What is Antelope Canyon

By Ryan / September 16, 2015

Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed canyons of the American Southwest. It was formed by erosion of the local Navajo sandstone.

Antelope Canyon is a popular location for photographers and sightseers, and a source of tourism business for the Navajo Nation. Private tour companies have been permitted to offer tours since 1987. It has been accessible by tour only since 1997, when the Navajo Tribe made it a Navajo Tribal Park.


About the author


Ryan is an avid hiker and long time resident of Page, AZ. What he lacks in spelling and grammatical expertise he makes up for with extensive knowledge from a lifetime of questionable choices and the ability to ask for help from great editors

5 Pantone Color of the Year Approved Travel Destinations – The Pink Generation - January 17, 2019

[…] by erosion of the Navajo sandstone, this gorgeous canyon is one of the most photographed canyons in the American Southwest. It’s a Navajo Tribal Park and is open for tours both on foot and by helicopter […]

Christy Ng - October 1, 2018

My family and my friend’s family are planning to go visit Antelope on spring break 2019, my question is can we do self tour? between Lower & Upper which one will you recommend ? there are 4 adults,3 boys 10/12.
Thank you so much

    Alley Keosheyan - October 1, 2018

    Hi Christy,
    Antelope Canyon is situated on Navajo Indian Tribal Lands, therefore a tribe-authorized guide service is required to tour it.
    As for which branch of the canyon to tour, if all of you are in relatively good health, try and do Lower Antelope Canyon. It would probably appeal most to your boys as it requires climbing some ladders and easy bouldering. Upper Antelope is an easy 100 yard, flat walk. Whichever you decide, be sure to book your Antelope Canyon tour reservations well in advance of your arrival. 2019 dates are already selling out, believe it or not.
    Good luck and safe travels,
    Alley 🙂

Karen - August 16, 2018

Hi Alley and Ryan
I will be travelling from Australia and want to visit the Grand Canyon in December. We have set aside the 9th and 10th of December. We are planning to leave Vegas early on the 9th morning and drive to the Grand Canyon National Park which please correct me if I am wrong, is on the South Rim. Once there we would like to perhaps do a small hike or take a scenic flight. We plan to sleep overnight and then dive to Page the next day. After visiting the major sites in Page we then wanted to drive back to Vegas for the 10th night. We will be travelling with two teenage children 16 and 18 who are active and love adventure.
Some of the things that we hope to include are a scenic flight over the canyon- If possible we would love to land at the bottom and look up. We would also love to see the sun set and sun rise. In Page we would like to visit Antelope Canyon. Most likely the lower Canyon as I think it is a little more challenging and our kids would enjoy this aspect. In addition we also want to see Horseshoe Bend and perhaps take a kayak trip or boat ride on Lake Powel. I would dearly love to see the wave but not sure if we could pack all of this in to a two day trip to the Canyon/Page from Vegas.
Alley I really need your help and advice. What would you recommend? What scenic flight do you think we could possibly take and where? Are boat tours available in December or do they close??? Will we have enough time to drive back to Vegas from Page???

Fran - April 8, 2018

Are service dogs allowed?

    Alley Keosheyan - April 12, 2018

    Hi Fran,
    Apologies for the delay in response to your inquiry, but yes, service dogs are allowed with proper documentation. However, do your homework as to the physical requirements of all local slot canyons before committing. Many involve some steep staircases, trail hiking and/or boulder scrambling, which may or may not be practical for your dog. Your dog must also be leashed at all times and you must be prepared to pack out their waste.
    Hope that helps!
    Alley 🙂

Iza - December 17, 2017

I’m going to California next month and I’m wondering if it’s a good time to visit Antelope (Upper or Lower?) and Horseshoe Bend. What is the best time of the day for each one, where can I find the guided tour to purchase (in advance or at the entrance)?
Thanks for your help!

    Alley Keosheyan - December 19, 2017

    Hi Iza!
    January is a perfectly good time to visit Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. We can’t lie about the fact that it will be cold, but we can tell you that you will have fewer visitors at both places to contend with.
    As for best time of day, Antelope Canyon is regarded to be best visited at mid-day when the sun is as close to being directly overhead as possible. Due to the tilt of the Earth at this time of year, that will be a somewhat angular proximity, so the light beams you no doubt have seen pictures of won’t be present, but the colors of the canyon walls will still be beautiful.
    The choice of Upper vs. Lower often comes down to physical fitness. If you’re OK with navigating stairs, a few boulders and some tight spaces, you’ll be fine with Lower Antelope Canyon. If you need/want something easier, then choose Upper. At only 100 yards in length and flat the whole way through, it’s manageable even for people with moderate mobility issues. How to book a tour for Antelope Canyon
    Horseshoe Bend may be visited at your leisure, any time you wish. Fortunately, there is no such thing as a bad time to visit (except for maybe at night), so simply visit when it suits your schedule best. If you happen to be coming to Page from Grand Canyon South Rim, you can easily hit it on your way into town.
    Good luck, safe travels and Merry Christmas!
    Alley 🙂

cynthia - April 4, 2017

I am interested in staying inside the park for one night around the 8th of October. What facilities or links to lodging do you know of that provides lodging inside the park?

