Lower Antelope Canyon: The Hidden Jewel of Arizona.

One of the most amazing and beautiful travel experiences of my life, everyone should put Lower Antelope Canyon on their “top 5 must-see places” list immediately. While there are definitely countless gorgeous and magnificent places worldwide, the rarity and uniqueness of Antelope Canyon gives it that teeny extra-special sprinkle. Beautiful vibrant colors of orange, red, and purple appear throughout, depending on the time of day and how the sunlight is entering the canyon. Due to thousands of years of wind erosion on the soft sandstone, strangely relaxing horizontal lines are etched into every wall surrounding you. The way the canyon walls dip and swirl make you feel pleasantly trapped within the world’s most beautiful maze.

Important note: It can be somewhat difficult to visit, as it is 100% controlled by the Navajo, who set all the boundaries and rules. They control all access, including tour times and sizes, prices, what’s permitted (no bags or purses), rules (no videotaping), masks or no masks, and whether the canyon is even open that day. During monsoon season, they can and will close it and cancel all tours, since being down inside the canyon during a monsoon can be deadly. They only sell a set number of tickets per day, so it’s strongly recommended to purchase tickets well in advance. However, our guide said that people fail to show up all the time (which is hard to believe due to the price of the non-refundable tickets), so it’s not impossible to get a ticket the day-of. Nevertheless, it’s strongly discouraged.

A handful of tour companies operate, with the three most popular being Ken’s Tours Lower Antelope Canyon, Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours, and Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours. We booked via Viator, choosing Ken’s Tours (highly recommend), with tickets costing $102 per adult. It is a tad pricey, but well worth it, in my opinion. The tour headquarters, as well as the canyon itself, is located just 10 minutes outside the city of Page, Arizona, which has plenty of lodging and restaurant options.

The tour lasted almost exactly one hour, and we were with a group of about 10. While that would technically be considered a small group, there are constantly groups of 10 to 12 moving through, right before you, and right behind you, so it can still feel somewhat crowded at times. Also, this is a slot canyon, meaning the walls of the canyon are very high and narrow, more so in some areas than others. This can make it feel slightly crowded with just the group of 10 alone. I’d say the saving grace of not triggering a trapped feeling is that the top of the canyon is very open and “breathable”.

The Seahorse.

As you slowly move through the canyon, the guide will point to various points of interest or named formations, like The Seahorse or Lady in the Wind. These incredible formations, along with the wave-like lines prevalent throughout the entire canyon, make Antelope Canyon the most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest – where numerous other desert treasures can be found very close nearby, like Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and so much more.

The Lady in the Wind.

Overall, if you ever get the opportunity to visit Lower Antelope Canyon, take it! There’s also Upper Antelope Canyon, which is just like its lower counterpart, but is a totally separate tour (therefore separate tickets/$$$). Whichever you choose, you will not be disappointed. Lower Antelope Canyon is a surreal, beautiful, unique, and magical place, and everyone needs to see it at least once. Hopefully you will get a wonderful guide like we did, who was also the best photographer! Bottom line, put Lower Antelope Canyon at the top of your travel list, pronto.

Our guide demonstrating how easily the sandstone breaks off inside the canyon.

Leave a Reply