Q. Can we bring our baby and/or pre-K kids with us on our Antelope Canyon tour?
A. To coin a phrase, “it’s complicated.”
First off, you’ll be limited to touring the “main” branches of Antelope Canyon, namely, Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, and Antelope Canyon X. Even then, parents of non-ambulatory children will want to consider carefully whether this activity would be safe or appropriate, not only for the children, but for themselves.
All Antelope Canyon Tour companies operate on a “safety first” mindset. While Upper Antelope Canyon is often touted as a “walk in the park,” that is an accurate reference to the canyon itself. The task of getting there is where things get a bit risky. Upper Antelope Canyon tours begin with a two-mile ride down an unpaved dirt track in a “safari jeep” or “buckboard truck” type of vehicle. Though relatively short, this ride can be quite bumpy. Car seats will be required for infants and toddlers, just as they are when traveling in a regular passenger car, and parents will be expected to provide them. Upper Antelope Canyon tour companies also have limits on the number of spaces they can provide for car seats. When making a reservation for your family, you might find that you are unable to add a seat in the “children 0-7” category. This means that your selected tour has reached its capacity for the number of car seats it can carry, and you’ll need to check availability for another departure time, or check with another tour company.
Another issue to consider is how you’ll transport non-ambulatory children once you reach the canyon. Strollers are not allowed as they are too wide for some chambers of the canyon, plus they are difficult to maneuver in deep sand. Backpack carriers are not allowed as these can inadvertently scratch the canyon walls, or worse, result in the child in the carrier bumping their head. You will need to be prepared to carry your child through the entire length of the canyon, which, thankfully, is relatively short (100 yards, out and back).
Another consideration: lack of restroom facilities at the canyon site. You should change your child’s diaper prior to heading out on the tour. Small diaper bags are permitted, but these must remain on the tour vehicle while you are walking through the canyon.
There are four companies that tour Upper Antelope Canyon, but only 2 of them allow infants and younger children:
- Roger Ekis’ Antelope Slot Canyon Tours, downtown Page, Arizona, www.antelopecanyon.com, 928-645-9102\
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours, US98, between Mile Markers 299 & 300, www.navajotours.com,928-698-3384
Lower Antelope Canyon is a longer canyon, which requires moderate physical exertion. After a short walk from the parking lot, you descend into the canyon via a staircase that passes through a narrow topside opening, walk through an underground channel ~600 yards in length (which also requires navigating a few ladders and some simple bouldering), climb back up to the valley floor via a series of short ladders, then walk back to your vehicle.
Infants and toddlers are allowed on Lower Antelope Canyon tours, but here again, careful consideration is warranted before committing to this activity. Although kids 0-7 travel free, a space must still be reserved for them on the tour. Backpack carriers are allowed for infants, but the tour company will assume no responsibility for injuries your child might sustain by bumping his/her head on a low-hanging rock ledge, or as a result of dehydration or sunburn (water and sunscreen are recommended for all tour passengers, regardless of age or fitness level). For pre-school age kids who are walking, but still unsteady on their feet, the ladders in Lower Antelope Canyon may be a bit too much for them to manage, and here again, you might end up carrying them. While it may not sound like that big a deal in the abstract, in reality, it might be a tall order considering the physical requirements of Lower Antelope Canyon. Before committing to this activity with infants or young children, we strongly recommend watching this Full Video Walk-Through of Lower Antelope Canyon.
Here again, there are no restroom facilities conducive to changing diapers or tending to other hygienic needs of infants or toddlers. Though the video linked above depicts hikerse carrying backpacks, these are no longer allowed, so you’ll need to take care of any diaper changes, clean-ups, etc., before you get to the canyon site.
There are two companies that offer guided tours to Lower Antelope Canyon:
- Dixie Ellis’ Antelope Lower Canyon Tours, www.antelopelowercanyon.com, 928-640-1761
- Ken’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours, www.lowerantelope.com, 928-606-2168 or 928-660-2350
Antelope Canyon X bears similarities to both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Tours begin at Milepost 307.8 on US98, just Southeast of Page, AZ. After parking your vehicle and obtaining your tickets, you’ll board a 4×4 vehicle (usually a jeep or SUV) type for a 3-mile trip down a backcountry dirt road to the mouth of the slot canyon. You’ll need to provide a car seat for infants or toddlers.
Like Lower Antelope Canyon, Antelope X is remote and rugged. Ladders have been placed in some of the steeper ascents and descents in recent years, but that doesn’t make it a piece of cake by any means for anyone carrying a 20-50 lb. child on their back. Though a bit shorter than Lower Antelope, here again, this might be pushing agility and endurance limits for pre-school age children. A 15-part video series on Jack’s Outdoor Adventures travel blog gives a very detailed account of hiking Antelope Canyon X. Check it out to help determine whether Antelope Canyon X would be a safe, enjoyable experience for you and your young family.
Taadidiin Antelope Canyon X Tours https://www.antelopecanyon-x.com/ (928) 660-8890
Long story short, for optimal safety and peace of mind, Upper Antelope Canyon would probably be the best slot canyon touring choice for families traveling with infants and toddlers. Be sure to plan a return visit to Northern Arizona when your little ones are older, so you can all enjoy everything Page, AZ has to offer together!