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How to Visit Antelope Canyon: Complete Guide

Antelope Canyon upper

Antelope Canyon is a famous attraction near Page, AZ. I found it rather complicated when I started researching the canyon because

  • a) there are actually many different Antelope Canyons, and
  • b) most require a tour guide, and there are many different tour operators. 

In this article, I’ll try to simplify it for you. This is based on my research and my own experience in visiting three of the canyons. 

Antelope Canyon: Our full review of Upper and Lower Canyons
We provide an overview of the tours of the Upper and Lower Canyon in this video

6 Antelope Canyons 

To my knowledge, there are six canyons in this area associated with  “Antelope Canyon:”

  • Upper Antelope Canyon
  • Lower Antelope Canyon
  • Antelope Canyon X
  • Deer Canyon
  • Secret Canyon
  • Kayak access to Antelope Wash/Canyon
Map of 6 different Antelope canyons

These are not just different tours of the same canyon. 

Four of these are located in Antelope Wash – a mostly dry river bed that, when it receives rain and water, flows north into Lake Powell. The river bed occasionally turns into a river and has carved out a few distinct canyons. 

Secret Canyon is not part of the wash and is located closer to Horseshoe Bend. It offers similar views. 

Upper & Lower Canyons are the two most popular, though I’m not sure if that’s because they are the best, or because of good marketing.

Also, Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons are named for their elevation, not their direction.

We have toured both of these as well as Antelope X, and I’ll provide a full review for you below (for more, watch our video above).

Getting There

All of these canyons are located near Page. Some tours have offices in Page where you’ll meet and they will take you on a truck to the canyon. Other tours will have you meet at the canyon or closer to the canyon.

Discover The Best Activities When Visiting Page, Arizona and Lake Powell.

Navajo Land 

I believe 4 of the canyons are located on Navajo Land (the exception being the Kayak Access). One of these is owned by a brother and sister, so I’m not sure if they are private, Navajo-owned, or a mixture of both. 

Either way, the tours to access Antelope Canyon are run by private businesses, and they all require a Navajo National Park pass to enter. The fee for this is included in the booking cost.

Don’t miss: Cliff Dwellings in Navajo National Monument in Arizona.

Upper Antelope Canyon

family in Antelope Canyon upper

We visited the Upper Antelope Canyon through Roger Ekis’ Tours.

The Shuttle

Antelope Canyon tour building
Antelope Canyon shuttle ride

We met at their office in Page, where a tour guide loaded us up on a truck and drove us on the highway to Antelope Wash.

From there, he put the truck in 4-wheel drive, added chains for good measure, and then drove like a madman through the sandy wash for what seemed like 10-15 minutes until we arrived at the canyon.

I forgot to take pictures of the ride, but I included some videos in our review at the top of this post.

The ride was something we DID NOT expect, but it was actually a blast! It was bumpy and we slid all over the place. It was memorable for us and our kids.

The Canyon

Antelope Canyon upper entrance
Antelope Canyon entrance upper

We entered the canyon at the ground level.

The Upper Canyon is more A-shaped: narrow at the top and wide at the bottom. This makes it more accessible than the Lower Canyon.

people in Antelope Canyon upper

It’s also quite a bit taller than the Lower Canyon.

This is the canyon with the famous beams of light entering the narrow top during mid-day. The tour guide explained to us the beams of light only happen at certain times of the year.

Not sure which area of the Grand Canyon to Visit?

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The Tour

people in Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope canyon

The tour took about an hour to go about the length of a football field. We stopped around every bend and waited for people to take their photos. Typically, the generous tour guide would help, or even just take the photos for us, using the right settings (vivid warm).

The tours used to walk back through the canyon to the truck, but recently stairs were constructed to take visitors up and around the canyon, reducing back-and-forth log jams within the canyon.

Antelope Canyon stairs upper

Antelope Canyon upper
Antelope Canyon stairs upper

Tour Operators

There are 5 tour operators in the Upper Canyon. See the Navajo National Park website for a list of authorized tours.

