In Arizona's Lake Powell area lies Antelope Canyon, one of the most-photographed slot canyons in the United States. Formed by water rushing through the rock over the course of millions of years, this southwestern natural wonder has two parts that are often mixed up—the deep yet narrow Upper Antelope Canyon (also known as Spiral Rock Arches) and the Lower Antelope Canyon (Hasdeztwazi), both of which are set on Navajo land as part of the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park.The Basics
Many travelers visit on photography tours to capture the colors and shapes of the winding canyon's walls or to spot local wildlife, such as the pronghorn antelope. Antelope Canyon tours often also visit Lake Powell or nearby Horseshoe Bend, a scenic viewpoint overlooking a curve in the Colorado River. Slot canyon tours from Flagstaff and Sedona typically include round-trip transportation. Other more comprehensive multi-day tours of the southwest depart from Las Vegas or the Grand Canyon National Park.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This Navajo nation landmark can only be seen with an authorized tour guide. The Navajo people know the land well and take sightseers through the narrow canyons and around the surrounding area.
- Bring your camera—photography enthusiasts travel from all over to snap shots of Antelope Canyon. Because the interior is dimly lit, you may also want to bring a tripod for longer exposures.
- The more popular of the two, Upper Canyon is easily walkable thanks to a level sandy surface. Lower Canyon, a few miles away, involves a longer, more narrow walk that requires climbing metal staircases and is therefore inaccessible to wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Antelope Canyon is set 7.6 miles (12.2 kilometers) from the city of Page, near America's Arizona-Utah border. By road, Flagstaff and Sedona are two hours and three hours away, respectively. Although you must have a guide upon arrival, it's also easy to drive right to Lower Antelope Canyon from Flagstaff, Sedona, and even Phoenix by heading north along Arizona State Route 98.
When to Get There
Although the canyon is open year-round, many travelers consider March through October to be the best time to visit, mainly because of the strong light beams that can be seen shining into the upper part of the canyon when the sun is highest in the sky. This phenomenon makes for a stellar display in the dark canyons, with the sun illuminating the cracks and crevices of the colorful canyon's red rock walls. Expect temperatures near 100°F (38°C) in summer.