Hiking Antelope Canyon is a bucket list experience not to be missed. This is the most photographed slot canyon in the world. This guide has the most recent tour details for exploring and hiking Antelope Canyon in 2024. Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land in Page, Arizona, and is a natural slot canyon that runs approximately 30 miles long and includes four different sections. This guide will give you information on the two most popular sections Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons as well as the two lesser-known Canyon X and Secret Antelope Canyon sections. All hikes in Antelope Canyon require a guide and can’t be accessed independently. In this guide, we’ll give you everything you need to know to plan a great visit to hike Antelope Canyon as well as some hikes near Page that don’t require a guide.

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What to know about Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon, which is a long, narrow channel or drainage way with sheer rock walls that are typically formed over millions of years when water rushes through the sandstone. Northern Arizona has a high concentration of slot canyons including Antelope Canyon which is approximately 30 miles long and includes four different sections. The two most popular sections are Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. These sections of the canyon are only 7.5 miles apart making it easy for visitors to see both of these amazing canyons on the same day. The lesser-known Canyon X and Secret Antelope Canyon are also close by and are great options to limit crowds, if you can’t get reservations to lower or upper, or if you have the extra time to see them all. All are amazing, with very different experiences and bucket list-worthy stops.

All four of these hikes in Antelope Canyon require a Navajo guide and due to the popularity and limited capacity of the Upper and Lower sections they can be difficult to get. Without a tour reservation, you cannot access, hike, or view Antelope Canyon. There are signs stating that visiting this area unaccompanied is a violation of federal and tribal law. This is to keep this sacred land protected as well as to limit the number of people viewing the sites at the same time. Depending on when you’re going we recommend reserving a tour up to six months in advance if possible, but we’ve also had some luck booking two months out for Lower.

What’s the difference between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons?

There are many differences between the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons, however, they are separate sections of the same canyon. The biggest difference in touring one over the other is how you enter and walk through the canyon as well as the cost difference. We’ll give you all the details for hiking in Antelope Canyon and how each section varies below.

Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon Hiking
Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon, which is also known as “The Crack,” is the most popular of the two slot canyons that make up Antelope Canyon. The upper section sits at 4,000 feet elevation with walls that rise 120 feet high. This Canyon has a wide, flat opening that you can walk straight into making it more accessible.

When you see photos of Antelope Canyon with the famous light beams (May-September, typically between 11-1pm) this is most likely the upper section. The colors in the canyon change depending on which season you visit and this is a favorite of photographers. Upper Canyon is more difficult to find a reservation and the tours are much more expensive than the lower section. 

The Details

Hikes to Upper Antelope Canyon are no longer done as a loop so when exiting the back side of the canyon there is a 100-foot hill with some stairs and a raised metal ramp walkway that visitors take outside the canyon back to the tour truck that takes 20-30min. This helps lessen crowding but does make it less accessible for anyone who has issues with stairs.

Upper Antelope Tour DetailsUpper Antelope Tour Highlights
DistanceOut and back total of 3/4 mile, 1.3 Kilometers
(0.3 Miles, 0.5 Kilometers inside the canyon) 
Elevation Change100 Feet Going Up
Approximate tour time Approximately 90 minutes (40 min spent on drive there/back), 2.5 hours for a photography tour
DifficultyEasy, but with the new changes to how you exit there are stairs and metal ramps. It is ~20min walk to the exit.
No shade.
Photography tours offeredYes, this is the only way to use a tripod and have fewer people in your shots.
BathroomsNear tour office, none in the canyon
Prone to flash floods? Yes, very prone to flash floods. Check weather reports. 
Permits Yes, entry into Upper Canyon requires purchasing and reserving a time with a Navajo tour company.
Upper Antelope Canyon Tour Overview

What to expect

  • You will be taken with your group in a 4 x 4 open-air tour truck to the canyon entrance through a sand track. The ride there is about 20 mins each way. 
  • Many tour groups for upper require you to be there 45-60 minutes in advance of your tour time so make sure to check the information provided by the tour organizer.
  • Some tour groups have a nominal service fee of $3 per person that you need to pay by cash on-site.
  • Remember to tip your guides as they work very hard. Most accept Venmo if you don’t have cash.

Upper Antelope Canyon Tour Companies

Timing, cost, and availability vary so do your research and check reviews (Tripadvisor is the best) and thoroughly understand the tour description before booking. Some do have age limits for children and other physical limitations. 

