Seen those reddish orange, curvy, wavy and totally surreal pictures of Antelope Canyon? We visited the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons when we decided to spend a weekend in Page, Arizona. On a Saturday morning, we woke up early (6 am on a Saturday is considered early for us), visited the Horseshoe bend to beat the crowd and then took a guided tour of the Upper Antelope Canyon.
We made reservations to the guided tour in advance and checked in at the tour company 30 minutes prior to the tour start time. From there, we took an open-aired truck to the Upper Antelope Canyon. It was a bumpy ride to the Upper Antelope Canyon on the sand dunes. It was raining when we started from Page, fortunately the clouds cleared up by the time we reached the canyon entrance.
The Antelope Canyons are formed by erosion of sand-stones, due to flash flooding and combination of minerals. With a reddish orange hue, these petrified sand-stones look amazing. With the sun piercing through the canyons in a few places, the colors of the canyon look brighter and more vivid. Parts of the canyon where there is no sunlight, one needs a flashlight.
The canyon was crowded with several tour groups and taking a picture without tourists was a challenge. The tour guide pointed to us several spots from where we could get good pictures. It was windy that day and sand was pouring down into the canyon. We even took a picture from the deepest point inside the canyon and this is approximately 130 feet.
It was a very easy walk inside the canyon, but the whole tour felt rushed. I wish we had more time to spend inside. As I was pondering over, it was made mandatory for tourists to take a guided tour and not walk on their own, the tour guide showed us a part of the canyon where there were gunshots and went on to explain that it was caused by people a few years ago when there were no guided tours and anybody could walk inside the canyons. Ah, the powers that humans have to create and destroy things!
It was interesting when the tour guide talked about how flash floods can cover up these canyons with water within a few minutes. And it doesn’t even have to rain in the canyons. Even when it rains 15 miles away, the water washes down into these narrow canyons filling them up to the brim. Scary!
The trail inside the Upper Antelope Canyon doesn’t form a loop, so we had to return via the same way we came from, but the view is totally different on the way back. Overall, we were mind blown by the history and geological formation of these canyons, but the tour itself felt rushed.
- Select one of the tour companies and make advance reservations. We made reservations with Antelope Canyon Tours
- Bring a handkerchief to cover eyes and mouth while looking up the canyons and also make sure you protect your camera because of sand dust falling from the top of the canyons
- Best time to visit them is during mid-day