The Ultimate Guide To Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon, a sublime scenery sculpted by Mother Nature!
Antelope Canyon is a narrow slot canyon with towering red sandstone walls with astounding rock formations and beautiful wavy patterns engraved on the surface of the canyon walls!
Located in Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed and highly sought-after destinations in the world! The sunlight peeking through the canyon’s ceiling illuminates the narrow passages and paints the canyon walls in the shades of red, orange, and gold. The light beams, the vivid colors, and the switchbacks create a landscape so surreal that if there exists a passage to heaven, it must look like Antelope Canyon!
Antelope Canyon was formed by water erosion in the area over a period of several thousand years. During monsoon and flash floods, the water would seep through the soft sandstone found in the area, picking up momentum and debris as it made its way to the Colorado River, grinding the canyon walls and sculpting the Antelope Canyon.
The Antelope Canyon was named after the antelopes that grazed in the area and is part of the Navajo Tribal Parks overseen and managed by Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation. Antelope Canyon has two sections, the Upper Antelope Canyon, also known as the Crack, and the Lower Antelope Canyon, the Corkscrew. Both the areas are equally stunning, with a few pros and cons, but both sections can only be accessed via guided tours offered by authorized tour companies.
Antelope Canyon can only be accessed via guided tours, and due to the popularity, I recommend planning ahead and making your tour reservations at least 4-5 months in advance.
Here is my ultimate guide to Antelope Canyon, featuring essential planning information, guided tour options, a suggested itinerary, and recommendations on hotels and restaurants near Antelope Canyon.
Planning Your Trip To Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is open year-round, summer being the peak season, with occasional closures during the monsoon, and winter is the best time to avoid the crowd.
Best Time To Visit Antelope Canyon: Antelope Canyon is open year-round, summer being the peak season, but it tends to get really busy. You definitely need to plan ahead and make your tour reservations way in advance if you’re visiting during the summer months. Flash floods are dangerous in slot canyons, so there may be occasional closures if there’s heavy rainfall in the area. If you don’t mind the cold, you can beat the crowd by visiting Antelope Canyon in the winter months and have the canyon to yourself.
Antelope Canyon Operating Hours: Antelope Canyon can only be accessed via guided tours offered by authorized tour companies. The tours last for 1.5 – 2 hours and are offered throughout the day, starting as early as 7 AM in the morning to 4 PM in the evening. However, the best time of the day to see light beams in the canyon is between 11 AM – 2:00 PM. The tour timings might vary slightly during the winter months to accommodate the changing daylight conditions. There’re also night tours offered in Antelope Canyon, a unique opportunity to see and photograph the starry skies along with the red canyon walls.
Transportation & Parking In Antelope Canyon: The parking and transportation options in Antelope Canyon differ for the Upper and Lower section and depend on the tour company you select.
- Upper Antelope Canyon: You drive to and park your vehicle at your tour provider’s parking lot and take the tour shuttle to the Upper Antelope Canyon’s entrance.
- Lower Antelope Canyon: You can drive to and park at the Lower Antelope Canyon parking area, located at Indian, Route 222, Page, AZ 86040, and then board the tour jeeps to the Lower Antelope Canyon’s entrance.
Time Required At Antelope Canyon: The canyon tour lasts about 1.5 – 2 hours, and most people visit only one section of Antelope Canyon. Even if you plan to visit both Upper & Lower Canyon, you can do it in one day. The Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon differ in few aspects, and there’re a few pros and cons that I have discussed in the later section of the post. However, if you’re short on time or have difficulty climbing up & down ladders, I suggest the Upper Canyon tour, but if you have time, I highly recommend doing both tours.
Antelope Canyon Tours: It’s mandatory to use a Navajo Tribe-authorized guide and tour company to enter the Antelope Canyon. There’re four authorized tour companies offering Upper Antelope Canyon tours and a couple of companies providing guided tours of the Lower Canyon. There’re several other Antelope Canyon tours, including night tours, photography tours, helicopter, and boat tours, which I have covered in detail in the later section of this post.