    Alley Keosheyan - April 6, 2017

    Hi Cynthia,
    October is a wonderful time to be at the Grand Canyon, and a lot of people know that, so don’t be surprised to find lodging inside the park booked up. Nevertheless, check for availability anyway, as cancellations do happen. If Grand Canyon Park Village is indeed already full, next best alternative would be Tusayan, aka Grand Canyon Village South, about 3 miles South of the park gates. Here is a really good link for information on Grand Canyon South Rim lodging in order of proximity to the park and ostensibly, desirability ->: https://grandcanyon.com/category/hotels/south-rim-hotels/
    Good luck and happy traveling,

Aggie - March 12, 2017

We will be in Page in early August. Is there a better time of day to hike the lower and upper canyon?

    Alley Keosheyan - March 14, 2017

    Hi Aggie and thank you for visiting our site!
    The general consensus on best time to hike Antelope Canyon is mid-day, especially for Upper Antelope Canyon because of the sunbeams that project down to the canyon floor. The only downside is that there are lots of other people hoping to witness this phenomenon, so crowds will be an issue. If you’d rather pass on that, you might consider touring the canyon during one of the “off-times,” such as early morning or later in the afternoon. You won’t see the light beams, and the canyon won’t be as brightly lit, but the colors will still be beautiful.
    Another thing to consider is that August is monsoon season in Northern Arizona, which means that flash floods can occur. This can lead to very dangerous conditions inside Antelope Canyon, which can result in delays or cancellation of tours. The Navajo tribe will inform you if flash flooding is a risk on the day you wish to tour.
    Hope that helps. Happy traveling!

Shruthi - August 12, 2016

Hi Ryan,

We are a group of 10 with one child of 2years age and one Old couple whose age is above 60 years.

It would be great if you could let us know the best tour option in the Antelope Canyon considering the age factors.

Thank you!

    Alley Keosheyan - February 7, 2017

    Hi Shruthi,
    That is an excellent question!
    As long as everyone in the party is in reasonably good physical condition, you could probably manage either Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is an easy, flat walk of approximately 100 yards. Lower Antelope Canyon is longer and requires navigating a few staircases and around some boulders. Depending on the time of year you’re visiting, you may wish to avoid the mid-day hours during the summer months as these can be quite hot.
    If anyone in your party has mobility issues, Upper Antelope Canyon might be the best option. For a more detailed comparison of the two, visit https://antelopecanyon.az/lower-vs-upper-antelope/
    Thank you for visiting our site!

Van - May 27, 2016


The wife and I are going to be in Peoria for the week of July 17-23, 2016. I am a shooter and want to get images in South Antelope. I’ve read where I can purchase a permit to shoot “commercially” and get extra time in the lower canyon. Is that true? Let me know as soon as you can so I can prepare. I want to shoot Horseshoe as well that late afternoon/sunset.

    Ryan - June 16, 2016

    Hi Van,
    Take a look at our page on the different tour companies and their options.

    You will want to look at the “Antelope Canyon Photo” tours. They are 2.5 hours long, and the guides are very good at helping manage the flow of people so you can get your photos.

    Good Luck!

David - March 31, 2016

We’ll be visiting the area in September of this year. Are reservations required for this tour?

    Ryan - March 31, 2016

    Hi David,
    Reservations are highly recommended. During the peak months of May – Oct, Upper Antelope Canyon is often sold out weeks in advance. If you have a few days in Page, you can usually find a tour if you are flexible. Lower antelope canyon also usually has space available for same day tours.


elaine mei - March 23, 2016

Hi Ryan

Do we have to go to the antelope canyon with tours?? Is there self guide option???

    Ryan - March 23, 2016

    Hi Elaine!
    Antelope Canyon is only available with a guided tour. They will also provide interpretation and will help you with finding great photographic angles. If you want to explore a canyon self-guided, I recommend you check out Wirepass on House Rock Vally road, and Lower East Waterholes which is 3 miles south of Page. Both options require some scrambling over obstacles and may not be a good option for people with mobility issues. House Rock Valley road is a dirt road about 40 miles west of Page and can be impassable depending on weather conditions. Be sure to check with the visitor center before your hike for current road conditions. Both hikes require hiking permits.

    Hope that helps!

Paggy - January 1, 2016

Hi Ryan, do you know if Antelope Canyon still open in January 2016? I plan to visit it on 1/1 or 1/2. Happy new year!

    Ryan - January 4, 2016

    Hi Paggy,
    Antelope Canyon is open all year. The only reason it closes is because of flash flood warnings. Those usually happen during the summer months, so it is very unlikely you will have any issues.
    Hope you have a great visit!

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