Lower Antelope Canyon | Page, AZ

Hey, remember the road trip that I went on  with my cousin B and his girlfriend in September when we visited all the National Parks? Let’s continue the recaps! Here are parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

As you might recall, I left off when we visited Horseshoe Bend near Page, Arizona.

While we were in Page, we had also booked a tour at the “Lower Antelope Canyon” via Ken Tours. [Warning: this post is photo-heavy.]

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, which are common in Utah and which, characteristically, are significantly deeper than they are wide. ‘Some slot canyons can measure less than 1 meter (3 ft) across at the top but drop more than 30 meters (100 ft) to the floor of the canyon’ (Wikipedia) (as you can see in some of the pictures below). B and I had seen Upper Antelope Canyon on this previous visit, and I just remembered it as a magical place carved out by Mother Nature, but M hadn’t seen either and so we decided to do a tour at the Lower Canyon this time.

Both canyons were formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily by flash floods through Antelope Creek, a intermittently water-bearing creek originating in the Mormon Ridges southeast of Page. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic “flowing” shapes in the rock. (Wikipedia).

Upper Antelope Canyon (also called ”The Crack”), which you can access through a (most of the time) dry river bed, is ground level and requires no climbing. The entrance is a narrow curved slit in the cliffs only a few feet wide and you could easily miss it. However, once inside, the canyon has the shape of an upside down “V”, it’s mostly pretty wide at the bottom and narrower at the top. The beams of direct sunlight radiating down from openings at the top of the canyon are much more common here and bathe the sandstone in bright orange light.

In contrast, Lower Antelope Canyon (also called “The Corkskrew”) is the opposite. The opening, where you enter into the canyon through a series of staircases, is pretty wide, but the bottom is narrow and there are many twists and turns. It is longer, narrower in spots, and even footing is not available in all areas. Five flights of stairs of varying step widths are available to aid in descent and ascent through the canyon. The canyon has the shape of a “V” and it feels much more cave like, even though it is shallower than the Upper Antelope Canyon.


We were part of an early morning tour at 8:20 a.m., so we had to get up early to make it there in time (although it’s only a 10-minute drive from the center of town).

{courtesy of Google}

The crowds were already forming (which was to be expected) and I cringed a little bit inside to be once again part of such a mass event to see ‘nature’. It just feels contradictory, but again, if I complain about the crowds, I realize that I am part of the problem.

The organization seemed a little haphazard, as there were so many people in line for a various different tour starting times and we all had to be separated out into the correct groups. The waiting time wasn’t too bad though and we were amused by the lady that repeatedly asked for our “confirmination numbers”.

In the end, it all worked out and our tour started on time.










I was a bit wary that the walk through the canyon would be pretty crowded (and usually it is hard enough to take pictures without other people in it as it is), but luckily the crowds dispersed a bit when the tour started and our tour guide made sure that people had space and (mostly) unobstructed views to take pictures.

When you’re inside the canyon, it’s very hard to imagine that this place still experiences regular flash foods and reshaping of the canyon walls. Sometimes you can find hints of the most recent flash floods stuck to the walls (like debris and wooden logs).


















As you can see, the walk through the canyon is a lot of twist and turns and absolutely stunning views. The tour guides always point out different shapes that the water has carved into the rock and that they have named because they resemble certain things like

… the upside down heart…


…the eagle …

The Eagle

… the lion…


… the buffalo head…


… the Indian Chief…


… the Joker face…


… and the lady in the wind.


The newest ‘addition’ to the tour guides repertoire: “Donald Trump” carved in stone.  Do you see his hair flip?


And this is where you ‘crawl’ out of the canyon at the end of the tour. It’s hard to believe when you see this opening from above that there this whole deep labyrinth of beauty below the surface.




