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Antelope Canyon Alternative Tours

By Alley Keosheyan / February 20, 2017

Antelope Canyon…you’ve “been there and done that.” Even if you haven’t, second-hand accounts of teeming hordes of people being herded along, reminiscent of the lines at Disneyland, are enough to turn you off to this attraction completely. A recent review on TripAdvisor even went as far as to say that “Wal-Mart on Black Friday isn’t this chaotic!” Still, you know that a vacation to the Page/Lake Powell area wouldn’t be complete without a visit to one of these “small wonders” that make Northern Arizona and Southern Utah like no other place on Earth.

So the question is this: are there any other slot canyon tours in the area that bear even a slight resemblance to Antelope Canyon, without all the people? Happily, the answer is “absolutely yes!” Read on to learn which Antelope Canyon Alternative Tour would be most appropriate for your family to explore on your Grand Canyon or Lake Powell vacation.

Canyon X

Also known as “Antelope Canyon X” because it is “technically an upper segment of the same canyon” (DesertUSA.com), Canyon X brings back memories of how Antelope Canyon used to be: a quiet, relatively unknown crack in the ground whose narrow, convoluted walls have been carved into soft, swirling shapes by wind, water and time. Its ever-changing colors, determined by the angle of the sun overhead, make the visitor feel like they’re in another world. A few days of the year, you can even experience the shaft of light that Upper Antelope Canyon is so famous for!

So why aren’t more people here? For one thing, getting to Canyon X isn’t entirely a walk in the park. Like so many canyons in Arizona, what goes down, must come back up. In the case of Canyon X, a descent down a 150-foot fissure in the riverbed is required to access the “tiny but stunning” (American Landscape Images) canyon, followed by a similar climb back up to exit. While it is manageable for most people, a recent review on TripAdvisor cautioned that “if you, like me, are middle-aged, overweight, out of shape, or not used to the altitude, you may have trouble, but I considered it part of the adventure!”

Canyon X is situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. You must travel with a licensed tour outfitter. Sightseeing and photographic tours to Canyon X are offered by Taadidiin Tours. Tour groups of no more than 9 passengers per departure meet 10 miles southeast of Page, AZ on Highway 98 at milepost 307.8. For pricing and other information, visit www.antelopecanyon-x.com.

Secret Canyon

We love Antelope Canyon. We wouldn’t have named our site after it if we didn’t! But there’s no getting around the fact that it’s on the verge of being loved a little too much. A Yelp reviewer even dared to say that “you shouldn’t even waste your time or money on the overcrowded, photo bombed, rushed through Antelope Canyon tour just because it may be ‘cheaper.’” Ouch. So where should you go instead? To a place so obscure, so off-the-beaten-path and seen by so few eyes that only one name comes to mind for it: Secret Canyon!

OK, so it’s also called “Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon” due to its relatively close proximity to the world-famous Colorado River overlook, but it’s actually a branch of the upper drainage of Waterholes Canyon (more on that in another post) that “rivals Antelope Canyon for nicely lit, swirling formations” (American Southwest.net) A unique feature of Secret Canyon is walls that gradually rise as you navigate the 450 foot length of the slot. Unlike Antelope Canyon, however, “there are no chambers here – just one long, narrow canyon requiring some minor rock scrambling.” (Sedona Monthly)  Some sections of Secret Canyon are a mere 8” across. The trail through the canyon is relatively flat, with a few notable exceptions, it is quite sandy, which can be difficult to walk through for those unaccustomed to such conditions. Access to Secret Canyon requires an 8-mile drive down an unpaved road, which is an adventure in and of itself, but with tour groups limited to 6-7 people at a time, you’ll feel as though you’ve been let in on Northern Arizona’s best-kept secret!

Secret Canyon is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation. A licensed tour outfitter is required to visit this area. Tours to Secret Canyon are offered by Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Adventures. For tour and pricing information, visit www.horseshoebendslotcanyonadventures.com

Mountain Sheep Canyon*

What’s your idea of adventure? One thing’s for certain, jockeying with busloads of people in a narrow slot canyon for the perfect photo op isn’t it. You don’t mind going a little further, expending a little effort and getting a little dirty in exchange for a more intimate and personal slot canyon experience. If this describes you, then Mountain Sheep Canyon is your kind of place!

Like Canyon X, Mountain Sheep Slot Canyon is also a part of the Antelope Canyon drainage system, but unlike Upper Antelope Canyon, it’s no leisurely 100-yard stroll. At 1.5 miles in length, this slot canyon is aptly named as it requires a fair amount of scrambling, scaling and “high-stepping with 30-40 inch climbs at times and one ladder climb of about 8 feet or so.” (A Kona Hawaii Scuba Diver Blabbers On)  While that may sound a little nerve-wracking, most hikers report feeling perfectly safe, and that “a visit to Mountain Sheep Canyon is a great way to round out your slot canyon experience and add a bit of photographic diversity to your experience.” (The Outbound) Indeed, another hiker observed that “there are a few sections in the canyon that are really amazing though you won’t find those light shafts everyone seems so fond of. The patterns and textures in one spot reminded me of a mini Coyote Buttes.” (Photo.net)

Like other slot canyons in the Page, Arizona area, access to Mountain Sheep Slot Canyon requires some off-road driving and is limited to just a few people a day traveling with a licensed guide or tour company. Tours are offered by Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours, owned and operated by the Bigthumb family, who are direct descendants of the Navajo girl who first discovered Antelope Canyon in 1931. For more information, visit http://www.navajoantelopecanyon.com

Rattlesnake Canyon*

If we lost you at “snakes,” relax. Rattlesnake Slot Canyon is named for the serpentine pattern carved by the intermittent creek that flows through it, and the striations in the colors of the rock layers. A smaller slot canyon in the Antelope Canyon drainage system that bears resemblance to both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, Rattlesnake Canyon has been described as having “dizzying swirls of color — purple, orange, red and hues that don’t even have a name…as though a large can of mixed paint has been hurled into the canyon by some mystical hand.” (“A Hiker’s Sample of Southwest Slot Canyons,” Los Angeles Times, May 18, 2016)

Like Lower Antelope Canyon, a TripAdvisor reviewer advises potential visitors to “be prepared to do some climbing on ladders and squeezing through tight spots.” Yet another hiker asserts that “it looks more difficult than it really is. There are some gorgeous spots in this canyon!” (A Kona Hawaii Scuba Diver Blabbers On)  Another visitor reports that “after the crowds of Upper Antelope Canyon, the solitude is wonderful!” (Outdoor Project) As for the rattlesnakes, well… they’re around, but you’re not likely to encounter them on your tour. See, they don’t want anything to do with you, either!

