I descended into Antelope Canyon, one of the most photographed canyons in the world. Curved rocks ranging from bright orange to the deepest of purple were surrounding me. Some colors, not visible with bare eyes popped out of my camera as a spectacle of light. I had all the time to take photos without other people ruining my picture perfect.
But what few people know is that there are actually three different sections to Antelope Canyon: Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon and The Water section.
Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon is the most famous part of the canyon for 3 reasons.
First of all it’s very popular because of it’s light beams that enter the canyon around noon. It’s a rare and visually stunning spectacle and the main reason to visit this part of the canyon.
Secondly, the canyon is easily accessible. You’ll be driven up to the entrance by one of the special vehicles. Getting through the canyon is easy and doesn’t involve any climbing or cramping your way through.
Thirdly, you can book a ticket at your hotel or via one of the three official touring companies
(Antelope Canyon Tours, Chief Totsie Antelope Canyon Tours and Overland Canyon Tours ).
Tour and ticket options for Upper Antelope Canyon
All of the tour companies have similar rates and will require you fess up around $35. The downside is that you only get to spend one hour down the canyon and that there will be a lot of other tourists down with you.
If you want to see the light beams you’ll need to book a tour between 10.30 am and 14.00 pm.
The light beam tour hours are more expensive and come at 46$. If you are a photographer who wants to bring a tripod you’ll have to pay 80$. The good part however is that you get to go by yourself and stay longer. I didn’t visit this part of the canyon because the photographers tour was too expensive and the normal light beam tours would have too much people down in the canyon at the same time.
Visiting Lower Antelope Canyon would offer me better shots and suited my backpacker budget better.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon is the less visited canyon. Hotels can’t book tours for this part of the canyon and you have to drive up here yourself. It’s just across the road from Upper Antelope Canyon but it’s more adventurous. You will need to decend and ascend multiple staircases and cramp yourself in between the rocks. There are no light beams visible in this part of the canyon but the reflections on the rocks still turn the canyon into a light spectacle.
Tour & ticket options for Lower Antelope Canyon
Visiting this part of the canyon is a lot cheaper. You have to pay $26 dollar per person for a 1 hour guided canyon tour and they only allow a maximum of 25 persons per tour group. This gives you all the space and time to take pictures without people running in front of your camera. If you carry a DSLR camera and a tripod you can opt for the 2 hour photographers tour, which costs $35. This allows you to descend the canyon by yourself and spend 2 hours up there.
I opted for the $26 guided tour and had more than enough time to take pictures. Our tour guide even showed us special rock formations and great angles to shoot photos. I had a blast and we were even down the canyon 15 minutes longer than planned.
The Water Part
The Water Part is probably even less known than the Upper and Lower antelope Canyon. To enter this you will need to take a boat tour, hire a boat, jetski or kajak at the Page Marina.
You will need to follow the road to Antelope Point to reach the Page Marina where you will have to pay an entrance fee or use your America the Beautifull pass. Ask for the boat rental house. I decided to rent a 2 person kajak for 2 hours ($16).
Putting me and my girlfriend in one kajak however turned out to be a pretty bad idea.
“No you’re padling wrong. We need to go the other way. You know what, why don’t you do it yourself ! Would you just keep padling?!”
We had a good laugh at if afterwards but it took us more than an hour to reach the canyon entrance. We also had to handle big waves coming from speedboats. Not the easiest place to kajak together for the first time.
So if you want to visit this part of the canyon make sure you’re an experienced kajaker or rent a boat or a jetski. And take your time to fully enjoy the canyon.
Do It Yourself
Cost upper canyon: $35-$80
Cost lower canyon: $26-$35
Be sure to let us know which part of Antelope Canyon you visited!