About five hours from Phoenix, in the northeast corner of Arizona, lies the most famous slot canyon in the world, Antelope Canyon. It’s located on Navajo land and you must sign up for a tour to see all its splendor. There’s two parts to the canyon, Upper and Lower Antelope and you can find tour operators that take you to either one.
Which canyon is better? You might not like this answer, but to me, they’re BOTH equally great! I’ve read that Upper Antelope is more popular because you get more light beams, and it’s easier to walk through, but I didn’t think Lower was all that hard to access. There’s a steep ladder to get down and back up, but if you can walk and hold on to railings, you’ll be fine. Lower Antelope is shaped like a V, so it’s better to go in the mornings or afternoons for the best photos. Upper Antelope is in the shape of an A, so it’s best to visit around noon. You can’t go wrong with either canyon and if you can, I’d suggest going to both…and if you’re looking to make big prints of your images, take the photography tour!
Bring a good DSLR, a tripod (if you go on the photography tour) and plenty of memory. I’m usually not trigger happy, but in the slot canyon, every step you take you get a different view, so I must’ve taken a gajillion pictures on the tour. All but the image with the light beam was taken in Lower Antelope. The light beam was from a tour to Upper Antelope canyon back in 2008.
When’s the best time to go? I’d say April, May, and October. It’s not too cold, and not too hot. If you go in the summer or early fall, you might not be able to see the slot canyon because it’s monsoon season with high chances of flash floods occurring. But thank goodness for these flash floods, or otherwise, this beautiful slot canyon wouldn’t even exist!
If you’re going to drive all the way up to Page, AZ to visit Antelope Canyon, then there are two other sites that you should also make time to see while you’re there: Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell in Glen Canyon.
We did the Antelope Canyon tour in the afternoon, had a little snack at Lake Powell, and then took a ten minute drive over to Horseshoe Bend. Make sure you factor in the 3/4 mile walk from the parking lot though so you don’t miss the sunset. Once you get there, find a sweet spot amongst a ton of other people and get your eyes ready to enjoy the sunset over this unique part of the Colorado River.
Lake Powell. We have friends that used to hold an annual Lake Powell Houseboating trip and always invited us along, but didn’t think there was anything special about a lake in Arizona. Man, did we MISS OUT! Once we arrived at Lake Powell, we totally understood. It’s not just the lake, it’s the crazy canyon – Glen Canyon- that’s so awe-some. You feel like you’ve just stepped onto another planet when you get there. Someone give me a light saber! The force is strong here.
The best way to explore this canyon area is by boat over the course of a few days, so you have the opportunity to dock in different places and explore the lands. This area goes far back in time, like 300 million years back. Glen Canyon was so many things – an ocean, a forest, a swamp. Fossils are common here and according to the National Park Service, if you find one, take a picture of it and let the ranger know where you found it. Do not take it home with you. Though I’m sure if someone found a fossil, the temptation would be really high to stuff it in a backpack.
Since we only had one night here, we stayed at Lake Powell Resort right on the marina. From there, they have boat tours of the canyon. We took the one to Antelope canyon, which was the shortest tour (1.5hr).
One of these years we’ll go houseboating on Lake Powell. If you’re interested, HERE‘s the site to rent yourself a houseboat. Maybe I’ll see you out there!