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Antelope Canyon

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Attractions Details

📌 Address

3300 W Camelback Rd Building 22, Phoenix, AZ 85017, United States

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

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expert
Colm
Local tour guide
"Visit Antelope Canyon early in the morning or during peak sunlight hours to capture the best light for photography; the sunbeams create spectacular effects inside the canyon at these times. Also, if you're driving from Phoenix, consider making a stop at Horseshoe Bend nearby, as it's only a 10-minute detour and offers another iconic view of the American Southwest."

What is Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is a mesmerizing slot canyon carved out by water and wind over countless millennia, its walls etched into waves of stone that seemingly flow like rivers of sandstone. Nestled in the American Southwest, within the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona, it's a geological wonder that draws photographers, adventurers, and nature enthusiasts from around the world. There are two separate, scenic slot canyon sections referred to as Upper Antelope Canyon, or 'Tsé bighánílíní' meaning 'the place where water runs through rocks,' and Lower Antelope Canyon, known as 'Hazdistazí,' or 'spiral rock arches.' Each presents a unique experience, a dance of light and shadow, a palette of oranges, reds, and purples particularly enchanting at the peak times when sunbeams penetrate the narrows.

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History of Antelope Canyon

The history of Antelope Canyon is deeply intertwined with the Navajo people who have inhabited the area long before it became a sought-after tourist destination. For the Navajo, the canyon holds spiritual significance, serving as a place for prayer and reflection. Its discovery to the outside world was not until the mid-20th century, and it wasn't until 1997 that the Navajo Nation made it a Navajo Tribal Park. Since then, it has been accessible to the public exclusively through guided tours, which are intended to protect the site and its visitors, as flash flooding in the canyon can be dangerously sudden and powerful. The guides, often members of the Navajo Nation, share not only the geology and history but also anecdotes and cultural insights that you won't find in any guidebook.

Why is Antelope Canyon Important?

Antelope Canyon's importance stretches beyond its visual beauty; it's a sacred site for the Navajo Nation and a spectacular example of nature's artistry. Its significance is also ecological, as the delicate environment serves as a habitat for various desert species and plays a role in the area's natural water drainage system. Moreover, it's an important economic resource for the local Navajo community, providing employment and revenue through tourism while also raising awareness about the respect and preservation of indigenous lands. This intertwining of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and economic importance makes Antelope Canyon a location of profound importance. Plus, its aesthetics have made it a symbol of the American Southwest, capturing the imagination of millions and gracing countless photographs, calendars, and computer screensavers.

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Things to Do & See at Antelope Canyon

In Antelope Canyon, every turn and twist of the narrow passages presents an opportunity for wonder. Both Upper and Lower sections offer unique vistas and experiences. Upper Antelope Canyon, with its ground-level entrance and taller, more dramatic light beams, is known for being more accessible and photography-friendly. At Lower Antelope Canyon, you’ll find narrower, twisted pathways that necessitate some climbing—making for a slightly more physical adventure. Here, the play of light and shadow with the contours of the rocks create hypnotizing patterns, especially beautiful during the midday sun. Visitors can also combine a trip to Antelope Canyon with a float down the nearby Colorado River or a visit to other nearby attractions like Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, or even the Grand Canyon, which is a few hours' drive away.

It's essential to remember that the canyon can only be experienced through guided tours, which often need to be booked well in advance especially during peak season. These tours not only ensure your safety and the protection of the canyon but are also rich with stories and wisdom from the Navajo guides. Some of them have been exploring these canyons since childhood and carry with them not just knowledge about the geology and ecology, but personal tales, legends, and connections to the land that can transform a simple walk through rocks into a journey through living history and culture.

Frequently asked questions

What is Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona. Known for its wave-like structure and the light beams that shine down into the openings of the canyon, creating a supernatural appearance.

How do I get to Antelope Canyon from Phoenix?

From Phoenix, you can reach Antelope Canyon by car which is about a 4-5 hour drive north. The most common route is via US-89 N and AZ-98 E.

Do I need a guide to visit Antelope Canyon?

Yes, you cannot enter Antelope Canyon without a Navajo guide because it is located on Navajo land and they require all visitors to be accompanied by an authorized tour guide.

When is the best time to visit Antelope Canyon?

The best time to visit Antelope Canyon for the light beams is around midday from March to October when the sun is high in the sky and the beams can shine directly into the canyon.

Are there any entrance fees for Antelope Canyon?

Yes, there are entrance fees to visit Antelope Canyon, which are used to maintain the area and pay for the guided tours. Fees may vary based on the tour company and the specific part of Antelope Canyon you wish to visit.

Attractions Details

📌 Address

3300 W Camelback Rd Building 22, Phoenix, AZ 85017, United States

Opening Hours

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM

💸 Entrance Fee

Free

Find it on google maps