Tips for Visiting Antelope Canyon
“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” -Leonard Cohen
When planning our road trip out west, Antelope Canyon was at the top of our bucket list of stunning natural wonders. “The views in Lower Antelope Canyon change constantly as the sun moves across the sky, filtering lights softly across the stone walls. These ever-moving sun angles bounce light back and forth across the narrow canyon’s walls, creating a dazzling display of color, light, and shadow” (Ken’s Tours). Here are a few tips we learned along the way, in hopes they will help you have an amazing trip.
Book a Tour in Advance: Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo Land, so in order to explore you must book a guided tour. We booked our tour through Ken’s Tours. The general tour ends up being $50.40 for adults, and $28.40 for kids ages 8-12. That price includes the tour, Navajo Park Permit, and Navajo Sales Tax. Tours run every 30 minutes, and they last approximately 1 hour. It is highly recommended that you book a tour in advance.
What to Bring: On the tour you are only allowed to take one transparent bag, camera, water bottle, and/or cell phone. So no backpack, purse, hydration pack, etc. Lower Antelope Canyon has tight spaces making it inconvenient for you to move through with a bag, and it could damage the environment as well.
We definitely recommend you bring water with you on your tour, especially in the summer. Although it is more shaded down in the canyon, it is still hot (and there is no shade on the walk to the canyon entrance). I would also suggest eating a snack and using the bathroom before you begin your tour. There is no access to food or a bathroom once you are inside the canyon.
Photography in the Canyon: Antelope Canyon is a treasure trove of stunning photo opportunities. The pathways were carved from the red sandstone over time by flood rains and wind. The beautiful sloping angles of the rocks, paired with the shifts of light that make their way down from the rim of the canyon, is an image you will be anxious to capture and show your friends and family back home. So you definitely want to bring a camera or your phone to take pictures. Just a heads up, you can not bring a Go Pro, Tripod, Monopod, Selfie Stick or Stabilizer.
What to expect when you arrive: You are required to arrive 30 minutes prior to your tour time for check-in. Make sure to set your phone or watch to the correct time zone. Your tour time is on Arizona Standard Time (Summer time: Same time as Pacific Time; Winter time Same time as Mountain Time). After you check in at the front of the building, you will then be directed to an indoor waiting area. Use this time to use the bathroom, put anything in the car you don’t need, or check out the gift shop. Just be in the inside waiting area 15 minutes prior to your tour time. When it’s time for your tour, you will be divided into groups, and then you will head outside to meet your guide. One by one, each group will start the short walk to the entrance of the canyon. There you’ll wait until your group is released to officially enter the canyon.
What to expect on your tour: To enter Lower Antelope Canyon, you descend a steep ladder-like staircase single file. If you’re not agile enough to climb up and down ladders, do not book a Lower Antelope Canyon Tour. When you reach the canyon floor, you’ll wait again with many other groups in a wider area. You’re allowed to take pictures though while you wait. So take time to look around, there are plenty of beautiful shapes and colors to enjoy. Once you leave this holding area, things move along a little smoother. As you wind your way through the canyon you’ll learn about how it was formed and continues to be shaped, as well as photography tips, and other fun facts. You’ll stop a few times to takes pictures, but for the most part you’re continually moving throughout the canyon at a very slow pace. When your tour ends, you’ll walk the short distance back to the start.