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Antelope Canyon Alternative Tours

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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 https://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 https://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 https://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.

143 Responses

  1. Hi Alley,

    Thanks for all the useful information you provide on your site and apologize if I missed any information on the below you might have already posted.

    I am planning a big family trip – 12 of us – to GC and stopping in Page on 5/21 overnight. We are planning to do the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons on 5/22 morning but looking to do another slot canyon on 5/21. We were thinking of doing the Waterhole Canyon 1 1/2 hour tour that is managed by Waterhole Canyon Experience or the Secret Canyon to try one that does not have the crowds and was wondering which one you recommend. We do have a few photogrpahers in our group too.

    Thanks so much Cindy

    1. Hi Cindy, and no need to apologize for repetition. Lots of potential tourists to Page, AZ, have similar questions!
      IMHO, if you’re already planning to do both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons, you might find touring another slot canyon to be somewhat redundant. I’d actually recommend doing something completely different that next day, such as an airplane flight over Rainbow Bridge, a 4WD tour to White Pocket or Alstrom Point, or a float trip through Glen Canyon.
      If the above does not interest you and you still prefer to do a third slot canyon, either Waterholes or Secret Antelope Canyon would be perfectly enjoyable. Both companies keep group sizer on the smaller side. Secret Antelope (aka Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon) does not have any chambers, it is one continuous slot that is ~450 yards in length. Waterholes is more similar to Lower in that you do have to do some climbing and simple boulder scrambling.
      Hope that helps. I know it’s hard to choose!
      Alley 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing. My family and I have one full day to spend in Page at the end of March (a side trip during visits to Mt. Zion and Bryce). I was hoping to fit in tours of two canyons, one in the morning and one early-mid afternoon. My plan was to visit Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons but the reports of overcrowding have me concerned. Our kids are 12 and 15 and we are frequent hikers of average health. Based on your descriptions I think we could handle everything except Cardiac Canyon. Two of us are photographers so we would greatly appreciate interesting photo ops but we are interested more in the experience than fabulous photography. My plan was to visit Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons but the reports of overcrowding have me concerned. We generally try to avoid crowds but if these two are too spectacular to miss then we will put up with them. If someone only has time to visit two canyons which two would you recommend?

    1. Hi Beazel!
      Your concerns about Cardiac Canyon are spot-on, this hike is quite difficult, and should only be attempted by those in very good shape.
      As for whether you should bear the crowds of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon or tour one of the alternates, either way, you’d have a wonderful time. And the truth is, the creek drainage that formed Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons is actually a complex and multi-faceted eco-system that has many beautiful slot canyons. Upper and Lower just happen to be closest to the highway, which made them easier to open up to tourism. If you were to visit Antelope Canyon X, Mystical Antelope Canyon, Mountain Sheep Canyon, Owl Canyon, Wind Pebble or Ram’s Head Canyon, you would be exploring a slot canyon that was connected to the main branches of Antelope Canyon via the creek that intermittently flows through them.
      For what it’s worth, late March is Spring Break for many schools in the US, so Page, AZ, will be busy. Whatever slot canyon you decide to tour, you should make reservations well in advance of your arrival.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  3. Hi Alley,
    You’ve already helped me tremendously in planning my family’s trip to your neck of the woods in April. I’m now trying to figure out which slot canyon is better – Canyon X or Cathedral Canyon. (Specifically- is there one that is more spectacular than the other; ease of hiking in (I’m not in the shape I was in 20 years ago.)
    I did Upper Antelope Canyon 20 years ago & it was spectacular then! Of course, that’s before it was a huge tourist attraction. I’d like to stay away from upper and lower antelope canyons, because of the crowds. Once again, I’d love any tips or suggestions you can offer! Thank you so much!

    1. Hi Stephanie!
      So sorry it took me so long to respond to your inquiry. I was working over the New Year’s holiday!
      I know what you mean about not being in as good of shape as I was 20 years ago. I’m also with you on Upper Antelope being too crowded these days and exploring an alternate slot canyon could certainly be a saver of your next vacation. As to whether you do Antelope X or Cathedral, both slot canyons have areas that require stairs or ladders to navigate, but Cathedral IMO is more interesting. It has some geological features unique to it and no other Page, AZ, slot canyon. According to a TripAdvisor reviewer, his “70 year old Mom managed just fine” in Cathedral Slot Canyon with the occasional assistance of the guide.
      If you prefer to avoid having to use stairs, ladders, or too much “hands-on” assistance, you might check out Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon, aka Secret Antelope Canyon. It’s a lovely slot canyon that’s longer than Upper Antelope (~500 yards), but like Upper Antelope, has no stairs.
      Good luck and safe travels!
      Alley 🙂

  4. What a wonderful site you have!!!!!!!!!! I do thank you for all the time you have devoted to it.
    I do have a question for Caroline. In June we will be spending 3 nights in Page and I was wondering which slot canyon she and her dad saw. My 83 year old husband
    uses a cane.
    Many thanks,
    Rhetta

    1. Hi Rhetta!
      Since Caroline has most likely already traveled, it’s doubtful that she’s still monitoring our posts.
      However, if an individual in your party requires a cane to get around, I would recommend visiting either Upper Antelope Canyon or Secret Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope is a 100 yard out and back trail, Secret is longer (~450 yards), but has no stairs. Access to the mouth of both canyons requires a 4WD ride from the main highway on a sometimes bumpy dirt road. The 4WD trip for Upper is 2 miles, the one for Secret is 7-8 miles.
      Hope that helps. Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

  5. 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 http://www.waterholecanyonexperience.com 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 http://www.hikingslotcanyons.com
          We’ll definitely keep our fingers crossed for good weather for you!
          Take care and have a great trip,
          Alley 🙂

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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,
    Bryan

    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 http://www.HikingSlotCanyons.com
      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 AlstromPoint.com: Ground Tours BTW, the full moon in October occurs on Sunday the 13th.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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 http://www.hikingslotcanyons.com
          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, HorseshoeBend.com: “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 🙂

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