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.


122 Responses

  1. Hello!
    We are planning to visit in July with our kids ages 10, 7, and 3. Is it possible to see both Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in one day? Based on our kids’ ages, I think we would stick with the upper Canyon. Do you agree? Do we need a tour for both of these places? And are they both currently open to visit? Thank you for any information you can provide! I appreciate it!

    1. Hi Tara,
      While it is possible in theory to visit both Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in one day, in reality, it may not be.
      Horseshoe Bend is one of a few attractions in the area that never closed during COVID-19. No tour is required. It is open between sunrise (~5:00 AM) and sunset (~8:00 PM). At the time of year you’re visiting, daytime high temperatures in Page, AZ, are extremely hot, and the overlook and trail have almost no shade. Therefore, we recommend visiting during the hours immediately after sunrise to take advantage of cooler temperatures and smaller crowds. On average, people take 90 minutes to 2 hours to hike out to the rim, take photos, and hike back. Water and sun protection for all members of your party must be carried for your safety.
      The Antelope Canyons are closed at this time due to the continued health risks posed by COVID-19 and the closure of Navajo Tribal Lands to outsiders. Even if they were to open by the time of your visit, you may have some issues finding a tour (yes, they are required) that will accommodate your 3-year-old. Read “Antelope Canyon FAQ: Bringing Kids” for more details on this.
      Should the Antelope Canyons be closed at the time of your visit, there are other slot canyons in the area that are not impeded by reservation closures. The best one for your family would probably be Red Canyon, aka Peek-A-Boo Canyon, near Kanab, UT (not to be confused with “another” Peek-A-Boo Canyon near Escalante, UT!) It’s a beatufiul slot canyon ~ 1 hour away from Page, AZ, and an easy hike. Although a guided tour is “technically” not required to visit Red Canyon, we strongly recommend that you use one as the drive to access the canyon is on a potentially hazardous unpaved road, which shouldn’t be attempted by parties in rental cars. Licensed tour companies that can help you out are:
      – Dreamland Safari Tours, (435) 412-1790, http://www.dreamlandtours.net
      – TC Tours, (435) 668-5262, http://www.slotcanyontourskanab.com
      – Kanab Tour Company, (435) 644-5525, http://www.kanabtourcompany.com
      – Forever Adventure Tours, 435-644-5700, http://www.foreveradventuretours.com
      – Grand Circle Tours, (928) 691-0166, http://www.vermillioncliffs.net
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  2. We’re planning on bringing our RV to Paige in 2nd – 3rd wk of march. I wondered if we can overnite in one of the retail parking lots, or what? And what time needed for upper vs lower canyons. WE don’t have physical issues. Unless we’ld be bent over for half the tour??? What river tour do you recommend, plus how much time involved, an cost? And is there a chance snow storms could be an issue that time of year? Much thanks. Linda B

    1. Hi Linda,
      Overnight RV parking is allowed in the Page, AZ, Super Wal-Mart according to AllStays.com Granted this will be dry camping; no sewer or electrical hook-ups, etc. At the time of year you’re visiting, however, you may want to spring for an RV park with hook-ups so you can have access to reliable heat. Nights are still getting down into the 40’s, and snowstorms are still a very real possibility as well. Page, AZ, typically gets only small amounts of snow that melt quickly, but still enough to make for a miserable night’s sleep in an unheated RV. Developed RV parks are available at the Page/Lake Powell Campground in Page, AZ, or the Wahweap Campground inside the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
      As for what time needed for Upper vs. Lower Antelope Canyons, at this point, take whatever time slot has available seats. You’re traveling over what is the Spring Break holiday for many U.S. schools, so don’t be surprised to find many tours are already full. If you wish to visit both Upper and Lower, be sure to book both tours as a “bundle” for optimal convenience. In Lower Antelope, you won’t be “bent over” for any part of the tour, so that’s not an issue 😉
      As for a river tour, the only available option is a half-day trip, ~4.5 hours in length, departing at 11:00 AM in March. For more information, visit Wilderness River Adventures Horseshoe Bend Rafting Tour.
      Good luck and safe travels!

