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Antelope Canyon Alternative Tours

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” (, 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!” **2022 UPDATE: A recently installed series of wooden boardwalks makes the climb in and out of Antelope Canyon X a little easier now! 

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

Secret Antelope 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 Antelope Canyon!

Also known as “Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon” due to its relatively close proximity to the world-famous Colorado River overlook, Secret Antelope Canyon is 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 A unique feature of Secret Antelope Canyon is walls that gradually rise as you navigate the 450 foot length of the slot. Unlike Upper Antelope Canyon, however, “there are no chambers here; just one long, narrow canyon requiring some minor rock scrambling.” (Sedona Monthly) Unlike Lower Antelope Canyon, Secret Antelope Canyon has no stairs or ladders. The trail through the canyon is relatively flat, but is usually quite sandy, which can be difficult to walk through for those unaccustomed to such conditions. Some sections of the slot canyon are a mere 8” across. Access to Secret Antelope 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 Antelope Canyon is located on the Navajo Indian Reservation. A licensed tour outfitter is required to visit this area. Tours to Secret Antelope Canyon are offered by Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon Adventures, and can be customized to include a visit to Horseshoe Bend via an exclusive entrance where the walk to the rim is only 200 yards vs .7 miles! For tour and pricing information, visit

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.” (

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 for people ages 8 and up 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. Black Streak Canyon Tours can also help you experience this one-of-a-kind Page, AZ, slot canyon, and they welcome guests of all ages. For more information, visit or 

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. 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 ( ages 8 and above only) or Black Streak Canyon Tours ( all ages)

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 Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours (8 and above only) or Black Streak Canyon Tours (all ages).

*Owl Canyon, Mountain Sheep Canyon, and/or Rattlesnake Canyon may be toured individually or in various combinations, including Upper Antelope Canyon. See tour operator websites for details. 

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.” (

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

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

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 in Page, Arizona, and the surrounding area. 

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 Page, AZ, slot canyons on the same day, such as Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, Waterholes Canyon, Mystical Antelope Canyon, etc. 
  • 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. Masks or face coverings may be required at any time to minimize/negate possible exposure or transmission of COVID-19 and other contagious illnesses.  
  • Backpacks, camera bags and purses may be prohibited in some slot canyons. Carry important items like ID’s, cash, etc., in pockets.
  • Advance reservations are strongly advised for all Antelope Canyon Alternative Tours.
  • Gratuities are appreciated. 

154 Responses

  1. Hi Alley, I am coming to the Page area in late December with my family (two adults, two children, ages 7&9). Which slot canyon do you recommend for children this age? We are traveling to Page for one night from Phoenix, via Sedona and GC and then on to Zion. We also plan to visit the Glen Canyon Dam in Page. Thanks for the advice. Monique

    1. Hi Monique,
      Which branch of Antelope Canyon you tour depends on how active you and your children are on a regular basis. Upper Antelope Canyon is an easy 100 yard out-and-back walk on a mostly flat trail that is occasionally sandy. The walking portion of the tour is preceded and concluded by a 2-mile off-road ride from highway US98 to the mouth of the canyon and back. Lower Antelope is longer (~600 yards) and has a few stairs, ladders, and boulders to navigate. Children your kids’ age tour Lower Antelope Canyon without a problem every day, but to determine whether it would be manageable for your family, watch this Full Walk-Through Video of Lower Antelope Canyon. Note that the people in the video are wearing backpacks, which is no longer allowed.
      For more information, visit “Antelope Canyon FAQ: Bringing Kids
      Be sure to reserve your Antelope Canyon tour and all hotels along your route well in advance of your vacation.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Alley, my husband is 6’8” and large man. We really want see the “waves” of the rocks but aren’t sure which would be easiest for him to navigate through. Do you have any suggestions

