Day #3 – Upper Antelope Canyon
About 15 minutes from Horseshoe Bend are Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons. IF YOU WANT TO VISIT THE CANYONS YOU MUST BOOK A TOUR. There is no way to access the canyons without a tour. Upper Antelope Canyon is more popular for photos, but its also significantly more expensive. Upper Antelope Canyon tours will book up in advance and the canyon is always very crowded. Its basically a huge tourist trap. Is it still worth it? YES!
I booked my tour with Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours and was very happy with my experience. I booked Tour #10 for $58 at 10:15am and the lighting was fantastic. Note that there is an $8 Navajo Park Permit fee included in this price. I was told that the best lighting is between 11am-1pm and based on my photos, it appears to be true. Also, our tour guide gave us tons of tips and tricks to set our camera and phone settings for the best photos. She was awesome and so patient! I used an iPhone 5 for my photos and they came out great. Androids were even better (that’s the only time I’ll admit this).
Try to book your tour in advance (but not too far) because the quality of your photos greatly depends on the weather. A 14-day forecast may be able to help you pick the best day because rain and clouds will ruin the Instagram-worthy shots you’re after.
I could easily have hundreds of photos from the canyon, and I promise, they can’t even begin to display how awesome this experience is. Be warned, there are TONS of tourists, TONS. If you don’t like confined spaces or crowds, this is not the place for you. Check this out…
Lower Antelope Canyon
Based on Alyssa’s suggestion at “My Life’s A Movie” travel blog, I booked with Ken’s Tours and was so happy with this decision. Thanks Alyssa! My tour was at 12:30pm and the lighting was fantastic. The crowds were MUCH smaller than those at Upper Antelope Canyon (see below) and my guide was very knowledgable about the canyons and the history of the area. The cost of this tour was $20 plus the $8 Navajo Park Permit Fee. If you plan to do Upper Antelope Canyon in the same day then you only need to pay this fee once.
There’s virtually no people here
The pictures still look fantastic
Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?
I’d highly recommend visiting both if you can, but if you must choose one, here are some of the key differences to consider.
Upper Antelope Canyon tours cost significantly more than Lower Antelope Canyons tours, $58 compared to $20, respectively.
Upper Antelope Canyon is significantly more crowded than Lower Antelope Canyon due to the popularity of the Upper Antelope Canyon tours. Crowds are only allowed to travel in one direction and groups are closely monitored by the tour guides. I must admit, I did feel rushed while in Upper Antelope Canyon. Lower Antelope Canyon on the other hand, allows for a relaxed pace with fewer crowds (almost none when I went) and more flexibility for photos.
Upper Antelope Canyon is best known for its iconic “light beam” photos, which has made it so popular for tourists looking to capture the perfect shot. Lower Antelope Canyon is taller/deeper which makes photographing the light beams much more difficult, however you can still capture beautiful photos of the slot canyon as seen above. Note that you are not guaranteed a “light beam” photo with your Upper Antelope Canyon tour.
I’m sorry to say this, but it’s up to you! If you hate crowds, are on a super tight budget, or booked last-minute, then Lower Canyon is for you. If you have FOMO (fear of missing out) like me, then Upper Antelope Canyon or both might be a better choice.
Ready to continue on?
Day 3 (part 2) – Upper & Lower Antelope Canyons ((you are here))
Which canyon did you pick? Why?