Best time To visit Upper Antelope Canyon

How to Get to Antelope Canyon: The Complete Guide

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Here’s a detailed article on how to get to Antelope Canyon and all you need to know.

Antelope Canyon is one of the most famous and sought-after destinations in the American Southwest, drawing over 2 million visitors per year. Its sandstone walls glow with unearthly colors and patterns, especially when rays of light pierce down through the narrow slot openings overhead.

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How to Get to Antelope Canyon: The Complete Guide

No time to read the whole article? Here’s a quick summary:

  • There are 5 main Antelope Canyons to visit: Upper, Lower, Secret, Antelope X, and Kayak Access
  • You must book a tour with an authorized Navajo guide to access the canyons
  • Tours typically range from $40-$150 per person depending on canyon and tour type
  • Upper Canyon tours depart from Page, AZ and take a bumpy truck ride to get there
  • Lower Canyon tours meet at the canyon entrance and require climbing ladders/stairs
  • Peak season with best light beams is March-October, go offseason to avoid crowds
  • Bring sturdy shoes, sun protection; leave bags, tripods, and selfie sticks behind
Best time To visit Upper Antelope Canyon

Keep reading for much more detail on everything you need to know to get to Antelope Canyon and have an incredible experience!

However, unlike visiting many national parks, you can’t simply drive up to Antelope Canyon and walk right in. Access is tightly controlled by Navajo guides to preserve the canyon and provide visitors with the best experience possible.

This complete guide tells you everything you need to know to get to Antelope Canyon and have an amazing time exploring this natural wonder.

where is antelope canyon located 

Antelope Canyon refers to a series of slot canyon formations located just outside the town of Page, Arizona in the northern part of the state.

where is antelope canyon in arizona

Antelope Canyon is located in the northern part of Arizona, just outside the desert town of Page:

Exact Location

  • Northeastern Arizona
  • Approx. 5 miles southeast of Page, AZ
  • Situated within the Navajo Nation territory
  • Branches located off Highway 98 and in Antelope Canyon Wash
  • Coordinates: 36°51’N 111°22’W
Best time To visit Upper Antelope Canyon

Closest Major Cities

  • Page, AZ: 5 miles northwest
  • Flagstaff, AZ: 150 miles south
  • Las Vegas, NV: 250 southwest
  • Grand Canyon Village, AZ: 120 miles southeast

Geographic Details

  • Formed within Kayenta limestone rock layer
  • Carved by flash flooding through valley washes
  • Altitude of around 3,700 feet above sea level
Best time To visit Upper Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon occupies a remote corner of the Arizona landscape. The nearest major airport is Phoenix Sky Harbor International, about a 4.5 hour drive away.

However, its seamless glowing sandstone walls have made it one of the most photographed slot canyons in the world. Over 2 million visitors per year make the journey to this unique geographic wonder!

The area around Antelope Canyon also includes a number of other stunning Southwestern landmarks like Lake Powell, Horseshoe Bend, and Monument Valley. It’s a perfect addition to an Arizona sightseeing road trip route.

The most visited and famous of these is Upper Antelope Canyon. Here are the key details about where it is located:

related: Best Antelope Canyon Tours

Where is Upper Antelope Canyon?

  • Approx. 5 miles southeast of the center of Page, AZ
  • Located in the Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park
  • Formed within Antelope Wash, a desert drainage basin
  • Coordinates: 36°51’28.0″N 111°22’08.3″W
  • Elevation of 3,700 feet above sea level

Upper Antelope Canyon is situated within the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park, which covers over 300,000 acres southeast of Page.

The nearest large city is Flagstaff, AZ, about 150 miles south of Page and Antelope Canyon. Las Vegas, NV is 250 miles southwest.

Related: Where To Stay near Antelope Canyon

Where is Lower Antelope Canyon?

  • Directly east of Page, AZ off Highway 98
  • Approx 2 miles east of Page city center
  • Located at 36°59’30.6″N 111°24’25.7″W
  • Formed by flash flooding through the same wash system

Lower Antelope Canyon is also located on Navajo land near Lake Powell, right off Highway 98 leading towards Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.