Lower Antelope 

Antelope Canyon Lower

We also did a tour of the Lower Antelope Canyon. There are only two authorized tour operators here: Ken’s Tours and Dixie Tours. Both are located right next to the canyon. The businesses are right next to each other; my understanding is they are owned by a brother and sister.

Tours at Antelope Canyon Lower
people standing in front of building at Antelope Canyon Lower tour

We parked at the parking lot and checked in. We then waited for our guide, who walked us to the canyon.

people walking trail to Antelope Canyon Lower

The Canyon

Antelope Canyon Lower

Lower Antelope is a little longer than Upper Antelope Canyon.

It’s also V-shaped – narrow at the bottom and wider at the top. This allows for more sunlight to enter the canyon. No beams of light here, but the light shows off the canyon walls better.

People in Antelope Canyon Lower

Since it’s narrow at the bottom, it requires some scrambling around and through the bends in the canyon walls. There are also sections with ladders to climb.

Kids climbing through cracks in red rock at Antelope Canyon

Those who are claustrophobic and those who have mobility issues may be affected. I’m a little claustrophobic and it didn’t bother me.

Couple in Antelope Canyon Lower

The Tour

People climbing down stairs into Antelope Canyon Lower

The tour starts by descending a steep and narrow staircase to the canyon. The rest of the tour is a gradual climb back to ground level, with assists from ladders occasionally.

Antelope Canyon Lower stairs

The tour operators are a little younger here because they don’t have to drive visitors to the canyon. I think our guide did a fine job and she was extremely helpful in making sure people got the photos they wanted.

People in Antelope Canyon Lower

The canyon was packed with people, and at one point an enforcer walked through to speed things along.

I thought in general the workers didn’t quite have the soft people skills that the older guides at Lower Antelope Canyon did. This isn’t necessarily a criticism aimed at the Lower Antelope workers, but an observation of my experience.

But at one point, I tried taking a photo inside the building and a worker quickly got on my case. Outside in the parking lot, I shot a video of Cheryl and a worker walked over to stand beside me while we filmed. He didn’t ask us to stop, he just stood there. It was awkward.

I realize we are travel vloggers and every business has a right to implement its rules. It’s just that the whole place felt a little like an army of young workers trying to herd a ton of people through and keep everyone in line.

By the time we left, we were happy to get out of there. We did this tour first, and after this experience, we really didn’t want to do the Upper Tour later in the day, but we had already purchased our nonrefundable tickets.

Antelope X

We visited Upper and Lower Canyons on Labor Day of 2022. When we returned, we released this blog post and a video about our experience. We’ve gotten a lot of feedback. Many people recommended we visit Antelope X because it was cheaper and less crowded. We decided to check it out in April of 2024.

The Canyon

At Antelope X, you actually go into 2 canyons: North and South Canyons. They are similar to one another. The walls are the same Navajo Sandstone you see in the other canyons but these were 125 feet tall. So much taller than upper and lower canyons, but were also shorter in length.

The canyon isn’t super narrow, 3-10 feet apart in most places, and it’s pretty dark because it is so deep. There are a couple of spots where they keep little lights.

You have to walk 98 wood steps (yep, I counted them) to get in and out of the canyons with a little exposed hike in between the two. If you can’t do stairs, you can walk beside them in the sand.

We got some great pictures but we don’t think that Antelope X is as photogenic as the Upper and Lower Canyons.

Antelope X
Couple in Antelope X
Snake box bin at Antelope X
If one of the guides finds a snake, they put it in this box and take it somewhere else.

The Tour

Antelope X is run by Taadidiin Tours, which also gives tours of Cardiac Canyon. It’s family-owned and I like that they limit how many people can go in the canyon, no more than 800. On the day we visited, only about 350 toured the canyon. I’m pretty sure the day we visited Lower Canyon, 1500 people went through.

GOOD TO KNOW: Taadidiin is the pollen that comes off of corn and the Navajo use it to pray and say thank you to their god. It is also the name of the man who discovered this canyon.

