The Perfect Antelope Canyon And Horsehoe Bend Itinerary

If you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience in Northern Arizona, then you need to check out Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. These two extremely unique destinations are some of the most popular in the state, and for good reason!

They offer some of the most stunning landscapes imaginable. And the best part is, they are both easily accessible and can be visited on the same day trip from Page, AZ!

In this post, I will provide you with everything you need to know about Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and the city of Page so that you can compile your perfect itinerary and make the most of your time at these amazing landmarks. Let’s get started!

This post may contain affiliate links. You won’t be paying a cent more, but in the event of a sale, the small affiliate commission I receive will help keep this blog running/pumping out useful and free content. Thanks a lot!

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Overview

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend are two popular landmarks that have become very popular tourist destinations over the past few years. Why? Because they offer stunning views of Arizona’s unique and natural landscape.

They are both very close to each other and are easily accessible from the small town of Page, Arizona. Visiting them both on the same day is very possible.

Quick Facts About Antelope Canyon

  • Antelope Canyon is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the American Southwest.
  • The canyon is divided into two sections: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.
  • Antelope Canyon can only be visited on a guided tour
  • If you want to see the light beams, opt for Upper Antelope Canyon
  • If you want to see swirling canyon walls (no light beams will be visible at any time of day), opt for Lower Antelope Canyon.
  • Upper Antelope Canyon is the more popular of the two (and more expensive to visit), but Lower Antelope Canyon is just as beautiful!
  • Photography is permitted in the canyon, but recordings are not. Camcorders, selfie sticks, and tripods are not allowed.
  • To this day, Antelope Canyon is a very sacred place to the Navajo people. Please respect the rules set by the Navajo when visiting Antelope Canyon so that such a beautiful place can continue to be open to the public.
Lower Antelope Canyon
Lower Antelope Canyon

Quick Facts About Horseshoe Bend

  • Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped area where the Colorado River meanders, located near Page, Arizona
  • It was formed by erosion caused by the river over time
  • Horseshoe Bend can be visited without a guide, but there is an entrance fee of $10 per vehicle these days.
  • Visitors can access the bend by ‘hiking’ a short trail from a nearby parking lot. Honestly, it’s more of a walk than a hike!
Horseshoe Bend - Page, Arizona
Horseshoe Bend

Difference Between Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon

Before we dive into crafting your Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend itinerary, let’s start by introducing you to the different parts of Antelope Canyon you can visit.

As I mentioned before, Antelope Canyon is split into two sections: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon.

  • Upper Antelope, or the Crack, is the slot canyon that offers visitors the opportunity to view the iconic light beams that are a photographer’s favorite.
  • Lower Antelope, or the Corkscrew, has gorgeous natural geography too, but light beams are not visible in any season or at any time of day.

The biggest difference between the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon is the size of the canyon itself. The upper canyon is wider at the bottom than the top, which is what produces such beautiful light beams inside the canyon.

Upper Antelope Canyon - Best Time To visit
Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon is more easily accessible and does not require any hiking. While it is easier to walk through, it is also much darker than Lower Antelope Canyon due to the Upper Canyon being more narrow at the top (think of the letter ‘A’).

Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope is much smaller at the bottom, and wider at the top. Lower Antelope Canyon is a bit more difficult to access for visitors with mobility issues or small children, as it requires you to descend down a flight of stairs that are more like a ladder than they are stairs.

Lower Antelope Canyon

This lower section is known for having more narrow canyon walls because it’s shaped like a letter ‘V’–meaning it’s wider at the top than at the bottom.

If you have mobility limitations or have difficulty climbing stairs, I would recommend choosing Upper Antelope Canyon over Lower Antelope Canyon. (There are also some narrower canyon walls that could lead some to feel claustrophobic.)

Nevertheless, Lower Antelope Canyon is gorgeous. The colors that appear on the canyon walls when the sun shines in are truly beautiful and downright unforgettable. I visited Lower Antelope Canyon myself, and I personally very much prefer these views over Upper Antelope Canyon.

Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon?

Choosing between the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon is fully dependent on what you want to see, how much time you have, and how much money you want to shell out for a guided tour.

As I mentioned above, Upper Antelope Canyon tours are more popular because they feature the light beams that photographers love. Because of this, the Upper Antelope guided tours tend to be more expensive and more crowded than Lower Antelope Canyon tours.

Upper Antelope Canyon Light Beams
Upper Antelope Canyon

While Lower Antelope Canyon doesn’t have light beams, it’s still incredibly beautiful! You’ll be walking through a maze of colorful slot canyons that’ll make you feel like you’re in a natural labyrinth all your own.

If you’re looking for more of an adventurous experience and do not care about light beams in your photos, opt for the Lower Antelope Canyon!

If you’re interested in seeing both and have the time to do so, you can definitely opt to see both and compare the two canyon areas for yourself! This convenient half-day tour offers the chance to see both ends of the canyon in one go.

And when it comes to choosing which tour company to go with, I personally don’t think it matters because honestly, each tour operator will offer a similar experience.