If you would ask me which tour I would recommend, Upper or Lower Canyon, I would say both. As mentioned, expect significant crowds. The place has become much more popular (even since I first visited in 2011) and you just have to expect wait times and many, many people. However, Antelope Canyon is so unique and so incredible that I think it’s possible to look past the crowds and still be able to appreciate its stunning beauty. While the waving and coloring of the sandstone is pretty similar, the hiking experience in the two canyons is very different (IMHO). The Lower Antelope Canyon tour was $40 and quite a bit cheaper than the Upper Antelope Canyon tour (in case this might be a deciding factor for you), although the Upper Canyon is the only place where you have a chance of seeing those iconic light beams mentioned earlier

Some travel tips:

+ Lodging options around Page are unfortunately all on the expensive side. We stayed at the La Quint Inn & Suites Page at Lake Powell. It’s one of the cheaper options and it’s a pretty new and well-run hotel (with a very decent breakfast).

+ We’ve been going back to “Bonkers Restaurant” every time we visit Page. It’s a local favorite and the food is really good.

+ If you’re in the area, make sure you visit Horseshoe Bend and go on one of the Antelope Canyon tours. (Duh!) You won’t regret it. But you should know that there is much more to see in the area. Unfortunately due to time and money constraints, we couldn’t take advantage of it all, but other cool things to check out: Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam,  Rainbow Bridge National Monument (by boat), and I really want to do the Glen Canyon Float Trip (where you can see Horseshoe Bend from below!) sometime!

  1. Wow, just incredible. A couple questions. Were you scared of a flash flood? How do the tour guides know whether one is coming or not? Do they tell you what to do in case there is one? Did you feel claustrophobic at all?

    1. I was a little scared of flash floods, but ever since some people died in a flash flood (1997), they have a pretty good warning system and the canyon is closed depending on weather. If there are any rain storms in the area (especially upstream), they close the canyon out of precaution.
      They didn’t really tell us what to do in case there is a flash flood (there are actually rare), but they mentioned a couple of emergency exits.
      I didn’t really feel claustrophobic. There was a lot of natural light from above in the canyon , so it didn’t really feel to “cramped’ or anything in there.

  2. Glen Canyon Float Trip? Never heard of it, have to google it!
    While I’ve never been to the Upper Antelope Canyon, I just love the lower one. What an incredible place Mother Nature created there.

    1. Yes! You take a raft down the river from Glen Canyon Dam… it’s apparently amazing. I have seen the rafts down below (you can see one – it’s blue – in one of my pictures from Horseshoe Bend!)

  3. Absolutely stunning. I can’t believe something like this exists naturally (although I shouldn’t be surprised!). Did you feel claustrophobic at all? I feel like my heart would be pounding!

    1. I know, Mother Nature is the greatest artist! :)
      No, I didn’t really feel claustrophobic. There was a lot of natural light from above in the canyon , so it didn’t really feel to “cramped’ or anything in there.

  4. The views are stunning!! and it look terrifying to me! gorgeous pictures!

    1. It’s a really cool experience!

  5. Oh wow, these are beautiful photos – they look like they should be on a postcard! Thanks so much for sharing. I like the various things you can “see” like the Joker face, and yes, I see Trump’s hairflip. LOL


    1. You’re welcome. It really was an amazing experience!

  6. This looks so amazing and your photos are stunning!
    This is a photographers dream – the pictures look like they should be on a postcard.
    Thank you for sharing :)

    1. You’re welcome. It was an awesome experience.

  7. These photos are out of this world! I’ve never even heard of this place, but now I want to put it at the top of my bucket list! How cool!!

    1. Yes, definitely bucket list worthy!

  8. I think I just need to go up and base myself in Page and see ALL THE THINGS. There’s so much up there to experience and see and explore.

  9. That is so stunning. I have yet to explore the national parks of az but I would definitely
    Go to this one when we visit az. we did a hike through a slot canyon in CA east of San Diego but it wasn’t as cool and beautiful as this one. But it was still a cool experience.

  10. This is definitely on the top of my list of spots to visit still! :) The photos are soooooo great.

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