Road trip for Antelope Canyon’s smallest crowds of the year

The last three weeks of December are often the best time to visit Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, as well as Page!
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 10:29 AM MST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - We’re “Now Boarding” this week up to Northern Arizona, to one of my favorite places: the city of Page!

It’s home to several natural wonders, including the internationally-known Antelope Canyon. The last three weeks of December are often the least busy of the entire year, according to the tour operators, so this is a great time to visit if you’re looking to avoid the crowds.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you decide to head up to Antelope Canyon. First, no matter which part of the slot canyon you visit, you need a tour guide. Antelope Canyon is off-limits to self-guided visits. While several parts of the canyon are open to tourists, the two main sections are divided into areas known as Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.

Upper Antelope Canyon tours are a big longer (two hours), because they begin with a 20-minute ride in an open-air Jeep or truck from Page out to the canyon’s entrance. Upper Antelope is better for seniors and people who don’t want to climb ladders and steep staircases. It’s about a quarter-mile walk through the canyon, which is A-shaped and a bit darker than Lower Antelope.

Lower Antelope Canyon tours begin in a parking lot in the desert, adjacent to the canyon entrance. Lower Antelope is usually more crowded, and begins with a steep ladder or staircase down into the canyon. This part of the canyon is V-shaped, so it allows more light in to illuminate the orangey sandstone walls. While those are the basics to keep in mind as you decide which part of Antelope Canyon to explore, I have a much longer post to sort out the differences, along with many more photos.

No matter which tour you choose, you’re bound to have an enthusiastic, knowledgeable guide leading the way, who’s very helpful when it comes to taking great photos of your experience! Also, if you’re making the drive (or flying up to Page) you might want to check out my post on tackling both Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in one day. It’s definitely doable, and I highly recommend both!

On a totally different note, I have a warning if you have family coming to bask in the Arizona sun for the holidays. Camelback Mountain is always a favorite hike for tourists and family members from out of town, but they should be wary of fines. Both trails up Camelback are now open, for the first time in years (Cholla and Echo Canyon). Keep in mind, sunset hikes are totally banned. Park rangers will fine you, if you’re caught hiking after sunset, as I found out first-hand and posted about recently as a warning to my fellow sunset hikers!