Upper Antelope Canyon Tour Companies

  • Antelope Canyon Tours, Inc.
  • Tsebighanilini Tours
  • Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours

Lower Antelope Canyon Tour Companies

  • Ken’s Tours Lower Antelope Canyon Tours
  • Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours

Alternatively, you can browse through all the different Antelope Canyon tour companies on TripAdvisor before choosing the tour you want to go with!

When Is The Best Time Of Day To Visit Antelope Canyon?

The peak season at Upper Antelope Canyon runs from May to September. This is because these are the months when the famous light beams are visible.

During the busy months of May to September, tickets tend to sell out far in advance, so be ready for that and book your tour as soon as you know your travel dates.

If you’re looking for fewer crowds, visiting during the months of November to February is ideal.

If you don’t care about the light beams of Upper Antelope Canyon, then visiting either part of the canyon in the spring, fall, and winter seasons is just fine!

Alright, now let’s talk about what time you should book your tour during the day.

For optimal colors within the canyon, you’ll want to visit when the sun is at its peak, between 11 am and 1:30 pm. This is also the timeframe to aim for if you want to see the light beams in Upper Antelope Canyon.

Our most recent Lower Antelope Canyon tour was scheduled for 11:30am, and the colors at this time of day were just perfect. Take a look below!

Antelope Canyon - Things To Do Near Las Vegas

When Is The Best Time Of Day To Visit Horseshoe Bend?

The best time of day to see Horseshoe Bend in Arizona is a tough one to answer. Here are a few ‘best times’ to go.

The best time to photograph Horseshoe Bend is from late morning to early afternoon, when the sun is high and illuminates both the river and the rock. This means the whole canyon is lit up equally, with no portions covered in shadows.

You can also go in the early morning (before the sun rises) and during sunset. During these times of day, the sun is not as harsh and the light is more subdued, making for better photos compared to other times of the day. It’s also not as hot during these hours of the day.

Horseshoe Bend - Things To Do Near Las Vegas

So how do you choose between early morning, late morning, or during sunset? This will depend on a few things:

  • Early morning sees the least number of people, so if you’re looking to escape crowds and take an unlimited number of selfies, this is the best time to go!
    • Note: You have to go pre-sunrise if you want to avoid having both sun and shadows in your photos. This can be hard to do, especially in the summertime because the sun rises so early–like 5 am early!
  • Late morning to early afternoon is the best time to photograph Horseshoe Bend, because the sun is high which means all parts of the canyon and river are illuminated.
    • Note: This can be a tricky time to go if you plan on seeing Antelope Canyon on the same day. This is also when the best time to see Antelope Canyon is too!
  • Sunset is the most popular time to visit Horseshoe Bend. The lighting will be great for photos, but there will be a lot of people.
    • Note: At or just before sunset, the sun will be in your eyes and the bend will be in shadow. You’ll need a nice camera that can handle the contrast in lighting.

And because some of the best times of the day to visit Horseshoe Bend do not overlap with the best times of the day to visit Antelope Canyon, you can see them both in ideal lighting conditions!

Best Time To Visit Horseshoe Bend
Lighting at 7:30am in the summertime

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Itinerary Ideas

With all the information above in mind, the perfect Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend itinerary can look something like the three options below:

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Itinerary: Back-to-Back

This itinerary is best for people who want to capture photos of both landmarks in the most ideal photography conditions possible. It does require a little bit of hustle to get from place to place, but is totally doable.

  • 11 – 1:30 pm: Antelope Canyon
    • The Antelope Canyon tour will take about 60-80 minutes from your tour start time, but be sure to account for driving time to get back to Page and Horseshoe Bend.
  • 1 – 2:30 pm: Horseshoe Bend
    • Horseshoe Bend can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on walking speed and how long you plan to linger at the viewpoints.

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Itinerary: Early Start

This itinerary is good for those who like waking up early for sunrise hikes and want to avoid walking during the hottest times of the day.

  • Sunrise: Horseshoe Bend
    • The gates are locked until personnel arrives at the fee booth, which is usually a bit before sunrise.
    • Horseshoe Bend can take anywhere from 1-2 hours, depending on walking speed and how long you plan to linger at the viewpoints.
  • 11 – 1:30 pm: Antelope Canyon
    • The Antelope Canyon tour will take about 60-80 minutes from your tour start time, but be sure to account for driving time to get back to Page and Horseshoe Bend.

Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Itinerary: Sunset

This itinerary is good for those who are staying an extra night in Page, AZ, and can take more time between seeing both landmarks.

  • 11 – 1:30 pm: Antelope Canyon
    • The Antelope Canyon tour will take about 60-80 minutes from your tour start time, but be sure to account for driving time to get back to Page and Horseshoe Bend.
  • Sunset: Horseshoe Bend
    • At sunset, the sun will be right in front of you, so definitely bring sunglasses if visiting at this time. If you’re here for the photos, visiting at sunset will allow you to capture the sunburst/sun flare phenomenon right before the sun dips over the horizon.

