Tours of Antelope Canyon

Tours of Antelope Canyon can be taken year-round, which is good news for Arizona visitors who want to include this beautiful site on their vacation itineraries. The canyon is open daily from 8 am to 5 pm from November through February, and from 9 am to 3 pm the rest of the year. Closures of the canyon are relatively common, and they mostly relate to rainfall, as flash floods are a concern. However, the closures are short term, and booking an Antelope Canyon tour is a safe way to see the canyon.

Like other attractions in and around the Navajo Tribal Park, such as large parts of Monument Valley, the Antelope Canyon entrance is off limits without an official tour guide. As the canyon is on land sacred to the Navajo, visitors who wish to explore it must be escorted by a Navajo guide, but this only makes visits more meaningful, as the guides can explain the canyon’s significance and cultural history. Most tours of Antelope Canyon only focus on one of the canyon’s two main sections, so it’s worth booking more than one tour if you want to explore the entire area. The Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon are the slot canyon’s two parts, and visitors are allowed to spend up to two hours in either section during a tour.

Upper Antelope Canyon Tours

Upper Antelope Canyon Tours
Upper Antelope Canyon Tours

Tours of Upper Antelope Canyon are more popular than tours of Lower Antelope Canyon. Part of the reason for this is that more work is required to get in and out of the Lower Antelope Canyon section—no climbing is required to get into the upper canyon. In addition, Upper Antelope Canyon tours are more popular because of the scenic potential: sun beams flood into this canyon section more frequently than into the lower half, which creates the beautiful images travelers have seen of shafts of light shining down into the canyon. A number of tour operators, most of which are based in the nearby city of Page, offer guided tours of Upper Antelope Canyon. These tours often include a trip from Page to Antelope Canyon in a 4-wheel-drive vehicle, and along the way, the guides offer insight into such things as the geology of the area and its cultural significance.

Arguably the best time to take Upper Antelope Canyon tours is in the middle of the day, between the months of April and September, as this is when the best light beams usually occur. Also, visitors who are interested in photography can book special tours centered on the topic. Some of these photography tours take their guests to a variety of picturesque places in and around Antelope Canyon that aren’t part of a regular tour, meaning there are more opportunities for beautiful pictures.

Lower Antelope Canyon Tours

Lower Antelope Canyon Tours
Lower Antelope Canyon Tours

Lower Antelope Canyon tours might not be as popular as Upper Antelope Canyon tours, but they’re still well worth adding to your list of things to do in Arizona. There are plenty of amazing things to see inside this section, and it is especially popular among photography enthusiasts. The primary reason the lower part of the canyon is less popular is that some climbing is required to get into it, though it’s not challenging. Steel ladders are in place to help visitors get in and out of the canyon; the shortest ladder is around three feet high, while the longest climb is about 25 feet.

If you’re interested in spending as much time at Antelope Canyon as possible, there are Antelope Canyon tours that explore both the upper and lower sections in one tour. These are the best for guests who want to see the full splendor of the canyon and are willing to invest more time in this specific attraction. Either option is a good one, however, since if you choose to explore just one part of Antelope Canyon, you can spend your time at the many other wonderful things to see and do while in the general region. Not too far from Antelope Canyon is Lake Powell, for example, as are such amazing attractions as the Grand Canyon and Monument Valley and its beautiful rock formations, such as the Mittens and Merrick Butte.

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