LAST UPDATED: 4/29/23 – Comprehensive Antelope Canyon Guide
Twenty years ago, very few people had heard about Antelope Canyon. Flash forward to today and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the American Southwest. As more-and-more people post pictures of this stunningly beautiful place on social media, the popularity of Antelope Canyon continues to grow.
No other canyon I have visited, and I have visited a lot, is illuminated as beautifully by sunlight as Antelope Canyon frequently is. The rays of sunlight that enter the canyon make the canyon walls glow the most beautiful shades of red and orange.
It is breathtaking. If you would like to see this breathtaking canyon for yourself, then you have come to the right place. In this Antelope Canyon guide, I provide you with all of the information that you will need to know to check this incredible canyon off of your bucket list.
When I first visited Antelope Canyon back in 2008, there were a lot of other tourists, but the canyon wasn’t really crowded. However, a lot has changed since that time. When I went back to Antelope Canyon recently, the canyon was so crowded you could not move inside the canyon at times.
There are tourist buses that bring large flocks of tourists to the canyon these days, which is only compounding the crowding issue. My hope is that this will be more regulated in the future so that we can preserve this amazing canyon for future generations.
However, if crowds aren’t your thing and you would like to see an equally beautiful canyon with far less people, then I would suggest you check out my guide for the nearby Waterhole Canyon linked below.
|Waterhole Canyon Visitor Guide|
How to Get There
Antelope Canyon rests on Navajo reservation land, so it isn’t public land. While you can visit the Lower Antelope Canyon without a guide, any visit to the Upper Antelope Canyon must be done with a tour guide. This is for the best as the Upper Antelope Canyon gets much more congested.
The parking for the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon tours is roughly 7.5 miles South of the town of Page, Arizona. Most tours sell out well in advance, so if you are planning to be in the area and want to take a tour of Upper Antelope Canyon, make sure you book your tour at least a week in advance.
I would recommend you book at least 4-6 weeks in advance to get the day and time that you want. For an idea of where Antelope Canyon is located, please refer to the map included in my Antelope Canyon guide below.
To get to the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon parking entrances, please follow the directions and reference the map included in my Antelope Canyon guide below.
- Take Coppermine Road South from Page, Arizona.
- Take a left onto Highway 98.
- The parking areas are located roughly 4.5 miles down the highway.
Best Time to Visit
There are a number of different factors that you will want to consider when planning any trip to see Antelope Canyon. Among the most important of these factors are the weather and the number of other tourists that will be visiting the canyon.
The weather at Antelope Canyon gets pretty hot during the summer, so if you are sensitive to really hot weather, you will probably want to avoid the summer months of June thru September. These are also the most crowded months at Antelope Canyon, so avoiding these months will help you avoid the worst crowds as well.
You are also going to want to avoid the months that see the highest levels of rainfall, which happen to be in the late summer and early spring. Because Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, rainfall can be dangerous because of the risk of flash floods.
If you don’t mind cooler temperatures, the months of November thru February are not nearly as crowded, as wet, or as hot. However, you will have to work with shorter days and less sunlight. However, if you are out to get some fantastic shots of the canyon and want to avoid the crowds, these months may be your best bet.
All things considered, the optimal time of the year to visit may just be late spring (in the months of April and May). These months aren’t as cool as the winter and early spring, but also aren’t as hot as the summer. And while these months are more crowded than the winter months, they are far less crowded than the summer months.
Average Temperature by Month (°F)
During the summer months of June thru August, the temperatures in Page, Arizona can be blistering hot. In fact, it can get so hot that it can actually be dangerous to do strenuous activities outdoors for prolonged periods. If you plan on doing a lot of hiking while in the Page area, I would definitely recommend planning your trip for the spring or autumn months where temperatures aren’t nearly as hot.
While the temperatures in winter aren’t as cold as you will find further North in Southern Utah, it can get quite chilly during the winter in Page. In fact, I have been in page in early autumn where the city has gotten snow. If you aren’t fond of chilly days and cold nighttime temperatures, then you are definitely going to avoid visiting during the winter months of December thru February.