Rattlesnake Canyon is also one of the slot canyons accessed exclusively by Carol Bigthumb’s Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours. For more information, visit http://www.navajoantelopecanyon.com

Owl Canyon*

“Who” is looking for a slot canyon adventure that’s “more of a hike than a photography experience?” (Lucas J. Pols Photography)  You? Then you’ll love Owl Canyon!

While it doesn’t possess quite the range of colors and shapes of Antelope Canyon, Owl Canyon is still worth the trip according to many visitors who have had the privilege to venture to this remote corner of the Navajo Indian Reservation. With a wider topside opening, Owl Canyon is more exposed to the sun than its sister slot canyons, but at a few hundred yards in length, it’s relatively easy for most people to navigate. There are a few tight spots to shimmy through, but otherwise, this is one of the “less slotty” of Page area slot canyons.

Of course, the highlight of a visit to Owl Canyon is a sighting of its namesake: a family of Great Horned Owls that make their home here. Though wary by nature, they have become somewhat comfortable with people in their domain. Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours, the authorized outfitter for this slot canyon, suggests a zoom lens for photographers wishing to capture the feathered residents of this memorable Antelope Canyon alternative slot canyon!

For more information on Owl Slot Canyon Tours, visit http://www.navajoantelopecanyon.com

*Owl Canyon, Mountain Sheep Canyon and Rattlesnake Canyon are usually toured as a package, or in combination with Upper Antelope Canyon. Ask about photographic tours or hikers’/sightseeing tours.

Cardiac Canyon

So far, all of the Antelope Canyon alternative slot canyons we’ve discussed have evocative and sometimes cryptic names like “Canyon X,” “Secret Canyon,” “Owl Canyon” and “Mountain Sheep Canyon.” But there’s one slot canyon whose nomenclature is literally as subtle as a heart attack: Cardiac Canyon.

Named for the 90’ sand dune that one must hike down to enter the canyon, then back up to exit, Cardiac Canyon’s name suits it to a tee. Its physical degree of difficulty is such a deterrent to the sedentary, it is thought that less than 100 people have set eyes on this slot canyon. Indeed, finding a first-hand account of a trip through Cardiac Canyon is like the proverbial “needle in a haystack” undertaking, but this hiker makes no bones about it: “this route is not for the un-athletic, or generally out of shape, as some serious scrambling and contorting, as well as chimneying up to ledges are required. The rewards are worth it, however. The narrow, convoluted walls are magic in the morning light, and the vertical waterfall face is amazing.” (HikeArizona.com)

If you think you’re up for it, you must visit Cardiac Canyon with a guide service authorized by the Navajo Indian Tribe, which in this case is Taadidiin Tours. Tours meet daily at milepost 307.8 on Highway 98 10 miles South of Page. For pricing and other information, visit www.antelopecanyon-x.com

Cathedral Canyon

Many visitors to the canyon landscapes of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah report feeling as though they have set foot on hallowed ground. They’d be right. Many slot canyons in the Page/Lake Powell area are spiritual places to the Navajo people, whose tribal lands surround these geologic formations. Cathedral Canyon is definitely at home on that list.

A secluded slot canyon located near LeChee, Arizona on the Navajo Indian Reservation, a visit to Cathedral Canyon requires a 20-minute drive through several river washes. The entrance to the canyon itself is quite narrow and visitors report “having to place our hands and feet on either side of the wall, which were about 4 to 5 feet apart, about 6 feet off the ground.” Your tour outfitter may opt to supply a ladder. Once in the canyon, you’ll find it “very impressive, towering nearly 100 feet over your head.” (Garth’s Travels)  In addition to classic slot canyon scenery, you’ll have ample photo ops of formations such as Four Sisters, Thumb Rock, and Pucket Rock.

Tours to Cathedral Canyon are offered from Page, Arizona by Chief Tsosie’s Antelope Slot Canyon Tours. For more information, visit www.antelopeslotcanyon.com

So there you have it! There are all kinds of Antelope Canyon Alternative Tours ranging from easy to excruciating and everything in between. Stay tuned for information on slot canyon experiences where you may not need a tour or a guide to go in them, but you may need a little more courage and upper body strength to enjoy them.

General Notes:

  • All the slot canyons featured in this article are located on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands. No admittance is allowed without an authorized guide or tour company. Your tour price includes your Navajo Tribal Park entrance fee. Retain this receipt if you opt to tour other Navajo Tribal Park areas such as Antelope Canyon, Monument Valley, or the Little Colorado River Overlook during your trip.
  • This is a remote desert environment. There is no running water or restroom facilities at these locations. Bring water and use the toilet before your tour.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and appropriate shoes for walking. The interiors of most slot canyons remain cool year-round, so a light jacket or sweater should be brought even during the summer months.
  • Backpacks, camera bags and purses may be prohibited in some slot canyons. Carry important items like ID’s, cash, etc., in pockets.
  • Some tour outfitters take advance reservations; others operate on a first-come/first-served basis. For the latter, be prepared to pay for your tour in cash.
About the author

Alley Keosheyan

With 20+ years in the tourism industry in Northern Arizona, including 7 years at Grand Canyon South Rim and 15 years at Lake Powell, Alley has taken part in virtually every commercial tour there is! She has ridden the Grand Canyon mules, hiked rim to rim, rafted the rapids of the Colorado River (and the smooth bits, too), enjoyed many a houseboat weekend on Lake Powell, logged countless hours on both airplanes and helicopters, walked on air on the Grand Canyon Skywalk and frolicked in the blue-green waters of Havasu Falls. About the only thing on her "to-do" list now is the Tower Butte Helicopter tour! She now makes a living as a freelance writer by day, bass player in a cover band by night.

