If you want a fascinating and interesting experience around Page, AZ, then the Antelope Canyon Tour might be just what you are looking for. Travel by 4×4 pickup to the slot canyon on Navajo land and be taken through in small groups to experience the colours and shapes this canyon offers. The guide will also show you how to take good pictures of the parts of the canyon they point out.
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What is Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon not far outside Page, Arizona. It was formed by thousands of years of wind and water finding its way through a narrow slit in the rock. Slowly it widened the canyon enough that we can walk through it and the erosion it caused as it did so left behind incredible shapes and contours for us to enjoy.
We’ll explain the booking aspect of the tour we took with Antelope Canyon Tours towards the end, but let’s skip ahead to the tour itself first.
The starting point for the tour is in central Page at 22 S Lake Powell Blvd, Page, AZ 86040, right next to a Pizza Hut. You’ll see the white 4×4 vehicles parked out front and the office is right on the corner. Once checked in, you wait for everyone to arrive and then they call you onto specific vehicles to join your tour guide.
The vehicles are adequate to get you out to the canyon, they have covers to protect from inclement weather, rudimentary seatbelts and they provide blankets to keep you warm on the ride. Once everyone is aboard you set off for the 7 mile (11km) drive to the canyon, the last 3 miles (5km) of which is off-road, though not especially bumpy.
Arriving at the Canyon
Once at the canyon, which just looks like the entrance to a cave at this point, your guide will take you into the canyon. As you can see in the Google map image below, the black line is the slot canyon, and you can see how it gets its name! It is pretty narrow in places, sometimes too narrow for two people to pass side by side. In other parts, it is relatively spacious and your guide will try and stop you in places where other people can get past. The only way back out of the canyon is the way you came in, so everyone has to pass the other tour groups as they go.
Walking the Canyon
Every guide has their own things that they will point out, their own shapes and images that they show people. So the points in the tour we stopped at won’t necessarily be the same for your tour. Even though we weren’t on the photography tour (where you have to arrive with an SLR camera and a tripod), our guide still showed people how to make the best of whatever camera they had, including changing some setting on smartphone cameras.
The image above has both a heart and an antelope head in it, can you see them? Though this is NOT why it’s called Antelope Canyon, it’s just a happy coincidence. Due to the time of year we visited we had no chance to see the famous light beams that pierce down into the canyon around midday – perhaps one day we will be in the area at the right time of year and can book the right tour?
Around every turn there are more beautiful waves in the rock and at various points, you can look up at the sky. It pays to keep looking in every direction to take in all that there is to see.
The colours during our tour ranged from deep purples to brilliant oranges; the image below could almost be staring into a furnace.
We thoroughly enjoyed our tour of Antelope Canyon and thought it was a well organised and interesting tour. We would definitely be interested in seeing some other slot canyons if we were back in the area in the future.
Have we whetted your appetite to experience this for yourself? All the details on the booking and pre-tour process are below.
How to Book.
There are several companies offering Antelope Canyon tours, they are all Navajo operated (as the canyon sits on Navajo land). We selected Antelope Canyon Tours based on their reviews and the suitability of the tour times they offered and were very happy with our choice.
The tour can be booked online here. If you want a tour that allows you to see the famous light beams, then you will have to visit during the summer months, so that the sun is high enough. Also, the photography tours get priority, so if you have an SLR camera and tripod, it may be worth looking into booking the more in depth tour?
From the booking page on the website, you choose which tour you want to go on, the Sightseer’s Tour (that we went on) or the Photographic Tour. Select your preferred date and a list of tour times will be shown, together with how many seats are left on each. Once you select your preferred time, you enter how many adult and child tickets you want (note adult means over 13!) and then proceed through to payment. And that’s it, you’re going to Antelope Canyon.
What to Bring With You
There isn’t a lot of room in the jeeps, or the canyon itself, so you should bring as little as possible and leave backpacks and bigger bags in your hotel or your car. Things to remember to bring are:
- Water, especially in the summer months.
- Camera! You’re allowed to bring cameras and phones and they will show you how and where to take great photos, however, you are not allowed to bring ‘selfie sticks’ or any other extending camera pole.
- Layered clothing for March to September and winter clothing from October to March. We went in December and wore winter coats and the drive out there can be chilly as you are pretty much in the open. They do supply blankets to cover your legs. Once inside the canyon, the temperature is less extreme in both winter and summer.
- Sturdy shoes to walk on the soft ground and sandy terrain. Sneakers or hiking boots are recommended.
You need to arrive at Antelope Canyon Tours in Page 30 minutes before your tour starts to ensure they can register you and split you into truck sized groups. It’s a very simple process and the staff we met were friendly and helpful.
The tour is good value for money, though it would probably be easier if you could drive yourself to the canyon, or at least very close. This could allow you to have more time free to do other activities during the rest of the day.
The canyon itself is amazing – the colours, the shapes, the light, all very photogenic. If you can visit during the time of year and day when the beams of light shine down into the canyon, then all the better.
If you have any questions, or there is anything we haven’t covered, please feel free to leave us a comment and we will do our best to answer.
Have you done the Antelope Canyon tour? What did you think?
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