Many tourists visit both Upper and Lower branches of Antelope Canyon on the same trip to compare and contrast the shapes, lighting conditions, and experience of traversing each one.

Best time To visit Upper Antelope Canyon

How To Get To Antelope Canyon

key details on locating and entering both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon:

How To Get To Upper Antelope Canyon

  • Located about 5 miles southeast of Page, AZ
  • Accessible only by guided tour; meet tour group in Page
  • Tours drive through desert wash to reach canyon entrance
  • Trailhead GPS coordinates: 36°51’28.0″N 111°22’08.3″W

How To Get To Upper antelope canyon Getting There:

You can also go see Antelope Canyon on a Tour. Most Upper Antelope Canyon tours meet in Page, AZ before driving out to the canyon entrance.

  • Tour companies will transport visitors in high-clearance,
  • 4X4 vehicles due to the bumpy, sandy and sometimes flooded road through Antelope Wash.

The drive takes 15-20 minutes each way. Be sure to arrive at the tour office 15 minutes prior to departure time to check in and get ready to board transportation to the canyon.

Lower Antelope Canyon

  • Located directly off Hwy 98 about 2 miles east of Page
  • Meet tour guides at parking lot; 5 minute walk to entrance
  • Descend stairs and ladders down into start of canyon
  • Trailhead GPS Coordinates: 36°59’30.6″N 111°24’25.7″W

Getting There:

Tours for Lower Antelope Canyon begin at the canyon site’s entrance parking lot located directly off Highway 98. Look for tour operator signs and buses a couple miles east of Page.

  • Park in the main lot and check in at your tour provider’s welcome table.
  • Guides will then lead groups the short walk from the parking area down to the stairs marking the beginning of Lower Antelope Canyon.

The descent into the canyon itself requires climbing down several steep staircases and ladders with assistance of your guide. Those will mobility limitations should be aware of the challenging access.

top things to do in page az
antelope canyon

how to get to Antelope Canyon from Phoenix

detailed directions for getting to Antelope Canyon from Phoenix

Quick Summary of Route:

  • Drive time: roughly 4-4.5 hours each way
  • Total mileage: Approximately 300 miles one-way
  • Main route: Take I-17 N to Flagstaff, then continue on US-89 N to Page/Lake Powell

Step-by-Step Driving Directions:

  1. Start by heading north from Phoenix on I-17 N.
  2. After about 2 hours, you will reach Flagstaff. There are bathrooms, restaurants/fast food, and gas stations available at this halfway point if needed. Stop here or continue on towards Page.
  3. Once past Flagstaff, take US-89 N towards Page and Lake Powell. Stay on 89 for just over 2 more hours of scenic desert driving.
  4. As you get close to Page, you will see signs for Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell. Exit right for Antelope Canyon.
  5. After exiting, turn left (north) on to Coppermine Rd. Drive for 5 miles then turn right on Navajo Dr. Follow for 1 mile.
  6. Turn right on Indian Rte 222 and drive 4 miles until you reach the trailhead parking area, where your tour group will meet.

The last stretch on Indian Rte 222 is a rough dirt road, so an SUV or 4X4 rental car is preferable if possible. Allow at least 8 hours of total round trip travel time to build in sufficient time for takingAntelope Canyon tours when you arrive.

are the best ways to reach Antelope Canyon by car, whether you’re coming from Las Vegas or another direction:

how to get to Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas Easiest way to get there

The easiest approach is to book an Antelope Canyon tour that provides transportation from Las Vegas.

  • I recommend this tour that offer private and small group tours
  • picking you up from major Strip hotels.
  • Tours generally take 10-12 hours roundtrip.

how to get to Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas by Car

Driving yourself allows for more flexibility to stop or spend extra time, though the long drive can be tiring for some. Reserve a rental car at the airport. I always recommend Discover Cars for the best prices and selections. 

Here is the route:

  • Total Distance: 250 mile / 5 hour drive
  • Take I-15 N from Las Vegas
  • Continue past St. George, Utah using US-89 N & US-89A N
  • Turn right on AZ-98 W and follow signs for Page / Lake Powell
  • Arrive at Antelope Canyon visitor parking off AZ-98

This is mainly open highway driving across northwestern Arizona desert, with light traffic outside urban areas. Be sure to fill up on gas when possible and carry extra water.