56comments
Daniel C - July 18, 2018

Hi,

We’re getting up to Page late on a Monday night in September and are considering doing two slot canyon tours the next day. Do you think it is feasible to do an Antelope X tour in the morning and a Cathedral Canyon tour in the afternoon? Would we have to drive in between or are they walking distance from each other and what do you think about this approach?

We would plan to do a Kayak tour the next morning and see Horseshoe bend in the afternoon.

Thanks so much!
Danny

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - July 21, 2018

    Dear Danny,
    It is indeed feasible to tour both Antelope X and Cathedral Canyon the same day, however, they are not walking distance from one another. Antelope Canyon X tours begin near the tribal park entrance on US98 just South of Page; Cathedral Slot Canyon is located near LeChee, AZ, but the tour outfitter begins all tours at their headquarters, Chief Tsosie’s Trading Post, in the town of Page, AZ. So there would be some driving required between tours, but since Page, AZ is a relatively small town, it would be 10 minutes tops.
    RE: your plan for the following day, time permitting, you might visit Horseshoe Bend first thing in the morning, just after sunrise, to avoid the heat, crowds and parking snarls that typically affect the overlook in the afternoon.
    Good luck and safe travels
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Sue - July 13, 2018

Hello Alley,

The information you are sharing is certainly valuable considering time changes, multiple canyon choices, and photography timing. Like most, I have to make a choice of which slot canyon to photograph because of time constraints. We will be heading to Page from the north rim the morning of Sept 18. I actually cancelled a tour in Antelope Canyon due to all the negative info I was reading about crowds. I am looking at either Canyon X Photography tour or Horseshoe Bend Canyon tour. I am a photographer and would just like a little help in picking. Thanks so very much for your input.
Sue

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - July 16, 2018

    Hi Sue,
    Thank you for visiting our site, and for your compliments!
    If crowds aren’t your thing, you’ve definitely made a good call in cancelling Antelope Canyon, and after all’s said and done, you certainly wouldn’t be disappointed with either alternate slot canyon. IMO the primary determining factor in which one you choose will come down to physicality. Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon is a flat, easy 300 yard walk, with no stairs or ladders. It does involve a 6-7 mile off-road drive to get to, which may be a bit bumpy, but once in the canyon, it’s easy navigating. Antelope X is a bit more challenging, requiring some stair and ladder climbing, but between the two, you’d probably find X to bear more of a resemblance visually to the main branches of Antelope Canyon.
    If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a film is worth a million, and you will find videos of both tours on the tour companies’ respective websites (linked above).
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Danette - July 3, 2018

Is canyon x the friendlier option for families as an alternative?

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - July 4, 2018

    Hi Danette,
    It is definitely worth consideration as an alternative to Lower Antelope Canyon, especially if all members of your traveling party are reasonably fit and can manage a few uphill climbs and stepping over a few boulders. Since the article was written, the tour outfitter has installed some ladders and staircases to make those portions of the canyon easier on guests, plus, with smaller groups, they have the flexibility to take things at your pace and not rush you through it. For more information, and to view a video walk-through, visit http://www.AntelopeCanyon-X.com
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Saptaparni - June 13, 2018

Hi Alley,

Thanks for the great information. I have a question regarding my upcoming visit to Page on July 2-3. I can make it to only one slot canyon due to limited time and here are my options.
1. Upper – – 4:30 pm (July 2); 6:00 am (July 3)
2. Lower – 3:30 pm and later (July 2); 6:15 am (July 3)
3. Canyon X – July 3; as of now all time slots are available.

I am not sure which would be the best canyon and time to visit. Any suggestion would be helpful! Thank you!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - June 13, 2018

    Hi Saptaparni,
    If you only have time to tour one slot canyon, and are physically fit enough to handle the moderate challenges posed by Lower Antelope Canyon, that’s the one I recommend you tour for the truly “iconic” slot canyon scenery. Since the time of year you’re traveling is peak of summer — both visitation- and heat-wise — I’d also suggest going on that 6:15 AM departure on the morning of July 3rd. Temperatures both outside and inside the canyon will be cooler and more comfortable. If Lower is too much for you or any of your party to handle, then, Upper it is, and here again, the 6:00AM departure will afford your family maximum comfort. To judge whether Lower Antelope Canyon is doable for you, watch this video of a Full Walk-Through of Lower Antelope Canyon.
    Thank you for your visit and best wishes for safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
      Saptaparni - June 13, 2018

      Thank you Alley. The link to the video is really wonderful and will definitely help us decide whether to visit the lower or upper canyon. Just another question, will the colors in early morning be as beautiful as they are later on in the day? Or would an evening trip be better to see colors? Also, do all the canyons follow MST?

