Antelope Canyon
Northwest Arizona

By David Gjestson

Canyon Headquarters office

You may have seen pictures of this magnificent canyon landscape in National Geographic Magazine and simply didnt believe it to be real. It is located near Page, Arizona just downstream from Grand Canyon near the Utah state line and proximate to the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area surrounding Lake Powell. Visitors usually fly to Flagstaff, and drive 2.5 hours west to Page.

My wife and I had added this site on our bucket list when we moved to southeast Arizona in May of 2018. A cruise of Google will tell you the canyon resulted in flash flood erosion to Navaho sandstone originally laid down in the Colorado Plateau 200 million years ago. Located on Navaho Nation land, you can only visit the area through a guided tour offered by several private companies at about $60 per person.
Tours are provided March through October and are offered for the upper and lower canyon. Both are said to be extraordinary but we chose the more popular upper canyon option. The guides are all Navaho-led and depart every 30 minutes throughout the day for each company conducting the tours. Crowds at peak times can detract from your enjoyment as you can be shoulder to shoulder in narrow passageways continually for a 90-minute event!

The skies were overcast with gusting winds the day we chose in early May, so the crowds were reduced. Flash flood risks were on our minds as our guide explained a group of eleven tourists were killed by an August flood some years ago but upstream monitoring was constant and conditions were favorable for a safe tour!

Canyon tour vehicle

Our mouths were open in awe from the start of the tour and a brief introduction at its entrance! With sand blowing into our eyes at times, cameras clicked continuously as we entered the slot canyon as other tour groups were leaving. The touring technique was well orchestrated for accommodating so many people at the same time. The guide maintained an interval from the group ahead of us while directing us against the canyon wall to let others leaving pass before his briefing.

Other tour groups passing

At each stop along the way, our guide presented each view point in a rather ingenious way. He would have us line up in a single file while he stood at the view point pointing his camera at the perfect angle for the best picture. As each person step forward, he would show the cameras viewing screen to demonstrate the sight line for your picture! Brilliant!
Guide with camera

David and Laura
The obligatory picture to document attendance

Glen Canyon Dam

Because the Glen Canyon Dam and the famous Lake Powell were just a few miles from Page, a side trip was warranted

Marble Canyon

The downstream portion below the dam was named Marble Canyon by John Wesley Powell during his famous exploration of the canyon by raft in the summer of 1869.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

Lake Powell formed by the dam is a very popular recreation area and is surrounded by 1,254,429 acres of federal land.