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Visiting Antelope Canyon is like visiting another planet. Once you see a photo of Antelope Canyon, you can’t help but immediately think “I need to visit this place!”
I visited Antelope Canyon during my southwest road trip through Arizona and Utah, and am SO glad I included this beautiful place on my itinerary.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon located in USA’s southwest. Located near Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is part of the Navajo Nation. Famous for the beautiful colors and wave-like walls, it’s an incredibly popular place for tourists traveling in USA’s southwest.
Are you planning a trip to Arizona and Utah? I have the ultimate 7-day itinerary for you! Just hit the image below to download your free copy (which includes downloadable google maps that you can use on your road trip)
To help others who are planning on visiting Antelope Canyon, I’ve put together a guide to everything you need to know when visiting Antelope Canyon!
If you’re visiting Antelope Canyon, it’s important to remember that this can refer to two separate canyons. There’s the “Upper Antelope Canyon” and the “Lower Antelope Canyon.”
Upper Antelope Canyon is the most popular amongst tourists. It is the most accessible canyon (no climbing or hiking is required), and beams of light are more likely to appear. Seeing the Upper Antelope Canyon with beams of light coming down is seen as a “bucket list” experience to many visitors to the area. Alternatively, the Lower Antelope Canyon is less crowded but can be harder to get to (some of the canyons here involve hiking!)
How to get to Antelope Canyon
Visiting Antelope Canyon is via an organized tour only. Once you book your spot, you’ll drive to a specified location where you can park your car. The tour company will then transport you to the canyon where they’ll take you through the slot canyon.
Make sure you book well in advance for public holidays and during school holidays as these can sell out weeks in advance.
If you are a photographer and planning on bringing a tripod, make sure you book a spot on a photography tour. The photography tours are more expensive, but if you love photography, they are worth the extra expense. If you book a place on the regular tour, you won’t be allowed to bring your tripod!
Should I visit Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon?
Which canyon you visit is down to personal preference.
Visit Upper Antelope Canyon if: you have dreamed of seeing beautiful beams of light down to the canyon floor AND you’re okay with dealing with large crowds. Keep in mind you won’t have as much time to explore the canyon at your own pace. The sights you see here are iconic and very rare elsewhere in Antelope Canyon!
Visit Lower Antelope Canyon if: you hate crowds, you want time to walk through the canyon, and you’re not fussed whether you see beams of light. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Lower Antelope Canyon can be a great place to bring kids as it is usually less busy compared to the Upper Antelope Canyon. Also, if you like hiking or walks, some of the canyons require hiking to get to.
My experience visiting Antelope Canyon
I’m not a huge fan of crowds (the idea of waiting in line or being in a crowded area makes me grumpy!) So I opted for the Lower Antelope Canyon.
We booked a photography tour with Taadidiin Tours to visit a canyon known as Canyon X. We had 3 hours to explore the canyon and were allowed tripods. The tour guides would also block groups of people when needed so we could take photos.
When we were visiting, we met a fellow photographer who mentioned he had visited the Upper Antelope Canyon on a photography tour too. He said it was hectic and most of the time you only had up to one minute to capture each shot before you had to move on. He preferred visiting the Lower Antelope Canyon as it wasn’t as busy!
Knowing this, choosing a photography tour in the Lower Antelope Canyon was the best choice. I’m not a fan of crowds and hate being rushed when I’m taking photos. Taking the 3-hr photography tour with Taadidiin Tours allowed us to photograph in peace AND let us enjoy the beautiful canyon too!
Check out TripAdvisor reviews for Taadidiin Tours
Advice for taking photos with a DSLR camera when visiting Antelope Canyon
The lighting in the canyon can be pretty low. If you’re shooting with a tripod, this shouldn’t be too much of an issue.
You’ll need to play around with your camera, but I set mine on ISO 200 – 300 and at aperture f/9.0. A tip we got from one of the tour guides was to set our camera mode on “cloudy,” as this would bring out the colors of the canyon wall. Of course, every lighting situation is different so you might need to adjust your settings. For example, if it is dark when you are visiting, you might need to set your ISO to a higher number.
If you don’t have a tripod, my suggestion would be to shoot in aperture priority mode. Set your aperture to f/9.0 and up your ISO until your shutter speed is at a point where the steadiness of your hands don’t make the photo blurry. Make sure to be careful with ISO, however, as increasing the ISO too much can make your photos appear grainy!
Advice for taking photos with a smartphone when visiting Antelope Canyon
Most people manage perfectly fine with smartphones when taking photos here. Make sure you point your phone upwards as there is more light (and also fewer heads!). Also make sure to hold your camera as steady as possible and switch off the flash (flash can lead to weird photo exposure, especially in darker environments!)
Remember Antelope Canyon (regardless of whether you’re visiting the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon) can be a busy place. If you’re trying to take photos with fewer people, remember to point your camera up. You’ll avoid other visitors in your photo, and there’ll be more lighting which will make photo-taking easier.
Regardless of whether you visit the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon, Antelope Canyon can be a beautiful place to visit. I highly recommend it, especially if you’re already visiting nearby Horseshoe Bend in Page!
Now tell me:
Do you think you’d visit the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?
Or if you’ve already been I’d love to hear your experiences – let me know what it was like in the comments below!
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I am planning a road trip here soon myself! Your photography tips are SO helpful.
Thank you, Amanda! I hope you have a wonderful trip 🙂
Wow, the colors are absolutely stunning! Thank you for posting this. You’ve inspired me to consider planning a trip.
I hope you get to visit April – it’s a beautiful place!
I have wanted to visit this place for a long time. I do not live that far away so I need to find the time to go. I am not a fan of crowds neither. I have seen photos of the crowds in the Upper Canyon and it looks crazy. It would be ideal to visit both but I know it is not the most budget-friendly thing to do.
I hope you get to visit soon, Ruth. What a beautiful place to live near! I agree about visiting both – the tours can add up $$.
I can not wait to try this hike out! Thank you!
I hope you enjoy it, Jen! It’s a beautiful place 🙂
Hard to choose which one but would definitely go for the less crowded. Nice photos! 🙂
Thank you, Mar! I’m glad you like the photos – it’s definitely a beautiful place.
You captured such lovely photos! Like you, I don’t enjoy being around crowds very often, but in this case, I think I might choose to take a tour of BOTH the Upper and Lower segments. (Assuming I had unlimited time, obviously…) One day for those classic light beam canyon photos and another day to enjoy the canyons without feeling pressured to keep moving through!
Sounds like a great plan, Sarah! I wish I had more time – I would have definitely done both. There are also a couple of really great walks for the Lower Canyons that I’ve heard are worth visiting. I guess I just need to visit again 🙂
This place is insane ❤ Beyond beatiful!
Thank you – I hope you get to visit!