We met at the dirt parking lot and waited for our 16-passenger van to come pick us up. We went on a 10-minute ride to the canyon where our guide met us. She was very sweet and showed us how to take photos. She also gave us some history of the canyon. Our total time including the van ride, the two canyons, and the short hike connecting the two, took 90 minutes total.

Costs: Is Antelope Canyon Worth it?

We thought that all the canyons were much too expensive for what they were.

We don’t begrudge a business for charging what the market will allow. Disney will keep raising prices until people stop going. But our mission is to give you information to help you make decisions, and we thought they were overpriced.

However, we travel with a family of 6. So for us, we’ve spent about $1,200 total visiting these canyons. Obviously, we are a little unique. Most people are only going to do one tour, and if you’re only traveling with a spouse and no kids, you’ll pay around $100-$150 for a tour.

The Upper Canyon tour was more expensive, and I’m assuming that’s in large part to pay for the trucks and transportation to get you out there.

If you a photographer or just want a great photo for your Facebook or Instagram account one of these tours may be worth it for you. If you are a hiker, you’ll probably hate it. We recommend checking out Buckskin Gulch if you are into hiking slot canyons.

GOOD TO KNOW: Special photography tours are offered for an additional cost. On a normal tour, tripods aren’t allowed. Photography tours give you some extra time to set up your shots and allow tripods. Shooting videos is not allowed on regular tours; we aren’t sure about photography tours.

Which Antelope Canyon Should You Visit?

Many people want to know which one is better. It really is a matter of personal preference.

Matt liked the Upper Canyon because it felt more majestic. He liked the flat, wider ground floor coupled with the views looking above. Plus the truck ride out there was super fun.

Cheryl and the kids liked the Lower Canyon because it was more like a playhouse – climbing through holes, up ladders, and around walls.

We both liked the price point of Antelope X. It was significantly cheaper. Tour guides vary of course, but our guide at Antelope X was our favorite.

people climbing ladder in Antelope Canyon Lower
Stairs in the Lower Canyon require at least some mobility

As far as accessibility, all had a fair amount of stairs. The Upper is certainly more accessible in that you don’t need to scramble, but be prepared for the bumpy ride out there!

The Other 3 Canyons (That I Know Of)

I’m aware of three other canyons, but I can’t give a full review because I haven’t done them.

Kayaking into Antelope 

It’s possible to rent a kayak at the marina in Page and kayak to a spot where you can get off and walk through a canyon. Though you’ll need to rent the kayak, the canyon itself does not cost money. In recent years, this route on the water is a wake-free zone making it a much more peaceful paddle.

From the pictures we’ve seen, this is the least scenic of the canyons. But we can’t speak from personal experience.

Secret Canyon

This is the most expensive tour, and it’s coupled with a trip to Horseshoe Bend (which can be easily visited on your own with a small parking fee). Many people on our channel said this was an incredible, upper-end experience.

Though this is not part of Antelope Wash, the pictures we’ve seen look very similar to Upper and Lower.

Deer Canyon

This canyon is also Navajo-run and looks to be the most adventurous of the Antelope Canyon tours. They offer three tours that range from 1.5 to 4 hours in duration. The Ligai Si Anii Canyon Tour and Thumbnail Canyon are rated moderate and the Rams Head Canyon Tour is rated hard because you climb ladders and use cabling equipment.

Other Things to Do Nearby

There are quite a few other cool things to do near Page and Antelope Canyon:

Visiting the Grand Canyon?

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GRAND CANYON GUIDE: To read or watch all of our content about the Grand Canyon, Check out our Grand Canyon Homepage

AREAS: The Grand Canyon is divided into 4 areas: The South Rim, North Rim, Grand Canyon West, and the East Side of the Grand Canyon (Page, AZ). Learn about the 4 areas of the Grand Canyon with our Free Printable.

THINGS TO DO: There is much more to do than hike and look at viewpoints.  Explore Antelope Canyon or ride a mule.

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