Lower Vs Upper Antelope

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A frequently asked question is which is tour is better between Upper and Lower Antelope.

Upper Antelope is considerably more popular both in overall visitation and people in the canyon at one time. A common complaint over the years is how crowded Upper Antelope can by. However, you would be hard pressed to be able to tell the difference in photographer between the two canyons.

Lower Antelope is just as beautiful as Upper Canyon, but has serious mobility issues for anybody with joint or strength issues. At a minimum, you must be able to climb multiple ladders at high incline.

The reward for this is that you will be in the canyon with 10x less people. Upper canyon is only 300 feet long, and can easily have 100 people in it at a time. Lower canyon usually has significantly less people that that. In addition, Lower Antelope is a one way hike, so it helps manage the flow of visitors.


99 Responses

  1. Hello. I am planning a stop at Antelope Canyon on March 27th. I will have a 5 year old with me so i’m leaning towards Upper because of this. We will be driving in from Cedar City and can leave early that morning. what time do you suggest a tour for? At the end of our tour or day we will then drive to Tusayan.

    1. Hey Heather,
      It’s good that you’re planning on touring Upper Antelope Canyon with a 5-year-old in tow. Just so you’re aware, only two out of the four Upper Antelope Canyon tour companies admit children under 6. They are as follows:
      * Roger Ekis’ Antelope Slot Canyon Tours, downtown Page, Arizona, http://www.antelopecanyon.com, 928-645-9102
      * Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours, US98, between Mile Markers 299 & 300, http://www.navajotours.com,928-698-3384
      Also, I’d recommend reading “Antelope Canyon Q & A: Bringing Kids” before committing.
      I’d also encourage you to modify the rest of your day’s plans in light of a few important concerns. For one, it takes approximately 3 hours to drive from Cedar City, UT, to Page, AZ. Sunrise in Cedar City, UT, occurs at ~7:15 AM, and you want to be sure to do any and all driving on this trip during daylight hours. Since Page, AZ, does not observe Daylight Savings Time, assuming you don’t make many stops on the drive over, you could arrive in Page, AZ, as early as 9:30 AM local time. Upper Antelope Canyon tours running between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM fall into the “peak hours” due to the lighting conditions and the higher likelihood of seeing the light beams the canyon is so famous for. For these reasons, these tours tend to book up quickly. Don’t be surprised to find that to be the case on your preferred travel date. You may have to settle for a later tour departure. If that ends up being the case, you won’t want to take on the 3.5-4 hour drive from Page, AZ, to Tusayan, AZ. I know that Google Maps gives the drive time as 2.5 hours, but that’s wheels turning, minimal stops. That rarely materializes since the drive is very scenic, and you will find yourself stopping to take photos more often than you realize, especially on the section of the drive between Desert View Point and Grand Canyon Village. It would be a shame to have to pass up a beautiful photo op because you’re racing against the clock to get to your next destination.
      Another thing, too, is that it would be a shame to miss Horseshoe Bend while you’re in the Page, AZ, area. This world-famous incised meander of the Colorado River is an incredible sight to behold, but it will require another 2-2.5 hours of your day to go there, find a place to park, hike out to the overlook, take a few photos, and hike back.
      Long story short, it would be better if you plan to spend the night in Page, AZ, after touring Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, then drive on to Tusayan the next morning when you’re rested.
      BTW, if you wonder why we’re so dead-set against nighttime driving, it’s because roads in this part of the US are very dimly lit. That’s a deliberate move to preserve the natural darkness of the night sky. Indeed, I’d never seen as many stars as I did the first time I came to Arizona! Additionally, there are animals about that like to congregate near the highway shoulders, such as deer, elk, free range cattle, even wild horses, sheep, and goats. You don’t want to risk a collision with one in an unfamiliar area that’s pitch black, freezing cold (March is still considered winter around here), where cell phone service is spotty (if you can find any bars at all), and a tow truck will be a long time coming (and charge a fortune) with a child in tow.
      Hope that helps. Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  2. I am planning on visiting Antelope canyon the first week in January. Would you recommend seeing both upper and lower? I have no health concerns or physical limitations. Is one better than the other in January? You mentioned in another comment you won’t see the light beams in December. Is that true for Jan as well?

    1. Hi Stephanie!
      Addressing your query in a somewhat backward fashion, you will not see the light beans in Antelope Canyon in January. The light beams occur during the timeframe between late spring and early autumn due to the position of the sun overhead. That doesn’t mean the canyons won’t be beautiful in January; they definitely will be! As to whether you tour both Upper and Lower, that’s strictly up to you. In the past, our advice kind of leaned against it due to the inconvenience of making reservations with two separate companies. Now, it is possible to “bundle” both tours in a single reservation, which was definitely a game-changer for all concerned! Upper + Lower Antelope Canyon tour bundle
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

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