Our “Problems” With Antelope Canyon…

fullsizeoutput_56e6Even if you are unaware, you have likely seen photographs of Antelope Canyon near Page in northern Arizona.  Antelope Canyon is a bucket list destination for serious photographers (which we aren’t) and slot canyon hikers (which we are).

fullsizeoutput_566dAntelope Canyon was formed by flash flooding through Navajo Sandstone. 

Unfortunately eleven tourists were killed in the lower canyon in 1997 due to flash flooding.  These deaths contributed to the area being named a Tribal Park shortly thereafter and the requirement to utilize Navajo guides.   The potential for flash flooding is monitored very carefully.

fullsizeoutput_5663The first problem we encountered with Antelope Canyon was whether to book (well in advance) an Upper or Lower Canyon tour.  For no particular reason, I chose the Upper Canyon, “The Crack.”  I booked about a week prior to our late September trip and still had limited options.

fullsizeoutput_565dWe were transported to the site in four wheel drive vehicles.

P1010894An interesting entrance to the Upper Canyon – walk right in!

fullsizeoutput_5670There are about 12 people in a tour group, but there are dozens of tours in the canyon at the same time.

20190930_092620The tour guides are awesome, knowing just where and at what angle, to take photographs.   Some of the views have been named to reflect something similar outside the canyon.  This opportunity was called monument valley.


fullsizeoutput_5679We enjoyed our tour so much that we inquired about a walk up tour for the Lower Canyon. (We had seen limited “cash only” walk up opportunities at the Upper Canyon.)   At about 11:00 am, we got the last tickets for the last lower canyon tour at 4:00.

P1010973With hours to wander, we ventured to other sites near Page.   First was the Horshshoe Bend of the Colorado River, the same river that formed and traverses through the Grand Canyon.

fullsizeoutput_56a0Then we went to Antelope Point Marina and enjoyed a boat tour of this section of Lake Powell.

fullsizeoutput_56a1We enjoyed three house boat vacations on Lake Powell many years ago and, while at the marina, decided to take a look inside the new houseboats available for rent.  

P1020003At 4:00 we connected with our tour guide.  Unlike just walking in the Upper Canyon, this time we took the stairs and descended into Lower Antelope canyon, “The Corkscrew.”



fullsizeoutput_56feThere were sets of stairs throughout the tour which could be problematic for some.

fullsizeoutput_5700There are so many interesting features in the sandstone.


P1020021Like before, our tour guide knew when and how to get the best pictures, mostly with cell phones.  Only two of us on tour had regular cameras and Randy’s phone photos, taken by the guide, were often better than those from my real camera (on automatic settings), also taken by the guide.   If photography had been the primary reason for this adventure – not knowing how to use my camera would have been a real problem!

fullsizeoutput_56faOne “photography tour” is offered each day, presumably allowing more time at the best time of the day for light angles.  On the day we were there those tours were at about noon.  (Our tours were early and late.)   If photography is important to you, take that into consideration and book even further in advance!


Climbing out of the lower canyon!


Although not a real problem, we would be hard pressed to pick a favorite between the canyons . Both are amazingly beautiful, just different.   The Upper Canyon is taller and has wider openings. The Lower Canyon is truly a corkscrew.   Both of our Navajo tour guides were great!  

Our biggest Antelope Canyon problem going forward – The bar for future slot canyon hikes is very, very high!

About Serene

Former full time RVers, transitioned to homeowners and travelers. We've still got a map to finish! Home is the Phoenix area desert and a small cabin in the White Mountains of Arizona.
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11 Responses to Our “Problems” With Antelope Canyon…

  1. Mark P McClelland says:

    Wow. What a beautiful pair of hikes! We’ve hiked a couple of slot canyons but nothing that approached the beauty of those two. I doesn’t look like a place that you’d find much solitude, but I sure do understand the new requirement for guides. I recall the tragedy of those folks getting caught in the flood.

    • Serene says:

      The tragedy sounded vaguely familiar when the guide mentioned it but I couldn’t have told you any details. So I did research. Eleven tourists died, mostly from Sweden but also two from France and two from the US. Only a local guide survived. The flood water wasn’t from local rains but from a storm seven miles away. The flood waters washed away the wooden ladders. Now there are metal ladders bolted in.

  2. Teri McClelland says:

    I love slot canyons. Your pictures are beautiful. So glad you posted.

  3. Kim Goehring says:

    That was Beautiful!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Ann Shadiow says:


  5. Catie says:

    Oh my. Thank you for sharing. Amazing views and pics. We now have it on our bucket list. Can’t say thank you for sharing both the pics and information enough. Wonderful.🥰

  6. Beth says:

    Wow, Serene. These pictures are gorgeous. I must put these hikes on my bucket list.

  7. Jan McMillan says:

    Wow you guys,! I’m sorry this opportunity has passed me by! So beautiful and such stunning colors. Thanks!!

  8. Donna Fischer says:

    Gorgeous! ❤️ ❤️

  9. Pingback: Being Busy and Staying Busy | Serene Wandering

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