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Is Antelope Canyon Worth It?

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We’ve all heard the hype, but is Antelope Canyon worth it? Like, REALLY worth it?

We took a Navajo-led guided tour of Upper Antelope Canyon after years of seeing Instagram post after Instagram post about the slot canyon’s smooth, curvy walls and dreamy sandstone textures.

In this review, we share our experience hiking Upper Antelope Canyon, the pros and cons of visiting Antelope Canyon over other slot canyons, and tips for having a good experience if you go.

Sarah at Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon

Follow the seven Leave No Trace principles: plan your hike in advance, stick to designated trails, carry out all your belongings, dispose of waste properly, leave natural areas untouched, minimize the impact of campfires, show consideration for fellow hikers, and avoid approaching or feeding wildlife.

Is Antelope Canyon Worth It? The Short Answer

Yes, after weighing the pros and cons myself, I do think visiting Antelope Canyon is worth it. It’s an opportunity to spend time with a member of the Navajo tribe and learn about their culture and history. Although it can be crowded, each tour group is small enough and spread out enough to make it easy to get photos without other tourists in them – IF you’re quick!

Plus it’s an easy hike and very close to Page. You can easily add a trip to Antelope Canyon to your Horseshoe Bend or Monument Valley itinerary or Horseshoe Bend, for example.

We’ll get into more information below on why exactly Antelope Canyon is worth it, and all of the factors we considered!

What is Antelope Canyon? Why is it famous? 

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located near Page, Arizona, known for its stunning natural beauty and unique geological formations.

It’s famous for its narrow passageways, smooth sandstone walls, and the way light filters through the openings above, creating mesmerizing light beams and vibrant colors that illuminate the canyon’s interior.

Upper Vs. Lower Antelope Canyon

The canyon is divided into two sections: Upper Antelope Canyon (Tsé bighánílíní, “the place where water runs through rocks” in Navajo) and Lower Antelope Canyon (Hazdistazí, or “spiral rock arches” in Navajo). Both sections are popular, with most people visiting Upper Antelope Canyon like we did.

Why is Antelope Canyon worth it?

We totally think Antelope Canyon is worth it, and as promised, here is a breakdown of the biggest reasons why we think so.

Pros for Visiting Antelope Canyon

1. Mesmerizing Formations

First and foremost, Antelope Canyon is worth it because it is simply beautiful! The undulating walls, mesmerizing textures, and grandeur of walking through a sacred slot canyon is an experience you’ll never forget.

2. Navajo-Guided Tours

Experience Antelope Canyon through the eyes of knowledgeable Navajo guides who offer insights into the canyon’s rich cultural heritage and geological significance, providing a unique opportunity to learn from the indigenous people who call this land home.

It’s a privilege to visit Navajo land and to learn from a member of the tribe, so what better way to explore slot canyons in the Southwest than with a Native-American guide?

3. Iconic Photography Opportunities

Antelope Canyon is a photographer’s dream, but even if you aren’t a pro with the camera, you’ll still be able to get amazing photos in Antelope Canyon. That’s because all of the Navajo guides provide tips and recommendations for photo opportunities throughout the hike. They know these canyons intimately and can point out details and compositions it can be easy to miss on your first visit!

4. Antelope Canyon is an Easy Hike

Enjoy a leisurely stroll through the canyon’s narrow passages, where the relatively flat terrain and well-maintained trails make for a comfortable hiking experience suitable for adventurers of all ages and fitness levels.

No canyoneering, rappelling, or other technical climbing is required. You don’t even need to climb over any rocks.

5. Antelope Canyon is in a Convenient Location

Located close to Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is easily accessible and can be seamlessly integrated into a busy day of sightseeing and outdoor activities, allowing you to maximize your time and explore the wonders of this natural wonderland without hassle or inconvenience. You can visit Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Monument Valley all on one busy day if you want to!

Cons to Visiting Antelope Canyon

1. Crowded Conditions

Antelope Canyon can get pretty packed, especially during peak seasons. Navigating the narrow passages with lots of other visitors around can make it feel a bit cramped, potentially impacting your ability to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the canyon.

2. Rushed Experience

With tours operating on tight schedules, there’s often a sense of being hurried along. It can feel like you’re on a bit of a conveyor belt, moving through the canyon without much time to pause and take it all in. If you’re seeking a more leisurely exploration, it’s important to manage your expectations.

3. Cost Considerations

Admission fees for Antelope Canyon tours can add up, especially if you’re traveling on a budget. While the experience is undoubtedly stunning, it’s worth factoring in the expenses when planning your trip and deciding where to allocate your funds.

4. Limited Availability

Tickets for Antelope Canyon tours tend to sell out quickly, particularly during peak times. This means that if you don’t book in advance, you run the risk of missing out on the opportunity to visit this iconic natural wonder. Planning ahead and securing your spot early can help ensure you don’t miss out on the experience.

Antelope Canyon Tours

Antelope Canyon Photography Tips

1. Bring a DSLR or Mirrorless Camera

To capture the intricate details and vibrant colors of the canyon, consider using a high-quality camera with manual settings. These cameras offer greater control over exposure, aperture, and shutter speed, allowing you to fine-tune your shots for optimal results.

2. Use a Wide-Angle Lens

Antelope Canyon’s narrow passages and towering walls make it ideal for wide-angle shots. A wide-angle lens, typically ranging from 10mm to 24mm, can help you capture the expansive views and intricate formations within the canyon.

