Last month, I was fortunate to spend my birthday in Arizona. While planning this trip, I made sure that Antelope Canyon is on top of our list. The infamous slot canyon is located in Navajo Nation, which is an aboriginal land shared between northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico. We flew in to Phoenix late at night and drove 4-5 hours the next morning to northeastern Arizona in our beautiful silver Mustang. As we entered Navajo Nation, we caught beautiful desert views on both sides and the Grand Canyon ever so faintly far ahead. These views got us even more excited to explore the beautiful and highly photographed Antelope Canyon. While planning our trip, we were torn between visiting the Lower vs. Upper Antelope Canyon. So what did we do? Decided to explore both! I am so excited to share our photographs with you in this post and particularly point out some of the Instagram-worthy spots we found in both canyons.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Amazed with the tones and textures.Take a picture with your travel buddy at this dividing wall.Breathtaking views.
Neat entrance.When the romper matches the canyon, strike a pose.Rocky mountains.
A short climb up the canyon. Find this spot right before the exit. Stairway to heaven.Spot me!
Upper Antelope Canyon
Bumpy ride in a jeep to the entrance.Grand entrance.Eye of the canyon.Abstract structures.
Sand fall.Light beam.Love and light.
Things to know:
- You cannot enter the canyons alone. You must register with a tour company. I recommend Dixie Ellis’ Lower Antelope Canyon Tours for Lower Antelope Canyon.
- Don’t bother considering the photography tour unless you and your partner/friends all have a professional camera and tripod. We didn’t find this information anywhere online while planning our visit and were prepared to take the photography tour. It wasn’t until we arrived at the canyons and they told us about the requirement. To avoid this disappointment, I knew I had to share this little bit of info with you guys right away.
- The regular, non-photography tour is great. I got all of these photos from it! The tour guides are actually enthusiastic about taking photographs for you if you want to be in them. They also love suggesting which filter works best. Although seriously, this destination has major #NOFILTER moments.
- Wear closed-toe footwear when visiting Lower Antelope Canyon. The sand is extremely hot as you walk to the entrance of Lower Antelope Canyon. I wore my Converse sneakers on the way to the entrance of the canyon and changed into sandals I had kept in my backpack once we got inside. The canyons are much cooler than the outside temperature, and my toes felt liberated 🙂
- For best lighting conditions, go around noon time. Just a little adjustment in how you point your camera will result in the colours changing because of the way the light hits the canyon.
- Both canyons are a short driving distance apart. Make sure to have cash handy to enter the aboriginal ground for the Lower Antelope Canyon, in particular.
Differences between Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon:
- The Lower Canyon is relatively more difficult to enter. It requires a short walk to the entrance and then there are quite a few steep and narrow staircases before you make your way in completely.
- You will experience a rough yet thrilling desert drive in a jeep to arrive at Upper Canyon. Loved that experience!
- There are far more interesting photo opportunities in the Upper Canyon. The shapes are a lot more defined and light beams can be found here easily as opposed to the Lower Canyon.
Feel free to comment or write to me if you’d like further insight while planning your trip to Antelope Canyon. For more travel inspiration, don’t forget to check out some of the other Instagram photos from our Arizona trip here.