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I think this is probably on everyone’s bucket list, whether they know it or not. Ok, that could be wrong, but I bet it is on a lot of lists. What is it you ask? Oh wait, you probably read the title already. It’s Antelope Canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon to be exact.
Antelope Canyon is a set of slot canyons just outside of Page, Arizona. They glow orange with world-famous light beams in the mid-day sun, making that the best time for a visit, meaning it’s also the busiest time for a Lower Antelope Canyon tour.
There are a few Antelope Canyon tours to choose from, varying slightly in cost, but offering pretty much the same thing: about an hour to an hour and a half in the canyon with fun facts about the canyon and formations inside. There are also two tour options: a photo tour and a regular tour. I’ll be talking about the Dixie Ellis tours here, but there are other companies that offer the tours.
In the photo tour, you have to have an SLR camera and tripod. The people in the regular tours will be moved out of the way so they have priority on the top shots. They are a bit more expensive, but if you want those pictures, it’s worth it.
The regular tours are less, but you aren’t allowed to have a tripod on those. I didn’t think a tripod was necessary, though. Maybe if it’s later in the day. and darker in the canyon.
The tour starts at the little check-in areas and you walk a little bit above ground before heading down some stairs into the canyon itself. Just looking around from the check-in area, it’s hard to tell where you would even be going, until you get closer to the canyon.
Once you get to the entrance, there is a set of metal stairs taking you into the bottom of the canyon. The stairs are super easy to get down and shouldn’t be a problem for most people. They tell you to hold onto the railing so you don’t slip.
From there, it’s a pretty straight, but winding, shot through the canyon to the end. If you really hate crowds, this might not be for you, but it really is an amazing experience. While it was packed, I was still able to get pictures without people in them and did see areas that weren’t shoulder to shoulder.
It was nice having a guide to take us through. He told us all about the canyon, a little bit about the area, and made sure to point out notable formations. He also gave photography tips and helped people find the right shots, even on the regular tour.
This was the first slot canyon I had ever been in, but certainly not the last, and It was extremely cool. Yes, it’s busy, but it’s busy for a reason. The waves of golden orange sandstone guide you through the canyon and almost make you forget how many people are in there with you.
What to bring camping in the area
These are just the main things, but you can find a full packing list that I use here.
Hiking poles – These will be helpful on longer hikes that are on the steeper side. They’ll be good if you have bad knees for when you’re going downhill and will give you something to lean on going up the hills.
Snacks – These are more important for long hikes, but you never know when you’ll get hungry! I like EPIC bars (kind of like beef jerky but different), Sahale nut mix things, and Moon Cheese. There’s always the good old Clif Bars and trail mix, too.
Light Jacket – Because you just never know. Weather can change quickly depending on where you are and if you’ll be in any slot canyons, they can get cool depending on the time of day and season. I usually use my rain jacket for this.
Sleeping pad – Gotta make the tent comfy! The one I have isn’t available anymore but this one is similar. It’s self-inflating and just needs a little help filling all the way. Buy the sleeping pad here.
Pillow – If you’re just driving, I’d just bring a regular pillow, but if you’re flying then renting a car, you might want a smaller pillow. This is a good non-inflatible option. Here is a good inflatable option.
Lantern – I love having a lantern for in the tent at night, reading in the dark, or going to the bathroom in the middle of the night. The LuminAID is my favorite and you can charge your phone on it. Buy the LuminAID lantern here.
Where do you go for Lower Antelope Canyon tours?
How long are Lower Antelope Canyon tours?
The tour itself is 1-1.5 hours and you will walk about 1.1 miles total. I would set aside maybe 2.5 hours for the whole thing so you have enough time to drive out there and get there early enough. Some people hung around to chat with the guidee after as well.
Other things to do near Antelope Canyon:
- Hike to Horseshoe Bend
- Visit Antelope X canyon
- Go kayaking on Lake Powell
- Visit Water Holes Canyon
- Do an Upper Antelope Canyon tour
Where to stay near Antelope Canyon
There are tons of hotels in Page for people visiting on all budgets. We stayed at the Antelope Canyon Inn. It’s definitely a budget hotel, but I don’t think it was bad. I’d stay there again. There are also tons of campgrounds near Page if you will be camping or in a campervan or RV. Free BLM camping may be another option. You could ask around for recommendations.
This is a must-see stop if you’re in the area on a road trip. Page actually has quite a bit to offer within a couple hours as far as outdoor activities go. You can kayak on Lake Powell, hike the White Pocket, visit the famous Horseshoe Bend, and of course, see the Antelope slot canyons. It’s also a great place to head to from Zion National Park, or vice versa.
Tips for visiting Antelope Canyon:
- If you’re super into photography, a photo tour would be good for you. If not, the regular tour is perfectly fine and it’s super easy to get good pictures on that, too. I took the regular tour.
- If you do take a photography tour, you need to have a tripod for your camera. Tripods aren’t allowed on the regular tours.
- We went with Dixie Ellis and only booked it a couple days ahead of time (in April) but there were spots open when we got there, too.
- The tour was $26 + an $8 fee for being on Navajo land, which is why you need to go on a guided tour.
- There are a couple of other tour companies, too, Ken’s Tours being the other I remember, and they all offer the same things at the same cost.
- The tours all start a little bit outside of Page.
- You can do both tours (upper and lower) in one day.
- Upper Antelope costs a little bit more than lower but still looks 100% worth it. I will definitely go back to see it.
- There are so many other awesome things to do in Northern Arizona, so give yourself plenty of time in the area. Make sure you do some hiking in Sedona.
Have you been to either Antelope Canyon? What did you think of it? Do you want to go?