Bucket List: Is Antelope Canyon Still Worth Visiting In 2024?

Bucket List: Is Antelope Canyon Still Worth Visiting In 2024?


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Antelope Canyon is one of those places that you just want, even if it’s been done a million times. The colors of the sandstone, as vibrant as they are in photographs are just something else you need to see for yourself. But the beauty is here each visit is different.

The light and colors are constantly changing and there are limitless angles for composition if you aren’t just trying to replicate someone else’s shot.

But here’s a bit of reality vs. expectation to manage your expectations. Antelope Canyon is crowded, prices have gone up and you’re often rushed along on tours. So is Antelope Canyon still worth visiting?

I’ve put together the definitive guide with everything you’ll need to know and consider before going to Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon Photography Tours Cancelled

Antelope Canyon Tours announced in 2022 that they were canceling all the photo tours to ease congestion for visitors to both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.

This is a move that I highly applauded, since it allows for all visitors to enjoy the beauty of the place without having to wait around for photographers on the “photo tour” to finish taking their shots. Yes, even as a photographer, I agree with this.

Don’t worry, only the photography tours have gone away. The normal tours still operate.

Other Slot Canyons To Explore In Arizona

  1. Canyon X
  2. Deer Creek Narrows
  3. Paria Canyon
  4. Pumphouse Wash
  5. Secret Canyon
  6. Water Holes Canyon

Can You Still Take Photos In Antelope Canyon?

While there are hundreds of slot canyons around the Utah/Arizona area, Antelope Canyon is made up of two particularly beautiful stretches of slot canyon.  Renowned for its range of colors and easy to access pathways, Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon give visitors two different areas to explore.

To visit, you need to be accompanied on a tour operated by authorized antelope canyon tour companies located in Page, Arizona. Photography is still allowed at Antelope canyon, but tripods are prohibited. There are no longer tours that block traffic just for photographers. Fret not, I’ve never needed a tripod to shoot here and I never had problems shooting with other people around.

Unfortunately, with its popularity, tour prices have gone up and endless tour options making the whole process more confusing than it should be.

 

I’ll show you how to navigate the options to help you decide.

Upper Canyon Pros & Cons | Lower Canyon Pros & Cons | Best Months To Visit | Best Time For Photography | Photography Tips | My Favorite Canyon | Canyon X | Hotel Recommendations

 

Should You Visit Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?

I myself have multiple times visiting both the Upper and Lower Canyon. Both are worth visiting, but if you only have time for one, you can read on to decide how to choose between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.

Upper Antelope Canyon Pros & Cons

When you see photographs of Antelope Canyon, it is usually from Upper Antelope Canyon, the more “photogenic” of the two.

At the top of the Upper Antelope Canyon, it’s more narrow and then opens up to a wider base at the bottom. This allows for a more open walk. After you climb down the ladders to get into the canyon, you will walk through an easy to follow winding path to admire the sandstone formations from below.

Antelope Canyon is the more popular of the two canyon and will always be busier. If you are interested in photographing the famous “beam of light,” it’s located in Upper Antelope Canyon.

Guided tours usually start around $135, but prices are based on the time slot you choose. The total tour time will be around 1.5 hours with about 45-50 mins in the slot canyon.

TIP: If you want to experience the “Beam of Light,” it’s important to reserve a tour in advance and visit between 11 am to 1 pm. The listed tour time is when you meet at the office. Tours usually start 50 mins after the check-in time.  I suggest choosing the 10:20 am or 11:15 am time tours for the best chance of seeing the light. These tours will be more expensive.

Lower Antelope Canyon Pros & Cons

Lower Antelope Canyon is the lesser visited of the two, and the tour prices are lower than for Upper Antelope Canyon. It’s almost the inverse of Upper Antelope Canyon. The base is more narrow and the top is wider, so more light will flood through.

When you think of a slot canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon better matches the description, since you’ll be making your way through more narrow openings, which in my opinion, is a lot more fun. Lower Antelope Canyon is also less crowded.

Personally, I prefer Lower Antelope Canyon.

Guided Tours start around $95 for Lower Antelope canyon, but you can often find discounted entry on GetYourGuide. I would book Lower Antelope canyon in advance, but not nearly as far out as you would need to for Upper Antelope Canyon.

The total tour time will be around 1.5 hours with about 45-50 mins in the slot canyon.

Both canyons are beautiful, and you’ll get amazing photographs in both places. Antelope Canyon is one of the most accessible and beautiful slot canyons in the world, so you’ll have to decide if spending around $90-$200 for an hour in the canyon is worth it for you.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Antelope Canyon?

Despite the heat, the June – August are the busiest months at Antelope Canyon. The November to March off-peak period is a good time to visit if to avoid the crowds. Be aware of inclement weather conditions and flash flood warnings.

The best months to visit Antelope Canyon, in my opinion are September, October and April and May, during its shoulder season.

Arizona’s Dual Time Zone

If you are visiting Arizona and the Page/Kanab area, make note of this.

Arizona DOES NOT OBSERVE Daylight’s Savings Time. During the Spring and Summer and Fall, Arizona shares the same time zone as California (Pacific Standard Time), but during the Fall and Spring (Daylights Savings), it shares the same time zone as Colorado (Mountain Standard Time.