Upper Antelope Slot Canyons
Antelope Slot Canyon Tours
Roger Ekis’ Antelope Canyon Tours
Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours

Lower Antelope Canyon

At 1,335 feet long, Lower Antelope Canyon is more than double the length of the Upper Antelope’s 660 feet and is known as the “Corkscrew”. At more than double the length, Lower Antelope Canyon takes longer to walk through, but you get to see more, and it feels like more of an adventure. Every turn brings a different awe-inspiring view or a new rock formation to take in.

Lower Antelope Canyon requires a ¼ mile (.40km) walk before descending into the canyon through multiple flights of stairs. They are steep but feel very secure and have railings on both sides. Once at the bottom of the canyon, it feels as though you’ve entered another planet and the adventure begins. Lower Antelope Canyon differs from the upper in that it is V-shaped compared to the upper canyon which is A-shaped. The wider top of the canyon allows much more sunlight to enter which makes it easier to take decent photos. Please note that Lower Canyon tour groups no longer offer a photography-specific tour option so only Upper and Canyon X offer this. If you want to view what the experience is like this video, although quite dated still does a good job of showing the stairs and difficulty level.

The Details

You must descend five sets of stairs (~70 steps in total near the entrance) to reach the bottom of Lower Antelope Canyon. There is a separate exit that goes out the back of the canyon, so the hike through Lower Antelope is a one-way journey and you ascend out through smaller groups of stairs more gradually.

Lower Antelope Tour DetailsLower Antelope Tour Highlights
Distance1.1 Miles, 1.8 Kilometers (0.8 Miles, 1.4 Kilometers inside the canyon)
Elevation Change300 Feet down then back up. In total, there are about 130 steps inside Lower Antelope Canyon.
Approximate tour time 45 minutes – 65 minutes depending on how crowded it is
DifficultyModerate, it does require ascending and descending steep metal staircases so lower is the more difficult when compared to upper or Canyon X.
Photography tours offeredNo longer offered
SeasonNear tour office, none in the canyon
Prone to flash floods? Prone to flash floods? – Yes, very prone to flash floods. Check weather reports.
Permits Yes, entry into Lower Antelope Canyon requires purchasing and reserving a time with a Navajo tour company.
Lower Antelope Canyon Tour Overview
Lower Antelope Canyon Stairs
Lower Antelope Canyon Stairs

Lower Canyon Tour Groups

Ken’s Tours (Recommend)

Dixie’s Tours

Lower Antelope Canyon Tour Companies

Canyon X

This is a lesser-known section of Antelope Canyon furthest to the south in Page, AZ. It is the newest section and opened only within the last five years, but it’s just as great as the upper or lower sections of the canyon. Antelope Canyon X is named after the Xs carved into the Navajo Sandstone created by millions of years of rainfall and wind. There are two sections to Canyon X, to the right or north is the darker of the two and the left or south side has more light, and you will get to experience both on a tour. A guide is required to see or hike Canyon X as is true for all sections of Antelope Canyon.

The Details

To begin the tour for Canyon X you meet in a large parking lot. Then you drive in your car (10min) and follow the pilot car to the canyon entrance. You line up in small groups that each enter the canyon sections at different times. Then you need to walk down a hill (packed sand path or stair option–see photo below) to the mouth of the two canyons and you enter at ground level. The tour guides do a good job of keeping groups separate so you can get photos without people in them. To come out you must return up the same hill, and the stairs (50-75) are the easiest way up as it is a bit steep. Remember to bring cash for a tip or ask your guide for their Venmo. They work very hard and after the tour the guides stay below not near the car park so it’s not easy to return to the car for a tip.

Canyon X Tour DetailsCanyon X Tour Highlights
DistanceThe first canyon is .06 mile (100 meters) and the second canyon .12mile  (200 meters) for a total of .18mile (300 meters) so this is the shortest section.
Elevation ChangeNA
Approximate tour time 1.5 hours including travel time to the entrance.
DifficultyEasy, short hike in downhill, and to come out you go back up the same hill via (~50-75) stairs.
Photography tours offeredYes, this is the only way to use a tripod and have fewer people in your shots
Bathroomsnear tour office, none in canyon
Prone to flash floods? Yes, very prone to flash floods. Check weather reports.
Permits Yes, entry into Canyon X requires purchasing and reserving a time with a Navajo tour company.
Canyon X Tour Overview
Stairs going into Canyon X
Canyon X entrance stairs

Canyon X Tour Company

Taadidiin Tours is the only guide operating on Canyon X. We had a great experience and recommend them.

Secret Canyon or Horseshoe Bend Canyon

This slot canyon is located in the middle fork of the upper wash of Antelope Canyon. Secret Antelope Canyon is part of the Lake Powell, Antelope Canyon system and is still a less-discovered gem. Secret Antelope Canyon offers both A-shaped and V-shaped slot canyon sections. A unique feature of Secret Canyon is the walls gradually rise as you navigate the 450-foot length of the slot canyon.

