It is not on the list of the “Seven Wonders of the World” and it is not on the list of “20 Places to See in the U.S. Before You Die.” But after seeing pictures of Antelope Canyon, we decided this is a place we must visit. Why? Because the place is surreal.
Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed canyon in the world. It was formed by erosion of Sandstone, primarily due to the flash flooding. Over hundreds of years of water running through sandstone, the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic “flowing” shapes in the rock.
Best Time To Go
To take good pictures, we need sunshine. The famous light beams are not always available. The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is between late March and October. Summer months are probably the best. But there will be a lot more people visiting the areas during the summer. The advantage of visiting in April is that it will be cooler than the summer months. When we were there, the temperature was between 6 and 17 degree Celsius. But it was windy. You might consider wearing sunglasses and face mask so you won’t get sand in your eye and mouth.
How To Get There
The Antelope Canyon is located near the city of Page in Arizona. It takes about five hours of driving from either Phoenix or Las Vegas. We decided to go with Las Vegas as there are more flight options for us. We arrived in Las Vegas in the afternoon around 3:00 PM. After picking up the rental car, we arrived at our hotel around 8:50 PM at night. It would have been earlier if we got better direction from the Apple Map. Also, the change in time zone was confusing as we had to drive through Utah to get to Page.
Where To Stay
There are plenty of hotel options in Page. We preferred to stay at the Courtyard Marriott as it is close to the town center and a lot of the attractions around the area. Camping is not allowed within Antelope Canyon. The closest campsite available is at Wahweap Marina on Lake Powell. The Marina is inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. They charge $30 per vehicle if you do not have the Annual Pass for the National Parks.
Courtyard by Marriott Page at Lake Powell
600 Clubhouse Dr, Page, AZ 86040
Lower Antelope Canyon Versus Upper Antelope Canyon
There are two separate parts of the Antelope Canyon commonly know as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew.
Lower Antelope Canyon, is called Hazdistazí (spiral rock arches) by the Navajo, is located several miles from Upper Antelope Canyon which is a much easier hike than the Lower Antelope. Even with the metal staircases, climbing up and down the staircases can be challenging as some of the staircases are pretty steep. And some of the corridors inside the Lower Canyon are pretty narrow. You have to be careful not to lose your footing.
Based on the pictures we have seen, Lower Antelope is prettier than the Upper Antelope. Thus, we decided to go to the Lower Antelope.
Which Tour Options
Antelope Canyon is accessible by tour only. All visits are through one of several licensed tour operators. It is not possible to visit the Canyon on our own.
There are several authorized tour operators to choose from who will not only bring you to the canyon, but also give you a lot of good information such as history of the area and how to take good photo. And we choose Ken’s Tour for our visit to Lower Antelope. (For Lower Antelope Canyon, there are only two operators.)
Ken’s Tours, Page Arizona, 86040
7:30am — 4:30pm
Based on the weather forecast, we choose the 10:30 AM tour as it is going to be cloudy in the afternoon so we can get some good pictures. We did not purchase the tickets in advance as we were not sure about the weather until the last minute. And we were glad we did as the whole afternoon was gloomy.
Having a good tour guide makes a lot of differences. Prior to getting into the Lower Antelope Canyon, Ro gave us a brief overview of the history of the Antelope Canyon e.g why the sandstone is showing reddish colors etc. Inside the sandstone, there is a lot of minerals like Iron. This is why it is showing reddish colors.
Photography inside the canyon is difficult due to the wide range exposure range created by the sunlight reflecting off the walls. And our tour guide recommended we used the ‘Vivid Warm mode’ setting for those of us using the iPhone. I tried using both the Original and Vivid Warm modes when I was taking pictures. In most cases, the Vivid Warm mode worked out better.
The other challenge is the crowd. It is always pretty busy which makes it hard to take pictures. By the time the last person in the group ahead of us left, we did not have much time to take pictures. Good thing is our tour guide has been very helpful. Showing us where to take pictures and taking good pictures for us.
The tour was about an hour and a half. I would not mind staying longer and take more pictures. And I was happy with the pictures I took as it is close to the pictures I have seen online. The contrast might be a little different due to the differences in camera and sunlight. And I was able to capture the diverse colors of the sandstone. It was absolutely stunning!
Read writing from me on AI, Edge Computing, Growth Hacking, HPC, Startup, Technology and Travel. www.linkedin.com/in/desmond-yuen; @desmondyuen1