The Antelope Slot Canyon or simply Antelope Canyon is one of Arizona’s many natural wonders and attractions, flocked by adventurers, nature lovers, sightseers, and photographers from all over the world. It is reportedly the most visited and photographed slot canyon in Southwestern United States.
The Antelope Slot Canyon is a breath-taking natural formation with high canyon walls and narrow passages, situated on Navajo territory near Page, Arizona. The canyon got its name from the stories of the local Navajo people about antelopes that used to graze along the canyon during winter. The smooth, rippled sandstone walls were gently carved by water rushing through it for countless millennia. It is actually comprised of two canyons, the Upper and the Lower canyons.
The Upper Antelope Canyon is the most commonly visited portion because of its accessibility; with the entrance and full length at ground level, it doesn’t require climbing. Also, most visitors, especially photographers, are after the beautiful view of sun beams passing through the openings from above, something more common in this portion than the Lower Antelope Canyon.
The Lower Antelope Canyon is a few kilometres away from the Upper Canyon. Although metal stairways are installed in this area to make touring easier, it is still harder to hike than the upper canyon. Trails are longer, and some areas are narrower or do not have footing. Still, many photographers and tourists are willing to take the challenge.
Touring the Antelope Slot Canyon
Because flooding in the canyons can occur quickly during monsoon season, tourists are not allowed to venture into the Antelope Slot Canyon without the presence of an authorized tour guide. Even if it doesn’t rain directly or around the canyons, flash floods can occur when it rains several miles upstream.
Tour guide fees are extra and not part of the general admission fees. Tours for the Upper Antelope Canyon usually takes 1 hour and 30 minutes, while Lower Antelope Canyon tours take 1 hour. Several tour operators are available for both canyons and other places of interest nearby. Photography tours are usually limited to 2 hours per day for the Upper Antelope Canyon, and 4 hours per day for the Lower Antelope Canyon. Many Navajo tour guides also tell Native American stories about the Antelope Slot Canyon and play flute music for visitors during the tour.