A Guide To: Upper Antelope Canyon, AZ
The immense Navajo Nation has no shortage of magical places, from Canyon de Chelly National Monument to Monument Valley. All of which are incredible; but the most popular and photogenic might be Upper Antelope Canyon, located just outside of Page, Arizona. It's a testament to the power of water and time. Over the years flash flooding has created this deep, gorgeous passageway known as a slot canyon. It has come to be known as a harmonious and spiritual experience, often being compared to entering a cathedral by many Navajo.
HISTORY AND CULTURE
The name Antelope Canyon comes from a time when antelopes ran wild in the canyons, but has since been a place attracting hoards of tourists and large crowds. Antelope Canyon includes two separate slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew. The 600 foot long stretch of Upper Antelope Canyon is the more popular of the two canyons. It’s less narrow and more level, making it very easy to hike. While exploring the 1/2 mile Lower Antelope Canyon is much more narrow and requires walking up and down metal stairways. Visitors to Upper Antelope Canyon are also more likely to see beams of sunlight, which are sought after by photographers and can be seen in countless publications. Both canyons have long been considered sacred and spiritual places by the Navajo. It’s an unforgettable experience and a place where you can truly immerse yourself in the majesty of mother nature.
Headed North from Flagstaff on highway 89 Turn right onto highway 98 and head east 5.8 miles. The parking lot will be on your right. Look for the lifted blue trucks that transport visitors to the site.
Headed South from Page on highway 89 Turn left on highway 98 and head east 5.8 miles. The parking lot will be on your right. Look for the lifted blue trucks that transport visitors to the site.
Headed West from Las Vegas on I-15 and highway 89 S. Take I-15 East for 127 miles and merge onto highway 89 South at Kanab and continue 71 to Page. Turn left on highway 98 and head east 5.8 miles. The parking lot will be on your right. Look for the lifted blue trucks that transport visitors to the site.
ENTRY FEES AND TOURS
Self-guided tours are not available when visiting Antelope Canyon (both Upper and Lower). You can either book ahead of time with a private tour company or book on site. When visiting Upper Antelope Canyon you’re looking at about a $32-$40 entrance fee and if you want to take a photography tour, it’s going to cost you around $80. Also, you’re entering Navajo land and are required to pay an additional entrance fee of $6.
I attempted to book with a tour company in Page, Arizona; however, they were completely booked and charged a higher rate for prime hours (10am-12pm) when the beams of light are visible. So instead, I tried my chances and arrived at Upper Antelope Canyon around 11am and was able to book a tour during prime hours... and it was less expensive.
The light beams in Antelope Canyon for many what makes this place is so mesmerizing. They only occur at certain times of the day and only last for a short while but when they shine through from the openings up above, it's truly unforgettable.
I recommend planning your visit so that you can witness the magnificent light beams. Make sure to contact tour guides to see when the best time to come to see the beams is since that time will differ depending on the time of year. Usually the time will be between 10am-12pm. Once inside, the guides in Upper Antelope will take care of throwing sand into the beams to make sure that the light sticks out. When photographing, what you're going to want to take into consideration is the darkness inside of the canyon and the large crowds of people maneuvering through (I believe in you).
If for whatever reason you can’t get there to see the beams, don't worry... it will still be one of the most surreal places that you’ll ever visit!
WHERE TO STAY
When visiting Antelope Canyon, your best option will be to stay in the city of Page, Arizona. It's situated just a short drive away, and also offers a wealth of other iconic places to visit.
LAKE POWELL RESORT
Lake Powell Resort is located at Wahweap Marina in Page, Arizona - right in the heart of all your "down-lake" activities and adventures. The Resort offers comfortable lodging and suites, terrific dining, and an ideal place to return to each evening after a day of fun and relaxation.
For reservations click here.
COURTYARD BY MARRIOTT LAKE POWELL
Overlooking Arizona's breathtaking Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the pristine waters of Lake Powell, the Courtyard Page, AZ at Lake Powell hotel is the perfect choice for business travel or a family vacation to the area.
For reservations click here.
CAMPGROUNDS OPERATED BY NATIONAL PARK SERVICE
Lees Ferry Campground 54 designated sites. No hookups. RV dump station. Grills provided, no open fires. Quiet time 10pm-6am. Modern bathroom/comfort station, potable water available, launch ramp 2 miles. Gas and supply store at Marble Canyon, about 5 miles away. No reservations. $18 per site/per night.
Lone Rock Beach Primitive Camping Primitive camping is on a sandy beach or in dunes. No designated campsites. Open fires permitted, must be within a four foot squared area. Quiet time 10pm-6am. 4 micro flush toilets, 6 vault toilets, 1 comfort station/wheelchair accessible, outdoor cold shower, Off Road Vehicle area, dump station, potable water (seasonal), and day use area. No launch ramp. $14 per vehicle/per night. No reservations.
Overall, Antelope Canyon is one of the most majestic and surreal places you can ever visit in the United States. It’s an unforgettable experience and a place where you can truly immerse yourself in the majesty of mother nature.
To view the rest of our photos captured in Upper Antelope Canyon, click here.
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About The Author
In 2015, Founder of TMDE Paul Martinez left a career in sales for a life of exploring. In just a matter of months he had visited over 10 countries, 30 cities, 10 states, countless national parks, taken thousands of photographs, and did a ton of soul-searching. His search uncovered a deep passion for exploration; which he now believes to be the essence of the human spirit, and led to the birth of The Modern Day Explorer. You can follow him on his personal journey by visiting his Instagram, and hopefully continue to support TMDE by following us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.