The Best Antelope Canyon Tours

Here's the essential information you need for a satisfying visit.

U.S. News & World Report

The Best Antelope Canyon Tours

Best Antelope Canyon Tours

Learn how to take fantastic photos of Antelope Canyon from a trained guide during a tour of either Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon.(Getty Images)

Known for its labyrinthine, seemingly undulating sandstone walls and the beams of sunlight that shine into them, Arizona's Antelope Canyon is a perpetual magnet for photographers and tourists. It's a slot canyon, meaning it formed from water carving it out over millions of years. Its walls stand up to 120 feet above the streambed, while the canyon itself sits approximately 3,700 feet above sea level. Antelope Canyon takes its name from the herds of pronghorn antelope that once resided in it.

The canyon forms part of Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park in the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation limits visits to either the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon to two hours and requires all visitors to be led by authorized guides. The Navajo-approved guides are widely regarded as informative and friendly, and are even known to provide helpful tips on how to get the best possible photographs. If you're planning a trip and need help deciding which area to visit, keep these recommendations in mind.

Where is Antelope Canyon? Antelope Canyon is located just east of Page, Arizona, in the northern area of the state. The Grand Canyon is a two-hour drive southwest.

What is the difference between the Upper and Lower canyon? The terrain of the Upper Canyon is more accessible for most tourists and is, therefore, busier. Exploring the Lower Canyon, in contrast, requires visitors to have some degree of endurance, as travelers must climb and descend several staircases. The scenery in both canyons, however, is indescribably beautiful.

Know Before You Go

  • What: Antelope Canyon tours
  • When: Tours occur at various times every day throughout the year.
  • Cost: Tour companies' fees vary, but tickets (including entrance to the park) generally start at around $60 for 90-minute tours of Upper Antelope Canyon. Tours of Lower Antelope Canyon tend to be shorter (around an hour) and generally cost around $40 per adult and $20 for children.
  • Must-know tip: Most of Arizona does not follow daylight saving time, though the Navajo Nation, where Antelope Canyon is located, does. Check with your tour operator to confirm the precise time of your tour.
  • Website: https://navajonationparks.org/tribal-parks/lake-powell/

As a desert canyon formed by water erosion, Antelope Canyon is subject to dangerous flash flooding, which is one of the reasons trained tour guides are required. Antelope Canyon hosts tons of visitors and, in order to protect the canyon walls from damage, no bags of any kind are permitted in either the Upper or Lower section. Also keep in mind that while most tour companies welcome small children, not all of them will.

The celebrated light beams that illuminate the canyon are most likely to be seen during the summer months. Photography is permitted, even encouraged, but tripods, selfie sticks and the like are generally forbidden, except on certain photography-oriented tours. Companies offering photography tours are usually geared toward professional photographers rather than casual visitors with smartphone cameras.

Upper Antelope Canyon is known for the light beams that stream into its depths.(Getty Images)

Upper Canyon Tour Options

Four local companies provide guided tours of Upper Antelope Canyon. Because the Upper Canyon is easiest to walk through, it is also quite popular, especially at peak times during the summer. Consequently, making tour reservations well in advance is highly recommended. No matter which tour you pick, you're guaranteed to see incredible rock formations in a kaleidoscope of colors.

Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours

Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours offers excursions designed for sightseers and professional photographers. This company also combines tours of Upper Antelope with trips to Owl, Rattlesnake and Mountain Sheep canyons, to which Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours has exclusive access. Its professional photo tours are offered at various times of the day, meaning you can select a tour based on the light you'd like to capture. Tickets for the tour vary in price depending on tour length, canyons visited and time of day. A standard morning visit to Upper Antelope Canyon starts at $158 for participants 13 and older. People 12 and younger are not allowed on the photography tours. Tripods and monopods are welcome. Travelers typically enjoy the tours, saying they appreciate the guides' insight. Others express disappointment in the structured nature of the tour, which they say limits creative freedom. Non-photographers can visit the Upper Canyon on the company's 90-minute sightseer tours, which run several times daily. Tickets for visitors 8 and older start at $66. Those 7 and younger are not permitted on the sightseer tours.

Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours

All of Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours' guides are local Navajo people, and they are generally deemed knowledgeable, personable and professional by reviewers. The company's 90-minute sightseer tours of the Upper Canyon take place several times daily beginning at 8:45 a.m. Prices for these tours, which include the park entrance fee, cost approximately $60 for adults and $30 for children 12 and younger. Photography tours last approximately two hours and take place once a day starting at 11 a.m. Each participant must be a professional photographer and have their own tripod and DSLR camera. These tours cost approximately $160. The company recommends advance reservations, as tickets sell out quickly, and suggests that visitors without them arrive one hour prior to their preferred tour start time.

