A frequent flier's views on flying and travel

Antelope canyons, Arizona

Taking a walk thru the Antelope canyons, Page Arizona, with my friend Julie.

The Antelope canyons (Lower and Upper) are natural geologic wonders, where rushing flood waters have etched away a million years of sandstone to create flowing natural artistry in easily accessible walk-thru caverns. Located just east of Page Arizona on Navajo tribal lands, the canyons are an easy drive from Flagstaff (2.5 hrs) and about 5.5 hrs from Phoenix.


Reservations are absolutely positively required! And if you do not show up ~45 minutes before your time slot, you will lose your place. That happened to us! We arrived at 10:40 for a 11:00 tour at Lower canyon and were denied at the window! Fortunately, we did get into the 11:30 tour, but that was just luck.

Physically the canyons are not difficult, but they are NOT accessible if you use a cane, a walker, or if you have balance issues. Each canyon is about an hour of walking in a desert climate, and there are some steep stairs/ladders in Lower canyon that must be negotiated. You are NOT allowed to bring backpacks, purses, tripods, or anything that has to be carried. A camera that has a strap for around your neck is fine, as is a water bottle you can stuff in a pocket. A few people were wearing thin ‘fanny pack’ belts, but the canyon guides inspected those closely, and any that were too thick or bulky (ie; jam packed with stuff) were rejected and had to be emptied or returned to their cars.


The view from up top, hides the secrets below…

Special note; DO NOT take pictures while on the stairs! We were warned about this, and watched as 4 tourists from China were escorted out of the canyon after repeatedly violating this rule…

Each tour is about 12-15 people, escorted by a guide. Lower canyon is more popular, longer, and much more crowded. Upper canyon is equally beautiful, and much less crowded, but only half the length and you have to take a 10-minute ride through the desert in open air trucks to get to/from Upper canyon from the parking area. No matter which one you pick, it will be awesome.

If possible, try to get tours in the prime time of 11:00-1:00. During these hours the sun is overhead and sends illuminating beams of light down into the canyons. Later in the day, photography is still great, but you will not get the light-beam effects. We loved the light show in Lower canyon, but even later in the day (a 3:00 tour) the Upper canyon was also beautiful.

There are special ‘photographer’ tours available once per day, and on these tours you have to have tripods and high end cameras. No cell phones, iPads, or point/shoot digital are allowed. Exclusively high end cameras. But these special tour groups are often filled up 2-3 months in advance. Good luck.

Costs; For Lower Canyon we used “Ken’s tours”, who charge $40 per person (plus a $1 Credit card fee).

At Upper Canyon we used Navajo tours, at $50 per person, plus $2 credit card fee. Very convenient for us was that the parking lot for Navajo tours was right by the access road to Ken’s, making it very easy to find.

Note that there is a $8 (per person) Navajo tribal fee also due, but you only have to pay that once, so to do both canyons in one day is basically $100 (per person).

PS: Very close to the canyons is the Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado river, upstream from the Grand Canyon. A fairly easy 1 mile (15 minute) hike from the highway to the viewing area, Definitely stop by!


Horseshoe bend, Colorado River

And now, some Antelope canyon eye candy… Enjoy !!

JLR_0337 face

They call this one “The Face”



This photo of “The Heart” was taken by my friend and travel companion Julie


“The Heart”, Lower Antelope canyon



Does not seem possible for stone to have waves like this…



Sky shot, Upper canyon



Might be my favorite, the Lion’s Head formation (Lower canyon)…

JLR_0383 lion

The “Lion’s Head” formation

Some final thoughts – The Antelope canyons are truly spectacular, and if time/budget permit, definitely do both. If you can really only do one, make sure you schedule a prime time tour (11:00-1:00) for the best lighting, and then flip a coin. Upper is shorter, and less crowded. Lower is longer, but more crowded. But BOTH are beautiful!!

Hard to believe that stone can appear so soft, and can flow like waves.


More pictures from these canyons on my photography website at RoehrPhoto




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This entry was posted on May 4, 2018 by in Passenger thoughts.
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