        1. Hey Jody,
          You’ll be glad to know that taller people tour the slot canyons of Page, AZ, all the time without too much difficulty.
          If you are both relatively fit and OK with navigating a few stairs, ladders, and small boulders, Lower Antelope Canyon or Canyon X would be good choices. Before committing to either, you might want to watch some video on both canyons. Lower Antelope Canyon Video Walk-Through Antelope Canyon X Video Walk-Through You might note that in both videos, people are carrying backpacks, which is no longer allowed. Cathedral Canyon might be another alternative worth considering as it has wider chambers and some geological features unique to it.
          If the physicality of Lower Antelope Canyon or Canyon X aren’t an option for you, then Upper Antelope Canyon would be the best bet. Your husband may have to duck down in a few places, but these are easy to spot.
          Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
          Alley 🙂

      2. Thanks so much Alley – this is helpful. Your site is such a nice resource. We are an active, fit family. The kids can definitely handle the climbing and walking. Which slot canyon would you recommend aside from Antelope Canyon? The tales of large crowds are turning me off. And, all of our hotels are already reserved. We plan to do a slot canyon tour in the afternoon, if that makes a difference. I just hope the weather cooperates 🙂

        1. Hi again Monique!
          Not surprised that the prospect of being herded through Antelope Canyon is less than appealing. If you’re open to touring one of the alternates, Antelope Canyon X bears resemblance to both Upper and Lower, and they keep their group sizes smaller. Waterholes Canyon might also warrant consideration; it’s not mentioned in this article, but you can get more information at Another set of alternate slot canyons not mentioned in this article are the Antelope Valley Slot Canyons, Ram’s Head, Wind Pebble, and Ligai Si’Anii. For more information on these, visit
          We’ll definitely keep our fingers crossed for good weather for you!
          Take care and have a great trip,
          Alley 🙂

  2. Thank you for this fantastic read. We are arriving during The Christmas Vacation and I was debating if Page should be on our places to visit or not. Please advise.
    Also if we get a spot in Antelope Canyon would it be redundant to also hike Canyon X or any of the other hikes that you offer here? Should we worry about the weather?
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Sarit, and thank you for your compliments!
      I wish I knew where else you were planning to visit on your trip, as that would help me advise you better. Still, if you have sufficient time, Page, AZ, should definitely be on your list of places to visit. Ideally, you should have the ability to set aside at least one day and one night to experience it, instead of doing it as a “drive-by” between the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas or a quickie day trip from Phoenix or Las Vegas.
      As for your query re: other slot canyons to visit, Antelope Canyon X is part of the Antelope Creek drainage system, and does bear some resemblance to Lower Antelope Canyon. Therefore, I do think it would be slightly redundant for you to do that slot canyon in addition to Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon. The alternate slot canyon that I’m partial to is Cathedral Slot Canyon (not to be confused with Cathedral Wash). In addition to “iconic” slot canyon scenery, it has some geological features that are unique to it and no other Page, AZ, slot canyon! For more information visit Chief Tsosie’s Antelope Slot Canyon Tours: Cathedral Canyon
      As to whether you should worry about the weather, I’ll put it this way: “White Christmases” are common in Northern Arizona and Southern Utah. Of course, it’s too soon to call at this point, but I’d recommend monitoring the weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel. That will give you the clearest idea of what to expect. In any case, it will be cold, so jackets, gloves, etc. should be packed, and layers worn when out and about sightseeing. Carry a backpack or duffel bag that you can easily stash unneeded clothing in as the day goes on and the body adjusts to the temperature.
      Feel free to write in again if we an be of further guidance!
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  3. Hello, WOW this site and the feedback provided is amazing!! I have really enjoyed learning so much from the comments and the posts. Very thorough and obviously a passion of yours. So thank you. I have read this page and I am at a cross roads however. When i try to research the canyons they all say they are amazing (which I have no doubt), and just as good as the famed Antelop upper and lower.
    So here is our situation. We are only going to be in Page for one day, the downsid eof trying to hit the GC and LAS Vegas, etc. We will come into Page in the evening on a Saturday in mid Oct. planning to watch the sunset at Horsehoe bend. Is this at about 7pm? We would also love to see the beautiful night time skies I have seen in photos and any suggestions on a place that would be welcoming of us being there for an hour or so, but also away from the light polution of Page would be great. Also does Page have fun night time activites?
    Since we have such limited time we will only be able to do one slot canyon on our visit. We are both active, outgoing, in our 30’s, and healthy. So We want something more than an easy stroll. I was originally thinking lower antelope, still on my list, but worried about the crowds. We would go in the morning which would help, but now I am seeing other options also. I would love to do the Cardiac Canyon, but we just do not have the time this trip. So, here is the question… We want to avoid tons of people, and have some adventure… but I dont want to miss the wonder Antelope is famed for. Are other canyons really equivalent in beauty, colors, and wonder, just not as marketed? Or are they really more similar to what I could see at Valley of Fire near Vegas? With only one chance to see this area, I dont want to miss the best(of course subject to opinion). Whether that is a alternate with less crowds, or not.

