If you missed the intro to this blog series, be sure to check it out here.
The next day of our trip was spent in Page, Arizona, which is home to several popular attractions, including Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and the southern shores of Lake Powell. Because we had only one day in Page and didn’t feel overly compelled to check out a manmade reservoir, Lake Powell was nixed from our list of must-sees. What we did decide to see was Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, and Horseshoe Bend. While it sounds like a lot to accomplish in one day, trust me. It’s very doable.
Now, let’s talk slot canyons. They begin as mere cracks in the ground, but ultimately transform into narrow, winding canyons that can exist both above and below ground. This occurs over millions of years due to erosion from repeated flash flooding. Most commonly, they are formed in sandstone. Why the geology lesson? Because Antelope Canyon is arguably one of the most famous slot canyons in the world.
Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land and has two distinct areas that can be visited: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. If you have time, I say do both. They are as stunning as they are unique. However, if you have to choose between the two, I say do Upper Antelope Canyon. Here’s why.
Upper Antelope Canyon is narrow at the top and wide at the base. Because of that, it’s easier to navigate and feels less congested. It’s also above ground, so all levels of agility can be accommodated. Due to its narrow top and wide base, the ideal time of day to capture those exquisite light beams is mid to late morning; it gets significantly darker and therefore more difficult to capture quality images as the day progresses.
Lower Antelope Canyon, on the other hand, is wide at the top and narrow at the base. Due to its structure, it feels more congested. It’s also underground, so there are several instances in which climbing a ladder is required. I thought this aspect added to the experience, but I would still keep that in mind if you are traveling with small children or elderly loved ones. Lastly, because of its wide top and narrow base, the best time of day to avoid overexposure is mid-afternoon; the earlier you are there, the more difficult is to capture quality images due to overwhelming brightness.
I cannot stress this enough: book as far in advance as possible! As you can see from my photos, Upper Antelope Canyon appears very dark because our tour was at 2:30 pm. On the flip side, Lower Antelope Canyon appears very light because our tour was at 11 am. We wanted to book in reverse like countless travel blogs had recommended, but, despite booking a week or two in advance, we still weren’t able to get the time slots we wanted.
After taking in the beauty of both Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, we headed to Horseshoe Bend for sunset. If you plan on doing the same, know that getting to and from this natural wonder requires a 0.75-mile hike each way. Although incredibly close in proximity to the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend is actually part of Glen Canyon. It is quite literally a horseshoe-shaped bend in Glen Canyon, created by the Colorado River. There are no words to describe how mesmerizing Horseshoe Bend is in real life. As I approached it, I actually felt dizzy because I was that overwhelmed by its beauty. Call me dramatic, but that’s the truth.
Before checking into our hotel, we went to Big John’s Texas BBQ for some grub. 10/10 recommend. Then, we headed to Baymont by Wyndham for the night. Nearly a year later, I remember the beds being particularly cozy. The following morning, Linds and Cabes decided to sleep in while Miller and I decided to check out Horseshoe Bend: Sunrise Edition. Once simply wasn’t enough for us. I will say, it was equally as magnificent in the morning, yet the crowd was significantly smaller. So, if you’re willing to rise with the sun, I definitely recommend sunrise over sunset.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon
…Next stop, Sedona!
What absolutely stunning photos! I need to go there sometime.