LAST UPDATED – 10/17/22 – Waterhole Canyon Guide
When people see my photographs of the incredible Antelope Canyon on Instagram, I am often asked for recommendations on when and how to book a tour. My advice is always to book early and be prepared to deal with crowds. You see, the two times I visited the canyon were well over a decade ago, and there was far less demand for tours and the crowds were much smaller.
I still think Antelope Canyon is an incredible sight that you should try and see at least once in your life. However, if you are either trying to book a tour last minute or would like a beautiful canyon experience without the massive crowds, then I would suggest that you keep reading my Waterhole Canyon guide. Believe me, this breathtaking canyon won’t be a secret for long either, so this is your chance to tour it before the crowds get much larger!
In this Waterhole Canyon guide, I am going to give you all of the information you need to plan a successful trip to see the beautiful Waterhole Canyon in Arizona. I cover the best times to visit and the best ways to get there so that you can maximize your sightseeing time on your trip. In addition, I outline some of the other top things to see and do in the Page, Arizona area and the best places to stay during your trip. With this information in hand, you can be confident that your trip to see the Waterhole Canyon will be one that you remember for the rest of your life.
How to Get There
Waterhole Canyon is located on the Navajo Reservation, just South of the city of Page, Arizona. If you are planning on visiting the Page area from outside the United States, your best bet is to either fly into the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) in Phoenix, Arizona or the McCarran International Airport (LAS) in Las Vegas, Nevada. The city of Page is a very reasonable distance from both of these cities and there are plenty of scenic destinations that you can stop and see along the way.
For travelers who are planning on visiting other areas in the Southwestern United States and would like to include a stop at the Waterhole Canyon on their itinerary, I have included a table in my Waterhole Canyon guide below that outlines the driving distance and time to Waterhole Canyon from other large cities in this region of the United States.
|Page, AZ||7 miles||0hrs 9min|
|Phoenix, AZ||272 miles||4hrs 10min|
|Las Vegas, NV||277 miles||4hrs 26min|
|Moab, UT||277 miles||4hrs 28min|
|Tucson, AZ||385 miles||5hrs 44min|
|Salt Lake City, UT||391 miles||6hrs 05min|
|Albuquerque, NM||388 miles||6hrs 11min|
|Los Angeles, CA||544 miles||8hrs 23min|
|San Diego, CA||616 miles||9hrs 15min|
|Denver, CO||631 miles||9hrs 55min|
|Sacramento, CA||837 miles||12hrs 55min|
|San Francisco, CA||844 miles||12hrs 55min|
While road-tripping is a hallmark of American travel, especially when visiting the country’s many beautiful landscapes such as Waterhole Canyon, I am well aware that long drives are not for everyone. If you would prefer to fly out to the Southwestern United States to begin your adventure, there are a number of other large cities in the region that have large airports. If you are planning a trip to see the Waterhole Canyon and Page, Arizona’s other many attractions and would like to review some airport options, I have included a map for you to review in my Waterhole Canyon guide below.
When it comes time for your tour, you will want to make your way to the Waterhole Canyon Experience pullout off of Highway 89. The pullout is roughly 5.7-miles south of the city of Page, Arizona. If you are using the map feature on your phone to map directions to Waterhole Canyon, you will want to map to THIS location. Otherwise, I have also included directions for you to follow from Page, Arizona and Phoenix, Arizona in my Waterhole Canyon Guide below.
Directions to Waterhole Canyon From Page, Arizona
- Take Highway 89 South for roughly 5.7-miles.
- Look for the Tour sign pictured above on the left-hand side of the road.
Directions to Waterhole Canyon From Phoenix, Arizona
- Take I-17 North out of Phoenix for roughly 140-miles.
- In Flagstaff, take I-40 East towards Albuquerque for roughly 6-miles.
- Turn Right on US-89 North and stay on US-89 North for roughly 122-miles.
- Look for the Tour sign pictured above on the right-hand side of the road.
How to Tour the Slot Canyon
Like nearby Antelope Canyon, the Waterhole slot canyon is located on Navajo tribal land, so you are not allowed to hike to the canyon and visit on your own. If you have thoughts of doing this, please be aware that there is video surveillance setup along the canyon and you will likely get caught and be subject to a rather hefty fine. If you want to see the Waterhole Canyon, you will need to book a tour thru the Waterhole Canyon Experience.