For more information on the average temperatures in Page, Arizona throughout the year, I have included a chart for you to review in my Antelope Canyon guide below. In my opinion, the best temperatures can be found in Page during late April and early October. The nights will be chilly, but the daytime temperatures will be very comfortable and perfectly suited for hiking and other outdoor activities. Plus, you will have to contend with far smaller crowds during those times of year than you would have to during the peak summer months.
Average Precipitation by Month (Inches)
Even though Page, Arizona is situated in a desert, it does get rain throughout the year. One thing that is important to keep in mind when visiting canyon country is that rain can effect your visit even if it doesn’t rain where you are. Slot canyons like Antelope Canyon are created when rain flows down from the top of the high mesas in the surrounding area, carving the canyons out of the soft sandstone.
This means that a storm that might be further than 30-miles a way can create a flash flood within the slot canyons closer to town. The number one danger when hiking within any slot canyon is the risk of flash floods. With steep walls on both sides, there is nowhere for you to go to escape. If there is a lot of standing water in Antelope Canyon or any risk of flash flooding, tours of the canyon will be cancelled.
For that reason, you will want to target the months of the year where it rains the least. For more information on how much precipitation the Page, Arizona area gets throughout the year, I have included a chart for you to review in my Antelope Canyon guide below.
Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon is the section of Antelope Canyon that stretches from Highway 98 to the South, away from Lake Powell. Upper Antelope Canyon is section of the canyon that is much more commercialized. There is no way to visit the Upper Antelope Canyon without a tour guide. The guide will drive you up the Antelope Canyon wash until you get to the opening of the canyon. From there you will take a guided hike inside the canyon.
Please keep in mind, while the canyon is absolutely breathtaking, it gets really crowded inside (especially during peak season). You are essentially shuffled from one spot to the next within the canyon until you reach the end, and then shuffled back to the beginning. There are some great photo opportunities, but it is often very difficult to get pictures with no one in the shots.
The tour guides are very knowledgeable and are good at pointing out where the best shots are, will throw up some sand to help make the light beams stand out more, and are great about getting you thru the canyon efficiently. That said, if you are looking for more creative freedom, you might want to plan your trip to Upper Antelope Canyon for the low season or consider Lower Antelope Canyon.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon is the section of the canyon that stretches from Lake Powell South to Highway 98. It is much less commercialized than Upper Antelope Canyon. In fact, unlike Upper Antelope Canyon, the Lower Antelope Canyon can be accessed without a tour guide.
There are still some pretty breathtaking views, but you won’t get to see the concentrated light beams that make the Upper Antelope Canyon so popular. However, you also won’t have to deal with the huge crowds that flock to see Upper Antelope Canyon either. Much of that is also likely do to the fact that traffic in Lower Antelope Canyon only flows one way, versus both ways in Upper Antelope Canyon. There are some ladders that you will need to navigate as you travel thru the canyon, but these ladders are not difficult to traverse as long as you are careful with your steps.
In addition to being able to visit the Lower Antelope Canyon via land, you can also take boat rides into the sections of the Lower Antelope Canyon that are filled with the waters of Lake Powell. If you are up for a boat tour, Lake Powell is a stunning lake that is incredibly popular during the summer months. Touring the Lower Antelope Canyon via boat is a great way to spend a day relaxing while enjoying some amazingly beautiful views.
How to Book a Tour
There are a lot of really great tour companies that will give you a tour of the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyons. I have included links to some of the more popular companies in my Antelope Canyon guide below. Each time I have visited I have used the Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours and I have been very happy with them.
- MaxTour (My Recommended Guide Service)
- Antelope Canyon Tours
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours
- Antelope Slot Canyon Tours
IMPORTANT NOTE: They stopped doing photo tours of Upper Antelope Canyon in December of 2019, but Matthew at MaxTour was nice enough to pass along a recommendation that I am passing along to you.
Although it isn’t as infamous as Antelope Canyon, Canyon X and Waterhole Canyon are both beautiful canyons that you can still see on a photo tour and are highly recommended. If you are interested, I linked to my Waterhole Canyon Visitor Guide at the top of this page.
Where to Stay
When visiting the national parks, monuments, and other areas of interest in the United States, it is a really neat experience to camp out during your visit. Some of the best campgrounds in America can be found inside the country’s national parks, monuments, recreation areas and the surrounding areas.