  3. I’m trying to decide between the Upper, Lower and “X” tours in Antelope Canyon. There will be 3 adults in our group (ages 58 to 66). Two are day hikers and one gets very little exercise. We are planning to drive from Sedona to Page on Sunday, Feb 23 and spend two nights. Hopefully, we’ll have a day and a half to enjoy the area. We’ll leave for Tucson on the 25th. Based on other comments, we’re adding Horseshoe Bend to our itinerary. Any advice/suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

    1. Hi Lisa,
      The sedentary member of your party might have a hard time with Lower Antelope or Canyon X, so to be on the safe side, I’d recommend either Upper Antelope Canyon, Secret Antelope Canyon (aka Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon), or a partial tour of Wind Pebble Canyon. None of these have any stairs or steep inclines.
      Since you’re planning on spending a couple of nights, you might consider adding an Antelope Canyon boat tour to your activities. For optimal convenience, you can book this as a “bundle” with an Upper Antelope Canyon tour.
      Plan on hittiing Horseshoe Bend on your way out of town, preferably first thing in the morning to avoid the crowds of day trippers.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  4. Hi, my husband and I are in Las Vegas the first week of March and would like to tour the upper canyon as we are seniors. Do you have recommendations of dependable tour companies that would transport us to and from LV for this adventure? Thanks in advance!

    1. Hi Lucy!
      There are several Las Vegas tour companies that can get you to Upper Antelope Canyon and back if you don’t wish to drive. Grand Canyon Tours, aka GC Tours, has been around a long time, are well-reviewed, and offers a more personalized experience seeing as though they limit their group sizes to 7 people. The only drawback is that tours are only offered on certain days of the week, which may not be compatible with your schedule. If you find that to be the case, you can self-drive to Page, AZ, fairly easily. Yes, it’s about a 5-hour drive each way, but the roads are all paved, well-traveled, and easy to follow. If you do this, you should get an early start out of Las Vegas and keep an eye on the clock so you do the majority of the return drive in daylight. Better yet, stay overnight in Page, AZ, and enjoy a more relaxed visit where you also have time to see Horseshoe Bend.
      For more information, check out “Visiting Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  5. Can I park my RV at upper antelope canyon or would i be better off getting a tour from page and parking my RV there somewhere! any recommendations would be great thanks

    1. Hi Anna,
      Parking is somewhat limited at the Antelope Canyon Tribal Park entrance, so you would probably be better off getting a tour that departs from Page, AZ. There’s a Safeway store located within easy walking distance of both Page, AZ, area tour companies, or you might park your rig in the Dam Plaza parking lot as well.
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  6. hello! my best-friend and I are planning a trip for the weekend of April 24-25th. We are leaving California around 6 PM Friday night then hitting four corners Saturday morning, and plan on stopping at antelope canyon then finally horseshoe bend. If you have any advice for us that would be great! we should be leaving four corners around 11 maybe 12 the latest so we will be in Page around 2:30pm or 3. what do you recommend? any help will be great! thanks!

    1. Hi Mariah,
      All due respect here, I don’t think you fully comprehend the distances you’re proposing to drive just for a quick weekend trip.
      California to Four Corners, for example, may not be realistic. Depending on what part of California you’re traveling from, the trip could take anywhere from 11-16 hours. I would skip Four Corners this time around and bring your touring radius in a little tighter, maybe concentrate your sightseeing on Las Vegas and Antelope Canyon, or if you’ve never been to the Grand Canyon, you should go there before you go anywhere!
      Hope that helps. Feel free to write in again if you need further guidance.
      Alley 🙂

  7. Good morning. We are interested in both the upper and lower canyons as well as canyon x. Our time frame is either early or middle May. What are the best times in May?

    1. Hi Carol,
      First off, if you were to tour both Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons, you might want to leave Antelope Canyon X out, or tour Antelope Canyon X and call it good. Antelope Canyon X actually consists of two slots, bearing a resemblance to both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons. If you have more time to work with and are looking for another activity to fill your day, I’d recommend getting out on the water, either on a kayak, SUP (stand-up paddleboard), or a boat tour of the waterside of Antelope Canyon.
      As for the best times to tour the Antelope Canyons, mid-day is generally regarded as prime time for lighting. In May, mid-day tours get those lovely light beams that the slot canyons are so famous for, but for prime time departures, be prepared to pay prime time prices. JS
      Good luck and safe travels,
      Alley 🙂

  8. 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 🙂

  9. 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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