Driving to Upper Antelope Canyon

  • Meet tour guide in Page, AZ off US-89
  • Ride specialized truck into Antelope Wash
  • Bumpy, sandy 15 minute drive to canyon trailhead

You cannot drive yourself to Upper Antelope Canyon. Only approved Navajo guides have vehicle access through the sandy washes. Transportation is included in all standard tours departing from Page.

Driving to Lower Antelope Canyon

  • Enter visitor parking area off AZ-98
  • Check in at guide office kiosks
  • Short walk to canyon entrance staircase

Lower Antelope Canyon has a dedicated parking lot right off the main highway where tours begin. So self-driving is simpler, with no need for rugged off-road transportation.

The 4 Antelope Canyons

There are actually 4 main canyons known as “Antelope Canyon” in the Page, AZ area. They are:

These are physically separate canyons located in and around Antelope Wash, a dry desert river bed prone to flash flooding during rainstorms. The water has carved beautiful, smoothly sculpted chutes through the Navajo sandstone over thousands of years.

Each canyon offers slightly different scenery and experiences, mostly relating to their shape. This guide focuses on the two most popular options: Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.

Best time To visit Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon is the most visited of the five. It features an easier walk on relatively flat ground with no climbing required.

The canyon itself has an “A” shape that is wider at the bottom and narrower at the top. This allows beams of light to pierce down through the opening, creating incredible light shows as the sun moves overhead.

These light beams are only visible during parts of the year when the sun is at the perfect angle overhead.

The best times to visit Upper Antelope Canyon are from March-October, with peak conditions typically occurring around the summer solstice in June.

Tours of Upper Antelope Canyon begin with a bumpy truck ride from Page, AZ through the sandy Antelope Wash. Sturdy vehicles fitted with chains drive through the sometimes flooded wash until reaching the canyon entrance.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon has a narrow, “V” shape that gets wider towards the top. This means more indirect light can enter than in the Upper canyon, bathing the walls in a diffuse glow.

The narrow bottom portion requires visitors to climb up and down several flights of stairs and some short ladders. This means it’s a bit more challenging than the Upper canyon and not suitable for anyone with mobility limitations or claustrophobia.

Tours of Lower Antelope Canyon start at the canyon entrance, just a short walk from the parking area. No special transportation is required to access the start of the trail.

how to visit antelope canyon & How to Book a Tour to Atelope Canyon

The most important thing to know about visiting Antelope Canyon is that entry is restricted to guided tours only. Individual access is not permitted.

These tours must be booked in advance, as same-day tickets are not available. Space is limited to manage the number of visitors passing through this ecologically sensitive area.

  • Booking early is highly recommended,
  • especially during peak seasons when certain time slots can sell out months in advance.

Related: Best Antelope Canyon Tours to book

Each canyon has a different set of authorized Navajo tour guides approved to lead visitors.

Tours typically last 1-2 hours. Transportation to/from the canyon entrance is included for Upper Canyon tours departing from Page.

Types of Tours at Antelope canyon

There are a few main types of Antelope Canyon tours to choose from:

Related: Best Antelope Canyon Tours you should book

Regular Walking Tours:

  • Focus on sightseeing
  • Guide provides information about canyon formation, Navajo culture
  • No special photography equipment permitted
  • Least expensive option

Photography Tours:

  • Allow tripods and other gear
  • Opportunity to set up shots with guide’s assistance
  • More time provided to compose images
  • Smaller group sizes

Private/Custom Tours:

  • Only your group with a dedicated guide
  • Set your own pace and agenda
  • Most flexible way to see the canyon
  • Also the most expensive option

You’ll generally have the best overall experience in smaller tour groups where you can take your time and ask questions. But regular, non-photography tours are still magnificent and more budget-friendly.

When to Visit Antelope Canyon

The best time to visit Antelope Canyon depends on your priorities:

Related: Best time to visit Antelope Canyon

Best Light Beams: March-October The famous light beams shining down through the top of Upper Antelope Canyon can only be seen when the sun is directly overhead. This occurs at different times on different days as seasons shift.

