I am a huge proponent for traveling in my home country. The US has just an abundance of varied sights to experience. You could say it has numerous adventures. I’m so punny, y’all. One such state that gives you a lot of bang for your buck (as they say) is Arizona. This southwest state is mostly nothing but desert and open roads but it is also full of so many beautiful natural attractions: the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, the coolest cacti on the block – the saguaro, and Horseshoe Bend. But one of my absolute favorite Arizona hotspots I have ever visited in the state was Antelope Canyon. I am sure you have seen those pictures of the canyon where light beams shine through the gaps. I wanted to see those light beams in person. On my recent SW adventure, I made Antelope Canyon a must see stop on the road trip. Although a little on the pricey side, it’s an attraction you cannot skip! Without further ado, here is everything you need to know for your visit to Antelope Canyon!
Choose which one you want to visit – Upper or lower
In case you didn’t know it, because I didn’t at first, there are two narrow slots canyons that you can visit while in Page, Arizona – an Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. I researched both extensively and for my traveling purposes I choose the Upper canyon for a few reasons: the light beams were supposedly more prominent and there is not so much of a climb to visit it. (The lower has stairs and is probably not best for those that don’t have the best mobility like me) But beware, for these same reasons, the Upper canyon tends to draw more crowds!
Prepare for your mind to be blown at the sheer size.
The walls are tall. I mean at least 5 times my 5 feet 2 inch height. I was a little blip that was surrounded by these glorious curvy, water-washed canyon walls.
You have to book a tour – no exploring on your own!
This beautiful landmark is located on protected Navajo Nation land. What that means for you as the traveler is that you cannot explore it on your own. Instead, you must pay for a guided tour with a Navajo leader which can run a little pricey – anywhere from $30-100 is what I found when researching. For someone who is not a huge fan of guided tours, my experience with the the Antelope Canyon Navajo tours was nothing but positive! I paid the required $8.00 cash Navajo permit and the tour cost me $40. (I just noticed that their pricing is increasing by $10 in April 2018! Take note!!) I took the normal sightseer’s tour (not the super expensive photography tour) and even though at times we did rush a little, the guide was so helpful with getting great photos whether with our phones or with your camera. She even took photos of each of us if we wanted! I know that I read that there tends to be too many people to get quality photos but I disagree. Maybe it was because I was there in off-season but I was able to get 100s of photos and a lot of them with me in them!
The best booking window
If you want those dreamy sunbeams, the best time to book is when the sun is overhead from 11:00am-1:00pm. Those are the tours that are usually sold out the fastest so keep that in mind when planning your trip. I think I booked the 11am tour but it turns out that the day I visited it was cloudy pretty much all day so I went earlier around 9am so I didn’t have to wait around. The sun came out at the very end of the tour and I was so bummed. ??♀️ But it was still worth the visit even without the sunbeams so keep that in mind if you need to book a later tour!
Don’t wear ballet flats like I did
This one seems self-explanatory but wear some decent shoes. I was woefully unprepared for my foray into the desert for my trip and packed flats. Who does that? The bottom of the canyon is full of red sand and I was constantly stopping to dump out sand out fo my shoes. Just take it from me, it’s not fun!
When visiting during off season, it may get cold.
Another newbie mistake but I just assumed that the desert in Northern Arizona was going to be the same temps as Phoenix. Yea, it’s not. I woke up that morning and it was at least 30-40 degrees. I had to do a quick clothing run to get a jacket! Keep in mind that the drive to the canyon is in the back of a pickup truck (open air seating situation) and the wind combined with the cold weather made a freezing cold ride. I am sure it is a much different story during the summer but on the off-season, be prepared for the cold!
Check out the rest of the photos from my visit!
shop the post and my recs for Antelope Canyon
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You photos look amazing – it’s hard to believe you weren’t part of the photography tour! I believe it’s worth doing it off-season and brave the cold if there are less people. I’m not a huge fan of guided tour as I love to take my time, so it’s good to know that you felt positive with the one you chose.
Thanks! I definitely recommend you learn to handle low lighting and I think you can do fantastic on the regular tour! And once we were in the Canyon, although dark and less sun, we also lost a lot of the wind which helped and made it so much more enjoyable! Definitely go on off-season!
Breathtaking! And if I ever get to visit I will surely take your advice and won’t wear ballerinas 😉
YES – learn from my dumb mistakes! ?
So many BEAUTIFUL pics. I’d love to check this place out someday!
thanks lovely! It’s been on my list for a LONG time and I am glad I got to check it off! ❤️
Wow this is definitely top of my places to visit when I return to the states, your photos are simply stunning! Very informative post as well, I had no idea that tour guides are compulsory… But after watching ‘127 hours’ its a welcomed expense haha
Thank you! You will love it but yes- during my research I heard it can be quite dangerous with flash floods too so all the more reason for a guide who knows when things can turn bad!
Incredible pictures! Amazing that you were able to take all these shots without all the tour people. Thanks for the tips too. People don’t realize how cold it can e in this kind of places.
Yea – it was far more relaxed than everyone makes it seem so maybe that’s the luck of off-season? Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of people on yours but it never really interfered with photos which we know is so very important! ?
Amazing amazing! It’s on my bucket list. Hope to see it soon. Lovely photos you have. Thanks for the heads up. Will take note of this definitely. 🙂
Thanks so much Joy! It’s definitely a place I can even see myself going back to on another visit! ❤️
I guess your this were the Desktop wall paper in Mac taken. It’s my first time to hear about Antelope Canyon and it sounds and looks great. Very detailed, I love it!
I am not surprised if this is a Mac desktop wallpaper picture because every portion of the canyon is picturesque! Glad you loved it!
Fantastic tips Sami! I want to visit Arizona and the Southwest and your guide was very helpful. What month did you go and how far in advance did you have to book your tours? That’s good to know about time of day and lighting. I think your photos still came out gorgeous. Haha and the shoes thing sounds like something I would do. I’m always wearing inappropriate shoes. I once wore wedges for a nighttime Ghost Tour in Hawaii. What a mistake.
I went in early November and it was gorgeous everywhere in the SW in terms of weather but freezing in North AZ. I think we booked out reservation for the tour that summer but that is only because we are planners. As I said, we were able to move to the earlier tour time that day with no problem so you have potential of not having to book as far in advance say if you went in the summer! ❤️
Great photos, Antelope canyon has been on my bucket list for ages and there’s some great tips here. Also a massive advocate of travelling around your own country.
RIGHT!? There is just SO much to do here in the US. I am all for catching a plane and heading somewhere else to experience a different country but I love being able to experience the US too!
Wow! This place seems like a piece of paradise, Sami! I loved your pictures of Antelope Canyon and I really hope to cross it off my bucket list soon. Is a day trip enough to explore this place?
If you are just doing Antelope Canyon, you really only need the hour of the tour plus your travel there. I recommend you also check out Lake Powell and Horseshoe Bend while in Page, AZ. We spent all morning doing the Canyon and Horseshoe Bend and heading back south to Phoenix.
These photos are absolutely dreamy! And I couldn’t have come across this post at a better time – I’m planning my cross country road trip right now and am DYING to stop and explore antelope canyon! I hope I’m able to get some of the shots that you got!
Oh what are your plans? I did a cross country from GA to the Grand Canyon on another trip and it was long!