The Navajo Nation located in Arizona, however, DOES OBSERVE Daylight’s Savings Time. Places like Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley are within the boundaries of the Navajo Nation. However, Antelope Canyon follows Arizona’s time while Monument Valley does not.

Antelope Canyon tours share the same time zone as Page, Arizona.

What Is The Best Time For Photography In Antelope Canyon?

The best time to visit is around midday when there’s more light coming into the canyon. The light in the early morning and late afternoon tours, especially in the winter time, will be slightly dimmer. The colors won’t pop as much.

However, if you’re seeing a pure experience to enjoy the canyon without worrying about photography, going early is the way to go. If you don’t care about the “beam of light”, choose the cheaper 10:20 or 2:30 pm time slot for Upper Antelope Canyon. For Lower Antelope Canyon, choose this oft-discounted 9:30 am Non-Prime Time Entry or the 2:00 pm Regular Time Entry.

Tips For Photographing Antelope Canyon

Leave your tripods at home. Monopod, selfie sticks, and not tripods are allowed in either Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon. Fortunately, the low-light capabilities on modern cameras will allow you to take beautiful and clean hand-held exposures.

Visit Mid-day. Even if you are going for the “Beam of Light,” the canyons are better lit in the middle of the day, which makes it easier to get the best settings on your camera, and more so if you’re shooting with your phone.

don’t be fooled by tours charging more for smaller groups. The canyon is shared by multiple companies so it will be busy regardless. i recommend booking HERE  to get the best time slots and instant confirmation.

Increase Your ISO. Don’t be afraid to increase your ISO up to 2000. I find that the noise level is still very acceptable and can even be cleaned up in post. On your phone, use the night mode or long-exposure setting and hold your phone as still as possible during the 1-2 second exposure.

Lower Your Shutter Speed.  The old rule of thumb for sharp hand-held photography was 1/60th of a second. However, with built in image stabilization, you can go even lower and still get tack-sharp photographs. If you have a subject in your shot, maybe sure they stay as still as possible.

Choose A Wide – Mid Zoom Lens. I consider wide to be somewhere between the 16 – 28mm focal range. 24mm is a great focal length to get capture more of the scene. A 24-70mm zoom is ideal for being able to go wide and then tight to get more details. Primes are nice, I prefer to not change lenses in dusty environment. You might also be rushed on a tour, so having access to multiple focal length is ideal.

Open Up Your Aperture. Get your aperture value to be as wide as possible. A good prime lens going down to f/1.4 or f/1.8 will give plenty of light. I find f/2.8 – f/4 to be a sweet spot for getting enough light while keeping more of the scene in focus.

For Lower Antelope Canyon, there’s more light, so it’ll be even easier to shoot handheld. The last time I came to shoot, my settings were generally around f/4 at 1/120th of a second and ISO 1250.

In fact, I took a few photos with my iPhone at the time and it was still able to capture the colors accurately.

Which Is My Favorite Of The Two Canyons?

For me, it’s Lower Antelope Canyon. The narrow walkways are more fun and interesting to shoot. It’s cheaper, which is always a bonus. Most people will go to Upper Antelope Canyon, so it’s also less packed in the Lower Canyon.

Lastly, I love my photographs from Lower Antelope Canyon more than Upper Antelope Canyon, so there’s also that.

So there it is. Antelope Canyon is everywhere on Instagram. Prices have gone up quite a bit in the last few years, but it’s still definitely a Bucket List item.

Canyon X – An Alternative Canyon

If you are not keen on the prices for Antelope Canyon nor want to deal with the crowds, c0nsider this quiet alternative tour to Canyon X.

Where To Stay In Page, Arizona

The ideal place to stay when visiting Antelope Canyon is Page, Arizona. You will find most of the tour company offices here. It’s a good base for visiting Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and the Wave.

I’ve stayed at quite a few different hotels in Page over the years. Some better than others. These are the best hotels in Page that I can recommend:

Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell: In my opinion, one of the two best hotel in the area with a nice swimming pool, gym and breakfast included.

Courtyard Page at Lake Powell: This is a close one right behind the Hyatt Place. I actually prefer their pool over the Hyatt’s.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson: I stayed here on my most recent visit and I appreciate the indoor poor and more modern furniture in the hotel.

Super 8 by Wyndham: This is a more budget friendly option that’s right in town. As far as Super 8 properties go, this is one of the nicer ones and breakfast is included as well.

Day Trip To Antelope Canyon From Las Vegas

I’ve had a few people ask if it’s possible to do a day trip to Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas. The answer is yes, but I’m not sure I recommend it. The drive from Las Vegas to Page is around 275 miles and takes around 4.5-5 hours. That’s a lot of driving to do in a day.

If you are determined to do it, I recommend you combine it with Horseshoe Bend and take this 13 hour tour that leaves from Las Vegas at 5:45 am. It’ll save you from doing 10 hours of driving and includes a guided tour of Antelope Canyon as well as lunch and a stop at Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell.

Looking for more travel inspirations? Scroll through some of the 450+ experiences on my bucket list. Maybe you’ll find your next adventure on there.

How You Can Help

If you’ve found the content useful, you can help support this site by using these links when you plan and book your trip.

 Booking.com  Agoda.com
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 Viator.com  GetYourGuide.com

 

Updated on May 29, 2024

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