    So we are considering: Antelope lower, Canyon X, Mystical Antelope/Arrowhead campground, Mountain Sheep canyon, and Cathedral Canyon.

    Thank you so much,

    1. Hi Bryan and thanks for your compliments!
      Every slot canyon in the Page, AZ, area is beautiful, and it’s highly doubtful that you’ll be disappointed, whichever one you choose to tour! In your case, being that you are physically active and healthy, I would recommend either Antelope Canyon X or Cathedral Canyon. I’m personally partial to Cathedral because, being located in LeChee, it’s somewhat far removed from the “hubbub” of Page, AZ, and has some features that are unique to it. A few other slot canyons not listed in this article are Ligai Si’Anii, Ram’s Head, and Wind Pebble Canyons. These are also located near the LeChee area, were only opened to the public ~3 years ago, and offer everything from beginner to advanced level hiking. For more information, visit Ligai Si’Anii Antelope Valley Canyon Tours at
      As for nightlife in Page, AZ, there are a few bars and cocktail lounges that offer live music and dancing. There’s also the Mesa Theatre, our local movie theatre that features first-run films, and are pretty quick about getting them in soon after release for such a small town.
      As for watching sunset at Horseshoe Bend, actual sunset time is around 5:45 PM in mid-October (we don’t observe Daylight Savings Time in Arizona). However, you might want to re-think that plan and catch sunrise at Horseshoe Bend. Sunset is usually very crowded at the overlook and you might have trouble finding a place to park. At sunrise, you typically have thinner crowds, and cooler temperatures. Regarding getting away from the “light dome” of Page, there are places where you can do that, you just have to be careful that you’re not inadvertently trespassing on Navajo land. This is typically an issue in the areas South and East of the town. If you were to go across the Glen Canyon Dam Steel Arch Bridge and go to Lone Rock Beach, you could do some stargazing from there, although you wouldn’t by any means be alone; it’s a popular spot to camp.
      Time/inclination permitting, you could proceed further Northwest on US89 to the town of Big Water, UT, ~15 miles from Page, AZ. There’s an unpaved road that goes by a patch of badlands and a place informally known as “The Moon.” To reach it, exit off of Hwy 89 in Big Water, UT, then turn onto Ethan Allen St. Drive for 1/3 mile, then turn right at the sign in between two large yellow warehouse buildings that says “Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.” This is UT Highway 12, aka County Road NP 230. A mile after the turn you will come to Wahweap Creek crossing, under normal conditions the crossing is fine for any type of vehicle, but if there is water running through it, no go. The Moon turn off will be a left about 1/4 mile past the creek crossing. There is a wash about 100 yards of the road that requires a 4×4 to get through, the walk is 1.5 miles. Word of warning: be extremely careful venturing into this area! Stay on paved or semi-paved roads, or you could find yourself stuck in deep sand in an area that’s pitch black, where cell service is spotty (or non-existent) and help will be a long time coming, not to mention VERY expensive. If you’d prefer to play things a little safer, you might consider going with a licensed tour outfitter to this area, and to Alstrom Point, a stunning viewpoint that’s estimated to only see a handful of visitors annually due to its remote location and challenging terrain! For more information, visit Ground Tours BTW, the full moon in October occurs on Sunday the 13th.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  4. Hi, Thank you for all the helpful information. We were thinking of going to the Page area the week of Thanksgiving and among other things, checking out at least one of the the less crowded slot canyons and maybe a boat/float tour like Lake Powell or Antelope Canyon. It’s probably going to be cold and I read there’s no ‘light beams’ in the slots that time of year. We saw Horseshoe bend but did not do a float trip- I’m guessing it would be too cold for the half day trip. Should we just delay this trip to spring instead? I’ve been many times to the national parks in that area over the years so we were thinking of visiting some national monuments like Navajo and Canyon De Chelly. I wasn’t sure if it was worth going to the area Thanksgiving week due to the weather, although we would also re-visit GC, Zion, etc, if we did. Thank you.

