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Is Antelope Canyon Worth it: No, Here’s Why!

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Antelope Canyon in Arizona has become pretty famous in recent years due to social media. It’s not hard to understand why. It is an incredible place and a great spot for photography but in our opinion, Antelope Canyon is overrated.

So of course, after seeing Antelope Canyon all over my Instagram feed for months, I was dying to see it for myself. When Dave and I planned a 2 week road trip through Utah and Arizona, adding it to the itinerary was non-negotiable.

couple standing in Antelope Canyon

Before I get into why I don’t think Antelope Canyon was worth it, I want to say that this is purely my personal opinion. Depending on how you like to travel and visit certain attractions, you may or may not agree with me.

Just because I’m saying that Antelope Canyon is overrated in this guide, doesn’t mean that I am not going to give you ALL of the tips on visiting.

In this guide, I will also list alternative, less busy but JUST AS BEAUTIFUL canyons for you to visit and extra activities for you to do while you are in Page, Arizona.

Quick Tips for Visiting Antelope Canyon

If you are dying to visit Antelope Canyon, like we were, here are some tips to help you plan your trip.

girl standing with her hands in the air looking up at Antelope Canyon

Where to Stay:
Budget
A Little bit fancy
Cost to visit Antelope Canyon:
Upper Antelope Canyon Tour: $165
Best Time of the Year to Visit:
Late March or early October
Best Time of the Day:
Mid – late morning to get the best light (light beams)

Things to do nearby:

Things to Know about Antelope Canyon

📍 Where is Antelope Canyon Located?

Antelope Canyon is located in Northern Arizona near the town of Page and the Colorado River.

Page has an airport which you can fly into domestically, however, not all that many flights run from there.

The best way to get to Page and Antelope Canyon is to fly into Las Vegas (Harry Reid International Airport) and rent a car from there.

From Las Vegas, it is around a 4.5 hour drive to Page and Antelope Canyon.

Click here to open the map in Google Maps!

Tip: Rentalcars.com is a great way to get the best price on a car.

🛌 Where to Stay Near Antelope Canyon

If you want to stay somewhere close to Antelope Canyon, the closest town is Page. The below 3 options range from camping to luxury accommodation.

Page Lake Powell CampgroundAt this campground you can choose between tent camping, RV camping or glamping in a Wagon!

The Rodeway Inn at Lake PowellDecent accommodation that won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

Country Inn & Suites by Radisson, Page, AZ – Rated 8.7, the Country Inn by Radisson has lovely rooms and facilities including an indoor swimming pool to cool off on those hot Arizona days.

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Is Antelope Canyon Worth it?

🙋‍♀️ Tell us Kerry! Why do you say visiting Antelope Canyon is not worth it?!

I know, I know, I’ve left you hanging for long enough! I’m going to start by letting you know what I was expecting when we decided to visit Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon

I had seen the Instagram photos and I was impressed. I wanted my own photos of this magical canyon.

We decided to add Antelope Canyon to our 2 week road trip itinerary. As we approached Page, we began to see the occasional makeshift sign “Antelope Canyon Tours.”

I didn’t really do much research beforehand so I actually had no idea that you needed to join a tour to see the canyon. Maybe if I had, my expectation wouldn’t have been shattered and I would have left with a better impression.

Upper Antelope Canyon Tour

I think that Antelope Canyon is not worth it because:

  1. The tour was expensive
  2. Being in a tour group, we felt rushed at each stop through the canyon to take our photos and move on.
  3. Expectations versus reality: If we had done more research and knew what to expect, we probably would have enjoyed the tour more.
  4. There are other slot canyons in the area which are much less busy.

👀 What is an Antelope Canyon Tour Like?

Arriving and purchasing tickets

We arrived to a busy parking lot with small office at the end with “book here” signs and people absolutely EVERYWHERE. I was in shock and Dave was not impressed because neither of us had been expecting this.

This was in 2017 and we were able to purchase tour tickets to the Upper Canyon on the spot which back then were USD50 which we thought was outrageous.

However by the looks of things the prices have tripled since then and I would definitely recommend booking in advance to make sure you don’t miss out. Antelope Canyon is getting more and more popular.

4x4 ride to the Upper Antelope Canyon Tour

We purchased our tickets and joined a tour group. We were all bundled into a 4×4 tour vehicle and off we went. The journey to the canyon’s entrance was not long, about 10 minutes or so.

The Upper Antelope Canyon Tour

I will say that everything felt super organised and ran really smoothly. The tour operators knew what they were doing.

Each tour group was spaced out from the time they entered the canyon and had a certain amount of time at each photography spot inside the canyon. At each spot that we stopped at, the tour guide provided us with a load of information and then gave us tips on how to get a good photo.

The guide even doubled as a photographer which was awesome but for Dave and I, we wanted to spend some time taking our own photos and because of the limited amount of time each time we stopped, we weren’t able to do this.

couple standing in Antelope Canyon

🎒 What to bring with you on your Antelope Canyon Tour

You are not allowed to bring a bag with you on either Antelope Canyon Tour, however you can bring a camera and a bottle of water. You are also not allowed to bring selfie sticks or tripods.

ℹ Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?

The popular (and more expensive) choice is Upper Antelope Canyon. This is the part of Antelope Canyon that you will see in most of the photos in social media.

Upper Antelope Canyon is the tour that we did because we were told it was the most beautiful which is why it is the most popular. If you are visiting Antelope Canyon to get some great photos, Upper Antelope Canyon is the best choice. Upper Antelope Canyon is an easy stroll through the canyon.