There are three different tour options that you can choose from when booking a tour of Waterhole Canyon, which I have outlined for you in my Waterhole Canyon guide below. For more information on tours, please visit the Waterhole Canyon Experience Tours page.
|Hiking Tour||Photography Tour||Specialty Tour|
|$77/person||$150\person||$175\person ($550 base cost)|
|Minimum Age of 8 years old||Minimum Age of 13 years old||Minimum Age of 13 years old|
|Everyone must be reserved||At least one person in the group must have a camera and tripod. No gear allowed for tag-alongs. Everyone must be reserved.||Everyone must be reserved|
|1.5 hours long||3 hours long||Contact Waterhole Canyon Experience for details on duration.|
|Book a Tour||Book a Tour||Email for Details|
If you would like to get a better sense of what you will see on a tour before booking, I have included a map in my Waterhole Canyon guide below that details the route you will take thru the canyon and shows you where I took some of my pictures from my recent tour. If you would like to see more pictures that I took of the canyon, I have also included a photo gallery at the end of this guide.
Antelope Canyon or Waterhole Canyon?
By now, I am sure that most of you have seen pictures of the jaw-droppingly beautiful Antelope Canyon on Instagram or other social media platforms. A decade ago it was a little known gem of the American Southwest. Today, the canyon attracts millions of visitors per year. If you have tried to book a tour of Antelope Canyon in recent years, I am sure you know very well how busy it is. Not only do you have to book your tour well in advance of your visit (especially in the peak summer months), but you also have to contend with crowds of people navigating the canyon during your tour.
For those of you who are in the planning a trip to Page, Arizona and are trying to decide whether to book a tour of Antelope Canyon or look for another destination to visit, I have included a side-by-side comparison of Upper Antelope Canyon and Waterhole Canyon in my Waterhole Canyon guide below for you to review. If you want my personal opinion, I would suggest choosing Waterhole Canyon over Antelope Canyon if you are visiting during the peak summer months of June thru August. The crowds at Antelope Canyon are just too large to fully enjoy the beauty of the canyon. If you want to see Antelope Canyon and its beautifully lit canyon walls, I would suggest booking your trip during the shoulder months of April, May, September, or October.
|Comparison||Waterhole Canyon||Upper Antelope Canyon|
|Beauty||Waterhole Canyon is very beautiful, but it doesn't get the same cool lighting that Upper Antelope Canyon is famous for.||Upper Antelope Canyon is world famous for a reason. Not only is it beautiful, but the incredible rays of light that shine into the canyon at certain times of day are magical.|
|Length||Roughly 1.2 miles of hiking thru three sections of slot canyon.||Roughly 0.3 miles of hiking thru one section of slot canyon.|
|Crowds||Tours for Waterhole Canyon have only been available since 2018, so the canyon is far less well-known and far less crowded.||Upper Antelope Canyon has gotten quite a bit of social media exposure over the past decade, so it can get quite busy during peak season.|
|Availability||Reservations for tours of Waterhole Canyon are far easier to get than those for Upper Antelope Canyon.||Reservations for touring Upper Antelope Canyon need to be booked well in advance, especially during peak season.|
|Price||The cost is $77\person for a hiking tour and $150\person for a photography tour.||The cost is $77\person for an adult and $67\person for children up to 7-years old.|
When to Visit
Because its located in the desert of the American Southwest, many people mistakenly assume that Page, Arizona is hot all year round. What many people don’t realize is that Page sits at over 4,000-feet of elevation, which has a big impact on its climate. While the summer months can be blistering hot, you will see cold spells during the autumn and spring months, and even snow on occasion during the winter.
Before you visit Page to tour the Waterhole slot canyon, it is important that you understand what type of weather to expect throughout the year so that you are prepared. To assist you in your planning, I have included some helpful climate stats for you to review in my Waterhole Canyon guide below.
Average Temperature (°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 Waterhole 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 (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 Waterhole 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 Waterhole 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 Waterhole Canyon guide below.
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 not 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 Waterhole Canyon, I have included links to some guides that you might find interesting in my Waterhole Canyon guide below.
|Antelope Canyon Visitor’s Guide|
|Visitor’s Guide to Horseshoe Bend|
|Monument Valley Visitor’s Guide|
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 Waterhole 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 Waterhole 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 Waterhole 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 Waterhole Canyon guide below.
|Day Trips and Excursions|
|Tours and Sightseeing|
|Nature and Parks|
|Cultural and Theme Tours|
|Nature and Wildlife|
The Waterhole Canyon is a very beautiful and picturesque place. If you are interested in seeing more of this beautiful slot canyon, I have included some of my favorite photographs that I took during my visit in a gallery for you to review below.
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!
You are providing a good material for your readers. Thanks a lot for sharing this valuable post with us!
Thank you so much for reading and for your kind comment! 😀
from Flag where I live…..is the Waterhole canyon open or closed? June 29th? Would like to visit late next week.
Thanks for reaching out! They should be open tomorrow AM. Here is the contact info. Have fun!