The peak season for light beams runs from March through October. Midday tours are scheduled to aim for optimum conditions. Summer brings the highest sun and longest beam duration.

Least Crowds: November-February Winters in northern Arizona can be quite cold, with temperatures dipping below freezing at night. Days remain crisp and clear.

Visiting during the off-season means fewer crowds jockeying for the perfect photo spot. While the light beams may not be as prominent or predictable, the canyon scenery is still spectacular.

What to Bring Antelope Canyon arizona

has some restrictions on what you can bring inside during tours:

Recommended:

  • Sturdy walking shoes (closed-toe)
  • Layered clothing
  • Sunscreen
  • Hat/scarf (protection from blowing sand)
  • Eyeglasses (if you wear contacts)
  • One bottle of water

Not Allowed:

  • Large camera bags
  • Tripods
  • Selfie sticks
  • Food/other drinks

There are no restrooms or trash cans inside the canyon, so come prepared!

Where to Stay Near Antelope Canyon

The closest town to Antelope Canyon with plentiful lodging options is Page, AZ. This small desert community sits right next Lake Powell and the Arizona/Utah border.

Page has a variety of nice hotels, as well as vacation rentals, RV parks, and campgrounds to choose from. Reservations far in advance are highly recommended as demand often outpaces supply.

Here are some of the most popular places to stay while visiting Antelope Canyon:

Hotels:

Vacation Rentals:

Camping:

  • Wahweap Campground
  • Lake Powell RV Park

How Much Do Tours Cost?

Like most things, you get what you pay for with Antelope Canyon tours. Budget tours start around $40-90 per person, while private custom tours can cost over $1500 total.

In general, these are the average prices for popular public tour options:

Upper Antelope Canyon:

Lower Antelope Canyon:

Is Antelope Canyon Worth It?

The short answer is yes – Antelope Canyon truly provides a one-of-a-kind landscape that deserves its enormous popularity. The smooth, flowing shapes and bands of color make it endlessly captivating to explore.

That said, the tours can feel somewhat rushed at times as new groups begin entering before the previous group has fully cleared out. Trying to take photos while many other visitors stream by isn’t always the most relaxing experience.

Going with a smaller group tour and visiting during off-peak seasons can help maximize enjoyment. But the canyon itself will amaze either way with its natural artistry.

Just be sure to set proper expectations for the tour logistics and pacing based on the lower costs and high volume of visitors in this unique place.

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Other Things to Do Near Antelope Canyon

Planning a trip to northern Arizona? Check out these other incredible sites located near Antelope Canyon:

Related: Other Nearby Antelope Canyon attractions To See

Horseshoe Bend

  • Iconic meander of the Colorado River shaped like a horseshoe
  • Dramatic overlook with 1000ft cliffs on all sides
  • 20 minute drive south of Page, AZ

Lake Powell / Glen Canyon

  • Massive reservoir with 1960 miles of shoreline
  • Formed by Glen Canyon Dam on the Colorado River
  • Houseboat rentals, fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding

Grand Canyon National Park

  • One of the 7 natural wonders of the world
  • Carved over 6 million years by the Colorado River
  • Numerous viewpoints, trails, rafting trips

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park

  • Iconic landscape of sandstone buttes and monoliths
  • Features in countless Hollywood Westerns
  • Guided tours into the valley available

Zion National Park

  • Incredible hiking among soaring red rock cliffs
  • Weeping rock walls, cascading waterfalls
  • 85 mile scenic drive with endless pullouts

Bryce Canyon National Park

  • Whimsical “hoodoos” rock formations
  • Brilliant red, orange, white color schemes
  • Breathtaking vistas from viewpoints

Conclusion We hope this complete guide gives you everything you need to know to get to Antelope Canyon and have an incredible experience. While accessing these stunning slot canyons takes a bit more effort and planning compared to visiting some national parks, it is more than worthwhile.

The smooth, flowing shapes glowing with warm natural light create captivating scenes around every bend. Seeing Antelope Canyon in person routinely lands near the top of travelers’ lists of most jaw-dropping landscapes found anywhere on Earth.

So be sure to book your tour early, come with an open sense of adventure, and get ready for an unforgettable day exploring these geologic masterpieces

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