Even if you’ve never heard of Antelope Canyon, you’ve definitely seen photos of it—it's America's most-photographed slot canyon. Slot canyons are beautiful, narrow canyons carved by flash flooding and sandstone. Over millions of years, they form uniquely shaped walls and waves.
You might be wondering where Antelope Canyon is–it’s located near Page, Arizona on the border of Utah and near Lake Powell, America's second-largest reservoir. The canyon sits on the land of the Navajo People. Because of this, all tours are conducted by the Navajo Tribe and they control access to the canyon. However, you can get some of the best Antelope Canyon tours from Las Vegas. Let’s take a look at some of the history behind both the canyon itself, how you can tour Antelope Canyon, and why this place is consistently ranked as one of the most impressive natural sites in the American southwest!
How Did Antelope Canyon Form?
Like most natural treasures, Antelope Canyon was formed by wind, water, and time. Over eons, flash floods ran through what began as a small crack in the ground. As the crack widened and the sandstone was exposed, each individual layer of rock was left visible for anyone to see. It's a geological history book that you can walk through!
A few times a year, the canyon still floods and the park may close for weather even if the rain is nowhere near the park. Rain occurring up to ten miles away has caused floods in Antelope Canyon due to the way the landscape channels the water straight. Fortunately, Antelope Canyon lies in the middle of a desert, so these rainy days are rare.
How Long Have People Known About Antelope Canyon?
It’s likely that the Navajo and other peoples native to the area have long known about the canyon's presence. There are some tribal stories dating back to the 1800’s that discuss Native Americans hiding in the caves from the American army during times of conflict.
According to a popular legend, a young girl was playing near her home in the 1930s when she came to a large wall with a crack in it. She decided to enter the crack, and what she saw astonished her and led to generations of people traveling to see the natural beauty.
What Can I Expect on My Tour?
Because Antelope Canyon is on the land of the Navajo People, all tours are conducted by the Navajo people. Originally, it was local families who would guide people through the stunning canyons, but tourism surged over the years and in 1997, the Navajo Tribe established Antelope Canyon as a Tribal Park.
Guided tours are mandatory in the park. Your guide will walk you through the canyon, show you interesting features, and point out excellent spots for unforgettable photos!
There are two halves to the park—the upper canyon and the lower canyon. While many tours focus on the upper canyon, the lower canyon has plenty to offer, as well. The upper canyon is where many photos are taken, and the lower canyon is narrower and you’ll need to be a bit more adventurous to make your way through its maze.
Antelope Canyon is a fantastic must-see attraction and deserves the title of the most photographed slot canyon in the world–checking this off your bucket list will surely help you make memories that last a lifetime.