Best Time To Visit Antelope Canyon, Arizona: Tips and All You Need To Know
Antelope Canyon, located in the heart of the American Southwest, is a breathtaking slot canyon known for its beautiful sandstone formations and enchanting light beams. Want to know the best time to visit antelope canyon and tips? Read on.
If you’re planning a trip to this natural wonder, there are some essential tips and information you should know. I’m going to share my tips and research I did prior to going on my trip, I will walk you through how to plan your visit, what to expect, and how to make the most of your experience at Antelope Canyon.
Use the above to jump to the different topics and don’t forget to view the Frequent Asked Questions at the end!
Table of Content
Best Time To Visit Antelope Canyon, Arizona:
If you’ve clicked on my website you probably already know the draw of Antelope Canyon (feel free to skip down below for tips and how to plan your trip)
But If you don’t, A quick overview: nestled in the heart of the American Southwest, Antelope Canyon stands as a mesmerizing testament to the power of Mother Nature. This stunning slot canyon, located on Navajo land in Arizona, has been sculpted by wind and water over the millennia, creating a breathtaking display of swirling colors and sinuous shapes. Antelope Canyon light beams are another reason hundreds come flocking to see the Canyons.
When I visited Arizona, Antelope Canyon was the biggest draw for me (all thanks to Britney Spears’s “I’m Not a girl not yet a Woman” music video, the slot canyons in her music video are located here), and it has been on my bucket list ever since. It’s incredible that there is so much beauty right in my home country. It just proves that you don’t have to go far to travel. Here’s my guide on how to visit Antelope Canyon: tips, and what you need to know before visiting Antelope Canyon.
Planning Your Trip to Antelope Canyon
What You Need To Know Visiting Antelope Canyon
When to Visit Antelope Canyon
Timing is everything when visiting Antelope Canyon, as the sun’s position and weather conditions have to be right to see the light beams and the full spectacle. Check out my step by step how to plan a trip guide. If you’re looking for a place to stay in Page that’s close to Antelope Canyon see my article here.. What to consider:
- Best Months to Visit Antelope Canyon: Late spring and early fall offer milder temperatures and fewer crowds. May and September are ideal.
- Best Time Of Day to See Light Beams in Antelope Canyon: Midday (11 am to 2 pm), when the sun is directly overhead and strongest, between March and October is the best time to capture those famous light beams but keep in mind that this is also the most crowded time! Make sure to book your tickets at least 5+ months in advance (the sooner the better! I reserved mines 6 months), and the early time slots sell out months in advance.
- Worst Time To Visit Antelope Canyon Arizona: Steer clear of monsoon season. Flash floods are common and dangerous, so be cautious visiting during the monsoon season (mid-June to mid-September). I visited in July but it was a dry year with little rain.
Best Time To Visit Antelope Canyon
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is in Summer. When I went, I unintentionally picked the hottest month of July, but for good reason, we went for my birthday! I saw the light beams and the beautiful waves of rock formation. We went at 11 am and there is plenty of shade in the canyons but prepared for the heat!
Spring and fall have mild temperatures and fewer crowds, while summer is most popular because of the famous light beams. If you’re looking to avoid crowds, consider visiting during the winter months, but yes, be prepared for cold temperatures! The next question and decision are, should you visit the upper canyon or the lower canyon?
Antelope Canyon Weather
The weather in antelope canyon varies. See the weather map below of Antelope Canyon.
Should you Visit Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?
You’re probably wondering which antelope canyon is more beautiful. Antelope Canyon is divided into two sections: Upper and Lower. Each offers a unique experience, and your preferences and abilities when deciding which to visit. Or visit both!
- Upper Antelope Canyon (The Crack): Check Prices & Availability here. Most Popular and well-known for its famous light beams, this section is easier to access and navigate, it’s more suitable if you have limited mobility or are claustrophobic of tight places.
- Lower Antelope Canyon (The Corkscrew): Check Prices & Availability here. Offering more challenging terrain and fewer crowds, Lower Antelope Canyon is ideal for seeing narrow slots in the canyon and interesting formations. However, keep in mind that it may not be suitable for young children or those with mobility issues.
- If you have the time I would recommend both Check Prices & Availability here! I’d recommend seeing the upper first to see the famous light beams, and then the lower.
- Secret Antelope Canyon: “Canyon X”: It’s not very well known as of now, but that will change as more people learn about it. There is only one tour as far as I know that offers this tour. You get to see a bit of the light beams from the upper antelope canyon, and the narrow formations of the lower antelope canyon. Yet fewer crowds and extra time to photograph, since you can elect to do the extended tour geared towards photographer. Check pricing now.
How To Visit Antelope Canyon
What is the best way to see antelope canyon
You’re probably wondering, can I go to Antelope Canyon without a tour? The bad news is you can’t go without a tour (this is the tour I went on). Since Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land, you must book a guided tour to enter. The good news is it’s actually better to go on a tour. It’s a maze in there, add in the heat, and the crowds and it wouldn’t be a good experience.
