Upper Antelope Canyon/Horseshoe Bend - Page, AZ
Updated: Mar 27, 2018
For years, I’ve had a handful of friends tell me I should start a blog of all the things I do, all the restaurants I eat at, all the spas I relax at, all the places I travel to, etc. I never really believed that anyone could benefit from my experiences…until my last trip to Antelope Canyon in Arizona. From my Facebook and Instagram posts I had inspired many of my friends to want to go there and at least a dozen of them contacted me for advice on what to do once they got there. Just as I inspired them, they have inspired me to FINALLY start blogging about my knowledge and my experience in all things FUN. And my trip to Page is a great "first place" to start....
Antelope Canyon is in Page, Arizona. Page sits at the northern border of Arizona near Utah. Its not the easiest place to get to. You will have to drive there. If you live in Southern California, like I do, I suggest you fly into Phoenix or even Las Vegas. Or, of course, you can take a road trip, like I did with my friend Shan and her boys. We went for the President’s Day holiday – Saturday through Monday…short trip. We spent the first night in Sedona, which is only about two hours from Phoenix. The drive from Sedona to Page is about three hours. If you have never been to Sedona…put it on your bucket list! But, THIS trip was specifically to visit Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Here are my tips:
Upper Antelope Canyon
1. Your experience will be different depending on what month you go and what time of day you go. Shan and I went in February, which is considered “off-season”. If you want to go to see the “light beams” shining through the slot canyon, you’ll have to go between March and October. Peak times in the canyon are between 10:00 to 2:00 p.m. That’s when the sun is directly above the canyon for optimal light. Although we went in February, the canyon was still spectacular. We took a 3:00 p.m. tour.
Light beams are visible from March to October
2. You will have to book a tour. Antelope Canyon sits on Navajo Indian land, and the only way to visit is through a tour. This is a very popular tourist attraction, so you will have to book a tour at least two weeks in advance, especially if you want to book a tour at the peak times. There are several tour companies in Page: Antelope Canyon Tours, Antelope Slot Canyon Tours, Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours, and Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tour seem to be the most popular. Most tours offer a 1 hour to 1 ½ hour scenic tour or a 2 to 2 ½ hour photographic tour. The latter is for serious photographers.
a. Antelope Canyon Tours and Antelope Slot Canyon Tours offices are located on the “main drag” of Page on South Lake Powell Blvd. If you book a tour from any of these companies, it will be about a 15-minute drive (in one of their tour jeeps) to get to the base of the canyon. Shan and I took a tour with Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours. Their check-in was about five minutes from the canyon in a dirt parking lot. Not the most professional thing I’ve ever experienced. And the downside was the portable toilets. If you hate porta-potties as much as we do…keep this in mind!
b. If you do not intend to stay in Page, there are other tours that you can take out of Las Vegas and Flagstaff.
c. There will be other tours in the canyon with you. But, your guide will help you navigate through the canyon and get you the most amazing photos possible.
d. Tour prices average $50 per adult and $20 per child
3. If you will be taking photos with your iPhone, like me, use your “vibrant” setting in your camera mode for the best shots.
Upper Antelope Canyon vs. Lower Antelope Canyon
There are two canyons: upper and lower. The upper canyon is above ground and is shaped like and upside down “V”. It is the most popular of the two because it’s pretty user friendly for all ages. You simply walk through it. The lower canyon is shaped like a “V”. Thus, you will have to take ladders to get down into it. Obviously, this is not a good for those with physical limitations. Our tour guide said the upper canyon in the most beautiful of the two.
Ladders descending into Lower Antelope Canyon
Horseshoe Bend is another gorgeous place in Page that you are not going to want to miss! It’s about 10 minutes from Upper Antelope Canyon. There is a parking lot. Getting to the bend is a short hike. Give yourself about 20 minutes to get to the edge. Keep this in mind if you plan on going for the sunset.
Other noteworthy things to do/see in Page:
1. Visit Glen Canyon Dam - The dam separates Lake Powell and the Colorado River, and is a true modern wonder.
2. Rent a houseboat on Lake Powell - Lake Powell is a popular destination for renting a house boat with friends and/or family. Also consider taking a dinner cruise or partaking in other water sports. Check on-line for pricing and availability.
Where to stay
If you have Marriott points like we do…there’s a Courtyard in Page that’s nice. It also overlooks the dam, so the view is nice. I hear the Lake Powell Resort is really great also.
Places to eat
If you’re from San Diego, there are a couple of great restaurants owned by a San Diego native: Dam Bar & Grill and Blue Buddha Sushi. Go support small business!