      Reply
        Alley Keosheyan - June 13, 2018

        Dear Saptaparni,
        The colors in the morning are deeper and richer than what you’d encounter in the afternoons, but they are still just as beautiful. There’s really no such thing as a “bad” time to visit any of our slot canyons. And you are correct, slot canyon tours run on Page, AZ time, which is Mountain Standard Time.
        Have fun!
        Alley 🙂

        Reply
Chrys - May 30, 2018

Hello! Thank you for all of the helpful information that you’ve provided! Our family will be traveling to AZ in early September with our kids, ages 14 and 10. We are thinking of signing up with Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours for their tour of Upper Antelope and Rattlesnake Canyons. So, I have a couple of questions —

First, are these canyons different enough to warrant the cost of touring both? And would they be too strenuous for my kids? They’re in good health, but I’ve read about a lot of climbing with regard to Rattlesnack……not sure if this is accurate or not.

Second, I worry about flooding. Will the first week of September still be monsoon season? I read your comment to someone else about trying to go early, but we will be driving from Flagstaff that morning. There are two tours: 9:30am and 2:30pm. With needing to arrive an hour early, I’m concerned about making it there in time, especially because we aren’t familiar with the area. Do you think we’d possibly miss seeing the canyons because of bad weather if we schedule the 2:30pm tour?

I really appreciate any insight you can provide. Thank you!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - June 4, 2018

    Hi Chrys, and thank you for your excellent questions.
    Upper Antelope Canyon and Rattlesnake Canyons are different enough so that you won’t feel as though you’re doing more of the same-old same-old. As for the climbing involved, it’s manageable for most people in relatively good health. Your kids should enjoy it.
    The concerns about flash flooding in early September are valid. It’s too early to tell what this year’s monsoon season has in store, of course, but keep an eye on the weather as your trip date gets closer. If it turns out to be a heavy monsoon season, the 2:30 PM tour does run a higher risk of cancellation if storms do occur. To be on the safe side, you might just want to get the kids up early and make the drive from Flagstaff — which is a pretty straightforward drive IF you can resist the urge to stop — at 6:00 AM. Another option would be to overnight in Page, AZ the night prior to your trip. The town offers both traditional hotels and vacation rental homes in a variety of price points and amenity classes. Page, Arizona hotels
    Hope that helps. I know it’s a tough choice 😉
    Alley

    Reply
Jeff - May 7, 2018

Thanks for the nice summaries of alternative slot canyons. For Canyon X is there any “best time of day” to go? We will be in the area area around June1st. Also, we wanted to be more adventurous, such as rappelling into slot canyons or similar, I was told about a company Seldom Seen Adventures. However, not sure if they still exist (based out of Kanab). If not them, do you know of any similar outfit that might offer a bit more challenging hike/tour?

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - May 7, 2018

    Hi Jeff and thanks for your excellent question.
    In general, mid-day is regarded as the best time to visit slot canyons because they are best illuminated when the sun is as close to directly overhead as possible. However, there’s no such thing as a “bad” time to go, as different times of day all have their advantages. The colors of the canyon walls will be deeper and richer in the earlier morning hours and later in the afternoon. Long story short, go when it suits you, there’s little chance you’ll be disappointed. 😉
    As for Seldom Seen Adventures, they are no longer in business, unfortunately. Another tour company in Kanab, UT you might consider is Dreamland Safari Tours. I don’t see that any of their trip offerings specifically advertise a rappelling component, but they may be able to customize something for you. You might also check out the Zion Ponderosa Ranch. They do offer canyoneering trips for all experience levels.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂
    P.S. Remember that Utah is on a different time zone than Arizona — they DO observe Daylight Saving Time, whilst Arizona DOES NOT, so you’ll “lose” an hour going from Page to Kanab.

    Reply
Gina - April 29, 2018

Hi Alley,

Thank you for all the information you share on this website. The best part is that you take your time to respond to all questions being sent through this website!!! It is much appreciated.

We are planning a trip to do the Grand Circle Tour for 2 weeks (from LV, Zion, Bryce, Capitol Reef Nat’l Park, Moab, Page, Jacob Lake (to visit the GC North Rim), Grand Canyon South Rim and back to LV) to start in the beginning of September.

From Moab we will drive to Page through Monument Valley. We will stay overnight in Page, AZ and visit one of the slot canyons and the Horseshoe Bend Overlook the following day. Then we continue on to Jacob Lake to stay for the night.

There are 6 of us in our group ages 51-67. We plan to go to the Horseshoe Bend overlook in the morning to take pictures and then visit one of the slot canyons after. Which slot canyon would be a better option for us? We plan to reserve a slot for the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon but reading your website, I might suggest to our group the alternate canyons such as the Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon, as well as the Water Hole Slot Canyon, are they one and the same? We thought this will be closer to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook and save us time driving around from one place to the other.

Thank you in advance for reading and responding to my questions.

Regards,
Gina

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - May 1, 2018

    Hi Gina, thanks for visiting our site, and your nice compliments!
    Your itinerary looks pretty fun, and September is a great time to be here. It’s especially cool that you’ll get to see the North and South Rim!
    The drive from Moab to Page, AZ takes about 5 hours, if you go direct, which rarely happens. Goosenecks of the San Juan is a worthwhile stop, as is the Navajo Code Talkers Exhibit inside the Burger King in Kayenta, AZ. Still, with an early enough start, you might be able to hit Lower Antelope Canyon prior to arrival in Page, seeing as though it’s right on your way (map).

    That’s IF you don’t have your heart set on seeing it mid-day light. Later afternoon tours still offer good conditions for touring, even though it’s still going to be crowded at that time of year. Bear in mind that Monument Valley DOES observe Daylight Savings Time, while Page doesn’t, so you’ll “gain” an hour passing from the reservation into Page. Antelope Canyon Tours run on Page, AZ time.How To Book A Tour For Antelope Canyon
    If the crowds are truly something you want to avoid, as well as a lot of unnecessary driving, then you might indeed consider touring Horseshoe Bend Overlook and Slot Canyon the next morning. As for doing Waterholes as well, that might seem a bit redundant as both Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon and Waterholes are part of the same drainage system. Waterholes, at the present time, simply requires that you get a Navajo Tribal Park Permit to tour, which you can get at the Antelope Canyon Tribal Park Entrance (which you’ll pass on the way in from Monument Valley). I’d recommend choosing one or the other, then heading to Jacob Lake, a drive which takes about 90 minutes direct, but again, it rarely happens as you’ll find lots to see and photograph on your way there. That’s both the blessing and the curse of driving in this area.
    When you get to Jacob Lake, be sure to get some of their home-made cookies, they’re awesome 🙂
    Have a wonderful time!
    Alley
    P.S. Be sure to have the member(s) of your party who are 62+ get a Senior Lifetime Federal Lands Access Pass. For $80, this card gets you into all National Parks and Monuments in the US for 1 year’s time. It would not work for Native American Tribal attractions like Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley, but it would still be worth purchasing for this trip.

