Millions of Americans visit Las Vegas every year, and hundreds of thousands of those people will also visit the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon. But what these people don’t know is that just a few hours further is one of America's most stunning natural features, Antelope Canyon. A slot canyon carved into sandstone over millions of years, Antelope Canyon has produced some of the most incredible and unbelievable geological shapes on earth. Some of the best Antelope Canyon tours start in Las Vegas.
Antelope Canyon sits on tribal land belonging to the Navajo People. Because of this, the Navajo Tribe and the canyon are inextricably linked. Let's examine what a typical visit to this Native American treasure looks like and learn a little about the history of the land and its people.
The History of Antelope Canyon
Local legend tells the story of a young farm girl who was out herding one day in the 1930s. She saw a crack in the stone and decided to go inside, and what she found stunned her and generations of visitors ever since. While this myth makes for good storytelling, Antelope Canyon has been known by the local tribes for many years.
Geologically, the history of Antelope Canyon began with a simple crack in the ground. Due to flash flooding, water started carving its way through the rock. As the canyon was carved over millions of years, it slowly exposed layers of rock which now run like the strokes of a paintbrush across the walls of the canyon.
This flooding still occurs today and tours may be suspended if rain is anywhere in the area–even rain as far as ten miles away can cause the canyon to flood. Fortunately, because of the desert climate, rainy days are rare.
Visiting the Canyon
Reaching the canyon is as easy as booking the best Antelope Canyon tours. Despite what many people think, Antelope Canyon is not a national park. Due to its location on tribal land, it is a tribal park and all tours of Antelope Canyon are operated by the Navajo Nation.
Guided tours of the canyon are mandatory and no visitors are allowed to enter the canyon without a guide. Your guide will explain the features of the canyon and show how the canyon was formed by water over the years.
As a bonus, nearly all tours of Antelope Canyon include a stop at the majestic Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River. This amazing feature is where the Colorado River makes a sharp turn and carves a perfect U-shape into the desert floor. Tours will also often stop for photos at Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon Dam.
After seeing the sights, most tours will take you back to Las Vegas so you can continue on your trip in one of America's most famous, fun-filled cities!