Choosing the Right Antelope Canyon Tour
You have to book your tour in advance (well in advance) and reserve your tour time in advance as well, as the popular time spots fill up quickly during peak seasons. Be sure to book a tour that matches your physical abilities (there are some steep stairs to climb.
My Suggestions for an Antelope Canyon Tour from Page/Flaggstaff:
- Upper Antelope Canyon Tour: This is the tour I booked. Check Prices & Availability here. It was a group of 12 our guide was awesome. He didn’t herd us like cattle and even took some photos for us. Although it depends on the guide you get. This tour doesn’t include tips or transportation which worked great for us since we had a rental car. Read my full review and what to expect here.
- We rented a car in Page and parked on site, there isn’t a parking fee but a $8 environmental fee our tour didn’t have transportation. I recommend you book your car asap, this is the company I rented with.
- Photography tour: Check Prices & Availability here. Although the official upper photography tours are no longer offered by the Navajo guide, If you’re an avid photographer, this tour offers more time to capture the perfect shot in the exclusive slot X canyon photo tour which requires a special tour permit to see. You still get the light beams but without the crowds! Definitely worth considering.
- Tour with Transfer: Check Prices & Availability here. If you want to visit without a car you can book this tour that offers roundtrip transfer and admission with a guided tour from Flagstaff or Page.
- Tour of Arizona highlights: Check Prices & Availability here. See the Antelope Canyon by land, the Colorado River by boat, and the Grand Canyon by air! A triple delight if you want something that’s easy and inclusive at a fair price.
Tours from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon:
Lower Antelope Canyon + Horseshoe bend from Las Vegas: Round trip pick up from your hotel. Takes you to Page, Arizona to see Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe bend. Small-group tour limited to just 14 people. Highly rated at 4.5 stars from 5 over 700+ reviews.
Tips for a Visiting Antelope Canyon
- Book and reserve early and in Advance: I recommend booking the tour at least 6 months in advance to ensure you get the time slot you want. There are no last-minute bookings as everything is booked well in advance so plan ahead!
- Arrive an hour before the tour: It is a bit lengthy process to check in and get into your groups and guide. But if you book the private transfer tour you will skip this hassle.
- What To Wear: Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes (it’s very dusty in there), pants or shorts, Bring a hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun.
- Bring a hat and Sunglasses: The walking to the entrance is bright and with no shade, the midday Arizona sun is brutal, so bring a hat and sunglasses!
- Camera Gear: Carry your camera crossbody, and have a wide-angle lens. You can’t bring a backpack so no tripods or additional lenses.
- Stay Hydrated: The desert climate can be dehydrating, so make sure to carry a water canteen.
- No Restrooms: there are no toilets or drinks/food outlets at Antelope Canyon. You need to plan ahead and use the restroom before you go onto the tour.
- Pack light: Keep your belongings to a minimum, as you’ll be climbing ladders and navigating narrow spaces. Keep in mind backpacks aren’t allowed to be carried in so make sure to leave backpacks and purses in your car.
- Respect the land: Remember that Antelope Canyon is a sacred site for the Navajo people. Follow your guide’s instructions, and refrain from touching the walls or taking anything from the canyon.
Photography Tips For Photographing In Antelope Canyon
As a professional photographer, I’m sharing some tips with you.
- Which lens for antelope canyon: Bring a wide-angle lens with a fast aperture. I recommend a 16mm-35mm. This is the lens I used
- No tripods are allowed unless you’re on the photography tour
- Make sure to have a lens with a wide aperture, at least 4 F but 2.8 is best. There are shadows and very bright areas and using a fast low shutter speed will make your photos blurry, so you need to wide aperture to compensate.
Getting to Antelope Canyon
How to get to The Antelope Canyons
Getting To Antelope Canyon By Car
Antelope Canyon is located near Page, Arizona. The nearest major city is Flagstaff, approximately 130 miles to the southwest. If you’re driving, follow US Route 89 and take the exit for Antelope Canyon. The canyon is 10 minutes from Page, Arizona. See the best booking resources .
Reserve your car rental in advance. They do sell out and prices get hiked up closer to the date. I booked through this company as they had the best deal and the best price guarantee and flexible cancelations policies.
Getting To Antelope Canyon By Tour or Shuttle
If you don’t want the hassle of driving, there are all-inclusive tours that pick you up, take you to there with a guide, and drop you back off. Here are some tours I recommend:
- Antelope Canyon Tour with Transfer: This tour is popular and offers roundtrip transfer and admission with a guided tour of Antelope Canyon from Flagstaff or Page.
- Tour of Arizona highlights: See the Antelope Canyon by land, the Colorado river by boat, and the Grand Canyon by air! A triple delight if you want something that’s easy and inclusive at a fair price.
