The picturesque and world-renown Antelope Canyon should be on every photographer's bucket list. Don't expect to enjoy it alone - since you will need to sign up for a tour to visit this natural attraction, you should expect to be corralled through an loud slot canyon with plenty of other people also trying to take photos, but the beauty of the sandstone walls can still be appreciated.
This stop makes the perfect addition to any Arizona or Utah road trip. Click here for a sample itinerary with stop recommendations and places to stay.
Elevation Gain: 160 ft
Trail Type: Guided loop
Trailhead: Google Maps
We decided on the lower canyon because we hoped it would be less crowded than the more famous and busy upper canyon. We showed up at the dirt parking lot (shared by both tour companies right next to each other) and decided on Kens Tours. There are bathrooms and a shaded area to wait for your tour. We showed up and each paid $28 to go on the next tour in an hour and a half. If you are going on a weekend, I recommend making reservations in advance, as we waited 30 minutes in line for a walk in tour.
In order to enter Antelope Canyon, you need to sign up for a guided tour because the canyon lies on Navajo land. Our tour had 28 people and two guides. We started by walking about 5 minutes along some slick rock and descended about 4 flights of steep stairs to enter the canyon.
Josh, our guide, was great at helping people set their phones and cameras to the right setting to make sure everybody's photos looked their best. He pointed out iconic rock shapes throughout the tour, helped shoot photos, and made sure nobody got hurt. Because there was a constant stream of people in the narrow canyon, it was almost impossible to get any pictures without anyone else.
That Saturday was a particularly busy day for the tour companies. The tour was about 2 hours long, and there was a line through the whole canyon - we would take less than 10 steps before running into the people in front and then wait for the line to move on.
There were only a couple short staircases to climb up and down after the initial descent, and this is likely a reason Upper Antelope Canyon is more popular than the lower. The canyon varied between very narrow sections and wide sections, and since we were in the middle of the day, the sun beans reached the canyon floor at some parts of the trail.
At the end of the canyon and after a short staircase out of the canyon, we were only a couple steps away from the original start location.
Although we were glad we did the tour and got to experience a beautiful slot canyon, we would likely never do it again. We were exhausted from the crowds, waiting in line, and the noise. I can't even imagine how crowded Upper Antelope Canyon gets!