famous ones.

 

How Do I Get to Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is about a ten minute drive from Page, Arizona, but you cannot just walk up and go down into it. The Canyon is located on Navajo land, and the Navajo Nation operates several tour companies on both the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon (more about the differences in a minute).

Do I need reservations?

Yes! This tour is very popular, and the tour companies routinely sell out. We made our reservations six months in advance, and the prime times were already sold out. There is a time of day when the sunbeams will hit the canyon floor (11-1 p.m. during the spring and summer), and these times are very popular.

We went in the morning and still got some beautiful pictures.

OK, Upper or Lower Antelope?

We went with Lower. Upper is more popular, but we chose Lower because

  • It was a little bit less expensive at the time (not sure if those prices have changed.)
  • It is not as accessible as Upper, so we were hoping it would not be as crowded. There’s no way to know, since we didn’t go to the Upper Antelope, but we followed internet conventional wisdom, for what it’s worth.
  • It had more time slots available when we made the reservations.

I don’t regret the decision. The Lower Antelope was beautiful, and I don’t think we missed out on anything by going with Lower vs. Upper. Maybe one of you can do both and let me know!

Our Family's Experience Touring Lower Antelope Canyon

Our tour was at 9:45, and I was so worried that the tour would be on a different time zone than the campground that I actually drove out there (it wasn’t far) by myself just to make sure. I was NOT going to miss this tour. The guy said we were good and went ahead and checked us in. I went back, rounded up the troops, and we all drove out there.

Starting the Tour

We didn’t have to wait long before they called us for our tour. Because it’s on Navajo land, a Navajo guide takes you down in a group of around 15 people. Basically you’re going down into a sandstone crack in the ground that has been worn smooth and wavy by water and time. You walk about 15 minutes to the start of it, descend a flight of metal stairs, and stand in the starting area with a bunch of other people (there are multiple tour groups using this canyon, so that first part was pretty crowded).

Because there are so many people, I couldn’t hear our guide very well.

I was a little disappointed because I was looking forward to learning about the canyon and the history and nature of the area. He told us some stuff, but I felt like the guide part could have been better. It also felt very commercial, which of course it is. So the first part was the worst part.

As we went along, however, it got better. The groups spaced out so it wasn’t so loud and you got to enjoy the canyon for what it was. As per usual, I took a million pictures. It’s hard to say if the kids really enjoyed it, but I thought it was beautiful. Every time you turned the corner, a new beauty emerged. The guide took family pictures for us in a few different areas, which was fun.

While You Are In the Canyon

The guide also took some pictures of areas in the canyon on your phone, if you wanted him to. They try to make sure that everyone gets great pictures, regardless of skill level.

We were down in the canyon for a little over an hour, and then emerged back up into the desert.

It’s funny to watch people come up out of this little crack in the ground. We got some bottled water, thanked our guide, and went back to the campsite. It was still not yet lunchtime, and the weather was roasting.

Was Antelope Canyon Worth the Expense?

I would say yes.

Even though it was quite expensive (a little under $60 per person plus tip for the guide), it was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Be prepared for the crowds; they will thin out the longer you are in the canyon and everyone spreads out. I don’t know of another place where you can see rock formations quite like this.

We knew this was the only time we would be out in this part of Arizona, so I am very glad we went and experienced Antelope Canyon

Have any questions? Comment or contact me at susan@susananyway.com and I’ll be happy to answer them.

Happy Travels!

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