Are Backpacks Allowed at Antelope Canyon?

Last Update on November 24, 2022 by Maxtour
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Visiting the world’s most photographed slot canyon on an Antelope Canyon tour is a bucket list item for anyone who has even the slightest fascination with the American West. Situated at the northern border of Arizona near Utah, Antelope Canyon is just outside the small town of Page.

Of course, many tourists making the trek to the canyon are wondering what they can bring for the trip, and if backpacks are allowed. The short answer is: no, you cannot bring a backpack into lower Antelope Canyon, and yes, you can bring them into Upper Antelope canyon

What’s Allowed and Not Allowed At Lower Antelope Canyon

No backpacks or purses of any kind (except a personal water bottle or Camelbak hydration pack) are allowed on the tour. This is because the canyon is very narrow at certain points and backpacks may damage the rock faces as a person moves through the slot. You can, of course, take your phone or camera with you, but no camera bags are allowed, either. 

Certain clear plastic purses and bags are allowed inside, but it's best to plan on leaving everything locked in the car. There are no food or drink options inside the canyon, so be sure and have something to eat before your tour begins. 

What’s Allowed and Not Allowed At Upper Antelope Canyon

Historically, bags of any size were not allowed inside Upper Antelope Canyon. With the new one way hiking system, there is a bit more room in the canyon and it appears some operators are allowing bags inside the canyon. Roger Ekis Upper Antelope Canyon Tours states this on their FAQs:

  • With the new One-Way system there will be a bit more room inside the canyon, no more two-way traffic, so we are going to allow a backpack per couple / family – we are OK with hydropacks – the smaller the better. The smaller the bag the better – we do not want you scratching the walls with your bags, do not bring overly excessive bags, the less you have to carry during the hike the better you will be.Only bring items you actually need – do not bring anything that is considered illegal or dangerous. Bags are subject to search before boarding the trucks.

Make sure to confirm with your specific tour operator whether you can bring a bag inside Upper Antelope Canyon or not as it appears not all companies are allowing them.

Your Tour of Antelope Canyon

There are no self-guided tours of either the upper or lower canyons. All tours must be booked with a Navajo guide who will not only describe the features of the canyon, but will also provide you with some of the rich history of the tribe and its connection to the land. Your guide will also give you some Antelope Canyon photography tips and point out the best locations for taking those photos.

The upper and lower canyons can be visited, but tickets often sell out months in advance during the peak season. This is especially true for the upper canyon–it might be easier to make a booking during the less popular winter months. 

It should be noted that Antelope Canyon is accessible to guests of all ages, as long as they are capable of walking up moderate slopes, steps, and short ladders. For very young guests who cannot walk on their own, a parent must carry their child for the entire tour, which may last up to one hour. 

Backpack child carriers are not allowed, although some front slings may be.

Nature’s Fury Creates Beauty

Antelope Canyon, along with all slot canyons found throughout the world, was formed by flash flooding. While this may be the desert, don’t let that fool you into thinking it never rains. Rain is rare, but when it pours, some spectacular and dangerous things can happen. 

If a flash flood happens, gravity forces the water to seek lower ground. Once it finds its way into the slot canyon, the water that was once spread out over hundreds of yards is quickly forced into a space just a few feet wide. This causes the water to build in power as it squeezes through the canyon at tremendous speeds. This speed, combined with the tremendous volume of water, carves the slot canyon a little more each time it happens.

Don’t worry, though–it’s unlikely you’ll have a lot of rain during your visit. The town of Page only records five to eight inches of rain per year and half of that occurs between August and November when the occasional storm is known to roll through. It should be noted that the canyon will close due to inclement weather if a storm is nearby. 

Land of the Navajo

Antelope Canyon sits on the ancestral lands of the Navajo people who have lived here for more than 1,000 years. The Navajo operate and license all visits to the park. 

It’s not just Antelope Canyon that belongs to the Navajo—most of northeastern Arizona is part of the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Nation is the largest Native American reservation in the United States, comprising over 27,000 square miles. To give some perspective, this is larger than the combined area of New Jersey, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Delaware, and Rhode Island.

Some other world-famous sites situated within the Navajo Nation are Monument Valley, Lake Powell, and the famous Four Corners where Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico come together in perfect ninety-degree corners. 

Of course, MaxTour has your back with the perfect trips to Antelope Canyon. We’ll make sure your journey goes as smoothly as possible and that you know everything you need to keep in mind along the way–including what you can and cannot bring into the canyon–so that you can enjoy your sightseeing vacation with zero hiccups.



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