Antelope Canyon Tours

Navajo owned and operated, Antelope Canyon Tours frequently wins praise for its knowledgeable and helpful guides. On the company's sightseer tours, you'll spend about an hour in the canyon, plus 40 minutes round-trip travel time to the Antelope Canyon Tours office in Page, Arizona. Tours run multiple times daily starting at 7 a.m. April through September and at 8 a.m. from October through March. Tickets cost approximately $60 for participants 13 and older, $50 for youths 8 to 12 and $42 for kids 7 and younger; tickets for the sought-after 11:30 a.m. time slot are about $15 extra per ticket. Prices cover park fees and taxes. Meanwhile, the company's professional photography tours spend two hours at the canyon. Tickets cost around $125 for adults 18 and older; no one younger than 18 can join the photography tours. Tours are available twice a day during the week year-round, though exact times vary by season; tours are not available on weekends or major holidays.

Antelope Slot Canyon Tours

Along with standard tours to Upper Antelope Canyon, Antelope Slot Canyon Tours also offers tours of the nearby Cathedral Canyon, as well as boat tours of Lake Powell. If you're set on a visit to the Upper canyon, you'll have six time slots to choose from. Each tour time has its advantages: select the 10:30 a.m. tour if you want to view the sunbeams at their most photogenic or the 3 p.m. tour to capture the afternoon light. Pricing varies by time of day and popularity of the tour time and range from $58 to $78 per person. Discounted tickets are available for children 6 to 12; children younger than 6 are not allowed. The company's guides consistently earn positive reviews for their knowledge not only of the area's history and culture but also of their photography techniques.

A trek through Lower Antelope Canyon involves several staircases.(Getty Images)

Lower Canyon Tour Options

Two companies lead excursions through Lower Antelope Canyon. The path inside the Lower canyon can be quite narrow, which may be an issue for visitors uncomfortable with confined spaces. Because of the relatively rugged nature of the terrain, pregnant women and people with heart or joint problems might want to skip these excursions. Along with a rigorous hike, participants on these tours will be surrounded by beautiful scenery and smooth, fabric-like walls throughout their trip.

Ken's Tours

The General Tour lasts approximately one hour, during which groups of up to 10 tour-takers will hike about 1 mile. While cameras are welcome, tripods and selfie sticks are not. Tickets, including park entrance fees and taxes, cost approximately $50 for visitors 13 and older and $30 for those 8 to 12. Children younger than 7 can take the tour for free, but strollers cannot be used in the Lower Canyon. For a more intimate experience, consider the Deluxe Tour, which is limited to four people. The tour excludes infants and costs approximately $95 per person. Both tours depart at half-hour intervals between 8 or 9 a.m. and 3:30 or 4:30 p.m. daily (exact hours vary by season). Guides are frequently described as informative and friendly and the scenery as unsurpassable.

Dixie Ellis Lower Antelope Canyon Tours

These hikes, led by knowledgeable and professional guides, usually last 60 to 90 minutes and cover about a mile. The walks depart from the company's booth near the canyon multiple times each day. Exact departure times vary by season. Tripods and photography gear other than hand-held cameras are forbidden, as are firearms, bags and pets. Tickets (excluding the park entrance fee) start at around $40 for adults and $20 for children ages 8 to 12. Kids younger than 8 tour free. Dixie Ellis also offers daylong van tours that combine the Lower Antelope Canyon Tour with visits to the Navajo National Monument and Monument Valley. Another tour combines Lower Antelope Canyon with a visit to Horseshoe Bend.

Getting There

Companies that provide tours of Upper Antelope Canyon are all based in or near Page, Arizona, and provide transportation to the Upper Canyon. Travelers will need to drive to Page, as there is no public transportation. Drivers coming from the north or south can take Route 89, drivers from the west can take Route 89A, and visitors commuting from the east can take Route 98.

Companies serving the Lower Canyon are located within walking distance of the canyon's entrance; therefore, they do not provide transportation to or from Page. Travelers on a Lower Canyon tour will need to drive to the tour operator's location. These companies are an approximate 10-minute drive east of Page.

Additional tour companies depart from Flagstaff, Arizona, or Las Vegas and combine their daylong excursions to Antelope Canyon with trips to other natural wonders like the Grand Canyon.

Additional tour options:

  • Redstone Tours: Antelope Canyon and Glen Canyon Scenic Tour from Sedona / Flagstaff . View & Book Tickets »
  • Bindlestiff Tours: 3-Day National Parks Camping Tour: Zion, Bryce Canyon, Monument Valley and Grand Canyon from Las Vegas. View & Book Tickets »
  • Grand Canyon Adventures: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour. View & Book Tickets »
  • Coexist West Coast: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Small Group Tour from Las Vegas. View & Book Tickets »
  • Grand Canyon by One Day Tours: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour from Las Vegas. View & Book Tickets »

Looking for more information on Arizona? Check out our ranking of the Best Places to Visit in Arizona.

John Rodwan, Contributor

John G. Rodwan Jr. has written about arts and entertainment, food and beverages, hospitality ...  Read more

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