Adventures in the American West: Upper Antelope Canyon

‘We still do not know one thousandth of one percent of what nature has revealed to us.’ —Albert Einstein

Ordinarily, my posts go in order of things I did on any given trip but, this week, I made an exception. My last post was about my very early morning at Lower Antelope Canyon so it was only right that my afternoon (the following day) at Upper Antelope came next! Of the two slot canyons, Upper Antelope Canyon is by far the most popular. During peak times, roughly 5,000 people travel through each day. This number is actually something I cannot fathom. Due to Covid precautions and in being the Christmas holiday, there were only seven people in my group and I was able to easily take photos without another human being in them. Due to the popularity, reservations sell out months in advance, so you need to plan ahead. All the other issues regarding tours in the slot canyon mentioned in the last post still apply.

Through the Navajo tours website, I selected Antelope Slot Canyon Tours. I actually did two tours with them, the other will be next week’s post. I was really happy with my overall experience. Due to the popularity, tickets (which are mandatory) were $95. This was similar pricing to all the authorized tour groups, so pick the group that works with your schedule. Upper Antelope was nearly double the price of Lower Antelope, which also highlights how popular this spot is. My tour guide was Leland, his family is from the area and he used to play in the canyons. He also took some of the best photographs of me ever! Like, I look so cool. While I am slowly building a following on Instagram, I try to keep it pretty real and don’t look glamorous. That, wearing my trusty North Face fleece and Danners, a mask, and hat (because it was about 26 degrees), I look cool is quite the feat! The one with butterfly wings immediately became my profile picture!

While the names Upper and Lower Antelope make it seem like the canyons are linked, they are not. Upper is just further up from the Lower. The name Antelope Canyon actually comes from petroglyphs found in a private slot canyon that depicts antelope running and then falling into the canyon. It is actually misnamed, there are no antelope in the area. What the original tribes saw were another type of deer. I saw neither when I was there, lol. Technically, Upper Antelope is easier as you are not hiking down into it. However, when you exit, you have to climb up a ramp that loops around to the carpark. A woman in my group had had previous knee replacement and was a bit uncomfortable on the walk out, so something to keep in mind.

Much like the lower canyon, Upper is stunning. While it is similar in effect, the designs are so different. It is famous for the heart, bear, and a dragon’s eye formations. The latter part of the canyon is very dark, which makes it difficult to take photographs with you camera. Like the majority of accessible slot canyons, you cannot bring anything in with you including a tripod, which would aid in taking dark photos. It does add to a very moody effect as you are traveling through. Be sure to look up though, there are a couple spots where large pieces of timber have lodge themselves.

After spending time at both canyons, I cannot say which is more preferred. If you are going to Page, I think to get the full experience, you need to visit both. I mentioned previously that I was hoping to visit ‘The Wave’ this year and would probably only do Lower Antelope again. This is mostly due to the smaller crowds and the ability to be in the present moment without so many people around. But, this experience truly incredible. It’s also an example of why traveling in the off season can have its benefits. So grateful to the Navajo families that have opened their lands to the rest of us. A true gift I don’t take for granted.

4 thoughts on “Adventures in the American West: Upper Antelope Canyon

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