To finish off our Page trip, since we couldn’t do Vermillion Cliffs or Coyote Buttes, we decided we definitely had to see Upper Antelope Canyon. As I understand it you can not really visit without an Navajo guide/ a guided tour since the canyon is in a Navajo park. You can either drive to the park entrance and arrange to hire a guide, or you can book through a company in town. I say ‘really’ since there is a possibility you can take a 2 day hike in from another entrance or something, but I’m not 100% (you still need a guide to enter the canyon).
Link to the tour company we went with. $35 a head, really great ride our and tour
If we could do it again, I’d say shell out a couple more bucks to go around mid day, that would be the best time because it got a little dark during our 5pm tour.
To start out, we show up at the tour shop in town and together with a group of 10 strangers load up into a kind of 4×4 safari truck to drive 10 minutes to the park entrance. From there it was another 10 minutes across a sandy riverbed to the canyon entrance, a really fun bouncy run; every now and again we were bouncing 2 feet up on the seats. But we got out, and as our guide explained a bit of history of the area and the canyon we began the tour. It’s narrow but maybe 60 feet tall, all shaped and carved really smooth by rivers/rains, a beautiful red, tan and khaki mix. The floor is a soft bed of sand and we walk through slowly taking pictures, gazing up, looking at gorgeous designs in the stones and natural sculptures in the canyon wall that the guide pointed out, some that looked like bears, eagles and so on.
It’s a 20 minute slow walk with a group as you gaze around, upwards, forward and back since the light affects the formations and sculptures differently from different angles. Some quite plain, and some quite beautiful, complex, and unique sandstone designs. It was also really helpful that our tour guide Leonard Nez knew all the best spots to take memorable photos, and allowed us breaks to snap some photos. He also said he’d seen every kind of camera that’s come through there and helped everyone with camera settings as a bonus. We got to the end of the canyon after a dozen stories and mini photo shoots and he stood there and told a short story about what antelope canyon meant to him and his people, and their philosophy with regards to living in the area and their relationship with the area which was quite interesting and hopefully sincere. After that we walked back through the canyon to the 4×4 for a bumpy ride back to town while basking in the knowledge that we had just visited an amazing place.
Oh yeah it didn’t fit anywhere above but it’s called Antelope Canyon because they used to run through there and around the area when it was more of a grazing grounds. Now with water and rains and vegetation shifting they don’t visit as often.