Antelope Canyon- Tourist Attaction and Totally Worth it
Page Arizona continues to grow in popularity, for good reason. The region is filled with unique geologic formations that make it a photographer's dream. The area is home to "Horseshoe Bend" where the Colorado River makes a U-turn almost 1,000 ft below you, Lake Powell with more shoreline than the entire west coast of the US, and Glen Canyon Recreational Area spanning more than 1.2 million acres.
Antelope Canyon is one of Page's most popular tourist attractions with dozens of companies offering tours. Upper Antelope Canyon is the more popular canyon, and it is easy to see why people are drawn here. The stellar canyon walls tower over visitors. As you hike deeper into the canyon, the sandstone canyon walls seem to get more intricate and pull you in.
Upper Antelope Canyon is a fairly easy walk, approximately .25 miles. It is located within the Navajo Nation and a guide is required to access the area. After COVID-19 shook the world, tours through Antelope Canyon have changed since I was last there back in 2017. And they have changed for the better!
Right now, tours are running at reduced capacity allowing visitors more opportunities to get a clear photo of the canyon. Only one-way traffic is permitted through the canyon and visitors must traverse soft sand, stairs, and a ramp. Closed-toed shoes are recommended and masks are currently required. Tour Guides are well-versed in identifying ideal photography opportunities and will happily help visitors get the perfect shot. Guides communicate with each other to ensure each group can get a clean photo of the most popular views. One of my favorite companies for Upper Antelope Canyon Tours is "Antelope Canyon Tours". You can find more information here: Antelope Canyon Tours
If you want to take your exploration one step further, I highly recommend checking out some of the other slot canyons in the area. This year, I decided to book an extended tour with Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours and it was definitely worth the extra cost. You can learn more about their tours here: Adventurous Antelope Canyon
We started our tour at Antelope Canyon. It had been almost 5 years since my last visit and it was just as incredible as I remembered.
Adventurous Tours is one of the only companies authorized to access two other canyons in the area, Coyote Canyon and Rattlesnake Canyon. After Upper Antelope Canyon, my guide took me to a very small canyon right next to Antelope Canyon. Coyote Canyon is shorter and wider than Antelope Canyon giving the sandstone walls much more light. It is significantly less crowded and visitors are still treated to intricate patterns in the rock walls.
After Coyote Canyon, we went on to Rattlesnake Canyon. This canyon is named after the unique "S" curve of the canyon walls. I had booked the last tour of the day and my guide allowed me extra time to explore this canyon. I loved photographing the unique ladders throughout the canyon, and the incredible "S" formations.
Upper Antelope Canyon, Coyote Canyon, and Rattlesnake Canyon all start from the general same area. Booking the extended tours with Adventurous Canyon Tours does require a little more hiking.
While Upper Antelope Canyon is considered the most popular tour in the area, it is often booked well in advance. If you can't book a tour with Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon is just as spectacular. There are several ladders or metal steps that you must traverse and it is quite long. I definitely recommend close-toed shoes. This canyon is also located within the Navajo Nation and masks are still currently required. Ken's Tours and Dixie Tours run basically the same trip. I went on Ken's Tours, you can learn more about their tours here: Ken's Tours Lower Antelope Canyon. My guide did use the word "guys" more in one hour than a normal person does in their lifetime; despite this, and my high expectations from experiencing other slot canyons, I was still very impressed with Lower Antelope Canyon.
I don't think you can go wrong with any of the canyons and most tour companies run basically the same trip. I am not partnered with any of the companies listed in this post, these are just the companies that I have personally used and would book with again. When booking your tour, make sure to double-check the time. Generally speaking, Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time but the Navajo Nation does. Make sure you know what time your tour departs and try to arrive early to sign waivers.
So yes, Antelope Canyon is a major tourist attraction, but it is totally worth it.
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