Getting To Antelope Canyon By Air
The closest airport is Page Municipal Airport, offering limited flights; you can fly from Las Vegas, San Francisco, Santa Barbara, and Phoenix. Alternatively, you can fly into a larger airport like Phoenix Sky Harbor or Las Vegas McCarran and rent a car for the remaining drive. Learn how to use Google Flights to find cheap flights
- Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX)
- 279 miles (4 hr and 19 min) drive from Phoenix, AZ
- Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG)
- – 137 miles (2 hr and 15 min) from Flagstaff, AZ
- Las Vegas McCarran Airport
- LAS – 286 miles (4 hr 39 min) from Las Vegas, NV
- Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC)
- 398 miles (6 hr 13 min) from Salt Lake City, UT
What To Expect Visiting Antelope Canyon
Depending on which tour you select here’s what to expect!
What to Expect When Visiting Lower Antelope Canyon
We started by checking in at the counter and lining up and then we met our guide. We walked to the canyon along a paved road, followed by a sandy track for about 10-15 minutes (bring a hat as it was extremely hot and sunny). Along the way, our guide explained the history and formation of the canyon.
Once we arrived at the canyon, we had to descend about six sets of steep narrow metal steps, one by one. This was a bit scary looking at it from the top, but take your time, one step after the other. It gets easier!
Once we arrived at the canyon, I noticed that the canyon was much more spacious at the bottom than at the top! There was plenty of room ahead of us. Although we didn’t see the light beams here, the shapes and patterns on the walls are striking.
TIP: There are some parts of the canyon that were a wee bit tight, so if you get claustrophobic, it’s something to consider!
It was also a better experience since we weren’t rushed by the Navajo guides at all!
What to Expect When Visiting Upper Antelope Canyon
Similar to the lower canyon, we checked in and hopped on an open back 4×4 that took us on a 10-minute ride on the trail to reach the entrance. The main difference is the upper Antelope Canyon we access it from ground level and walk into it with the canyon walls up above ground. So many beautiful formations and colors to admire! Oh and the light beams, wow! It’s gorgeous.
Where To Stay by Antelope Canyon
Hotels and Accommodations Near Antelope Canyon
Hotels and Accommodations Close by Antelope Canyon
Page, Arizona, offers a variety of hotels, motels, and vacation rentals to suit all budgets and preferences. Be sure to book your accommodations in advance, especially during peak seasons!
Related Article: Where to stay near Antelope Canyon, Arizona
Here are my recommendations for hotels close by Antelope Canyon:
For a vacation rental house near Antelope Canyon: Check Prices & Availability here. Just 8.4 miles from Antelope Canyon, this vacation rental has a Fire Pit, Patio and Mountain Views provides. It’s great if you’re staying with friends or a group. The vacation home has 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. It’s highly rated at 9.0/10
For a Luxury Hotel near Antelope Canyon: Check Prices & Availability here. This is the best you’re going to get in Page. It’s a 3-star hotel with great amenities and epic views. Perks of getting free breakfast and parking!
For a second best hotel near Antelope Canyon: Check Prices & Availability here. A little further out about 10 minutes drive from Antelope Canyon. Includes free breakfast and double rooms suites.
Camping By Antelope Canyon
There are several campgrounds and RV parks in the area, including the Wahweap Campground and Lone Rock Beach Campground.
Nearby Antelope Canyon Attractions
Just a short drive from Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend is a stunning viewpoint overlooking a dramatic bend in the Colorado River. This is where my husband proposed on that same Arizona trip! So it’s a special place for us. The hike to the viewpoint is an easy 1.5-mile round trip and offers incredible photo opportunities, especially at sunrise and sunset.
Lake Powell is a beautiful reservoir located on the border of Arizona and Utah. Known for its striking red rock formations and crystal-clear waters, it’s a popular destination for boating, fishing, and water sports. Renting a boat is a great activity to cool you off!
Glen Canyon Dam
The Glen Canyon Dam is a marvel of engineering and an essential stop on your trip to the area. Visitors can take guided tours of the dam, explore the visitor center, and enjoy breathtaking views of Lake Powell and the Colorado River.
Antelope Canyon is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Arizona or the American Southwest. By planning ahead, choosing the right tour, and following the tips in this guide, you can ensure an unforgettable experience. Don’t forget to check out nearby attractions like Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell to make the most of your trip!
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Visiting Antelope Canyon: Tips & All you need to know
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Planning Your Trip:
Car Rental in Arizona
Hotels: Where to stay in Antelope Canyon
Travel Insurance: Get Travel Insurance
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I would love to capture some of these photos on a tour. Looks so amazing.
My hubby is a stealth ninja when it comes to taking photos! There were people in front and behind us waiting lol!
We were very sad we missed Antelope Canyon when we visited. We did not book a tour in advance and nothing was available even though we stayed in the area for 4 days. We would certainly want to go mid-day and get the best light. And would plan to see both the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Thanks for telling us about Canyon X so we will pick the tour that offers this treat.
I’ve lived in Arizona nearly my whole life and have to admit I’ve never been to Antelope Canyon. It is such a stunning location!
The photos are so amazing! Thanks for the photography tips. What a beautiful place
I’ve been to AZ many times but still haven’t done Antelope Canyon! I’ve always wanted to though. Thanks for this very helpful guide!