    Reply
      Gina - May 6, 2018

      Hi Alley,

      Thanks for responding to my questions and all the tips!!! I will write all of these down and discuss with our group!

      You’re the best!!!

      Gina

      Reply
      Charlie Kelly - July 3, 2018

      First, THANK YOU for taking the time to answer all these people. An excellent Navajo museum is at Tuba City, just “down the road” on Hwy 160 in your map above. Well worth the time to visit, if really interested in Navajo lore.

      Reply
Julie - April 19, 2018

Hi Alley,
Hope this isn’t too redundant of a question, because i do see that you have suggested several times that touring more than one slot canyon is not necessary, but would lower Antelope Canyon and Canyon X be different enough to make it worth it? (A lot of sites say Upper and Lower are different enough that one should do both if able.) We aren’t there for that long but could definitely fit this in. We are also going to do a visit to Horseshoe Bend and maybe kayak Lone Rock Canyon.
Thank you!!
Julie

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 20, 2018

    Hi Julie,
    No such thing as “too redundant” a question in this business 😉
    That said, if you have the time and inclination to tour a couple of slot canyons, Lower and Antelope X do bear enough of a resemblance to one another that you might consider the experience, to coin a phrase, “too redudant.” If you’re looking for a second slot canyon to tour, I would recommend Cathedral Slot Canyon. It is a “rugged, yet simple hike” (with a few challenging bits), which, like Antelope X, is conducted with smaller groups, but also has some interesting “bonus features” you won’t find in other slot canyons in the Page, AZ, or anywhere else for that matter!
    For more information visit Cathedral Slot Canyon Tours or call 928-645-5594.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
CONSEIL - April 6, 2018

Hello,
Thank you for your very interesting article about the wonderful canyons around Page. We are a french family with two children (14 and 11 years old) and we wish to visit canyons but away from the Antelope Canyon’s crowd. We hesitate between canyons and wish to have your opinion:
– Secret Canyon + Canyon X
or
– Rattlesnake Canyon + Owl Canyon + Mountain Sheep Canyon
What are the most impressive, the most colorful ?
Thank you for your reply.
Have a good day.
Valérie.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - April 6, 2018

    Hi Valerie and thank you for visiting our site today.
    You’ve made a good call on staying away from the crowds of Antelope Canyon. As for touring multiple slot canyons, it’s not 100% necessary to do that in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page. In terms of colors, though, Canyon X (aka Antelope Canyon X) is widely considered to be the most impressive of the lot, which isn’t surprising, considering that it’s just a different drainage of Antelope Creek, the same creek that flows through Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons.
    For reservations for Antelope Canyon X, contact Taadidiin Tours.
    Other slot canyons you might consider touring, which aren’t listed in this article, are Ram’s Head, Wind Pebble or Ligai Si’Anii Canyons, which are managed by Ligai Si’Anii Tours.
    While you’re in the area, be sure to visit Horseshoe Bend Overlook and maybe enjoy a half-day float trip through Glen Canyon! 2-Day Itinerary in Page, Arizona
    For more valuable tips and information, visit our sister site, http://www.HorseshoeBend.com
    Have a great day, and an even better trip!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Kristin - March 25, 2018

Hi. We’d like to book some alternative tours for tomorrow on Tuesday morning. Who should we call?

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 27, 2018

    Hello Kristin,
    Apologies for the delay in response to your inquiry. Contact information for tour outfitters is provided in this article.
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Leanne Paul - March 20, 2018

Hi – thanks for the great information! We are planning a trip for August 2018, myself, my husband, 17 and 15 year old boys, and will only be in Page for one day. I was going to book a tour of lower Antelope Canyon, but then found information about Hidden Canyon Kayak Tours. In your opinion, will we see the same features of the slot canyon if we choose to kayak rather than do the walking tour? Will we miss out on anything (besides the crowds) if we kayak? Thanks! Leanne

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - March 22, 2018

    Hi Leanne and thank you for your excellent question.
    The kayak tour of Antelope Canyon’s waterside is not intended to be a “substitute” for the landside tour. On the landside tour, you’ll see the iconic slot canyon scenery that you’re expecting to see. The kayak tour will give you a greater appreciation for the length and complexity of Antelope Canyon as it relates to Lake Powell (an intermittent creek that drains into it), but the scenery and experience is quite different.
    If possible, try and do both. If you can’t, stick to the walking tour of Lower Antelope Canyon. That’s the one that will give you the “picture postcard” views you’re expecting to see of Antelope Canyon.
    Hope that helps and that you have a great trip.
    Alley 🙂
    P.S. Please keep in mind that August is monsoon season in Page, AZ, which means thunderstorms routinely roll in during the afternoon hours that sometimes necessitate cancellation of Antelope Canyon tours. Try and schedule any slot canyon activities for the morning hours.