Lodging Near Antelope Canyon: There are several lodging options in the town of Page, including a couple of resorts, a few chain hotels, and bread and breakfasts. You will find my recommendations on lodging and dining options near Antelope Canyon in the later section of the post.
Other Attractions Near Antelope Canyon: When visiting Antelope Canyon, I highly recommend visiting the iconic Horseshoe Bend, located 10 miles from Antelope Canyon, and taking a boat tour to explore the gorgeous Lake Powell, located about 15 miles from Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon, located approximately 120 miles from Grand Canyon National Park, is also a popular day-trip destination among people visiting the North or the South Rim of the Grand Canyon National Park.
Getting To Antelope Canyon
International airports are relatively far from Antelope Canyon, and a better option is to take a direct or a connecting flight to one of the domestic airports near Antelope Canyon!
Airports Near Antelope Canyon: Antelope Canyon is located in north Arizona, close to the Arizona and Utah state border. The nearest international airports are located more than 250 miles from Antelope Canyon and require a fair amount of driving to get to Antelope Canyon. International airports near Antelope Canyon are Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX), Phoenix, Arizona, about 280 miles from Antelope Canyon, and McCarran International Airport (LAS), Las Vegas, Nevada, approximately 290 miles from Antelope Canyon.
A better option is flying directly into or taking a connecting flight to one of the domestic airports near Antelope Canyon. Domestic airports near Antelope Canyon are Page Municipal Airport (PGA), Page, Arizona, located just 8 miles from Antelope Canyon, Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG), Flagstaff, Arizona, located 138 miles from Antelope Canyon, and Cedar City Regional Airport (CDC), Cedar City, Utah located 185 miles from Antelope Canyon.
Train Services To Antelope Canyon: There’re no direct train services to Antelope Canyon, but you could ride an Amtrak train to Flagstaff Amtrak Station, Arizona, the closest Amtrak station to Antelope Canyon, located about 135 miles from Antelope Canyon. Once at the Flagstaff Amtrak station, you could hire a cab to get to a nearby Rental Car company, rent a car and then drive to Antelope Canyon.
Bus Services To Antelope Canyon: Like Amtrak train services, Greyhound also connects several US cities to many Arizona cities. The nearest Greyhound bus stops being Flagstaff, Arizona, located approximately 135 miles from Antelope Canyon. From here, you could hire a cab to get to a Rental Car company, rent a car and then drive to Antelope Canyon.
Upper Vs. Lower Antelope Canyon
It’s tough to pick one section of Antelope Canyon over the other, but there are a few pros and cons that might help you select the best section for your trip.
Both sections of Antelope Canyon are spectacular and worth visiting! The notable difference is the canyon’s shape; the Upper Antelope Canyon is wide at the base and narrow at the top, whereas the Lower Antelope Canyon is narrow at the bottom and wider at the top.
The Upper Antelope Canyon’s narrow opening on the top limits the light entering the canyon, making the canyon colder and dark. The dark interior and the narrow opening on the ceiling help the formation of spectacular light beams in the Upper Antelope Canyon!
If you wish to do just one tour or are short on time, I would recommend doing the Upper Antelope Canyon tour.
Antelope Canyon Tours, Itinerary, Hotels & Restaurants
To safeguard the delicate sandstone canyon and, most importantly, for visitors’ safety, both the sections of Antelope Canyon can only be accessed via guided tours. Slot canyons, like Antelope Canyon, are susceptible to flash floods. Moreover, an end of Antelope Canyon is connected to the nearby Lake Powell, and a storm in the area can force water from the lake to enter Antelope Canyon.
There were a few tragic and fatal accidents inside the canyon caused by flash flooding inside Antelope Canyon. Since then, the Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation made it mandatory to use authorized tour companies and guides to access the canyon. Special attention is paid to the weather forecasts, and tours may be canceled if there’re chances of rainfall or storm in the area.
There’re a few authorized tour companies that offer tours of the Upper Antelope Canyon and a couple of tour companies taking visitors to the Lower Antelope Canyon. Besides the regular tours of the canyon, these companies also offer a few special tours, including photography tours and night canyon tours. There’re a few other ways to explore the Antelope Canyon, including helicopter tours, Lake Powell boat tours, and kayaking.
