The Antelope canyon is perhaps one of the most famous slot canyons, and continues to be visited by more and more people every year. Carved out by wind and water, with its swirling rock patterns and sunlight filtering though the sandstone it’s easy to see why the Navajo consider this a sacred place. Here is a guide to help you plan your visit to the Antelope Canyon.
Before you go:
There are two parts of Antelope canyon: Upper and lower. The upper canyon is more popular and accessible. However, if you are looking to beat the crowds and don’t mind clambering a little consider touring the lower canyon instead. Antelope canyon is on a Navajo reservation and thus you need a guide to be able to visit it. Tours book up quickly, so it’s highly recommended that you book in advance. The tours last about 1.5 hours. We went with tours by Chief Tsosie, but many other companies also offer tours into Antelope Canyon.
The light beams can be seen in the Canyon around 11am and thus the tours that run during this time tend to be more expensive. This is also the time when the Canyon is most crowded. So if your are looking to beat the crowds, choose a tour later in the day.
The city of Page is the most convenient place to stay in, and also where most tours will start from. We stayed at the La Quinta Inn the night before our tour and it worked out really well. If you plan to stay a few days, there are also other activities ( such as paddle boarding on the Colorado) to keep you occupied. The famous Horseshoe bend is also located in Page, so be sure to check it out while you’re in the area!
On the day:
The canyon itself is about a 15 minute drive from Page. Tour companies use open air vans (like pictured below) to drive you there and back. This drive is very windy and dusty, so make sure your camera lenses are covered, your hair is tied out of the way, and wear a face mask if you are very sensitive to the dust.
You are only permitted to bring a water bottle, your phone and/or camera. No bags, backpacks, tripods (unless you are on a special photography tour) or hydrations packs are allowed into the canyon. So make sure you leave your bags and other valuables in your car or hotel room.
The guides not only tell you about the history and the formation of the canyon, but will also give you lots of photography tips. Don’t worry about missing a shot, since they will give you plenty of time for photos and even point out the best angles for your shot!
Tip: If you are using your iPhone to take photos, set it on the “warm vivid” filter before you go in.
The Antelope Canyon was one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. You will get some beautiful photos no matter when you go! But also make sure you put away your camera for a minute and soak in the beauty of the canyon while you are there.
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