Antelope Canyon is a dream travel destination for many visitors to the American Southwest. After all, there’s nowhere else in the world where you can see curves of water-carved sandstone illuminated by shafts of light from above as if by magic.
As soon as we saw pictures of this natural wonder, we knew we had to visit. At first, we weren’t sure how Antelope Canyon, which is located in Page, Arizona, would fit into our 10-day West Coast road trip itinerary. When we saw how close the canyon is to Horseshoe Bend, the Grand Canyon, Monument Valley, and a few other spots on our photography bucket list, though, we realized we could easily visit Antelope Canyon too.
There are plenty of spectacular images of Antelope Canyon, but nothing quite compares to seeing this beautiful slot canyon in person. This guide will help you make the most of your trip to Antelope Canyon in Arizona, starting with the basic tips below.
How to visit Antelope Canyon
To make the most of your visit to Antelope Canyon, follow these steps:
- Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon?: Decide which canyon you would like to visit
- Best time to visit Antelope Canyon: Travel (if possible) during the summertime
- Book an Antelope Canyon tour: It is essential to book a tour in advance
- Travel to Antelope Canyon: Below, we’ll explain how to get to Antelope Canyon
- Prepare your camera/smartphone: Get your gear ready to photograph Antelope Canyon
- Enjoy your visit to Antelope Canyon: Follow the Navajo guide’s tips
- Antelope Canyon surroundings: Enjoy other wonders near Antelope Canyon, such as Horseshoe Bend
You’ll find more information, including directions to Antelope Canyon, places to stay near Antelope Canyon, and the difference between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, in the following sections:
- Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon – which section is best?
- Best time to visit Antelope Canyon
- Antelope Canyon tickets and opening hours
- Antelope Canyon tours
- Things to do near Antelope Canyon
- How to get to Antelope Canyon
- Where to stay near Antelope Canyon
Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon – Which section is best?
The most important decision you have to make before visiting Antelope Canyon is whether you want to see Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, or both! Both sections of the canyon have their merits and are worth seeing, so your decision will most likely come down to your budget, your fitness/mobility level, and your ability to deal with crowds.
Upper Antelope Canyon
If you’ve ever seen a photo of Antelope Canyon, it’s probably been of Upper Antelope Canyon.
This section of the canyon is where you can see beams of sunlight poke through the sandstone and illuminate the canyon floor and surrounding rocks. Because this is such a famous natural phenomenon, Upper Antelope Canyon tends to be more popular and crowded than Lower Antelope Canyon.
Beyond that, Upper Antelope Canyon is definitely the best option for anyone who wants an easier, shorter out & back hike. The entrance to Upper Antelope Canyon is at ground level and the hike through the canyon is shorter and at a smaller incline than the hike for Lower Antelope Canyon.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon is just as gorgeous as Upper Antelope Canyon, even if you won’t be able to see Antelope Canyon light beams here. You’ll also benefit from a less crowded and more peaceful visiting experience than at Upper Antelope Canyon.
On the other hand, this one-way hike through Lower Antelope Canyon is longer and more difficult than the Upper Antelope Canyon hike. You’ll have to walk up and down several flights of stairs and ladders throughout the hike, which can be exciting if you’re feeling adventurous, but if you’re afraid of heights or have limited mobility, you should probably avoid Lower Antelope Canyon.
Upper vs. Lower Antelope Canyon
We’ve visited both Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon in one day and came to the following conclusions:
- If you want to save money, we recommend just taking the Lower Antelope Canyon tour. There is quite a difference in price between the Upper Antelope Canyon tour and the Lower Antelope Canyon tour, plus you’ll still be able to cross the slot canyon experience off your bucket list.
- If you are going to visit Upper Antelope Canyon, it is best to go in summer, during the middle of the day, when you can see the light beams on the canyon floor. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on one of this canyon’s most spectacular features.
- If you can afford it, take both an Upper Antelope Canyon tour and a Lower Antelope Canyon tour. Both sections of the canyon are unique and beautiful, and it is worth it, if you can, to see both parts.
