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Unforgettable Memories at Antelope Canyon X

Journey Through Antelope Canyon: A Surreal Experience in the American Southwest

Greetings, fellow adventurers! Today, I’m taking you along on a mesmerizing journey through Antelope Canyon, one of the most enchanting and photographically stunning locations in the American Southwest. Nestled in the heart of Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon stands as a testament to nature’s artistry, sculpted by wind and water over millions of years. It’s truly a bucket list item for everyone to see!

Why Visit Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon isn’t just a destination; it’s an experience. The canyon, divided into the Upper, Lower and recently developer Antelope Canyon X sections, offers a breathtaking landscape of smooth, flowing sandstone, creating a symphony of colors that change with the sun’s position. This natural wonder is a dream for photographers and nature lovers alike, especially those looking for Instagram worthy photos to share.

Getting to Page, Arizona

Unfortunately for most travelers, Page, AZ is not the most easily accessible location to get to. The closet metropolitans are Las Vegas, NV which is 4.5 hrs away (272 miles) or about the same time / distance from Phoenix, AZ. We drove from Los Angeles, CA which took over 9 hrs covering nearly 600 miles along I-40 through Kingman and Flagstaff, AZ then heading north on highway 89.

Getting There and Best Times to Visit

To visit Antelope Canyon, you’ll need to join a guided tour, as the canyon is protected land. We opted for an 11am midday tour, which is the best time to see the famous light beams shining through the narrow openings, creating a magical atmosphere. The best months to visit are from late spring to early fall, but remember, summer months can get quite crowded and hot. If you plan to visit during a regular school holiday, make sure you book your tours way in advanced!

Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?

Choosing between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon can be tough. The Upper Canyon is more accessible, with no climbing required, and is where you’ll see the iconic light beams but expect it to be crowded. On the other hand, the Lower Canyon is a bit more adventurous, involving some ladder climbing and narrower spaces, but it’s equally stunning and less crowded.

Upper Antelope Canyon

I’ll admit that it’s been at least 20 years since I first went to Upper Antelope Canyon. Upon entering the canyon, I was immediately struck by the serenity and beauty that enveloped us. The walls, carved out by water and wind over millions of years, towered above, creating a corridor of undulating stone. The sunlight filtering through the opening above cast a dance of light and shadow, painting the sandstone walls in shades of orange, purple, and red.

The Magic of Light Beams:

The highlight of the Upper Antelope Canyon tour is undoubtedly the ethereal light beams. These occur around midday when the sun is high, allowing rays to pierce through the narrow openings and spotlight the sandy floor. It’s a surreal experience – the beams appear solid, yet they dance with the slightest disturbance in the air. Our guide shared tips on capturing these moments with our cameras, leading to some truly breathtaking photos.

Photography Haven:

Upper Antelope Canyon is a photographer’s paradise. The interplay of light and shadow, along with the smooth, flowing lines of the canyon walls, creates a natural canvas ripe for stunning photography. I recommend using a wide-angle lens to capture the vastness of the canyon and a tripod to manage the low-light conditions.

Facts About Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon, a magnificent natural formation in the American Southwest, offers a world of wonder for those interested in geology, photography, and indigenous cultures. Here are some key facts about this captivating destination:

  1. Location and Formation: Lower Antelope Canyon is located near Page, Arizona, on the lands of the Navajo Nation. It is part of the greater Antelope Canyon, which also includes the Upper Antelope Canyon. The canyon was formed by the erosion of the Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and other sub-aerial processes.
  2. Navajo Name: The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is “Hasdeztwazi” or “Spiral Rock Arches.” This name reflects the sinuous, spiral-shaped passageways and arches formed by centuries of water and wind erosion.
  3. Physical Characteristics: Unlike its upper counterpart, Lower Antelope Canyon is known for its V-shaped, narrow and winding corridors. The canyon entrance and entire length require navigating through stairs and ladders, which adds an element of physical exertion to the experience.
  4. Light and Color: The interplay of light and shadow in Lower Antelope Canyon creates an extraordinary array of colors and patterns on the sandstone walls. The quality of light changes throughout the day and the seasons, offering a dynamic visual experience.
  5. Cultural Significance: For the Navajo people, Antelope Canyon holds spiritual and cultural significance. It is considered a sacred site, and many local stories and traditions are associated with it.
  6. Tourism and Access: Access to Lower Antelope Canyon is restricted to guided tours, which are led by local Navajo guides. This regulation helps protect the canyon and ensures visitors receive educational and safe experiences.
  7. Photography Hotspot: The unique geological features and the play of light make Lower Antelope Canyon a popular spot for photographers, ranging from amateurs to professionals. The narrow passageways and the absence of large crowds, as compared to the Upper Canyon, offer more tranquil photo opportunities.
  8. Flash Flood Risks: Like many slot canyons, Lower Antelope Canyon is susceptible to flash floods, especially during monsoon season. The tours and visitor access are closely monitored for weather conditions to ensure safety.
  9. Economic Importance: Tourism related to Antelope Canyon, including both the Upper and Lower sections, plays a significant role in the local economy, particularly for the Navajo community. It provides employment opportunities and a source of income for many families.
  10. Conservation Efforts: Ongoing efforts are made to preserve the delicate environment of Lower Antelope Canyon. Visitors are encouraged to adhere to strict guidelines during their tours to minimize impact on the natural formation.

Lower Antelope Canyon is not just a geological marvel; it’s a place where nature’s artistry and cultural significance converge, offering a profound and unique experience for those who visit.

Why Antelope Canyon X

We stumbled upon Antelope Canyon X by Taadidiin tours because we went during Thanksgiving weekend and all the other tour companies to Upper and Lower were already booked solid. Large sites like Expedia book out the entire schedule for the major tour companies and then raise rates nearly 3x. Antelope Canyon X is one of the newer tours that opened around 2017.

Our Antelope Canyon Tours Begins

The Antelope Canyon X site was about 15 mins from Page. As we entered Antelope Canyon X, our Navajo guide shared fascinating insights about the canyon’s history and geology. The first thing that struck me was the surreal play of light and shadow. The walls, carved by flash floods, formed wave-like structures, with layers of colors ranging from golden yellow to deep purple.

Antelope Canyon X Tour Guide

Tips for Your Tour

Moving further, we were encouraged to take our time, capture photos, and simply soak in the beauty. Our small tour group consisted of 12 people so it was intimate and we moved at a steady pace, spending 90 minutes in the canyon. The highlight was, without a doubt, the moment when a beam of light pierced through the narrow opening above, illuminating the sandy floor. It felt like standing in a cathedral made by nature.

Journey Through the Slot Canyons

As you make your way through the sandstone slot canyons, take note of the patterns of the stone. Antelope Canyon X is named after the X marks in the sandstone throughout the canyons. The patterns are formed after years of rain, flood, winds and other elements causing the stones to eventually calcify and harden with a protective layer. Be sure to look up and around corners to find the best angles for taking pictures.

Photography Tips

  1. Use a tripod for stability. If you’re a professional photography you will need a special license.
  2. Set your camera to a high ISO for low-light conditions.
  3. Experiment with different angles to capture the unique curves and lines.
  4. Be patient and wait for the perfect light.

Respecting the Sacred Land:

It’s vital to remember that Antelope Canyon is a sacred site to the Navajo people. As visitors, it’s our responsibility to respect the land. Stick to the paths, don’t touch the delicate sandstone walls, and take all your trash with you.


Touring Antelope Canyon is an otherworldly experience. It’s a place that reminds us of the incredible beauty nature holds and the importance of preserving such treasures. Whether you’re a seasoned photographer or simply a lover of natural wonders, Antelope Canyon should be on your must-visit list. We highly recommend Antelope Canyon X as an alternative if you aren’t able to see the Upper or Lower canyons. I hope you enjoyed the guide, leave a comment or feel free to email me with questions. Be sure to join our newsletter for new journeys!

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