    1. Hi Mary!
      The Grand Circle of the American Southwest is absolutely worth visiting over the Thanksgiving holiday. There are definitely advantages to doing so, namely, cooler weather, especially in “true” desert areas such as Page, AZ, Navajo National Monument and Canyon de Chelly. Bear in mind, however, that late November typically falls in the “transitional” time frame between autumn and winter, and snowstorms are not unheard of in higher altitude areas such as the Grand Canyon, Zion, and Bryce Canyon. I wouldn’t let that discourage you from visiting at all. The rock formations, which are beautiful during the drier months of the year, are absolutely stunning with a layer of white “frosting” on them! In the rare instance that copious amounts of snow fall in the Page, AZ, area, slot canyon tours can be cancelled for safety reasons, but again, that’s pretty unusual.
      You have correctly deduced that water-based activities may be on seasonal hiatus at the time of year you’re visiting. While tours like the Glen Canyon Float Trip “theoretically” run through the end of November, operation of the trip is usually contingent on good weather and a certain number of passengers booked. Antelope Canyon boat tours also operate on a similar basis during the shoulder season. Whichever one you take, it will be jacket weather and not swimming weather, so keep that in mind.
      As for whether you should delay the trip to spring, weather does tend to be a bit warmer and more stable, although the possibility of a late-season rain or snowstorm is still there, especially in the early part of the season. Whenever you decide to travel, be sure to book all hotels and guided tours in advance of your arrival.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  5. Thanks for this great info! I’ll be in Page in just 2 weeks and thanks to my anxiety over whether Antelope Canyon with the intense crowds is worth it, I still haven’t booked anything. I’m somewhat claustrophobic, do you think any of these tours you’ve described here would work for me? My concern about Antelope Canyon is feeling claustrophobia from all the people, but my concern with some of these is feeling it because they’re continuously narrow (aka they never open up).

    1. Hey Alyssa,
      If you do suffer from extreme claustrophobia, touring Antelope Canyon may indeed be more trouble than it’s worth for you. You might consider touring Antelope Canyon X instead. That canyon actually consists of two main slots, which open up a bit in between, plus tour groups are deliberately kept smaller for a more personal tour experience.
      Before deciding, I’d recommend using YouTube to get a preview of what the canyons are like. We have a Lower Antelope Canyon Full Walk-Through Video on this site, for the others, simply go to the tour companies’ websites, or do a Google search for videos using the specific name of the alternate slot canyon.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  6. Hi Alley, Great info! My husband and I will be in Page for just one night 9/6. Would love to do Antelope Canyon but am getting turned off by all of the comments of crowds. However my husband has some back issues so not sure the alternatives would work or be as dramatic. Considering the upper or lower canyon bundled with a boat tour as we would really like a boat tour of the Colorado River. We are coming from Bryce so looking at early afternoon times. Do you think early September will be as crowded as ‘Walmart on Black Friday’. Loved that description by the way! Option #2 is Secret Canyon with Horseshoe Bend but that means no boat tour and less dramatic views. Option #3 is Canyon X (love the lower price) and then separately a boat tour. But concerned about the in and out climb. We are seniors but in good shape except for the back issues. Would that one be too much driving between tours locations?
    I appreciate your perspective. Thanks.