Best time to visit Antelope Canyon
While you can technically visit Antelope Canyon year-round, the best time to visit Antelope Canyon will depend on what you want to see and how you want to see it.
Best time of year to visit Antelope Canyon
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon if you want to see light beams in the Upper section is from the end of March to the beginning of October.
On the other hand, if you want to avoid the crowds of tourists, November to March is a better time of year to visit, but you won’t be able to see Antelope Canyon light beams.
Another thing to keep in mind is that Arizona’s monsoon season lasts from June to September and can bring heavy rain. It’s not common for Antelope Canyon to close, but intense precipitation can make visiting the canyon unsafe for visitors, so if the canyon were to close at any time, it would most likely be during these months.
Best time of day to visit Antelope Canyon
If you want to see light beams in Upper Antelope Canyon, the best time to go to Antelope Canyon is midday. Planning your visit between 11 am and 1:30 pm, when the sunlight is perpendicular to the canyon, will give you the best chance of seeing these famed Antelope Canyon light beams for yourself.
You should also try to plan your visit on a clear, cloudless day so that you’ll actually get enough sun to see light beams. If it’s too cloudy or not sunny enough, the sun’s rays won’t poke through the canyon.
Antelope Canyon tickets and opening hours
Antelope Canyon tickets do tend to sell out quickly, so if there’s a specific time/date that you want to take a tour, make sure you book your tickets well in advance.
The price of your tickets will include the $8 permit fee you have to pay to enter Navajo Nation attractions.
Upper Antelope Canyon tickets and opening hours
Here is a breakdown of the Antelope Canyon entrance fee for an Upper Antelope Canyon tour:
- Non-refundable adult ticket (includes $8 Antelope Canyon permit, entry fee, walking tour with Navajo guide) – $125
- Non-refundable children’s (age 7 and younger) ticket – $100
- Adult ticket with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance – $143.75
- Children’s (age 7 and younger) ticket with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance – $115
In terms of opening hours, this Upper Antelope Canyon tour is available at 11:30 am and 1:30 pm and lasts 90 minutes.
Lower Antelope Canyon tickets and opening hours
The breakdown of the Antelope Canyon entrance fee for a Lower Antelope Canyon tour is as follows:
- Non-refundable adult ticket (includes $8 Antelope Canyon permit, entry fee, walking tour with Navajo guide) – $89
- Non-refundable youth (age 4-12) ticket – $59
- Non-refundable children’s (age 3 and younger) ticket – $10
- Adult ticket with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance – $102.35
- Youth (age 4-12) ticket with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance – $70
- Children’s (age 3 and younger) ticket with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance – $15
This 90-minute Lower Antelope Canyon tour can be taken at any of the following times: 9:30 am, 10:00 am, 10:30 am, 11:00 am, 11:30 am, 12:00 pm, or 12:30 pm.
Can you visit Antelope Canyon without a tour?
Many tourists often wonder, can you go to Antelope Canyon without a tour? The answer is no, you can’t visit Antelope Canyon without booking a tour.
Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo Nation land and is therefore subject to Navajo Nation rules. As such, you must book an Antelope Canyon tour with a Navajo guide, or else you will not be able to visit Antelope Canyon.
Antelope Canyon Tours
Although many people call it Antelope Canyon National Park, Antelope Canyon is not actually managed by the U.S. National Park Service. As we’ve mentioned above, Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo Nation land, so you must book one of the Antelope Canyon Navajo tours in order to visit.
While the Upper Antelope Canyon tour and Lower Antelope Canyon tour are the main tours visitors take, the Antelope Canyon X tour is another option for tourists who want to take in the canyon without the crowds.
Upper Antelope Canyon Tours
Upper Antelope Canyon is the most famous and popular section of Antelope Canyon because of its iconic light beams.
Getting to the canyon is simple: you and your group take a 20-minute ride in a 4×4 to the mouth of the canyon along a paved road, followed by a sandy track. Along the way, your guide will explain the history and formation of the canyon.