No matter what time of day you visit Horseshoe Bend or Antelope Canyon, be sure to bring your camera and plenty of water. These are two of the most popular attractions in Arizona and they’re definitely worth a visit.

After your activities, be sure to fuel up! Some of my favorite restaurants in Page, Arizona include:

  • El Tapatio – a fun and colorful Mexican restaurant serving a huge menu of traditional dishes
  • BirdHouse – best fried chicken dishes in town!

Where To Stay Near Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend

The closest town to Antelope Canyon is Page, Arizona. Most travelers that stay in Page are going to be there for Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. While this town is quite small, there are still some comfortable hotel options here at affordable prices.

These two hotels are going to be the most comfortable (and are the least outdated!):

Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell – This highly rated hotel is located in the center of Page, only a 10-minute drive away from both Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon.

Wingate by Wyndham Page Lake Powell – This is another highly rated hotel located a 7-minute drive away from Horseshoe Bend and a 13-minute drive from Antelope Canyon.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I Need an Overnight Stay in Page to See Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend?

While an overnight stay in Page is definitely not required (you can see both Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in 3-4 hours total), it definitely helps.

Antelope Canyon is best seen in the morning to early afternoon, so if you’re driving to Page from somewhere else, it would be best to drive in the night before and rest up for a tour the next morning.

Is Antelope Canyon Open Year Round?

Antelope Canyon is open year-round. You will be able to see the beauty of this canyon even during the winter months!

However, every season is different when it comes to light beams, the level of crowds, and the best time of day to visit.

The best time to see the canyons bursting in color is between the months of April to October and during the times of 11am to 1:30pm on sunny days.

Is Horseshoe Bend Open Year Round?

Horseshoe Bend’s opening hours are from sunrise to sunset, year-round, so you can visit at any time of year.

How Far Is Antelope Canyon From Las Vegas?

From Las Vegas, Antelope Canyon is about 275 miles away, or a 4.5-hour drive.

Don’t feel like making that drive yourself? You don’t have to! There are actually convenient full-day tours from Las Vegas that’ll take you right to Antelope Canyon!

How Far Is Antelope Canyon From The Grand Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is about 2 hours from the Grand Canyon, making both of these landmarks a very popular day trip for those wanting to see both in one go.

If you’re coming from Las Vegas and want to see both these spectacular landmarks, here are a few popular tours that come highly recommended:

Can You See The Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon In One Day?

Most definitely! Antelope Canyon is about 2-3 hours from the Grand Canyon (depending on which side you’re on), making both of these landmarks a very popular day trip for those wanting to see both in one go.

Here are the distances from the different rims of the Grand Canyon.

  • Antelope Canyon to Grand Canyon North Rim is ~130 miles, a 2 hour 30-minute drive.
  • Antelope Canyon to Grand Canyon East Rim is 45 miles, a 1 hour drive.
  • Antelope Canyon to Grand Canyon South Rim is ~150 miles, a 3 hour drive.
  • Antelope Canyon to Grand Canyon West Rim is 350 miles, a 5-hour 50-minute drive.

Again, if you’re looking for a done-for-you tour where you won’t have to worry about any of the logistics of driving or figuring out where to stop, check out the tours listed above.

Essential Tips For Visiting Antelope Canyon / Horseshoe Bend

Antelope Canyon

  • Tour guides are mandatory for Antelope Canyon. Make advanced reservations as soon as you know you’ll be visiting. Booking in advance ensures you’ll be able to visit during the best time of the day!
  • You won’t be able to bring backpacks, fanny packs, video cameras, GoPros, selfie sticks, or stabilizers.
  • You are allowed to bring water, hats, sunglasses, cameras, and clear plastic bags to carry your belongings in.
  • Absolutely no video recording of any kind! If you are caught recording, the guides will very likely make you delete the videos. Worst case, they’ll even escort you out of the canyon before the tour is finished. Please, just respect and follow their rules!
  • If you have trouble with descending stairs, I would recommend going with the Upper Antelope Canyon tour instead of the Lower Antelope Canyon tour.

Horseshoe Bend

  • Admission to the park is free, but you do have to pay for parking, which is mandatory as you’ll be passing through a parking booth in order to get into the lot.
  • Since Horseshoe Bend is managed by the town of Page, your America The Beautiful Pass will not work here.
  • Your parking payment only works ONCE and is not a day pass. Meaning if you want to visit Horseshoe Bend at different times of the day for photography/lighting purposes, you’ll have to pay for parking each and every time.
  • If the parking lot is full, visitors must take a shuttle to the trailhead. The shuttle costs $5 roundtrip and leaves from downtown Page.
  • The hike to the Horseshoe Bend overlook is 0.6 miles one way. Your Horseshoe Bend experience will be between about 1 to 2 hours depending on your pace and the amount of time spent at the overlook.
  • The Horseshoe Bend trail is a sandy, dirt path. The dirt/sand on the path gets quite hot during the summer, so I’d advise you to avoid sandals or open-toed shoes.
Horseshoe Bend Essential Tips
Horseshoe Bend Arizona

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