The Antelope Canyon Road Trip Guide
Antelope Canyon is a popular bucket list location for many travelers. And it certainly should be on yours.
Located in northern Arizona, it’s a sacred and majestic slot canyon owned by the Navajo Nation (Diné.) By the end of this guide, you’ll know why adding Antelope Canyon to your travel list is an excellent idea.
Where Is Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon sits just east of Page, Arizona, within the Navajo Nation. Those using Page as a basecamp for their adventures can travel to Antelope Canyon easily within 20 minutes. In addition, Antelope Canyon is only about two hours away from the Grand Canyon.
What Makes Antelope Canyon So Special?
Antelope Canyon is a sacred place for the Navajo people, and it’s also a Navajo Tribal Park. To the Navajo people, the canyon serves as a symbol of Mother Nature’s gifts and powers. Visiting is considered to be a spiritual experience.
Antelope Canyon is the most visited slot canyon in the country due to its beauty and unique features. Millions of years of flash flooding through the sandy earth landscape created the beautiful wave-like formations in the canyon. During the spring and summer months, the sun enters the canyon so that awe-inspiring sunbeams shine down into the canyon.
Are Guided Tours Required For Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon is within the Navajo Nation, and the Navajo tribe owns and manages it. You should know that it’s not public land. So, the only way to access Antelope Canyon is via an approved tour company. In fact, these certified tours are a guided experience, making them well worth the price.
The tours vary in price from $50-$80 a person and include a knowledgeable tour guide. The tour fees are generally all-inclusive, but some don’t include the required $8 Navajo Park fee. Visitors can only access the canyon with a guide. Entering the canyon on your own is not permitted.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Antelope Canyon?
Those looking for the best chance at seeing the highly sought-after sunbeams entering the canyon will want to do so in the spring and summer months. The light beams appear in late March and continue until October. They never appear before 11 am or after 1 pm.
Booking a midday tour during the spring or summer offers the best chance of catching the light beaming down into the canyon. Although, there’s never a guarantee that sunbeams will be present.
For visitors more interested in experiencing a less populated canyon, November-February is the best option. The canyon can get cold during these months, but there’s rarely snow. Those visiting in the winter will not have the opportunity to see the sunbeams but will snag great pictures with reduced crowds.
Best Hikes Near Antelope Canyon
Making your way through the Antelope Canyon isn’t the only thing to do in the area. Experiencing the canyon might leave you inspired to see more. So if you aren’t ready for your adventure to end, check out some of these incredible nearby hikes.
Hanging Garden Trail
Hanging Garden Trail is a 1.2-mile out-and-back trail. It is a highly trafficked trail with an elevation gain of 62 feet. The Hanging Garden Trail is easy and great for all skill levels. This year-round trail is a great option regardless of when you are traveling. Leashed dogs are permitted.
Hikers can expect an easy well-marked trail. The turnaround point greets hikers with a lush hanging garden, a unique site amid the desert landscape.
There is also an additional side trail that is short and leads to a viewpoint many hikers enjoy.
Horseshoe Bend is a heavily trafficked 1.4-mile trail about five miles from Antelope Canyon. This easy hike has an elevation gain of 380 feet. There’s a bit of an elevation gain here, but the path is easy to navigate and great for all ages. Horseshoe Bend is hike-able year-round. Be sure to bring your dog with you because leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.
A breathtaking view of the famous Horseshoe Bend awaits those who complete the hike. Hikers report few benches on the trail for those needing to rest during the trek. There is very little shade, so be sure to pack some water, especially in the summer months.
Rainbow Bridge Trail
A hike that you can’t miss in the area is Rainbow Bridge Trail. This trail has several access points, but one of the most popular is via the boat docks. Rainbow Bridge trail is an easy 1.8-mile hike with an elevation gain of only 29 feet. Hikers of all ages and abilities will enjoy this hike. Dogs are not welcome on this trail, so make sure to plan accordingly.
Hikers will have the privilege of viewing the well-known Rainbow Bridge. This 290-foot natural bridge is well worth the hike to see it. While the trail is easy to navigate, it can get hot in the summer months, and little shade is available during the trek. Bring plenty of water along with you to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Best Camping Near Antelope Canyon
While Antelope Canyon is a great day trip from many nearby locations, staying local is always a great option. Camping near the canyon gives you a chance to experience everything the area has to offer. Take a look at some of our top picks for camping near Antelope Canyon.
Wahweap RV & Campground
Wahweap RV & Campground is at Wahweap Marina, only a quarter-mile from Lake Powell. There are 139 full hook-up sites available, with most sites having the ability to accommodate rigs up to 45 feet. A limited number of sites can accommodate rigs up to 70 feet. If you don’t need quite that much room, the campground also has 36 tent-only sites and 112 self-contained sites available for tents or RVs under 25 feet.
Campers at Wahweap RV & Campground enjoy easy lake access and an abundance of water recreation activities. In addition, Antelope Canyon is about 15 miles away. There’s a coin-operated laundry facility located within the camp store for campers who need to use them. In those hot summer months, you can cool off in the campground pool.
Page Campground offers various campsites, including full hookup, water, and electric and tent-only sites. Each full hookup site includes cable TV as well. The campground offers a discounted rate for week-long stays. The campsites are ample in size and can accommodate large rigs, with plenty of room for parking.
The campground offers WiFi throughout the property for those needing to stay connected during their stay. There are laundry facilities available as well. Children and parents will appreciate the onsite playground as well as a fitness center. The indoor pool and hot tub are sure to be a hit with many campers. Antelope Canyon is only about six miles from the campground.
Is An Antelope Canyon Road Trip Worth It?
The Grand Canyon tends to get the most hype in Arizona, but there are many other amazing places to explore while visiting. Antelope Canyon is one of those places. And you need to experience it for yourself to understand its significance. Adding it to your list of Arizona must-sees is definitely worth it. While many incredible slot canyons exist, Antelope Canyon should be at the top of the list.
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Wednesday 9th of June 2021
It's a shame because of Covid that so many people are afraid to die they aren't living.
Tuesday 8th of June 2021
According to the website https://navajonationparks.org, all Navajo Nation parks and recreations will remain closed until further notice.
Tuesday 8th of June 2021
The slot canyons are absolutely worth seeing if you get the chance even if it does cost $$
Tuesday 8th of June 2021
Thank you for the info! I wasn't familiar with this area AT ALL, but have seen pics of that smooth canyon.- looks like a great place to visit with a lot to see - making the trip from Ohio!!