The canyon entrance is at ground level, so you won’t have to go down a flight of stairs as you do at Lower Antelope Canyon. The route within the canyon is short, but you will enter and exit on the same narrow, two-way path, so you will be sharing the path with other people going in the opposite direction. As such, visitors are not allowed to wear backpacks.
You will have some time to take photographs within the canyon, but the guides do want to keep things moving, since there are other groups that need to enter the canyon, so you may end up feeling a little rushed. Still, admiring the canyon from within and seeing the glittering light beams in person is worth it.
*Important note: The Navajo Nation has decided to discontinue photography tours at Upper Antelope Canyon from 2020 onwards. The main reason, according to their statement, is “to free up space in the canyon and make the experience more enjoyable for the visitors.” We’ll keep this article updated and let you know if they start running photo tours of Upper Antelope Canyon again in the future.
DOWNLOAD THE GUIDE TO PHOTOGRAPHING ANTELOPE CANYON
Lower Antelope Canyon tours
Over the last few years, many visitors have begun to visit Lower Antelope Canyon to avoid the crowds and higher-priced tours at Upper Antelope Canyon.
The trade-off, though, is a much more intense hike through the canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon, like most canyons, is carved deep into the ground, so when we took our Lower Antelope Canyon tour, we had to descend a steep, metal stairway to get to the bottom.
This process can be dangerous, so the guide makes sure that each group member descends one at a time. It can take a little while for the entire group to reach the bottom of the canyon, but once you get there, the climb is worth it.
Since Lower Antelope Canyon is longer and wider than Upper Antelope Canyon, when we reached the bottom, we felt like we had so much more space around us than in Upper Antelope Canyon, which we really appreciated.
Even though you won’t be able to see light beams, the shapes and patterns on the walls are mesmerizing. We also felt less rushed by the Navajo guides than we did at Upper Antelope Canyon.
In the end, you still have to visit Lower Antelope Canyon with a tour group, but at least the guides give you a bit more freedom and space to enjoy the canyon and take photos than at Upper Antelope Canyon.
Antelope Canyon X tours
Escape the crowds at Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon completely by booking an Antelope Canyon X tour. Antelope Canyon X is a different part of the same slot canyon that includes Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon and is much quieter and less frequently visited.
Antelope Canyon X got its name from the striking “X” shape of the rock ceiling. Canyon X is deeper than Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon, so you’ll really feel submerged within the canyon when you visit.
Like the rest of Antelope Canyon, you must book a tour to visit Antelope Canyon X. The price of the Antelope Canyon X tour does not include the $8 permit fee, so you’ll have to pay for that separately in cash.
Tour tickets cost $65 for adults and $55 for children (ages 17 and younger), so you’ll save a lot of money compared to visiting other parts of the canyon. Tours leave at 8:30 am, 9:10 am, 9:50 am, 10:30 am, 11:10 am, 11:50 am, 1:10 pm, 1:50 pm, and 2:30 pm.
Other things to do near Antelope Canyon
One day is more than enough time to visit Antelope Canyon, especially since Antelope Canyon tours usually don’t last more than 90 minutes. Whether you’re staying in Page or simply want to explore the area, there are plenty of things to do near Antelope Canyon:
The drive from Lake Powell to Antelope Canyon takes only 15 minutes, so you can easily visit both places in a day.
Stop and admire the beautiful sandstone walls of this manmade reservoir within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can fish, hike, boat, waterski, swim, or camp here.
Like Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend is located in Page, very close to Antelope Canyon; in fact, the drive from Antelope Canyon to Horseshoe Bend only takes about 10 minutes.
For thousands of years, the Colorado River has been carving out this horseshoe-shaped, 980-foot-deep canyon, which is one of the most visited attractions in Page. Visiting both Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in one day is completely doable – you can go to Antelope Canyon in the morning and head to Horseshoe Bend at sunset.
If you want a convenient way to visit both attractions, take an Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend tour like this one. For more information on visiting Horseshoe Bend, check our guide to Horseshoe Bend.
Antelope Canyon boat tour
Don’t feel like hiking Antelope Canyon? Take an Antelope Canyon boat tour and float by the colorful sandstone walls.