3. Use a Tripod

Given the low-light conditions and the desire for crisp, detailed shots, using a tripod is essential. It stabilizes your camera, allowing you to use slower shutter speeds without introducing camera shake. This is particularly useful for long exposure shots or when shooting in darker areas of the canyon.

4. Experiment with Exposure

Antelope Canyon’s unique lighting conditions provide ample opportunities to experiment with exposure settings. Try using longer exposures to capture the movement of light and shadows, or adjust your settings to highlight the rich colors and textures of the canyon walls.

5. Watch Your White Balance

The colors of Antelope Canyon can vary dramatically depending on the time of day and the angle of the sunlight. Pay attention to your white balance settings to ensure accurate color reproduction in your photos. Experiment with different settings to capture the warm, golden hues or the cool, blue tones of the canyon.

6. Be Mindful of Dust and Debris

Antelope Canyon is a naturally formed slot canyon, which means it can be prone to dust and debris falling from the walls above. Protect your camera gear by keeping it covered when not in use and periodically checking for any dust or debris that may have accumulated on your lens.

7. Respect the Environment and Others

Finally, remember to respect the environment and other visitors while photographing Antelope Canyon. Stay on designated paths, follow the instructions of your guide, and be mindful of your impact on the delicate sandstone formations. By practicing responsible photography, you can help preserve the beauty of this iconic natural wonder for future generations to enjoy.

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Alternatives to Antelope Canyon

1. Lower Antelope Canyon

While Antelope Canyon may get crowded, its lesser-known counterpart, Lower Antelope Canyon, offers a similarly stunning experience with (somewhat) fewer crowds. Located a short distance away, Lower Antelope Canyon features narrow passageways, towering sandstone walls, and captivating light beams that create an unforgettable atmosphere for photography and exploration.

2. Canyon X

Canyon X is another slot canyon located near Page, Arizona, offering a quieter and more intimate experience compared to Antelope Canyon. With fewer visitors, Canyon X allows for uninterrupted photography sessions and a deeper connection with the natural beauty of the canyon. Like Antelope Canyon, you must have a guided tour to visit Canyon X.

3. Secret Canyon

For those seeking a less crowded alternative, Secret Canyon offers a secluded and serene slot canyon experience. Also located on Navajo land near Page, Secret Canyon features narrow passages, intricate rock formations, and vibrant hues that are characteristic of the region. Secret Canyon can only be visited on a guided tour.

4. Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Gulch

Located in the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument near Escalante, Utah, Peek-A-Boo and Spooky Gulch offer unique slot canyon experiences away from the crowds of Antelope Canyon. These narrow canyons feature twisting passages, towering walls, and stunning rock formations that provide ample opportunities for exploration and photography. While access requires a considerably more effort, the secluded nature of these canyons makes them well worth the adventure.

5. Wire Pass Trail and Buckskin Gulch

For adventurous hikers looking to escape the crowds, Wire Pass Trail and Buckskin Gulch offer a remote and rugged slot canyon experience. Located in the Vermilion Cliffs National Monument near Kanab, these canyons boast towering walls, sculpted rock formations, and captivating light displays that rival those of Antelope Canyon. While the hike can be challenging, the solitude and natural beauty of these canyons make it a rewarding alternative to the more popular slot canyons in the area.

Tips for an Enjoyable Visit to Antelope Canyon

  • Book Early: Secure your spot in advance to ensure availability and choose the best time slot for your visit.
  • Visit Off-Peak: Opt for early morning or late afternoon tours to avoid crowds and enjoy a more peaceful experience.
  • Respect Nature: Follow your guide’s instructions, stay on designated paths, and refrain from touching the canyon walls to preserve its delicate formations.
  • Prepare for Weather: Dress in layers, stay hydrated, and check the weather forecast before your visit to Antelope Canyon.
  • Pack Light: Bring only essentials like a camera, water bottle, and small backpack to navigate the narrow canyon comfortably.
  • Capture Moments: Take advantage of stunning photo opportunities and listen to your guide’s photography tips for the best shots.
  • Immerse Yourself: Embrace the unique atmosphere of Antelope Canyon and appreciate its natural beauty while being present in the moment.

How to Get to Antelope Canyon

To get to Antelope Canyon, you first need to get to Page, Arizona. The closest major airports to Page are in Phoenix and Las Vegas. These locations will have the best flight options.

  • Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS): About 4.5 hours west of Page, with numerous flight options and car rental services.
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX): About 4.5 hours south of Page, also with many flight options and car rental services.

You can search for a flight by clicking here or using the form below.

You should plan to get a rental car from the airport when you land, since there is no public transportation to get to Page. Having your own vehicle is pretty much a requirement for exploring the US southwest.

You can search for a rental car by clicking here or using the form below.

What to Bring on a Trip to Antelope Canyon

Where to Stay in Page

There are many hotel options in Page suitable for any budget!

We’ve personally stayed at the Courtyard Page at Lake Powell by Marriott and enjoyed it! There’s a nice outdoor pool area and the interior decor evokes the desert landscape. We like staying at Marriott branded hotels because the quality is reliable and we can use our Bonvoy reward points for free stays (which is what we did here!).

Here are some more options for places to stay in Page:

You can use the map below to search for accommodations in Page, Arizona:

More Things to Do Near Page, Arizona

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