    Reply
Nancy - February 12, 2018

Wow! This site is getting me very excited about our trip to Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon in September. A friend told me about a raft trip near or through Antelope Canyon. Do you know of any such trip? I have not been able to find anything like this in my searches. Thank you. Nancy

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    Alley Keosheyan - February 13, 2018

    Hi Nancy,
    Glad to hear you’re excited for your upcoming trip! September is a great time to be here. There aren’t any “raft” trips in/near Antelope Canyon, but there are water-based activities centered around it, namely boat tours and kayak tours.
    Boat tours are offered by both Antelope Point Marina and Lake Powell Resort and Marina. Who you choose to go with would probably come down to convenience, for example, if you do a landside tour of Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon from the Tribal Park Entrance on US98, you can simply drive down to Antelope Point Marina afterward. If you opt to return to the town of Page after touring Antelope Canyon, then Lake Powell Resort would be the closer place from which to take a boat tour.
    Kayak tours are offered by several vendors, but we are partial to Hidden Canyon Kayak, not only for their diverse range of tours, but for their excellent safety and service record. They offer a tour of Antelope Canyon’s waterside that takes advantage of cooler morning temperatures and calmer waters. Hidden Canyon Kayak Antelope Canyon Tour
    Hope that helps. Have a wonderful time and be sure to make advance reservations for hotels and any tours you wish to take part in.
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Ellen - January 20, 2018

Hi Alley,

Your site has been my go-to resource for my upcoming trip at the end of this month and I want to thank you for the helpful information. I also wanted to ask you a bit more about Waterholes Canyon? I’m planning to do an engagement shoot in Page and was debating between Canyon X and Waterholes Canyon. I know Canyon X would be better in terms of crowds, but Waterholes Canyon seems like it would be a good option also since it does not require a tour and therefore we would not be restricted for time. I’d love to find out what you know about Waterholes Canyon in terms of accessibility and any other important information.

Thank you in advance!

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - January 22, 2018

    Hello Ellen and thank you for your compliments! Congratulations on your engagement. Hope you’re looking forward to your photo shoot.
    Waterholes Canyon, like the majority of slot canyons in Page, AZ, is situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Land, therefore, a tribal park permit is required to visit it. These can usually be obtained at the Tribal Park Entrance gate at Antelope Canyon on US98, or at Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours office in Page, AZ. For more really good information on Waterholes Canyon, visit https://www.thewave.info/WaterholesCode/Map.html
    Be prepared to dress warmly. Otherwise, good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Grand Canyon, Zion, Moab & More: 14 Days In The Grand Circle – Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - January 19, 2018

[…] 10 – Page, Arizona – Tour Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon (or one of several alternate slot canyons if the aforementioned are sold out), and Horseshoe Bend, then take a Lake Powell Boat Tour,  kayak […]

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Helen - January 13, 2018

My friend and I are visiting Arizona in mid March, staying for a day in Page. We plan to do the lower antelope canyon around 10 am on the 17th of March and possibly another short slot canyon before we off to the South rim of Grand Canyon. Can you recommend one (possibly X canyon or horse shoe canyon?) for us? We are in 50s and feel like the lower antelope may not be enough to experience the slot canyon but wonder if its worth to try another canyon due to time constraint as we dont want to drive too late to the grand canyon. Thanks much

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    Alley Keosheyan - January 13, 2018

    Hi Helen and thanks for stopping by today.
    It’s not really necessary to do more than one slot canyon ground tour in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page. Indeed, it might seem redundant. I’m assuming you plan to hit Horseshoe Bend at some point on your trip, but if you do have more time to work with, I’d recommend a tour that gives you a different perspective on the area, such as a Lake Powell boat tour, float trip on the Colorado River, perhaps an airplane or helicopter tour.
    Air tours are best done in the morning for better light and less wind. It takes approximately 3 hours to drive from Page to the Grand Canyon and sunset is at about 5:30 PM in March, so plan your day accordingly.
    Good luck and have fun!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Temporary Closure of Lower Antelope Canyon Planned For January 17th-31st – Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - January 8, 2018

[…] to visit a slot canyon with more physical challenges and fewer people than Upper Antelope, consider Antelope Canyon Alternative Tours including, but not limited […]

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Tina - December 21, 2017

Hi Alley

Our group of 10 people want to book a tour to canyon x. We are driving from las vegas to the tour place and got a tour time of 1:00 pm. On december 28. Just want to ask is that a good time of the day to hike, consider the light. And how difficult it is as our youngest member is a 10 years old

Thanks

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    Alley Keosheyan - December 23, 2017

    Hi Tina and thank you for visiting our site.
    On December 28th, temperatures will be on the cooler side, but the light should be sufficient to enjoy Antelope Canyon X fully. Keep in mind that during the winter months, Nevada is on Pacific Standard Time and Arizona is on Mountain Standard Time, so Page is one hour “ahead” of Las Vegas. Be sure to time your drive accordingly.
    As for difficulty of the hike, improvements to the entrance to the canyon made in recent years have made it a lot more manageable for tourists. If your 10-year-old is reasonably fit and has no mobility issues, he/she should be able to handle it without a problem. Staircase in Antelope Canyon X
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at AntelopeCanyon.AZ!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Sam Cohen - December 11, 2017

Enjoy reading the information you provide. Thank you. My wife and I just returned back after kayaking Antelope Canyon , then taking the Lower tour as we’ve done on a number of occasions. I was advised by a visitor to our center
( Springdale Visitor Center) just outside of Zion Nat’l Park about a Slot canyon on native property , just North of Page and you don’t require a tour. You do need a paid permit receipt though. On our way back , I was searching for signage , but no luck. Wracking my brain for the name of it and just can’t. She said you don’t have to go in a long ways , but the canyon can be as long as 16 miles…. it had a catchy name and I did look it up on Google while we were talking… dang it all !
Ring any bells for you ?
Thanks.
Sam- Hurricane,UT

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    Alley Keosheyan - December 11, 2017