Antelope Canyon kayak tours
Kayaking Antelope Canyon will allow you to admire this natural wonder from a whole new perspective. Antelope Canyon kayak rentals are available from Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks.
If you’d prefer to go on one of the Antelope Canyon kayak tours, Kayak Powell offers two: a kayak-only tour and a kayaking/hiking tour. On both tours, you’ll visit parts of the canyon that you can’t reach on foot, so it’s the ultimate opportunity to get away from the crowds and take in a less-seen part of this famous attraction.
How to get to Antelope Canyon
As we’ve already mentioned, Antelope Canyon is located in Page, Arizona. Since Antelope Canyon tours usually either start from downtown Page or from the Antelope Canyon park entrance, it’s extremely useful to know how to get from Page to Antelope Canyon.
To get to Antelope Canyon from Page, take S. Lake Powell Blvd and then turn left onto Coppermine Road. Stay on Coppermine Road until you reach AZ-98 E and then turn left onto AZ-98 E. Stay on AZ-98 E for 4.5 miles until you see the Antelope Canyon parking lot on your right.
Of course, you may be traveling to Antelope Canyon from another city or attraction. Below, you’ll find general information on how to get to Antelope Canyon from the biggest surrounding cities and attractions.
The closest airport to Antelope Canyon is in Las Vegas. It’s relatively convenient to get from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon, as the two places are only a 4.5-hour drive (278.5 miles) apart.
If you’re staying in Las Vegas, I recommend renting a car and driving there. There are plenty of car rental options in Las Vegas and you can combine Antelope Canyon with other nearby attractions to make the most of your road trip from Las Vegas.
Another option for visiting Antelope Canyon is to rent an RV from one of the best RV rental companies in the US. That way, you’ll get both transportation and accommodation for the same price.
If driving is not your thing, don’t worry. You can also book an Antelope Canyon tour from Las Vegas. In particular, I recommend this one, which includes hotel pick-up, a visit to Antelope Canyon, and a visit to Horseshoe Bend.
The Grand Canyon is one of the most visited national parks in the United States, for good reason. Don’t miss out on the chance to visit this stunning natural landmark, especially since it’s not far from Antelope Canyon to the Grand Canyon.
The drive from either the Grand Canyon North Rim or the Grand Canyon South Rim to Antelope Canyon is only 2.5 hours (130 miles approx.). You can even take a day trip from Las Vegas like this one to visit both the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon in one day.
If you’re really short on time, taking a Grand Canyon helicopter tour that includes Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend like this one is a convenient and relatively quick way to check all of these attractions off your sightseeing list.
Ideally, we would recommend taking more time to visit the Grand Canyon so you can properly enjoy the breathtaking landscapes and views. If you want to stay inside the park, make sure to check our guide on where to stay in the Grand Canyon.
Flagstaff and Sedona are popular tourist cities in Arizona that also happen to be close to Antelope Canyon. The drive from Flagstaff to Antelope Canyon only takes about 2 hours since the two places are 132 miles apart.
Sedona is not much further away – it only takes about 3 hours to drive the 146 miles from Sedona to Antelope Canyon.
There are plenty of Antelope Canyon tours that leave from Sedona or Flagstaff, including this one, which includes hotel pick-up, an Antelope Canyon tour, and a visit to the Painted Desert and Horseshoe Bend.
Phoenix and Scottdale are two other major cities in Arizona that are close to Antelope Canyon. Antelope Canyon is located north of Phoenix, and the 276-mile drive from Phoenix to Antelope Canyon takes about 4.5 hours.
Scottsdale is about equidistant from Antelope Canyon, since driving from Scottsdale to Antelope Canyon (285 miles) also takes about 4.5 hours.
Many tours to Antelope Canyon leave from both Phoenix and Scottsdale, but we recommend this tour that leaves from either city and includes hotel pick-up, lunch, and a visit to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
Seeing Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in one trip is an absolute no-brainer. Both of these natural wonders are located in Page, about a 10-minute drive apart, so most tourists see both in one day.
You can certainly visit Horseshoe Bend on your own and book a separate Antelope Canyon tour, but why not make it easy by booking a Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon tour like this one? That way, you won’t have to worry about parking and transportation from Page.
