273 miles drive from Las Vegas, Nevada, we arrived at Page, Arizona just before lunch. Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located on the Navajo Reservation and is only open to the public through a Navajo Tour Company.
Upper Antelope Canyon is the more popular location, maybe because it is at ground level, but you can also visit Lower Antelope Canyon, which involves stairs. Several companies offer tours of Upper Antelope Canyon, but only one company offers tours of Lower Antelope Canyon. We booked a guided trip to the upper antelope canyon in the afternoon with Antelope Canyon Tours. It was a 1 hour sightseeing tour. The canyons are dark at places, and a tripod is very useful and it is not allowed in the regular tour.
You need to assemble at their office in Page, and they take you in a crazy looking truck in groups of 12. The trucks were heavy duty pickup trucks with big wheels and bench seats. The 2 benches were back to back with a canopy for shade and railings to hold on to. The land is owned by Native American Navajos, located about 10 minutes from Page. Only guided tours of the Canyon are allowed. There are other tour operators that are located closer to the main entrance and you can go till there, and then they drive you.
|Crazy looking truck 🙂|
|Entrance to the canyon|
The entrance to the upper canyon is reached by off-roading about 3 miles through the dry, dusty, bumpy river bed. We all stayed with our guide and staggered the entrances. Our guide was great. He started by telling us how to set our cameras for good photos. For a simple point and shoot, use the “P” setting and set to “cloudy” and ISO 800. That easy… and even told us too about the history and formation of the canyon.
We entered the slot canyon. The Upper Antelope Canyon is shorter in length rather than descending down the canyon. That is why the Upper Antelope Canyon is more crowded than the Lower Antelope Canyon. The guide pointed out all the best spots to take photos. It was actually a bit dark in there, but the shots showed such brilliant colors! Some were blurry because not much time to composed shoots if you’re in a group tour, but most looks amazing! It was just amazing how brilliant the photos turned out, considering how dark it was inside. The slot canyon is open to the sky, but barely any light came in. This is also the location of the famous beam of the light. The sunbeam is only visible for a short period of time, generally less than an hour, so those tours sell out fast! It was still really cool without the sunbeam. The guides do a really good job of timing the groups so we could get photos without people in them.
Mid-day (10am – 2pm) on a sunny summer day is the best time to visit the Upper Antelope Canyon. The canyon was about 600 ft long and only a few feet wide in some places. Only guided tours are allowed due to the danger of flash flooding.
Rain does not have to fall on or near the Antelope Canyon slots for flash floods to occur. Rain falling miles upstream can funnel into them without prior notice. This is good to remember while planning a trip so that you can avoid the monsoon season. Flooding makes the canyon more deeper, washing out the sand and depositing debris out on top of the canyon. It’s hard to describe how beautiful the place is but my photos will surely give the “awe” on you.
The entrance and the exit way are the same.