Lower Antelope Canyon is the more adventurous canyon of the two. The walk through the canyon includes ladders and squeezing through narrow spaces in the slot canyon. The lower canyon is also less expensive than the upper canyon due to it being less popular. This of course, also means less crowds!

🚶‍♀️ Antelope Canyon Tours and Prices

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🌵 Alternative, Less Busy Slot Canyons

Some great alternative options to Antelope Canyon which are less crowded and less rushed are:

  • Secret Canyon – located near Horseshoe Bend so you can pair your canyon tour with a horseshoe bend tour.
  • Rattlesnake Canyon – a LOT less business as there is only 1 tour company that you can book with.
  • Cardiac Canyon – only 6 people can go per day and involves a 2.5 mile hike and a 6 hour tour so is great value for money.
  • Cathedral Canyon – A little more of an adventure, as well as slot canyons, you will see Cathedral Hall, The Four Sisters, Thumb Rock, and Pucket Rock.

🏜 Other things to do nearby

The slot canyons aren’t the only reason to visit Page Arizona.

Another bucket list place to visit in Page is Horseshoe Bend. It would be EVEN more incredible to take a helicopter flight like this one OVER Horseshoe Bend or you could take a rafting trip on Glen Canyon and Horseshoe Bend!

couple sitting on the end of Horseshoe Bend

Glen Canyon Dam Overlook is only a 5 minute drive from Page and worth a look because it is quite impressive! You will need to hike down a short set of rock-carved stairs to get to the viewpoint.

Glen Canyon Dam Overlook

Wahweap Overlook is a 10 minute drive from Page. We stopped here on our way out of Page without realising what it was. 😅 From the lookout, you will get insane views of Lake Powell with no hiking involved!

Wahweap Overlook, Page Arizona

The Navajo Bridge is a 40 minute drive from Page and is SUPER IMPRESSIVE! The bridge’s length is more than 750 ft and is 470 ft high above the Colorado River. You can walk all of the way across the bridge to to see the awesome views of the Colorado River.

Also visiting Kanab? Check out my friend Lita’s guide on the Best things to do in Kanab!

👀 Commonly Asked Questions

Can you visit Antelope Canyon by yourself?

No, you cannot visiting Antelope Canyon without joining a tour. The reason for this is that Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land.

How far is Antelope Canyon from Flagstaff?

The distance from Flagstaff to Antelope Canyon is 132 miles and it will take you approximately 2 hours 20 minutes to drive.

How far is Antelope Canyon from Las Vegas?

The distance from Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon is 278 miles and it will take you approximately 4.5 hours to drive.

How far is Antelope Canyon from Phoenix?

The distance from Phoenix to Antelope Canyon is 276 miles and it will take you approximately 4.5 hours to drive.

How far is Antelope Canyon from Salt Lake City?

The distance from Salt Lake City to Antelope Canyon is 393 miles and it will take you approximately 6 hours to drive.

How far is Antelope Canyon from Monument Valley?

The distance from Monument Valley to Antelope Canyon is 115 miles and it will take you approximately 1 hour and 50 minutes to drive.

Can you visit Lower Antelope Canyon without a guide?

Lower Antelope Canyon is only able to be accessed with a tour guide due to the canyon being located on Navajo land.

Is Antelope Canyon free?

No, Antelope Canyon is not free as you can only visit by joining a tour.

How long do the Antelope Canyon Tours go for?

Both the Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon tours go for about 1.5 hours.

Is Antelope Canyon Dangerous?

Antelope Canyon can be dangerous as can all slot canyons. The reason for this is that they are extremely prone to flood. If you are in the canyon at the time of a flash flood, it could end very badly.

All Antelope Canyon tours are cancelled when the weather is bad or if there is any danger at all of flash flooding which can help you sleep easy when booking a tour.

Can you book a last minute tour to Antelope Canyon?

Tours sell fast for Antelope Canyon, with many people booking months in advance. I highly recommend pre-booking your tickets as soon as you decide when you want to visit.

If you are in the area and are trying to get last minute tickets, you could always just show up and see if there are any cancellations for the day. 🤞

black and white photo of a couple on the Upper Antelope Canyon Tour

What is the Antelope Canyon X Guided Tour?

Antelope Canyon X is a newer tour which takes you to a different part of Antelope Canyon which is in the shape of an ‘x.’ The Antelope Canyon X tour is the most affordable of all of the tours and also the least crowded!

The best way to avoid the crowds at Antelope Canyon is to book an Antelope Canyon X Tour. The downside to this tour is that you don’t get to see the classic Antelope Canyon like in all of the photos.

There is a bit less of a “wow” factor in the X tour, however the canyon still has some of the amazing shapes carved out that the Upper Antelope Canyon has.

💭 Our Thoughts

Even though we thought the Antelope Canyon tour was overpriced and overrated, it is still a really amazing place to see with your own eyes.

So if crowds and paying extravagant prices for nature tours don’t annoy you, then Antelope Canyon might just be for you!

Upper Antelope Canyon Tour

I will say that when we went on the Antelope Canyon tour, we didn’t realise that there was other, less popular slot canyons around that we could have seen. We thought Antelope Canyon was it. Going on a tour did also make it easier as we didn’t need to plan a hike in by ourselves and figure out the flooding risks in slot canyons etc.

Whether you choose to see Antelope Canyon or an alternative slot canyon, you will be blown away by the natural beauty!

Happy adventuring! 🥾

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