Part 4 of Explore UT / AZ
takes us to Antelope Canyon, the famous slot canyons of Arizona. Antelope is about 15 minutes from Horseshoe Bend, and both canyons sit on Navajo land. Upper Antelope Canyon tends to be more popular of the two since it opens up with a V shape. This makes it so there’s more light that can filter into the canyon and create light rays. Lower Antelope Canyon is less popular (but gaining fans!), but longer. It is more of an A shape, which means there will be less light rays because of the narrower opening. Both slot canyons make for an unforgettable experience and they should be high on your list of places to see.
Slot canyons like Antelope Canyon are formed through rushing water carving through layers of stone over a long period of time. As the water etches away the rock, it starts swirling in miniature whirlpools. This is what causes the circular, flowing shapes in the walls. When it rains, the water rushes through the canyon at over 100 miles per hour! Both Upper and Lower Antelope get up to 120 feet deep, so you know this erosion has been happening for a long time!
How water behaves in these canyons means that flash floods are a constant danger. If there is any indication of rain, all of the tours will be shut down. The water has been known to rip the ladders and platforms out of the wall, so that’s not something you want to be in the canyon for. The tour company will tell you of potential weather conflicts, but make sure to check the weather yourself before you make the trek!
With all of that being said, Michele and I decided to see Lower Antelope Canyon. We booked through Ken’s Tours and they did an awesome job! There are a bunch of different tour times:the General Tour starts at 8:20AM – 4PM and a tour leaves every twenty minutes. Those tours run $25 per person and last for about an hour. You have a guide that takes you through the entire canyon and points out everything of note. You’re allowed to take photos, but you can’t use a tripod and you can’t really hold up the tours behind you (like I said, it’s really packed).
Guided Photography Tours are given as well. They’re more expensive ($47 per person), but are two hours and fifteen minutes long. Only four are offered per day during Summer hours, and only two during Winter. You’re allowed to bring a tripod with you and the guides will hold back other tours to allow for shots of the empty canyon. We did the General Tour, primarily because the Photography Tour was sold out, and got some pretty great photos. Check ’em out!
Our guide was really funny, showing us where all of the famous photos in the canyon were taken and, to my dismay, how much each photo sold for. One of them got upwards of $3,000,000! He positioned us so we would make sure to have all of the famous photos for ourselves, and even helped some of the less photo-savy configure their cameras for the best shots! From my experience, the tour guides were personable and very informative.
After walking through Antelope, I thought I had experienced the high point of our trip in Utah. I would still think that if we didn’t save the best for last on our Explore UT/AZ tour. Have you ever hiked through slot canyons? Comment below and let me know!