I am often asked about Antelope Canyon. How do you get there? Is it necessary to go with a guide? How much does it cost? Is it worth it?
Even though I have lived only 2.5 hours away most of my life, and have been to Page and Lake Powell many times, I have never seen Antelope Canyon nor have I seen Horseshoe Bend. Embarrassing, I know!
Last weekend, on a whim, I decided that it was time to change that. We booked a hotel room (because, why not) and set out toward Page. Since Zion National Park is pretty busy this time of year and going through the Zion tunnel can be a pain on the weekends, we decided to go through Colorado City on Highway 59. This route takes you through Fredonia, Arizona & Kanab, Utah, where you take Highway 89 (not 89-A) toward Page, Arizona.
After checking into the Holiday Inn Express and having a power nap, it was time to head over to Ken’s Tours for our 4pm guided tour of lower Antelope Canyon [there are two sections of Antelope Canyon – upper & lower]. In my mind, I was expecting it to be well off the beaten path… I was wrong.
10 minutes from our hotel, south on Coppermine Road and left on 98 (with another left on 222), we arrived at Ken’s Tours. The signage is a little off-putting and it took a minute to figure out where to go, but once we had paid for our reservation and located the tour guide, we were taken to the mouth of the slot canyon – literally just down the hill from the building.
To get down into the slot canyon, there is a very steep and narrow stair case. Be sure to hold tightly onto the railings and be careful of where your feet are. It’s a little tricky, but once you’re down in the canyon, it’s well worth it. Even the very first section is incredible, but gets more and more impressive as you make your way through the slot canyon.
The colors of the walls do not disappoint in photos! Our guide said that different parts of the canyon are illuminated during various times of the day, so there’s never a bad time to go. I will tell you that our guide said that during the summer months, snakes will occasionally fall down in from the desert floor above…
If that doesn’t deter you – and I would probably recommend that you not visit in the summer as it gets HOT – read on 🙂
You will be busy taking lots of photos. This is one photogenic canyon!
The tour itself lasts around 40 minutes and at the end of the canyon, visitors will exit by another set of metal staircases. The staircase is slippery with loose sand and there is one area that the rock hangs low, so you’ll want to be careful not to slip or bump your head!
Once out of the canyon, and you look down toward the crack you just crawled up out of, it’s strange to see how unassuming the area is. Who would think that the crack in the ground you’re looking at leads down to this wondrous natural art?
Now I can confidently explain to visitors how to go about visiting lower Antelope Canyon! 🙂
Here are the answers to those previously mentioned frequently asked questions:
Q: How do you get there?
A: From Page, drive south on Coppermine Road until you see the sign for AZ-98 E. Take a left on 98 and drive until you can take a left on to Indian Rte 222. You’ll make a sharp left onto an entry road toward the parking lot for Ken’s Tours (Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon Tours is in the same parking lot).
The ticket booth is located to the far right of the front of the building. Once you have paid, walk back toward the welcome desk and enter into the gift shop to meet your tour guide and group.
Q: Is it necessary to go with a guide?
A: Yes. Antelope Canyon is owned and the tours are operated by the Navajo Nation. There are two main tour companies that I saw: Ken’s Tour’s and Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon Tours. It is best to reserve your tour via their website prior to arrival (the website says ‘no same-day reservations’).
Q: How much does it cost?
A: The price at Ken’s Tours is $40/adult + $8/person Navajo Park Permit Fee (cash only) + taxes = $100/two people. The general tour fee and the taxes can be paid with a credit or debit card for a $1 fee, but the Park Permit is cash only. Kids ages 8-12 are $20/each + permit and tax & kids 7 and under are free.
Q: Is it worth it?
A: Yes! I believe that the experience is worth it. However, if the price is too steep, I would say that photos do the the canyon justice. I feel that once is enough for me and I doubt I will need to see the upper Antelope Canyon, but I’m glad to have gone.
I hope this helps! I’ll post information about Horseshoe Bend on Part 2 of this blog post 🙂