A Hidden Wonder no more!
Once upon a time, Antelope Canyon was a relatively obscure attraction near Page, Arizona. Known as “the Crack” or “the Corkscrew,” you could go and visit it virtually any time you wanted; chances were good that you’d have it all to yourself. And if you did bump into other people, they were likely to be other Page, Arizona locals.
Fast forward a couple of decades, and the times, they have a-changed. Antelope Canyon is a world-renowned geologic wonder that’s on the photographic bucket list of practically every traveler to the Grand Canyon and Northern Arizona. Tours are operated daily by several Navajo Tribal Park approved concessionaires to both the Upper and Lower sections of the canyon, whose popularity seems to grow exponentially with each passing year.
So it wasn’t so much a matter of “if” but a matter of “when” we would start hearing these dreaded words: “sold out,” “booked solid,” “packed to the rafters,” “fuggeddabouddit!” Indeed, this recent lament by Whatnext09 on TripAdvisor’s Page, Arizona Travel Forum is becoming more and more commonplace:
“I am planning to visit the Antelope Canyons in first week of May. The date I want to go, looks like all the tours are full. What are my options now?”
As tourism professionals whose sole aim is to see this family enjoy their visit to Page, here’s what we would ask:
Have you checked with all Antelope Canyon Tour companies?
There are 5 tour companies in all that conduct tours to Upper Antelope Canyon, the most popular section.
Two (2) pick up in downtown Page, Arizona:
- Ekis’ Antelope Canyon Tours; Website: www.antelopecanyon.com; Phone: 928-645-9102
- Tsosie’s Antelope Slot Canyon Tours; Website: www.antelopeslotcanyon.com; Phone: 928-645-5594
Three (3) Upper Antelope Canyon tour companies are based at the Tribal Park Entrance Gate on Highway 98:
- Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours; Website: www.navajotours.com; Phone: 928-698-3384
- Adventurous Antelope Canyon PhotoTours; Website: www.navajoantelopecanyon.com; Phone: 928-380-1874
- Tse Bighanilini Tours; Website: www.
tsebighanilini.com; Phone: (928) 310-9458
For Lower Antelope Canyon, there are two outfitters that operate from the Park Entrance Gate on Highway 98:
Have you checked availability for so-called “off-peak” tour times?
Many have heard that mid-day is the best time to tour Antelope Canyon, and during late spring through early fall, they’d be right. That’s when those famous sunbeams descend from above and bathe the chambers of the canyon in seemingly divine light. Those highly coveted time slots are also the first to sell out. That doesn’t mean, however, that other time slots like early morning or late afternoon mean “lights out/money blown.” According to one Antelope Canyon tour outfitter’s website:
“The richness of color in the afternoon rivals the morning. Calming and still … it is a time to pause for reflection in a spiritual wonderland, let the quiet and color soak into your bone marrow, and take a bit of the canyon into your heart. If some of the colors are not as brilliant, be assured that at their worst, they are still spectacular!”
So there it is, from a reliable source – there’s no such thing as a bad time to visit Antelope Canyon. Be open to visiting during one of the “off” hours, and chances are you’ll be able to enjoy the canyon on a more intimate and personal level instead of “Wal-Mart on Black Friday” mode. During the hot months of summer, touring Antelope Canyon first thing in the morning assures cooler temperatures, which is always a plus.
Have you considered touring a different slot canyon?
If you’ve done everything suggested above and are still striking out on Antelope Canyon tours, all is not lost. Slot canyons are actually numerous in this part of Northern Arizona and Southern Utah, and an Antelope Canyon “alternative” tour might just save your vacation!
Ranging in degree of difficulty from easy to super-strenuous, tour groups to Antelope Canyon X, Secret Antelope Canyon (aka Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon), Mystical Antelope Canyon, Ram’s Head Canyon, Wind Pebble Canyon, Cardiac Canyon (three guesses where that one falls on the DoD scale), and Cathedral Canyon are deliberately limited to a handful of people per departure, so reservations are still recommended. Due to their more exclusive nature, they may be a bit pricier than Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon tours, but the vast majority of people who go on them don’t mind a bit after all’s said and done.
Contact information for Antelope Canyon Alternative Tour operators:
- Taadidiin Tours (Antelope Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon); Website: www.antelopecanyon-x.com; Address: Highway 98 at milepost 308, 10 miles Southeast of Page, AZ; Phone: (928) 660-8961
- Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon (aka Secret Antelope Canyon); Website: www.horseshoebendtours.com/; Address: 821 Highway 89, Page, AZ; Phone: 435-275-4594
- Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo tours (Mountain Sheep Canyon, Owl Canyon, and Rattlesnake Canyon); Website: www.navajoantelopecanyon.com; 7 Miles East of Page, Hwy 98; (928) 380-1874
- Tsosie’s Antelope Slot Canyon Tours (Cathedral Canyon); Website: www.antelopeslotcanyon.com; 55 S. Lake Powell Blvd., Page, AZ; Phone: 928-645-5594
- Mystical Antelope Canyon; Website: www.mysticalantelopecanyontour.com; State Route 98, Mile post 306.9, Page AZ; Phone: (928) 640-3852 or (928) 278-5010
- Antelope Valley Canyon Tours aka Ligai Si’Anii Tours (Wind Pebble, Ram’s Head, Ligai Si’Anii Canyons); Website: www.hikingslotcanyons.com, Highway 98 & Indian Rural Route, Page AZ 86040; Phone 928-640-2594
- Waterhole Canyon Experience; Website: www.waterholecanyonexperience.com; Mile Marker 542, US Highway 89, Page, AZ 86040; 928-660-2031
Have you considered approaching the problem of sold out seats from a different angle?
Slot canyons were carved by churning flash flood waters and relentless desert wind. All that water has to go somewhere, and in the case of Antelope Canyon, that “somewhere” is Lake Powell. See Antelope Canyon, and so much more, from the “waterside,” from the safety and comfort of a tour boat! Antelope Canyon Boat Tours depart daily from:
- Lake Powell Marina; 100 Lake Shore Drive; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; Website: www.lakepowell.com/things-to-do/boat-tours/antelope-canyon-tour/; Phone:888-896-3829
- Antelope Point Marina; 537 Marina Parkway; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area; Website: www.antelopepointlakepowell.com/recreation/tours-2/; Phone: 928-645-5900
Prefer to make your own way to Antelope Canyon and experience Lake Powell on your schedule and your terms? The above-referenced concessionaires also offer powerboat and personal watercraft rentals. Call the numbers shown above, or visit their websites and they’ll hook you up!
Another fun and wonderful way to experience the waterside of Antelope Canyon is by kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Tours and rentals are offered from two outfitters located in the town of Page, Arizona:
- Lake Powell Paddleboards; 836 Vista Ave, Page AZ 86040, Website: www.lakepowellpaddleboards.com; Phone: 928-645-4017
- Kayak Lake Powell; 816 Coppermine Rd. Page, AZ 86040; Website: www.kayakpowell.com; Phone: 928-660-0778
Of course, the absolute best way to avoid encountering sold-out Antelope Canyon tours is to plan ahead. Make your reservations as soon as you have your lodging and trip logistics nailed down. Otherwise, be prepared to get a little creative, but also to be very pleasantly surprised.
Good luck and happy traveling!
There are 5 Upper Antelope Canyon Tour companies operating from the Page Arizona area. If all these companies’ seats are sold out, you can often find availability on Antelope Canyon Now.