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.


95 Responses

    1. Hi Lourdes,
      Mid-day is generally regarded as prime time to visit the Antelope Canyons, which is between the hours of 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM. Departures that take place during peak hours are often more expensive than non-peak, so if a prime time tour is outside your budget, there is no such thing as a “bad” time to go. Simply book a tour when it works for you, time-wise and money-wise.
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays!
      Alley 🙂

  1. Hi Alley

    Much thanks for all the great info that you provide! We are a family of 4, with two kids 5 and 4. The kids are used to moderately challenging hikes. We are doing a version of the Grand Circle as follows:

    12/15-12/16 Las Vegas
    12/17 drive to Grand Canyon, overnight in park
    12/18 drive to Page via Desert View Drive, Horseshoe Bend, overnight in Page
    12/19 Lower Antelope Canyon tour, drive to Bryce, overnight in Bryce
    12/20 Morning in Bryce, drive to Zion, overnight in Zion
    12/21 Morning in Zion, back to Las Vegas then on to LA

    Based on all the reading so far, my specific questions for you are as follows:

    (1) We would like to spend the morning at GC on 12/18 and drive out midday to Page, stopping at the recommended spots. Will that give us enough time to see Horseshoe Bend before sunset? I have read that it gets really popular at sunset and the parking lot may be full. Is that true even in December? Should we start the drive first thing in the morning instead to give us enough time?
    (2) I have booked the lower AC tour at 10 AM but other spots are still available. I understand that we are not going to get the “light shafts” at this time of year and not really in the lower canyon anyway. And I am convinced that we do not need to do both upper and lower, esp. with our two kids. But I have read that all things considering, noon is still the best time for experiencing the canyon even in December and even for the lower canyon. So… should I change our tour to an even later time to get the best canyon experience possible OR as early as possible so we have more time to make it to Bryce (either to make a stop or two on the way or to spend more time once there)? We have only the canyon tour scheduled for the morning before we head out.
    (3) What is your advice on the best way to spend a day in Zion with our two kids? We won’t be able to do Angel’s Landing or Narrows so we’ll have to make a return trip for those…

    Of course, this all depends on snow. I think it would mean we would need to skip Bryce but the rest should be doable. Would you agree?

    Thanks in advance for you thoughts!

    1. Hi Chang,
      Your itinerary looks pretty fun, but you are correct to be concerned about potential difficulty of parking at Horseshoe Bend. The time of year you’re visiting is considered “shoulder season,” but Page, AZ, is fast becoming one of those towns that’s busy year-round. What’s more, sunset is an extremely popular time to visit the overlook. I’d recommend getting an earlier start on the drive out of Grand Canyon, then touring Antelope Canyon that afternoon. Then, hit Horseshoe Bend just after sunrise the following morning, then be on yoru way to Bryce.
      With a 4- and 5-year-old in tow, Upper Antelope Canyon is the safest bet for touring Antelope Canyon with kids. If you were to bump your tour to 12:00 Noon, that would wrap up sometime around 2:00 PM, but the one drawback to that is that you’d then be facing approximately a 3-hour drive to Bryce. Sunset takes place shortly after 5:00 PM, and you want to avoid driving after dark in this part of the U.S. due to lack of ambient lighting on area roads and the possible presence of deer, elk, and other wildlife. Another possible hazard is the possibility of snow, seeing as though Bryce is 8,000′ above sea level. Long story short, I’d recommend holding onto that 10:00 AM Antelope Canyon tour so you have adequate time to make it to Bryce by nightfall.
      In Zion, there are plenty of easy but scenic hikes that younger kids can do. The Riverside Walk actually takes you to where the Narrows start, which is neat to see even from a distance. The Weeping Rock and Emerald Pools Trails are also worth considering, depending on you and your kids’ fitness levels. Hiking With Kids In Zion If you do decide to take Bryce off the agenda this time around, you might consider spending 2 days in Zion. Trust me, you won’t find any shortage of things to see and do!
      Good luck, safe travels, and Happy Holidays,
      Alley 🙂