    1. Hi Barbara, and thanks for the compliment! Wish that comparison was actually my quote, but I borrowed it from someone who had already made the observation 😉
      At the time of year you’re visiting, it will still be busy. It’s just after Labor Day, so you’ll encounter a few families getting that one last trip in before school, as well as ‘snowbirds’ and young couples.
      If the stairs and ladders of Lower Antelope Canyon would be problematic for your husband, then Antelope Canyon X will be, too. It has a similar topography, as well as some stairs and ladders to navigate. Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon has no stairs, but is a longer canyon (~500 yards), that doesn’t have any chambers per se, but is one long, continuous slot. Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon would have actually been the “alternate” I would have proposed for you in light of the physical challenges going on. As for it not being as “dramatic” as Upper or Lower, some recent Google reviews would beg to differ! You might want to check them out. If you do opt to take that tour, you can still do the Antelope Canyon boat tour, time permitting, but you’d have to book it separately.
      Before you completely rule out Lower Antelope Canyon, take a look at this Full Video Walk-through.
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

      1. Hey Alley,

        i am coming with my father who is in his upper 70s in the beginning of October. I want him to see the coolest slot canyons he can see, but also know that he won’t be able to do a ton of walking/climbing etc. Is Secret Canyon the only real viable option? I did one years ago with the Hummer tours. I remember it being cool, but it definitely didn’t have any chambers. Possibly secret canyon? I would love him to be able to get the variety, but want to consider his limitations… Is secret canyon the only viable option?

        Thanks for all the advice!

        1. Hi Caroline!
          If you toured Secret Canyon with Slot Canyon Hummer Tours, that was some years ago. That company is no longer in business. Also “Secret Canyon” is now going by the name “Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon.” For people with mobility limitations who don’t want to deal with the crowds in Upper Antelope Canyon, it’s certainly a good option, but not the only one. Wind Pebble Canyon is also worth consideration; this slot canyon located on private property on the Navajo Reservation, was opened up to tourists only a short time ago. Partial tours are geared toward beginner level hikers. For more information on this alternate slot canyon, visit Ligai Si’Anii Tours at
          Good luck and safe travels,
          Alley 🙂

          1. Thanks for the suggestion! I contacted the company and they recommended the white canyon because it’s shorter. I’m worried it won’t be very comprehensive? Have you done this one? I am also wondering about upper antelope canyon as an option, though I realize it’s a bit late.

            We’ll basically have 2 nights, but more like 1.5 days in Page. Right now, I”m thinking, slot canyon, horseshoe bend (hoping that walk won’tl be too much for him), and then maybe trying to get in a boat tour on lake powell? Thoughts?

            Any quick/easy food options you recommend in page?
            Thansk so much for the in fo!

