Antelope Canyon


Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon in the American Southwest .  It is located on Navajo Land east of Page, Arizona.  Formed over 100s of years of water running through sandstone.  Antelope Canyon is both a sacred site for the Navajo and a favourite destination for tourists all over the world.


It includes 2 separate, photogenic slot canyon sections referred to, individually, as Upper Antelope Canyon or “The Crack”, and Lower Antelope Canyon or “The Cock-screw”.  The Navajo name for the Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse bighanilini which means “the place where water runs through rocks”.  The Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazi or “spiral rock arches”.  Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. –

Antelope Canyon Sunbeam 4

Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, priamarily due to “flash floods” and secondarily due to sub-aerial processes.  Rainwater, especially during the monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon section, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageway.  Over time, the passageway eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic “flowing” shapes in the rock.  Flooding in the canyon still occurs.  A flood occurred on 30th October, 2006, that lasted 36 hours, and caused the Tidal Park Authorities to close lower Antelope Canyon for 5 months.


Antelope Canyon is a popular location for photographers and sightseers.  It has been accessible by permit, only since 1997, when the Navajo Tribe made it a Navajo Tribal Park.
The Upper Antelope Canyon’s entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing.  Beams or shafts of direct sunlight radiate down from openings in the top of the canyon.  These beams occur all year long, but are more common in the summer months when the sun is higher in the sky.  Light beams start to peek into the canyon on March 20th and disappear on October 7th each year.


The Lower Antelope Canyon is located a few kilometres away.  Prior to the installation of metal stairways, visiting the canyon required climbing along pre-installed ladders in certain areas.  Even following installation of stairways, it is a more difficult hike than the Upper Antelope Canyon


it is longer, narrower (in spots) and even footing is not available in all areas.  At the end, the climb requires several flights od stairs.  Despite these limitations, the Lower Antelope Canyon draws a considerable number of photographers, though casual sightseers are much less common there than Upper Antelope Canyon.  The Lower Antelope Canyon is in the shape of “V” and shallower than the Upper Antelope Canyon.  Lighting is better in the early hours and late afternoon.


Antelope Canyon is visited, exclusively, through guided tours, in part because rains during the monsoon season can quickly flood the canyon.  Rain does not have to fall on or near the Antelope Canyon slots for “flash floods”  to whip through, as rain falling dozen of miles away “upstream” of the canyon can funnel into them with little prior notice.  Today, ladder systems have been bolted in place, and deployable cargo nets” are installed at the top of the Canyon.  At the fee booth, a NOAA Weather Radio from the National Weather Service and an alarm are stationed.  The road to Antelope Canyon is gated by the Navajo Nation and entry is restricted to guided tours, led by authorized tour guides.  Tours can be purchased in nearby Page, and range from $35 to $82 per person, depending on the time of day and length of the tour.

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