The Details

It includes a 3/4 mile total walking and there are no stairs or ladders. A Navajo guide is required and the sole tour provider groups this with Horseshoe Bend as well. The tour begins with boarding an open-air, covered, 4×4 tour truck for the 3-mile drive from Page, AZ on Highway 89. From there, it’s a six-mile off-road drive through sandy washes, and rolling hills to arrive south of Lake Powell in this section of Antelope Canyon. Then it’s a .18mile (300 meters) hike to the entrance of the slot canyon. They give you about an hour to hike and explore before returning the same way.

Secret Canyon Tour DetailsHighlights
DistanceDistance – expect up to a 3/4 mile walk through flat, sandy terrain of the slot canyon, another ¼ mile round trip walk at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook which is a part of this tour.
Elevation Changeflat
Approximate tour time Approximately 3 hours for the full tour
DifficultyEasy, no ladders or stairs
Photography tours offeredNo
Bathroomsnone in the canyon
SeasonYear-around, availability may be limited during January and February
Prone to flash floods? Yes, very prone to flash floods. Check weather reports.
Permits Yes, entry into Secret Canyon requires purchasing and reserving a time with a Navajo tour company.
Secret Canyon Tour Overview

A note about accessing this area through kayaking from Lake Powell. We do not advise this as visiting this area unaccompanied by a Navajo guide is a violation of federal and tribal law. This is to keep this sacred land protected as well as to limit the number of people viewing the sites at the same time. Do people do it? Yes, and it risks access for everyone else as well as can lead to overcrowding and damage to the environment. 

Secret Canyon Tour Company

Secret Canyon can only be visited by guided tour and Horseshoe Bend Tours has exclusive access. Tours being offered for this section of the canyon have been quite limited so we recommend checking or calling before planning a visit. Note, seeing Horseshoe Bend does not require a guide and is a very easy stop but to see Secret Canyon this tour groups these two stops together.

Things to know when visiting Antelope Canyon

  • Most tour companies don’t allow backpacks, food, or tripods so check the requirements.
  • Tours are weather dependent and every tour company’s cancelation policy differs. Some only allow you to rebook the next day versus giving a refund so check for this if you’ll only be in town one day.
  • The canyons can be very dusty so be aware of camera gear and don’t change lenses inside the canyon.
  • Antelope Canyon and Monument Valley are part of the Navajo Nation, which is mostly in Arizona, but Antelope Canyon does NOT apply Daylight Savings Time, while Monument Valley does. Arizona does not apply daylight saving time, so the time remains the same throughout the year. Being close to the Utah border sometimes cell phones can switch time zones so be aware of this.
  • The Navajo Nation Park Permit Fee of $8.00 (check as this could change) is required when visiting any Navajo Tribal Park. The permit fee is valid for one full day. If you have paid this fee before your tour at another site, you can request a refund, just bring your receipt or confirmation email upon arrival.

“Our Mission is to protect, preserve and manage tribal parks, monuments and recreation areas for the perpetual enjoyment and benefit of the Navajo Nation – the spectacular landscapes, buttes, canyons, clean air, diversity of plants and wildlife, and areas of beauty and solitude.”

-Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation

Frequently Asked Questions for
Visiting Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ

What Hikes Near Page, AZ Require a Guide

Please note, that nearby Rattlesnake, Mountain Sheep, and Owl Canyons all require guides to access. A guide can be found here. Waterhole Canyon also requires a guide check here for updates.

What Hikes Near Antelope Canyon Don’t Require A Guide?

Distance from Page:
White Pocket ~2 hours 
Wirepass to Buckskin Gulch 1 hour
The Toadstools Hoodoos 30 min
Horseshoe Bend (has a parking fee but no permit/guide required) ~10min
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Rainbow Bridge ~20min

How to get to Page, AZ

Visitors of Page, AZ typically fly into larger surrounding airports and rent a car or drive from surrounding areas. Approximate drive times are below: 

Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) 4 hours 20 minutes
Flagstaff Pulliam Airport (FLG) 2 hours 15 minutes
Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (LAS) 4 hours 27min
Page Municipal Airport (PGA) does offer limited commercial flights on Contour Airlines from Phoenix to Page.

Where to Stay when visiting Antelope Canyon?

There are a lot of hotel options in Page, AZ that provide easy access to all of the Antelope Canyon hiking and tours. Check them out here.

We stayed at the Holiday Inn & Suites as we only stayed one night and needed a suite. This was a convenient option for traveling with kids and close to everything.