          2. Hi again, Caroline!
            No, I’m not familiar with White Canyon. It must be one of the “newly” discovered slot canyons, which have actually been “hiding in plain sight” on private Navajo lands for decades and have been recently opened up to tourists. Upper Antelope Canyon is a classic slot canyon featuring the iconic scenery that you’re probably expecting to see, and tons of people wanting to see it. Long story short, don’t overthink it. Your vacation is just around the corner. In the time it takes to hem and haw, spaces on both tours could get booked!
            With one full day, you should be able to do a slot canyon tour, see Horseshoe Bend, and get in at least a short boat tour. Antelope Canyon boat tours from Antelope Point Marina run 60-90 minutes in length and depart several times a day.
            Horseshoe Bend might be a challenge for your dad, but then again, the ADA-compliant trail is expected to open round about the time of your visit. We’ll cross our fingers for that, but if you find that the trail will still be too much for your dad to handle, you might consider alternate means of getting there, such as flying over it in an airplane or helicopter, or taking a local shuttle. For more information, check out this article on our companion site, “Help! I Can’t Make the Hike to Horseshoe Bend”
            As for good food options in Page, AZ, Big John’s Texas Barbecue is popular among both locals and visitors. My personal favorite spot for breakfast is the Ranch House Grille. RD’s Drive-In is good for a burger and a milkshake, if that’s your thing. The Deli at Big Lake Trading Post is conveniently located near local slot canyons, Horseshoe Bend, and Antelope Point Marina. There’s all kinds of good places to eat in Page, AZ, too many to list here!
            Have a wonderful trip and let us know how you get on,
            Alley 🙂

  7. Thank you for your blog post!
    After reading your post I got confused which canyon should we visit in late April.
    We decided to visit lower antelope canyon, but now I am thinking it will be crowded there.
    What’s your suggestion?

    Thank you

    1. Hi Ana!
      There’s no two ways about it: the Antelope Canyons — Upper and Lower — will be busy at the time of year you’re visiting. If you already have a reservation in place for Lower, I’d recommend hanging onto it. The tour companies do a great job of ensuring that your group won’t be nipping at the heels of the one in front of it, nor will the one behind you be too close for comfort. If this still doesn’t sound like fun, you might consider touring Antelope Canyon X. It bears enough of a resemblance to Lower that you will come away feeling as though you’ve had a comparable experience, but the group sizes are deliberately kept smaller — for a price, of course.
      Good luck, I know it’s a hard choice. Best wishes for safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  8. Hi Alley
    Thanx for the details of alternative stuff to do in while in PAGE.
    I am planning to dive from Las vegas to page and stay a night in page on Aug/9. I’ve booked lower antelope for 1 PM afternoon schedule on Aug/09. i guess it will take 1 hr. After that i am planning to go Horse shoe bend my self without any tour. OK ? i wish to visit Canyon X or Secret Canyon will be time enough ? how much time it takes over all to do either of them.
    I checked there is the last tour for Canyon X at 4 pm, will that be ok ? night i stay i sleep over then catch sun-rise at horse shoe again then head to South rim and continue to Las vegas.
    how it seems the plan ? suggest me plz