  2. Hi,
    Hi, we are a group of 3-4 and really keen on visiting a slot canyon in the Page area next mid-October 2020. We’d be grateful if you could answer the following questions:
    -Could someone who has had a hip replacement 2 years ago manage the Lower Antelope Canyon?
    -What is the length of the Lower Antelope Canyon compared to Secret Canyon (or Horseshoe Bend canyon)?
    -How awe-inspiring is the Lower Antelope Canyon compared with the Secret Canyon?
    -In mid-October period, how busy is visiting Lower Antelope Canyon? Would we expect to have to wait in line to descend the ladders into the Canyon?
    -Can you recommend any multi-day tours leaving from Las Vegas that include the Lower Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Overlook?
    Thanks very much,

    1. Hi Eric!
      Thank you for your inquiry that is clear, concise, and to the point 🙂 We definitely commend you for making your American Southwest vacation plans well in advance. So, let’s get on with it!
      1. People who have had knee and hip replacements tour Lower Antelope Canyon every day without problems. As to whether your party member could manage it, only he or she can decide that. I would recommend that they watch this Full Video Walk-Through of Lower Antelope Canyon before committing. You’ll note that in the video, people are carrying backpacks. This is no longer allowed, FYI.
      2. Lower Antelope Canyon is ~600m long; Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon (formerly Secret Canyon) is ~450m
      3. Both Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon are beautiful, but there’s no denying that they’re different. Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon has no chambers, it is one continuous slot, but what it may lack in variety, it makes up for in ease of access. Since it has no stairs or ladders, most people in relatively good health with minor mobility challenges can handle it.
      4. In mid-October, the Page, AZ, area will still be busy, but not as crazy as the summer months. It’s mostly adults out touring since most children are back in school. Still, “bottlenecking” does occur in the slot canyons as the day progresses. If you book a tour at mid-day, you can realistically expect a 5-10 minute wait before you begin your Antelope Canyon tour (not factoring in the requirement to check in 30-60 minutes in advance).
      5. If you prefer to travel with an escorted tour, there are several companies out there offering a variety of trips to not only Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend, but the Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, and other local attractions. Viator is one such company. We also recommend MaxTour. If you go this route, remember that you’ll be at the mercy of their scheduling, and there is usually very little “wiggle room” for tourists to do their own thing. Northern Arizona and Southern Utah are very easy to explore on a self-drive basis, which will give you optimal freedom and flexibility!
      For more suggestions on how to make the most of a 2-day visit to Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and more, check out our Ultimate 2-Day Itinerary in Page, Arizona
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

    1. Hi Orli!
      If, by “20/12,” you’re referring to December 12th, then yes, visiting Antelope Canyon is possible! The canyons are open year-round, with the exception of Thanksgiving (last Thursday in November), Christmas Day (12/25), and New Year’s Day (01/01). Even though you’re visiting during a slower time of year, advance reservations for Antelope Canyon tours are still strongly recommended.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  3. Hello from Australia, my wife and I plan to drive from Las Vegas to Page to visit Antelope Canyon on October 26th 2019 for 3 nights and we would like to do the Upper, Lower and boat cruise of the canyons over two days.

    Is there a package available to accomodate the above plan?
    Given it will be the end of October what is the best time to view the canyons?
    What will the temperatures be at that time of year?

    Your advice very much appreciated.

    1. Hi Tom and “g’day” from Arizona!
      There is a package that includes both Upper and Lower Antelope, plus the boat tour of the waterside, but at the present time, it’s designed to do all 3 tours in one day. If you’re wanting to do the 3 tours over the course of 2 days, you would need to book either two out of 3 tours as a package, then the stand-alone tour separately.
      At the end of October, mid-day will still be regarded as optimal time for touring Lower and/or Upper Antelope Canyon, but don’t be surprised if you find those time slots already booked. Anytime there is available space is a good time to go. As for temperatures, “slightly balmy” to “comfortably brisk” is the usual temperature range for late October in Page, AZ, with a slight chance for precipitation thrown in for good measure. The interior of the slot canyons, however, tends to remain constantly cool, so a light jacket at the very least should be brought, whatever the circumstances. If your travels are taking you to some of the higher elevation parks in the vicinity, such as the Grand Canyon or Bryce, a few items of heavier clothing might come in handy during the early morning or evening hours. Start monitoring the weather about 2 weeks before you get set to travel for a more accurate picture of what’s expected.
      Hope that helps! Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

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