Best Time To Visit Lower Antelope Canyon (+ Essential Tips For Your Visit)

If you’re looking for an unforgettable outdoor experience in Northern Arizona, then you absolutely need to check out Antelope Canyon. This extremely unique destination in Northern Arizona is one of the most popular attractions in all of the state, and for good reason!

Antelope Canyon offers some of the most stunning landscapes imaginable. But when exactly is the best time to visit Antelope Canyon, and what is the best way to see it for yourself?

In this post, I will provide you with everything you need to know about Lower Antelope Canyon so that you can compile your perfect itinerary and make the most of your time at this amazing landmark.

Let’s get started!

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Antelope Canyon Overview

Antelope Canyon is an extremely popular landmark that has blown up over the past few years. Why? Because it offers truly unique and stunning views of Arizona’s natural landscape.

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 therefore 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

Difference Between Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon

Before we dive into the best time to visit Lower Antelope Canyon, let’s start by introducing you to the different parts of Antelope Canyon.

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 most recently, and I personally very much prefer these views over Upper Antelope Canyon! It’s just so much brighter, with unsuspecting twists and turns all around!

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.

The main tour operators of Lower Antelope Canyon are Ken’s Tours Lower Antelope Canyon Tours and Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours.

Alternatively, you can browse through all the different Lower Antelope Canyon tour options before choosing the final tour you want to opt for!

When Is The Best Time To Visit Lower Antelope Canyon?

The peak season at Lower Antelope Canyon runs from May to September. This is a popular time to visit for a few reasons. First off, it’s summer, which means families generally have more time to travel! This is also peak season because these are the months when the sun is almost always out!

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.

The second-best time to avoid crowds? Late March to April or late September to early October. A visit during the middle of the week is always going to be less crowded than a weekend visit.

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.

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!

The Lower Antelope Canyon tours are roughly 1.5 hours long from the time of checking in to the time you’re finished and ascending out of the canyon.

While you will be walking throughout the canyon, a lot of time is spent hanging out in photogenic spots so that everyone can get their perfect photos.

Lower Antelope Canyon Itinerary Ideas

Lower Antelope Canyon can easily be paired with a visit to the iconic Horseshoe Bend!

Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped area where the Colorado River meanders, located near Page, Arizona.

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.

Horseshoe Bend Arizona

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.

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!

If you have more time, consider getting on the Colorado River by raft, hanging out at Lake Powell, or hiking the Toadstool Hoodoos Trail nearby.

Where To Stay Near Antelope Canyon

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.

A 1 or 2-night stay in Page will give you the time required to explore all the area has to offer (Glen Canyon Dam, Toadstool Hoodoos Trail, Horseshoe Bend, etc).

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

Can You See Antelope Canyon On Your Own?

No, you cannot visit Antelope Canyon on your own anymore. The land that Antelope Canyon is on is owned by the Navajo Indian Reservation in Arizona.

You will need to book a tour in order to see any portion of Antelope Canyon. Again, a tour guide is MANDATORY.

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.

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 Lower Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon

  • Tour guides are mandatory for both Upper and Lower 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, purses, 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.
  • If you’re visiting in the summertime, be prepared for the heat. It does get a bit cooler inside the canyon, but it’s still pretty dang warm overall.
  • Learn the settings of your digital camera before the day of your tour. On the iPhone, you can set your camera filter to “Vivid Warm” for that extra pop of warm color!
Lower Antelope Canyon Horseshoe Bend Itinerary

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Elle Leung

My name is Elle and I'm a travel blogger and adventurer based in California. I love helping people plan trips and create unique itineraries based on their interests and their budgets. I'm a huge fan of outdoor adventures and doing off-the-beaten-path things in my state (and all around the world too)!

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