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Which Section of Antelope Canyon Should We Visit?

The last few years, Antelope Canyon has grown increasingly popular.  Incredible photos of the slot canyon have been shared by visitors through social media. This has propelled the destination into the limelight and increased the desire of so many to experience it first-hand. In fact, images from Antelope Canyon have been used as background images on computers, tablets, phones and television commercials.  Galleries throughout the world display gorgeous photos that increase its popularity.  As the awareness of this amazing destination has grown, many travelers have started to make plans to visit for their first time. It calls to us. And we will be rewarded.   

Which section should we visit?  This is one of the most common questions.  There are several areas of the slot canyon system from which to choose.  But first, let’s start with a few basics.

What is Antelope Canyon? 

It is a natural wash, carved mostly by flash flooding.  The water has eroded beautiful shapes and formations into the Navajo Sandstone.  The result is a unique slot canyon that twists and winds through the section of the Arizona desert.  The entire canyon runs about 20 miles. Visitors will enter one section of the canyon, for about an hour walk, guided by a Navajo guide. 

Where is Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is located completely on Navajo Reservation land, near Page, Arizona.  It is about 4 or 5 hours to drive from Las Vegas or from Phoenix.  Page is in Northern Arizona, near the state border with Utah.  Also in the area are Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, and Glen Canyon Dam.  This entire area is very scenic, offering excellent hiking, boating, and enjoying the beautiful landscapes and vistas.

Which section should I visit?

Most visitors choose to tour just one of the sections, although some will visit more than one during their trip.  No matter which visitors select, they are amazed with the experience.  Each section has its own unique personality.  They offer beautiful colors, shadows and shapes. There are special formations in each, such as The Lady in Red at Antelope Canyon X, or the Stone Maiden inside Lower Antelope Canyon. No matter which one you choose to visit, you will be find incredible views and take some amazing photos.

Antelope Canyon Tours - Upper Ant 6

Upper Antelope Canyon

Guests enter Upper Antelope at ground level.  High canyon walls rise up on both sides.  This is probably the easiest section to walk through. There is a regular staircase at the exit.  Upper Antelope Canyon offers an A-shaped canyon.  It is about 660 feet of easy walking.  Upper Antelope Canyon is wider than other sections.  Guests are driven on a vehicle directly to the canyon entrance. There are often light beams that reach the canyon floor April through August.

Antelope Canyon Tours - Lower Antelope pexels paul ijsendoorn 33041

Lower Antelope Canyon

Visitors to Lower Antelope Canyon will descend into the canyon using some fairly steep and narrow stairs.  The metal stairs are very stable, and securely attached to the canyon walls. There are a total of five flights of stairs with Lower Antelope Canyon.  It is not very difficult to navigate for guests with no mobility issues.  This section is also nicknamed Corkscrew Canyon, since it is more narrow and winding. It is mostly V-shaped, but also has some A-shaped and parallel slot canyon walls.  It includes about 1330 feet of walking.  Light beams will often appear later in the mornings except for Wintertime.  This section offers good lighting throughout the year.

Antelope Canyon Tours - Ant Can X

Antelope Canyon X

Antelope Canyon X is named after the X carved into the Navajo Sandstone, which was created over millions of years by rainfall and wind. Antelope Canyon X offers some unique features.  The walking tour here includes a journey through two different slot canyon sections.  After checking in, guests will be transported in a vehicle 3 miles, down to the mouth of Antelope Canyon X, followed by a hike of about 100 meters into the canyon.  The Navajo guide will assist guests through a tour of the first slot canyon. Then, after the first slot canyon walking tour is complete, guests continue on to the 200-meter walk to the second slot canyon section, which includes about 330 feet of walking.  Antelope Canyon X has occasional light beams, later in the day.  There are no ladders or steep stairs required to visit Antelope Canyon X. There is a downhill walk toward the entrance and then an uphill walk at the end; this is along a dirt road or on the railroad tie steps next to the road.

Antelope Canyon Tours - secret 2

Secret Antelope Canyon

Visitors to Secret Antelope Canyon enjoy smaller group sizes.  Each group will be the only one inside the section of the canyon at that time. There are no stairs or ladders involved.  Guests are driven to an area near the entrance, after which there is a ten-minute walk through the sand to arrive at the slot canyon.  Secret Antelope Canyon is also called Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon.  This section offers both A-shaped and V-shaped sections. There is plenty of light most of the day.  This section is unique since it is the only one that allows guests to take video while inside.  Secret Antelope Canyon is part of the Antelope Canyon wash and offers an more VIP experience with less crowds, although a bit more expensive. These owners also own half of Horseshoe Bend, and guests can visit this private side of Horseshoe Bend Overlook, away from the crowds of the public side.

Horseshoe Bend Overlook

A separate attraction from Antelope Canyon is Horseshoe Bend.  Most visitors to the Page area will also choose to experience Horseshoe Bend Overlook.  It is just about a 15-minute drive from Antelope Canyon.  This spectacular viewpoint sits at 1,000 feet above a U-shaped turn in the Colorado River.  This section of the river is upriver from the Grand Canyon.  The views of the river, from high above on the cliffs, is dramatic and breathtaking.

Half of Horseshoe Bend, the right side, is owned by the city of Page. This is where almost all of the visitors go.  The other half, on the left side, is owned by the same family that owns Secret Antelope Canyon.  Therefore, only this company can offer tours that go to both Horseshoe Bend and Secret Antelope Canyon.  One of the benefits of going to Secret Antelope Canyon is that they will also escort you in a vehicle to their private side of Horseshoe Bend.  This avoids the 20-minute walk from the parking lot of the city side.  It is also much less crowded on the private side, and feels like a semi-private VIP experience.