If you’re looking to camp there are a lot of Bureau of Land Management (BLM) camping options where you can stay for up to 14 days. Please make sure to understand all BLM camping rules, leave no trace, and don’t camp in a wash, because of potential flash flood dangers.

When is the best time to Visit Antelope Canyon?

If you want to see light beams they typically appear May through September between 10-1pm. The busy season is March through October so if you want fewer crowds go in the winter off-season. July- September is the monsoon season when more cancelations can happen due to flash flood concerns.

Can I bring kids to Antelope Canyon?

We do recommend checking the age requirements for the tour companies you’re considering. Currently, tours to Lower Canyon, kids 0-3 years are free but if your child cannot walk it’s required that you carry your child in a front chest carrier or a backpack carrier. This can be difficult on the steep stairs and being aware of the risks of head injuries in a carrier within the tight spaces of the canyon. No strollers are allowed on any tours. Children 4-12 years have a discounted rate for Lower Canyon and 13 years and up are considered adults. For Upper Canyon, only two tour companies allow infants and younger children. These tour groups are Roger Ekis’ Antelope Slot Canyon Tours and Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours, but check for current info. For Canyon X young children are allowed on the tour and this is a great option as it’s a short hike, with no stairs and you can use your car seat when following the pilot car to the location. For Secret Canyon, infants & children under age 6 are not permitted.

What to wear or bring when hiking Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is located deep in the desert, the weather can often be unforgiving. When visiting Antelope Canyon it’s important to stay hydrated, most tours allow you to bring one bottle of water. Please check the guidelines for your specific tour as many don’t allow bags, tripods, or other items. Lower Canyon Tours allow a clear backpack but we found bringing nothing but a camera and phone to be best. For photographers, it can be very dusty and difficult to change lenses so pick the best and go with it. May – September can bring warmer temperatures so plan with loose clothing, hats, and sun protection. While October-April can bring cooler temps so plan and dress in layers. Insider the canyons can be up to 10 degrees cooler than the external temperature so this is why dressing in layers is a good idea. The floor of the canyon is made of soft sand, so closed-toed shoes, sneakers, or hiking shoes are recommended.

These related gear posts might be helpful:
Best Men’s Hiking Pants
Women’s hiking shirts for hot weather
Ultimate Hiking Gear for Kids Guide

The History of the Sacred Land of Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon, which is known by the Navajo as “The place where water runs through rocks,” was formed over hundreds of years by water that ran through the sandstone. The Canyon is located on land belonging to the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. The Navajo Tribe considers the Canyon to be spiritual and sacred to the Navajo culture and way of life. The Navajo consider the Antelope Canyon to be a symbol of the gifts of Mother Nature, the passage of time, and the fact that there are things larger and greater than themselves. Every four years, the Navajo people have the Canyon blessed as they give thanks to the natural elements of the world that helped to form its unusual shape. Due to its importance to their heritage, the Navajo Tribe made Antelope Canyon a Navajo Tribal Park in 1997, and it has only been accessible by permit since that time. As visitors and guests on this sacred land, we must show respect and only visit with a permitted tour provider. Credit: Navajo Tours

Lastly, we hope this guide for accessing and hiking Antelope Canyon helps plan a future trip. If you’ve ever considered a visit to Antelope Canyon don’t wait. These tours provide such a unique opportunity to see this natural wonder. Whether you choose Upper, Lower, Canyon X, or Secret Canyon we hope it’s a great trip. This is such an amazing part of the country and getting to experience it is a moment you won’t forget.

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  1. These photos are stunning! A reminder of how incredible nature is. I appreciate that they are trying to preserve this place and only allowing guided tours. I hope it works as this is truly a place worth preserving.

  2. I’m so embarrassed to admit that I’ve lived in Arizona my entire life and still haven’t visited Antelope Canyon! I’m hoping to eventually take a trip out to Page and see Antelope Canyon sometime in the next few years. Thanks for sharing!

  3. I was gutted to miss a visit Antelope Canyon when we were in the area. We were delayed and missed our tour time, and then couldn’t get another slot! I’m so sad, because your photos are amazing!

  4. This place looks so surreal. It’s way at the top of my husband’s list to go to, so I’m sure I’ll be referencing this post over and over in the near future!

  5. It wasn’t the right time to see the sunbeams when I visited Upper Antelope Canyon, they look awesome! Did you take that photo yourself!?

  6. I’d never heard of this Canyons however it sounds and looks fascinating. Not only have I never walked through a canyon but I really want to visit a read soil one. Thanks for all the tips!

  7. Our family toured Lower Antelope Canyon a few years ago and it is one of our most favorite experiences ever. So surreal and magical! Loved your overview of the other slot canyons in the area. Would love to visit one of those in the future. Great guide!

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