    Hi Sam,
    Boy, I, too am stumped here…
    Native American Tribal Lands belonging to the Navajo Tribe are actually situated just Southeast of Page. Water Holes Canyon is a famous slot canyon that doesn’t require a tour per se, but does require a tribal permit to enter. Some deeper sections of this canyon require rappelling. The Navajo reservation has many slot canyons that have been closed to the public for going on 20 years due to problems such as vandalism, littering, etc. These include, but aren’t limited to, Butterfly Canyon, Starting Water Wash and Kaibeto Creek.
    Just North of Page, the terrain tends to be part of either Glen Canyon National Recreation Area (Lake Powell), Bureau of Land Management, or Grand Staircase/Escalante National Monument.
    Buckskin Gulch is a very long slot canyon, with a shorter bypass possible via Wire Pass Canyon. This canyon has a sign-in station on-site where you pay your entrance fee via an “honor system.”
    Hope that has helped! Apologies if it hasn’t.
    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
48 Hours in Page, Arizona: Glen Canyon, Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend – Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - December 5, 2017

[…] people doesn’t appeal to you, or Antelope Canyon tours are already booked up, consider taking an Antelope Canyon Alternative Tour which will take you to slot canyons that match or even rival Antelope Canyon for beauty, but are […]

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Vivl - September 3, 2017

Our family of 4 (almost 5 and 10 yr old boys) + 69 year old grandma are planning to go during Thanksgiving week. I was thinking of both the upper and lower antelope canyons and also Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon. Is that too much for 2 days? When would be the best times to book the tours for each one?

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    Alley Keosheyan - September 4, 2017

    Hi Viv and thanks for stopping by!
    With the traveling party you describe, especially a 5-year-old, I do believe that doing Lower and Upper Antelope and Horseshoe Bend Slot will be too much. Even the older members of the party might find themselves getting “canyon’ed out.” If all of you are in relatively good health and are OK with climbing a few stairs and doing some light boulder scrambling, I would pick Lower Antelope Canyon and call it “good” as far as slot canyons go. If anyone in the party has mobility issues, then go with Upper. In either case, the best time to book a tour would be mid-day for best light.
    Don’t worry, you’ll find plenty more fun things to do in the Page, AZ area to fill up the two days you have. For more suggestions, check out The Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, AZ.
    Since you’re visiting during what’s referred to as “shoulder season,” be prepared for cooler temperatures and fewer people, but also be prepared for a few activities to not be running. Mainly, boat tours and airplane and helicopter tours (read: high-ticket items) may either be suspended altogether, or require a certain number of passengers and favorable weather to guarantee operation. This should in no way, though, negatively affect your enjoyment of this area.
    Take care and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Antelope Canyon Lake Powell Boat Tour - Horseshoe Bend, Arizona - August 27, 2017

[…] you’ve toured Antelope Canyon, or one of the other slot canyons in its extended family, and are ready to tick this item off your Page, Arizona to-do list. Sorry, but you’ve only […]

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France Fehr - August 18, 2017

Hello. I have read many of the questions/answers here and I have learned many things. I am planning to be in Page at the end of March. I would like to visit Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Is it possible to do it in one day ? is there a combo (package) if we want to do both? what is the best website to reserve our visit ? Should I do it now (7 months ahead to be sure I have a spot)?
I was told that Lower Canyon can be a little difficult for someone who is not comfortable in tight space ( claustrophobia), can it be a problem ?

If later during that week I visit Monument Valley , the fee payed for the Navajo Tribal Park would be already done ( is it good for one week) because we need to pay it when we visit Antelope Canyon ?

thank you so much for helping me making sure my planning goes well.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - August 19, 2017

    Dear France Fehr,
    Thank you for visiting our site, we’re glad you’re finding it helpful in planning your visit to Page, AZ!
    On to your questions:
    1. Is it possible to visit Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon in one day? Is there a combo (package) if we want to do both? Yes, you can visit both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon in one day! Unfortunately, no tour company yet offers a package tour to both. What we would suggest you do is tour the branches of Antelope Canyon with the tour companies who operate directly at the canyon’s entrance on Highway 98. For Upper Antelope Canyon, that would be Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours; for Lower, you can choose from Ken’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours or Dixie Ellis Antelope Lower Canyon tours.
    2. I was told that Lower Canyon can be a little difficult for someone who is not comfortable in tight space (claustrophobia), can it be a problem? Not knowing the severity of your claustrophobia, it’s difficult to make an accurate judgement. Have people had problems? Yes, but not often. In order to gauge whether you might have difficulties in Lower Antelope Canyon, watch this video that depicts a full walk-through.
    3. If later during that week I visit Monument Valley, the fee paid for the Navajo Tribal Park would be already done? That is correct, so be sure to retain your receipt after your Antelope Canyon tour.
    Another suggestion: be sure to make all your reservations for your trip well in advance, hotels, tours, everything.
    Take care and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
kosaku - August 15, 2017

Hi. I have found this site really useful! Thanks for all the info!

I understand that tours to Antelope are crowded and I need reservations well in advance. I plan to visit Page in February 9, next year. I am driving from Sedona and what is the weather like? And do you think there will be a pack of people as usual in February?

I saw a TV program in Japan last August about Secret Canyon, and it said the tour was operated by Slot Caynon Hummer Adventures ONLY. I sent an email but I haven’t heard from them. I also tried to reach by phone, and it has been disconnected. I guess they are not in business any more. Do you know what happend to them?

Thanks to this website, the tour operator to Secret Cantyon now seems Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Adventures. In February, their Slot Canyon PLUS Horseshoe Bend Overlook tours are offered at 7:45 am and 2:45 pm. Which one would you recommend?

I appreciate your help and tips!

