Thursday, May 21, 2015

Explore Arizona: Antelope Canyon

A couple months ago Alana called me and said "Hey. Would you be able to take off for a few days and do Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Zion?" I asked her when she was thinking, and she said "Umm, next week." Thanks to my sister, I was able to excitedly say "HELL YES!" and a few days later, we were off.

Hank's family has a houseboat docked on the Arizona side of Lake Powell so we've been close to Antelope Canyon many, many times but never made the time to explore it. And wow- were we missing out!

We decided to visit both Upper and Lower Antelope, and both were very different experiences which I'll detail below. If you decide to make the trip, I recommend taking the time to do both tours.

We went into Upper Antelope first, and used Adventurous Antelope Photo Tours, and did their 12:30pm Prime Time tour. After doing some research we learned that mid-day was the best for capturing the light in the canyon, so we went with Tour #10. We arrived 30-minutes prior to our tour and ate a quick lunch from our backpacks before boarding one of the SUVs with our guide, Dale. There were 9 people total in our group, and then there were also three other SUVs full of hikers following us from the same company.

The whole tour is noted as taking one hour, but with the fifteen-minute drive to the entrance and back, and lingering inside and out, I would estimate the entire excursion took about two hours. It was a GREAT tour. Dale was an exceptional guide, helping us with camera settings, locations, photo ideas, and was full of geological and historical knowledge. It was a phenomenal experience. The only downside was the crowds- it was a weekday so it wasn't horribly crowded, but it was still pretty packed and if you saw an empty spot and wanted to take a photo, you better do it quickly before the next group came through. All in all though I would highly recommend not only this tour company, but also our tour guide Dale.

Next we drove over to Lower Antelope Canyon Tours (I couldn't find a website but it's to the left of Ken's Tours), and waited for our second tour to begin. We were joined by three other people, and we walked back behind the tour shacks to see a very nondescript slot in the ground. It's amazing to think what was inside of that slot- you wouldn't ever know by looking at it that such an insanely beautiful world is down below.

To enter the canyon, you head down a couple of very steep flights of stairs to descend to the canyon floor. Once below we realized we were basically the only ones inside which was such a sharp contrast to our experience in the Upper Canyon. It was amazing to walk through slowly, with no one around, and listen to the sounds of the wind, our breath, and our feet crunching on the rocks. About halfway through our guide started playing a wooden flute and the entire canyon filled up with the most beautiful music. It was truly a "made-it" moment for this trip, and something I think back to often.

It was an amazing time, and I can't recommend visiting Antelope Canyon enough. Be sure to book both Upper and Lower too- they're both incredibly different, and worth the trip. I'll be back next with with details from Horseshoe Bend, and then the following week with my post about the Zion portion of our trip. Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions- I'm happy to answer below.


  1. I cannot believe I've never been here!!!!!! 3 cheers for sister's rocking the world + stepping in like it aint no thang. These pics are breathtaking, what a good time! Bucket listed for sure. xx

  2. Love that last photo! What a beautiful planet we live on :)

  3. Those photos are beautiful! I would love to visit that sometime. Thanks for sharing!!

  4. We are staying in Flag for the week this summer and making this one of our trips. I'm so excited! How close are upper/lower? We are bringing the kiddos. Can't wait to read about Horseshoe Bend. xoxo

  5. Also wondering if you bought tickets there or ahead of time. :)