How Many Antelope Canyons Are There?
And which one should I visit?
First of all, before we even answer the above questions, make sure you decide that you WILL visit Antelope Canyon. It is a magnificent experience, and really a must-do for any traveler to see of one Nature’s masterpieces.
So, how many Antelope Canyons are there? Antelope Canyon Wash is a natural slot canyon, approximately 30 miles long and includes a number of different sections. Each section has its own personality, and offers beautiful presentations of light, color and shape as sunlight pours into the magnificent opening in the Earth. All of the sections are slot canyons are made of Navajo Sandstone and located in Antelope Canyon. The simple answer is one canyon—several sections.
Antelope Canyon X
Antelope Canyon X is a unique section, named after the X carved into the Navajo Sandstone created by millions of years of rainfall and wind. From the check-in area, you will be transported in a vehicle 3 miles to the mouth of Antelope Canyon X, where you then hike 100 meters into Antelope Canyon X. At the bottom, your Navajo guides assist you through a tour of the first slot canyon. After the first slot canyon section is complete, guides accompany you on the 200-meter walk to the second slot canyon section. It includes 334 feet of walking, and great lighting, with occasional light beams. In the afternoon, Canyon X shows darker hues of purple and blue. There are no ladders involved in visiting Antelope Canyon X.
Lower Antelope Canyon
This section requires visitors to descend down into the canyon using steep, narrow stairs. There are a total of five flights of stairs throughout Lower Antelope Canyon. It is not very difficult, as long as there are no mobility issues. This section is narrower, and is nicknamed Corkscrew Canyon. It is mostly V-shaped, with some A-shaped and parallel slot canyon walls, including 1335 feet of walking. There is great lighting all day and year-round. Light beams usually appear late mornings except for in the Winter.
Upper Antelope Canyon
This section is at ground level, and the easiest section to walk through on flat ground. Other than a staircase to exit. It is an A-shaped canyon with 660 feet of easy walking. Upper Antelope Canyon is a bit wider than other sections. You are driven directly to the mouth of the canyon. Light beams often hit the canyon floor April-August.
Secret Antelope Canyon
Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon, or Secret Antelope Canyon offers both A-shaped and V-shaped sections. It includes a half mile total walking, great lighting most of the day, and allows taking video. Secret Antelope Canyon is part of the Antelope Canyon wash and is still an undiscovered gem, spectacular and photogenic but without the crowds. Visits are by smaller groups, each of which is the only group in the canyon at that time. There are no stairs or ladders.
What is Antelope Canyon?
This natural slot canyon was formed, and continues to be formed, by water erosion of the soft Navajo sandstone. Particularly, flash floods are responsible for the natural artistry. During monsoon season water flows from the natural basin above the slot canyon. The water and sand rush into the narrow passageways of Antelope Canyon. As they wash through, they cut, shape, deepen and smooth the edges to continue the dramatic formations. The result is a masterpiece of nature that everyone should experience at least once, if not many more times. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tsé bighánílíní, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.”
Many people, even in the Southwestern United States, have not yet visited. In fact, a lot of people now recognize the dramatic pictures, but could not identify the location. This area has only been open to visitors since 1997, when the Navajo nation made it a Navajo Tribal Park. Since its opening, it has grown into one of the premier destinations sought after by global visitors. The flourishing of recent social media has propelled this once shy destination into the global spotlight, placing it on the must-see list for many savvy travelers. In fact, it may be more popular with travelers from other countries than with travelers from within the U.S., despite the proximity. Lately, more people from all regions are starting to discover its marvels.
How Can I Visit Antelope Canyon?
The easiest way to plan a visit is by booking a day trip to Antelope Canyon, so the tickets will be included and arranged for you, making the process smooth and simple. Or you can purchase your own tickets and make your own travel arrangements. Be aware that a visit to any section of Antelope Canyon must be with a local operator, including a Navajo guide. No independent visits are allowed inside. Tickets are for specific dates and times and need to be booked in advance. Dates and times are subject to capacity controls. All sections are on Navajo land and charge a separate Indian Environmental Protection fee of $8.00 per person in addition to the tour price.
National Park Express partners with the local tour companies and includes them into the day trips to make your visit easier. We also sell ticket only options for travelers wishing to make their own plans.
Only 15 minutes away from Antelope Canyon is the area’s second must-see spot, Horseshoe Bend Overlook. This is a spectacular 1,000-foot-high viewpoint above a picturesque U-shape bend in the Colorado River. This area is upriver from the Grand Canyon and offers dramatic views of the expansive scenery. It is a perfect complement to Antelope Canyon.
One half of Horseshoe Bend is owned by the city of Page, and is the side that most travelers visit. The other half is owned by the same family that owns Secret Antelope Canyon. An added benefit of going to Secret Antelope Canyon is that they will also escort you to the private side of Horseshoe Bend, avoiding crowds and replacing a 20-minute walk with a drive right to the overlook. This makes an excellent combination of both main attractions in the area.
Page, Arizona, is about a four-and-a-half-hour drive from Las Vegas, Nevada. It is about the same drive time from Phoenix, Arizona, and about 6 hours from Salt Lake City, Utah. You can also drive from Las Vegas to Page, and stay a few days to enjoy even more in the Page area.
There is much more in the Page area to experience such as Lake Powell, Rainbow Bridge, and Monument Valley. Adjacent to Page is Glen Canyon Dam, which was finished in 1966, damming the Colorado River to create Lake Powell. Visitors can walk across Glen Canyon Bridge for great views down to the Colorado River. There is also an excellent Visitor Center which includes a film, and informational displays as well as excellent views from the top of the dam. A recent tourism boom in the area has increased the supply of accommodations, which offer a wide variety of chain hotels, as well as some vintage, mid-century modern motels close to the center of town.
Come visit Page for a memorable visit to Antelope Canyon, and add more exploration in this beautiful destination. Be sure you always dress for the weather and respect the sacredness of the land. You are experiencing a treasured part of Navajo Nation culture and land and are asked to treat the area with respect and reverence.
Come enjoy the unique and awe-inspiring beauty found within Antelope Canyon, located near Page, Arizona. A haven for photographers and social media enthusiasts, this slot canyon is full of bright light beams, vibrant color, and rare, wave-like walls. The beauty found within this canyon is thanks to millions of years of water erosion, and the product is truly a sight to see.