    1. Hi Abu,
      Your itinerary and thought process look OK, until you get to the part where you propose to “catch sunrise at Horseshoe Bend, head to the South Rim, then continue on to Las Vegas.” There are other areas where your perception of timing of certain tours is off, but I’ll get to that in a minute.
      Anyway, visiting Grand Canyon South Rim as a “drive by” between Page and Las Vegas is not a good plan. It takes approximately 3.5-4 hours to drive from Page, AZ, to Grand Canyon Village. I know Google Maps gives the figure as 2.5 hours, but that’s wheel’s turning, no stops. That rarely happens as the drive is very scenic and you will be stopping to take pictures — a LOT of pictures. You should also plan on stopping at the Cameron Trading Post for a meal – it’s an experience in itself! Then, the drive from Grand Canyon South Rim to Las Vegas takes approximately 5 hours. That does not give you much time at all to enjoy the Grand Canyon, especially at sunset. You want to avoid doing any driving in the dark in this part of the U.S. due to lack of artificial lighting on area roads, and the tendency of deer, elk, and other large nocturnal wildlife to be nearby. A better plan is to stay overnight at Grand Canyon South Rim, then do the drive to Las Vegas when you have had a good night’s rest.
      RE: Lower Antelope Canyon – the typical tour time is anywhere from 60-90 minutes, but depending on how much “bottlenecking” has occurred by the time you get there, it could take anywhere from 2-3 hours. Still, you should be OK to visit Canyon X at 4:00 PM, if that’s what you really want to do, but frankly, I don’t think it’s necessary to visit more than 1 slot canyon in order to have a fulfilling visit to Page, AZ. Indeed, you might find doing so “redundant,” since the scenery will be similar. You might reconsider and do a combination tour of Lower Antelope Canyon, plus a short boat tour on Lake Powell.
      Horseshoe Bend may be visited without a tour guide or escort, parking permitting. Sunrise is the best time to visit for cooler temperatures and thinner crowds.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  9. HI! Thank you so much all of this information you have provided has been so extremely helpful!! We are planning a trip from Vegas-Zion-Page-Williams. We have one night in Page and two nights in Williams; where we plan to take the Grand Canyon Railroad Tour. I fell in love with the Antelope Canyons, but have now been reading about the crowds. I stumbled across Secret Canyon (which somehow led me to your blog), but I found the tour that also includes the drive to Horseshoe Bend that I wanted to do as well. I also want to do a boat tour. So now, after reading your blog, I am debating two options; #1 Take the Secret Canyon Tour with the Horseshoe Bend add on, then do a boat tour after that OR #2 drive to Horseshoe Bend at sunrise on our own, take a tour of Canyon X and then the boat ride? We are a family of three, with a 10 1/2 year old and we are all relatively active and healthy. Originally, I was planning to do Horseshoe Bend, the Lower Canyon Tour and then the boat ride. Is all of this doable in one day PLUS a drive to Williams when we’re done? We are traveling late August. Thanks again very much!

    1. Hey Jenifer,
      Talk about a hard choice, huh?
      The good news is, you won’t go wrong, whichever you decide to do, but I’m going to suggest option #2, mainly because of the weather. In August, daytime highs can and often do ratchet up over 110 degrees Fahrenheit. This can result in the cancellation of slot canyon tours later in the afternoon, and seeing as though late August can also fall within Arizona’s monsoon season, that’s a “double whammy” in terms of risks to life and limb. Do as much of your sightseeing as possible in the cooler morning hours, starting with a visit to Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise (which occurs at ~6:00 AM at the time of your visit), then a mid-morning tour of Antelope Canyon X, then a short boat tour, such as an Antelope Canyon waterside tour, which lasts 60-90 minutes.
      You’re then looking at approximately a 3-hour drive to Williams, AZ, which is wheels turning, no stops. A dinner stop at the Cameron Trading Post for some Navajo tacos and taking advantage of the ample photo ops along the way can easily extend the drive time by another hour. Just be sure that you start the drive down from Page, AZ, in plenty of time so that you’re pulling into Williams before sunset. Nighttime driving is not a good idea in this part of the U.S. due to local roads being very dimly lit (and deliberately so to preserve the natural darkness of the night skies), and the tendency for deer, elk, free range cattle, and the occasional wild horse to graze near them after dusk. At the time of year you’re visiting, sunset occurs shortly before 7:00 PM.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  10. My friends and I are considering a 12:30pm tour for Upper Antelope so it will be around 1pm by the time we get to the canyon, but I keep on seeing that there are no light beams after 1pm. The tour company still categorizes it as a prime time tour though. I know that there are no guarantees regardless, but I was wondering if you have any additional insights regarding the times. Thank you.

    1. Hi Jason,
      Whether you see the light beams in Upper Antelope Canyon depends largely on the time of year you’re visiting, as well as the time of day. If your trip is scheduled during the timeframe between April and September, the light beams tend to peak between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM, as long as skies are sunny, of course. At 1:00 PM, later in the season, you may only catch partial light beams that go down as far as half-way down the canyon wall, but won’t penetrate all the way down to the canyon floor. If you have your heart set on seeing the light beams, you might want to schedule an earlier time slot to tour Upper Antelope Canyon, availability permitting, but you will pay a premium price for the premium view. Hope that helps.
      When To Be Where: Antelope Canyon, Arizona
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

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