During my weekend out in Page, AZ I also visited the Lower Antelope Canyon. I mainly came to Page for the Horseshoe Bend of the Colorado River and to explore Lake Powell.
Near Page is a coal power plant and I saw it already on my drive towards Page. I drove there to check it out and see if it would be a great spot to take a photo of. On my way to the power plant I passed signs for Antelope Canyon and I did some research on it to find out what it actually is. You probably have seen pictures of Antelope Canyon without even noticing where they were taken. Antelope Canyon is a so-called slot canyon. It was formed the same way as Horseshoe Bend. Water eroded through the softer layers of the Navajo Sandstone and formed this narrow canyon.
There are two canyons here. The upper and lower Antelope Canyon. Because the canyons are located on the Navajo Tribal Park grounds, you can only access them with a tour guide. The upper canyon tours were fully booked for that day. A young couple I met at Horseshoe Bend recommended to see the lower Antelope Canyon and go with Ken’s Tour. Besides the tour guide fee, there is an entrance fee to enter the tribal lands. If you are planning on visiting the upper canyon, save your receipt. Otherwise, you have to pay the entrance fee again for the upper canyon in addition to the tour guide.
Ken’s Tour is one of two tour companies offering tours into the lower canyon. The advantage of the lower canyon tours is the cheaper price, compared for the upper canyon. This is mainly because you can walk basically from the parking lot directly down to the canyon. For the upper canyon, you have to hop on board some kind of transportation to get to it in the first place. I toured the canyon with a new friend I just met the day before also at Horseshoe Bend.
You can make a reservation for the tours in advance or buy your tickets at the booth right outside of the main building of Ken’s Tours. We came here and bought our tickets at the counter and without reservation. There was no more space in the next tour going to the canyon but there were spots open in the following one.
Tours depart the building every 20 minutes from the waiting room inside. Once you have bought your tickets feel free to stroll around in the gift shop or have a small snack in the waiting area.
Have your ticket ready as your tour departure time is called. We got guided outside where the group split up in smaller groups with a tour guide for each group. Groups are 15 people or less per tour guide.
From there it’s a short walk to the entrance of the canyon. Right before we headed down a set of steep stairs our tour guide gave us some history lessons about the canyon. She also provided us with the best camera settings to get amazing pictures. They try to help you out, no matter what camera you own. Everything from an iPhone camera all the way up to high-end DSLR’s.
Now it was our groups turn to head down the set of stairs leading to the entrance or better the exit of the canyon. It is the entrance for the tour but for the water coming down when it rains here, it will be the exit. The canyon continues all the way down to Lake Powell. By taking a boat tour at the Antelope Point Marine you get to see the other side of the canyon. You can take a guided boat tour or rent a kajak and explore the canyon in your own pace. The Kajak is able to get down in the canyon even further than the tour boat.
Once the whole group made it to the bottom we got guided through the canyon. It starts out already amazing when you look at the rock formations but it will get better and better. That’s why we probably take the tour against the flow direction of the water.
Our tour guide didn’t rush us through the canyon but we couldn’t stay at a point for an extended period of time. It was basically just going a few steps around corners to take pictures and then move on so the next person can take pictures of the same rock formations. It was quite busy here in the canyon and we had some congestion issues with the group directly ahead of us. Be prepared that people might step in your picture. Our tour guide made sure that the whole group keeps on moving. The guides will help you if you want to take pictures of yourself or your family or travel companions. Our guide pointed out all the specific formations in the rock which have names like “Lady in the Wind”. This is a pretty famous rock formation you might have seen somewhere before and didn’t notice where it was taken.