Upper Antelope Canyon Tours: The standard tour of the Upper Antelope Canyon takes about 1.5 – 2 hours. You would need to drive to your tour provider, park your vehicle, and ride a shuttle to the Upper Antelope Canyon entrance. After a quick briefing, you would follow your guide into the canyon and return through the same route at the end of the tour.
- Antelope Canyon Tours
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours
- Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours
- Antelope Slot Canyon Tours
Lower Antelope Canyon Tours: The Lower Antelope Canyon tours are offered by two authorized companies. You can directly drive to the Lower Antelope Canyon parking area and meet up with your tour provider. The guide will then escort you to the Lower Antelope Canyon, which includes descending down to the canyon’s floor using a steep ladder. Unlike the Upper Antelope Canyon, the Lower Antelope Canyon is longer and is a one-way walk.
Antelope Canyon Helicopter Tours: Departing from the Page Municipal Airport, the Grand Canyon Scenic Airlines offers a helicopter tour of Antelope Canyon and the nearby Tower Butte and Lake Powell. The helicopter tour lasts for 35 – 40 minutes and includes landing atop the Tower Butte.
Antelope Canyon Boat & Kayak Tours: Starting at the Antelope Point Marina, the Antelope Canyon Boat Tours offers two novel ways to explore Antelope Canyon, guided boat tours and self-paddled kayak tours. The one-hour boat tour traverses through the narrow channels between the towering canyon walls, and the kayak tours are self-paced and can last up to four hours.
Antelope Canyon is relatively small, and with guided tours, it shouldn’t take more than half a day to tour Antelope Canyon, even if you plan to tour both the Upper and the Lower Antelope Canyon. However, there are quite a few nearby attractions that you must see when visiting Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona.
If you’re visiting just for a day, I highly recommend trying and squeezing in the following in your itinerary. If you’re staying for a couple of days, you can leisurely explore the area and even add the night Antelope Canyon tour to your itinerary.
- Upper / Lower Antelope Canyon Tour ( 2 Hours each )
- Antelope Canyon / Lake Powell Boat Tour ( 1 Hour )
- Horseshoe Bend ( 2 Hours )
Lake Powell & Horseshoe Bend are located within 15 miles from Antelope Canyon and can easily be toured in one day!
Lodging Near Antelope Canyon: There’re a couple of resorts and a few chain hotels and bed and breakfasts located near Antelope Canyon. If you’re into camping, you could reserve a campsite at the nearby Page Lake Powell Campground that offers RV and tent campsites.
Amangiri: Located in Canyon Point, Utah, about 25 miles from Antelope Canyon, Amangiri is the epitome of luxury. Situated amidst breathtaking wilderness, Amangiri is one of the finest resorts in the US, offering suites, homes, and camp accommodation along with outstanding spa and dining services.
Lake Powell Resort: Located 15 miles from Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell Resort offers various types of accommodations with great lake views, easy access to the Marina, and a few great dining options.
Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell: Located in the heart of the town of Page and just 8 miles from Antelope Canyon, the Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell is also a great lodging choice when visiting Antelope Canyon.
Courtyard by Marriott Page at Lake Powell: Located in a beautiful setting overlooking the Glen Canyon and Lake Powell, located about 8 miles from Antelope Canyon, the Courtyard by Marriott Page at Lake Powell serves as a great base on a trip to Antelope Canyon.
Restaurants Near Antelope Canyon: You will find several dining options in the town of Page, including chain restaurants, pizzerias, lounges, and a few fine dining options. Here’re are my top picks for restaurants near Antelope Canyon – El Tapatio for Mexican food, Big John’s Texas BBQ rustic barbecue joint, and Strombolli’s Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria for delicious Italian fare and pizzas.
Other Arizona Attractions & Related Posts
I hope you enjoyed reading the post, The Ultimate Guide To Antelope Canyon, and I hope this will help you plan your trip to the Antelope Canyon. You can find other Arizona attractions and destinations in my Arizona Travel Guide.
Happy feeding your soul!
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