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After being pretty impressed with Antelope Canyon X and not wanting to do tons of driving from Page, my dad and I decided we would do a Waterhole Canyon tour, too.
We started this tour around 11:30 as well and on this one there was only one other person! With us (2), the other guy, the guide, and three guides-in-training, there were a total of seven of us but the guides-in-training stayed towards the back.
It would have been hard to get a better group than that aside from no one else being on it. We took a short van ride (no following it this time) to the canyon and headed in.
This involves a little more hiking than most of the slot canyon tours, coming in at two miles. It says the hiking tour was 1.5 hours and I think that’s about right but I also think we got that whole time in the canyon, not including the driving time.
We saw no one else here and there was not even a hint of a rush to get us through, it was fantastic. The canyon isn’t quite as narrow or tall as the others in the area but it’s still amazing and the lack of people really made it so much better.
Like, no one else in the canyon at all so you don’t even hear other groups talking that you can’t see (like Upper Antelope.) I was, and still am, very impressed with it.
The Waterhole Canyon tour includes three slot canyon sections and a few ladders and squeezy parts (squeezy according to my dad).
If you’re used to desert squeezes, it’s not bad. I don’t know which section of the canyon I liked most, maybe the middle part? It’s all really cool but I think the last one is the most open.
In the last part we actually learned the ground is now like, eight feet higher than a few years ago! This is because during flash floods sand and debris is carried through the canyon and it just sort of filled in there. It’s wild!
We took our sweet time walking through the canyon with plenty of time to take pictures. It was pretty much the best weather possible, too.
I would recommend booking ahead if you really know you want to do this and I would check at least a week in advance, maybe more in the summer.
After the final slot section, there are some stairs and a hill to climb to get back up to the road and van that will take you back to your car. It’s not a hard climb out but the stairs really got me. I think they got all of us haha.
Overall, if you want to do a slot canyon tour, have a slightly bigger budget, but not huge, aren’t picky about which you see, and want to avoid crowds, Waterhole Canyon might be the one for you.
I have a whole post comparing all of the Page slot canyons coming shortly that will help you decide between all of them if you’re still not sure.
While it’s different than the much more popular Antelope Canyons, it’s still beautiful and feels much less frantic than the others I’ve done.
Waterhole Canyon tours
Waterhole Canyon Experience is the only company that offers tours in Waterhole Canyon and there are two tour options: a hiking tour and a photography tour. The average person will be fine with the hiking tour which is 1.5 hours long. No tripods are allowed on this one.
The photography tour allows tripods and a tag-along guest (i’m not sure exactly what that means) and is three hours long but more expensive. I wouldn’t do this one unless you’re a super professional photographer.
We weren’t rushed whatsoever on this tour and had plenty of time and pretty good light for photography. The average photographer, I think, is definitely fine on the hiking tour.
You can book either in advance online and you can just show up but the tours do fill up, especially in the summer and over holidays.
How much is a Waterhole Canyon tour?
The regular hiking tour is $81 per adult (I think ours was $78 per person) and the photography tour is $157 per adult. You can book in advance or show up, but it may be booked up so if you know you want to do it, book ahead.
You cannot visit Waterhole Canyon without a tour. You used to be able to just get a Waterholes Canyon permit but those days are no longer.
Best time to visit Waterhole Canyon
I don’t think Waterhole Canyon gets the light beams that Antelope does so time of year doesn’t matter too much (winter will be less busy) but I would do this as close to noon as possible, starting between 11-1.
Early and late in the day may not be as dark in Waterhole Canyon as Upper Antelope and other more closed in slot canyons but I would still aim for mid-day.
Where is Waterhole Canyon?
Waterhole Canyon Experience is just an eleven minute drive from Page down Highway 89, like you were going to Horseshoe Bend. It’s just past that parking area on the left (from Page).
What to bring to Waterhole Canyon
Like Antelope X and the other slot canyons here, you can’t bring much, just water, cell phone, and camera (no tripod). No bags of any kind are allowed.
Is Waterhole Canyon worth it?
Yes! It’s a totally different color, more gold than orange, than Upper, Lower, and X and wayyyyy less busy. Like, so much less busy since only one company does tours here. It’s pretty averagely priced for the slot canyon tours but it’s worth the higher price for fewer people.
I will admit, it’s very hard to pay so much for a hiking tour (it’s even worse for Upper Antelope), but this one is worth it. If I was visiting Page with someone that wanted to do a slot canyon tour, I would be willing to pay for this one and Antelope X again.