Antelope canyon is one of the most visited canyons in the American southwest. Exceptionally carved over many thousands of years by the endless action of wind and water, sculpting interesting shapes, smooth curves and textures. The effects of light during different times of the day displays as changing colors and shadows. Both upper and lower canyons can be visited only by purchasing a tour, while the upper may need advance booking.
We booked a tour in advance with Antelope Canyon Tours. We drove from Cedar city to Page as a last stop in our long weekend trip. Our drive was less than 3 hours but there is a 1 hr time zone difference which we did not know about, so we arrived very early at the tour office. Anyway, when it was time for the tour we hopped onto a truck that took us to the canyon. It was a very windy, dusty and bumpy ride to the canyon entrance.
The passage inside the canyon was flat, sandy and two-way. Even though the tours are well organized and limited per day, it was so crowded that we often stopped giving way to people coming in the opposite direction.
Smooth curves and bends on the canyon walls carved out perfectly by mother nature and the effects created by light was simply mesmerizing. Some of the formations when viewed in different angles were peculiar.
Truck ride back was no different. We held on to our hats and scarves and tried hard not to fall out of the truck. They dropped us back at their office where we got in our car and headed to Lower canyon.
Lower antelope canyon is only about a mile from the upper canyon entrance parking lot and 5 miles from the tour company. We did not book a tour in advance, although it might be necessary during peak times. We purchased tickets from Ken's Tours, their booth was located just off the parking lot and a guide was readily available. Unlike upper canyon, we had the place pretty much to ourselves. Only 2 other tourists with us, so no taking turns for pictures or stopping for people.
Passage through the canyon was very narrow and even tighter in some areas making it hard to get a footing. It also involved climbing up and down steep metal ladders. Like upper canyon, there were peculiar formations here too. We took our time examining all the interesting unique shapes and getting right shots. Our guide was very informative, patient and helpful with pictures as well.
When we made it out of the canyon all we saw was a thin crack on the surface. One could never imagine the wonder that lies beneath that surface.
After the canyon tour we headed to Horseshoe Bend for sunset (about 7 miles from lower canyon). It was a short walk from parking lot to the very busy viewpoint. There was no barrier at the lookout to prevent from accidentally falling, but that didn't stop anyone from getting selfies and photographs in dangerous angles. We found our own spot at the edge of the cliff and waited for the sun to go down. The landscape is massive and no doubt magnificent. As the sun went down, the sky turned pretty shades of purple and orange and played with the colors of the rocky cliffs. What a beautiful way to end our vacation.
Where to stay: We stayed in Holiday Inn Express Suites within 5 mile range of the canyons. Some other best rated hotels in that area: Hotels in Page.
Tour Details: Upper Canyon - Antelope Canyon tours cost - $45-58 per adult depending on the time of the day (lesser in off season). $100 per adult for photography tour. List of other tour operators.
Lower Canyon - Ken's Tours - $25 for general tour and $47 for photography tour.
Trails: Upper canyon - Flat two way path.
Lower canyon - Very narrow, needs sturdy footing. Involves climbing metal ladders.
Time to spend: Upper Canyon - 2-3 hours approximately.
Lower Canyon - 1 hr 30 mins.
Horseshoe Bend - 30mins to 1hr.
In you bag: Sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, plenty of water and a camera.