This is especially true of the area surrounding Page, Arizona. The extra dark skies in the surrounding area make it a great place to star gaze.. If you are interested in camping out during your visit, I have included a map and list of some recommended campgrounds for you to review in my Antelope Canyon guide below.
|Lone Rock Beach Campground|
|Wahweap RV & Campground|
|Ferry Swale Campsite|
|Page Lake Powell Campground|
|Lees Ferry Campground|
|Mystical Antelope Canyon Tours & Arrowhead Campground|
If camping is not your speed, you need not worry as there are a variety of good hotels for you to choose from in the area as well. In fact, the city of Page, Arizona has a wealth of reasonably priced hotel options for you to choose from. If you are in the process of planning your trip to Page to see the Antelope Canyon then you are in luck. I have included a map and list of recommended hotels at different price points for you to review in my Antelope Canyon guide below.
Activities in the Area
There are a lot of beautiful and amazing things to see in the Page, Arizona area, but there are also a lot of really fun activities that you can do during your visit as well. If you are starting to plan your trip and are looking for some fun activities to enjoy while you are in the area, I have included some suggestions for you to review in my Antelope Canyon guide below.
|Day Trips and Excursions|
|Tours and Sightseeing|
|Nature and Parks|
|Cultural and Theme Tours|
|Nature and Wildlife|
Other Things to See in the Area
There are few areas in North America that are as beautiful as the canyon-filled deserts of the American Southwest. Not only is there a seemingly endless supply of incredible landscapes to marvel at, but there is no shortage of amazing activities in the area to keep you busy as well.
If you are planning an extended trip to Page, Arizona and are looking for some additional stops to add to your itinerary after you have visited the Antelope Canyon, I have included links to some guides that you might find interesting in my Antelope Canyon guide below.
I still can’t believe that Horseshoe Bend used to be an obscure, unmarked pullout on the side of the highway with a gravel path. Today, there is a paved parking lot and walking path with shaded benches because of how popular this spot has become.
|The Ultimate Horseshoe Bend Guide|
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
The Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, including Lake Powell, is an outdoor adventure paradise. Whether you are into boating and water sports, hiking, canyoneering, or other activity, this place has it all. If you would like to get out on the water, there are tours that run out of both the Wahweap Marina and the Bullfrog Marina.
This includes tours to see the incredible Rainbow Bridge National Monument, which I discuss below, and other incredible canyons. If you just want to relax, there are several incredible beaches and campgrounds in the recreation area you will enjoy as well. For more information on visiting the beautiful Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, please see my travel guide linked below.
If you would like to get some breathtaking pictures of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon, there is no better viewpoint than Alstrom Point to do so. The trick is, the viewpoint is fairly difficult to get to. It requires driving roughly 25-miles down a very rough unimproved road that isn’t even really a road at times.
During wet weather, the road is virtually impassable, so make sure you check the road conditions and weather forecast before visiting. If you have a high clearance 4×4 vehicle, you should have no issues. If you are driving a low clearance vehicle without 4×4, I would caution against trying to get to the viewpoint. For those who do make it there, the views are jaw dropping.
Rainbow Bridge National Monument
There are many incredible things to see in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, but the Rainbow Bridge National Monument may be one of the most beautiful. This gigantic natural rock bridge is one of the largest in North America and is definitely worth the effort to get to.
I mention effort because, like most things in the backcountry of Glen Canyon, it isn’t very easy to get to. The easiest way to see this incredible landmark is to take a boat tour. These tours will take you to a dock in a canyon deep inside Glen Canyon where you can get out and make a short hike to see the bridge.
You can also rent a boat and navigate there yourself, but navigation can be tricky. The only other way to see the Rainbow Bridge is to take a very long, uncharted hike. This hike is very strenuous and takes most experienced hikers a full day or more to complete.
Antelope Canyon is one of the wonders of the American Southwest. It is a beautiful place that keeps getting more-and-more popular every year. Below are some of the pictures I have been able to capture during my many visits to the canyon over the years.
If you would like to view some more of my top photos from this trip, as well as photos from some of my many other travel adventures, make sure you are following me on Instagram as well!