Thanks again,
Kosaku

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    Alley Keosheyan - August 16, 2017

    Dear Mr. Kosaku,
    Thank you so much for your compliments on our site!
    You are correct in that Antelope Canyon is usually very crowded. However, since your visit is taking place in February, you might not find it so. February is considered shoulder-season; cooler temperatures and the possibility of rain and snow tend to keep a lot of people away, so you could be fortunate enough to travel with a smaller group, or just your party! We still recommend making reservations in advance just to be safe.
    The drive from Sedona to Page AZ takes about 3 hours driving direct, however, you might find yourself wanting to stop at Wupatki/Sunset Crater National Monuments, the Cameron Trading Post and several scenic overlooks and Native kiosks where jewelry and curios are sold.
    You are correct in the Slot Canyon Hummer Adventures is no longer in business. The owner was simply ready to move on to other things. Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Tours is now the authorized concessionaire for Secret Canyon, which is now going by the name “Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon” due to its proximity to the overlook. During the month of February, I’d recommend the later tour as mornings are quite chilly, plus the light might be better in the afternoon.
    Hope that helps and that you enjoy your visit to Arizona!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Photographing Antelope Canyon X: NOT Expensive, NOT Overcrowded! - That Journey Abroad - August 1, 2017

[…] I came across this blog post about alternative canyons, which are parts of Antelope Canyon but a bit further located than Upper […]

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Michael Lim - July 26, 2017

Thanks Alley! Your website is a real life-saver and informative too. I’m from Singapore and I’m afraid I booked a little too late so didn’t get a good time slot and from what I hear of the crowds, I felt like I had little choice but to get ready for a wonderfully awful experience. Finding the options and tour operators on your site got my adrenaline pumping as I am bringing my sister and daughter and want to give them the best experience possible. Hope to meet you in person and thank you face-to-face. Thanks again.

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    Alley Keosheyan - July 26, 2017

    Hi Michael, and thank you for your compliments on our site! We hope you have a wonderful visit to Page, AZ and that you enjoy whichever slot canyon you decide to tour. Be sure to post a review on TripAdvisor, Yelp or whatever consumer review site you prefer to use so the tour company can know how they did, and future travelers to the area can collect recommendations for their trips.
    Best wishes for safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Franziska - July 17, 2017

Hi there!
We will be in Page for two full days on October 13th and October 14th 2017 and would like to see at least one of the slot canyons during our stay. As we are not very fond of large crowds but don’t want to spend a fortune on our tour either, we were thinking about taking the Canyon X tour. We were wondering though, what would be the best time of the day to visit Canyon X? Hope you’ll be able to help us with that. Thanks!
Franziska

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    Alley Keosheyan - July 18, 2017

    Hi Franziska!
    October is a wonderful time to be here, you’ll have a great time. Good call on the Canyon X tour, too. Mid-day is generally regarded as the best time of day to view slot canyons, and Canyon X is no exception. Thought the “light beam” phenomenon won’t occur, the canyon will be well-illuminated for photos.
    In addition to thinning crowds in the Page area, October is marked by cooler temperatures, and the interiors of slot canyons tends to be cooler than the outside area, so you’ll probably want to bring a sweater or light jacket.
    Good luck and safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
james hallett - July 13, 2017

Hi,
Thank you for your info. I AM making a flying visit with a friend in early march next year. It sounds like even then Antelope canyon will be very busy. And sadly we are due to be there for a Saturday. Of all the ones you list which would you say is the best one to see. We are both up for some fairly strenuous visits – especially if it means no crowds. Cardiac canyon sounds like a good one! Happy to d a couple of excursions before moving on. Any help gratefully received.
Look forward to hearing from you.
James.

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - July 13, 2017

    Hi James, and thanks for your visit.
    Antelope Canyon’s popularity has certainly grown, so I wouldn’t be surprised if tours are already filling up for next March. But, the fact that you’re planning your visit well in advance will work in your favor! As to which slot canyon is the best one, well… that’s a hard question to answer!
    Seeing as though you are up for something fairly challenging, Cardiac Canyon would certainly fulfill your desire for adventure, and beautiful scenery, including a waterfall. For Cardiac Canyon Tours, visit https://www.antelopecanyon-x.com/tours.html
    You might also consider Mountain Sheep Canyon, which has been compared to a “mini Coyote Buttes” and does require some creative scrambling. https://www.navajoantelopecanyon.com/Mountain.asp
    Another player on the slot canyon scene not mentioned in this article since they are relatively new is Ligai Si’Anii Tours. They tour some beautiful slot canyons called Wind Pebble, Ram’s Head and Ligai Si’Anii Canyon. Ligai Si’Anii is said to be quite challenging also. For information on these visit http://www.hikingslotcanyons.com
    Hope that helps – safe travels!
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
Astrid - June 24, 2017

Hi,
thank you for listing these alternative tours.
We have already booked the Lower Antelope Canyon for July 20th. Now I am thinking of either:
– doing Canyon X additionally
– cancelling Lower Antelope and visiting Canyon X only
– cancelling Lower Antelope and visiting Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon only
What would be your personal preference?
I would be glad to receive your comment.
Kind regards from Germany,
Astrid

Reply
    Alley Keosheyan - June 26, 2017

    Hi Astrid,
    Thanks for stopping by and reading our piece on Antelope Canyon Alternative tours!
    Regarding your plans, I don’t think you’d be disappointed whichever course of action you decided to take, but doing more than one slot canyon isn’t 100% necessary in order to get the most out of your trip. If you would prefer not to contend with large crowds, though, cancelling Lower Antelope and touring one of the alternates would definitely be worth considering.
    If the “physicality” of Lower Antelope is what appeals to you about it, Antelope Canyon X would make a good alternative as it does require navigating some downhill/uphill grades, and a few ladders. If that aspect of it was something you could do without, Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon is relatively flat with a few tight spots to squeeze through.
    As for how to round out your time, you might consider the Colorado River Discovery Half Day Float Trip, or a short boat tour on Lake Powell.
    Hope that helps. Have a wonderful trip!
    Remember to drink plenty of water. That time of year is hot.
    Alley 🙂

    Reply
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