Antelope Canyon is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.
Upper Antelope Canyon is the most frequently visited by tourists, due to two considerations. First, its entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing. Second, beams of light radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon are much more common in Upper than in Lower. Beams occur most often in the summer months, as they require the sun to be high in the sky. Winter colors are a little more muted. Light beams start to peek into the canyon March 15 and disappear October 7 each year.
Tours of Upper Antelope Canyon must be arranged through several charters in Page, Arizona as access to this canyon area is limited and very sandy which requires balloon tire vehicles.
Lower Antelope Canyon has a system of stairs for access through the canyon. Even so it is a more difficult hike than Upper Antelope. It is longer, narrower in spots, and even footing is not available in all areas. At the end, the climb out requires several flights of stairs.
Despite these limitations, Lower Antelope Canyon draws a considerable number of photographers, though casual sightseers are much less common there than in Upper. Normally you must go as part of a tour group but if you have an SLR camera plus full tripod you can enter with a photographers badge with the tour and then spend up to 2 hours on your own.
Lighting is better in the early hours and late afternoon in Lower Antelope.
Overall rating = easy
Distance: <0.5 miles - easy Elevation gain: <100 feet - easy Terrain: Lower - narrow twisty canyon with many stairs - moderate Exposure: none – easy
Drive highway 98 a distance of 3.4 miles east of Page, Arizona to the canyon junction. This is just before the power plant.
The Lower Canyon is visible to the left off highway 98. Turn in and park at the ticket booth.
The Upper canyon is to the right. Turn in here to the ticket booth if you plan to enter on your own.
Otherwise take the Upper Antelope Tour from the main Street in Page, Arizona.
For a one page printout of the directions click Directions to Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon
Entry into Lower Antelope is through a narrow slot in the ground where you squeeze down through on the first of many ladders.
You travel the ~500 feet of the canyon and either return the same way or exit the far end through a set of stairs and walk back above the canyon.
The route through the Upper canyon is flat and fairly wide. After passing through the 300 foot length you return the same way.