Like Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell is located in Page, Arizona, so it’s relatively simple to get from Lake Powell to Antelope Canyon. The two sites are 10 miles apart, and you can drive from one to the other in about 15 minutes.
The distance from Antelope Canyon to Monument Valley is only about 124 miles, so it is not unusual for tourists to visit both places during the same trip.
If you plan on visiting Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley in one day, we advise taking an Antelope Canyon tour in the middle of the day and arriving at Monument Valley in time for sunrise or sunset, as those are the best times of day to see each place.
As we mentioned in our guide to visiting Monument Valley, Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley observe different time zones during the summer, even though they are both located in Arizona. Keep this in mind for your Antelope Canyon tour so that you don’t miss it by mixing up the times.
Bryce Canyon may not be as famous as the Grand Canyon, but it is equally worth seeing. Traveling the 149 miles from Bryce Canyon to Antelope Canyon takes about 3 hours by car, so you could combine both in a single day trip or visit Bryce Canyon in one day and see Antelope Canyon the next day.
Zion is yet another national park that is not far from Antelope Canyon. Driving from Antelope Canyon to Zion National Park is a 100-mile journey that only takes about 2 hours.
Visit Zion National Park on your way to or from Antelope Canyon, or book a multi-day tour from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, the Grand Canyon, and Monument Valley so you can see all of Utah and Arizona’s most stunning natural landmarks.
Where to stay near Antelope Canyon
With both Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in the area, there are plenty of options for accommodations in Page, Arizona. Whether you’re interested in camping or staying at a hotel, you shouldn’t have trouble finding places to stay near Antelope Canyon as long as you book well in advance.
If you want to go camping near Antelope Canyon, I recommend Page Lake Powell Antelope Canyon Campground, which has both tent and RV options. You can even stay in a covered wagon if “glamping” is more your style.
If you want more comfortable Antelope Canyon lodging, these are the best hotels near Antelope Canyon:
- Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell: This highly-rated hotel is located in the center of Page. Since the town is small and touristy, rooms fill up quickly, so be sure to book your room well before your trip.
- Country Inn & Suites by Radisson: This is, without a doubt, the best hotel in Page, both in terms of price and rooms. It is located close to Horseshoe Bend, outside downtown Page.
FAQs about Antelope Canyon, Arizona
If you still have questions about Antelope Canyon tours, or you’re still not sure about the best way to get there, this section answers some commonly-asked questions.
Antelope Canyon is located in Page, Arizona. It is a 10-minute drive from downtown Page and a 10-minute drive from Horseshoe Bend.
Antelope Canyon is open year-round. If there is heavy snow or rain and the canyon is considered unsafe for visitors, however, the canyon may be closed.
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is between the end of March and the beginning of October. In terms of the best time of day to visit the canyon, going between 11 am and 1:30 pm will give you the highest chance of seeing Antelope Canyon light beams in the Upper section of Antelope Canyon.
No, you cannot visit Antelope Canyon without a tour. Since Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Nation land, you must visit the canyon with a Navajo guide.
An Upper Antelope Canyon tour costs $125 for adults and $100 for children (age 7 and younger). Tickets with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance cost $143.75 for adults and $115 for children (age 7 and younger).
A Lower Antelope Canyon tour costs $89 for adults, $59 for youths (ages 4-12), and $10 for children (ages 3 and younger). Tickets with free cancellation up to 24 hours in advance cost $102.35 for adults, $70 for youths (ages 4-12), and $15 for children (ages 3 and younger).
An Antelope Canyon X tour costs $65 for adults and $55 for children (ages 17 and younger).
The closest city to Antelope Canyon is Page, Arizona. The closest big city to Antelope Canyon is Flagstaff, Arizona.
The closest airport to Antelope Canyon is Las Vegas International Airport.
Antelope Canyon map
This map of Antelope Canyon shows where Antelope Canyon is located in relation to accommodations and other attractions, so, hopefully, it will help with your trip planning.
We hope this guide helps make your visit to Antelope Canyon unforgettable!