The most photographed and most visited slot canyon in the American Southwest calls Page Arizona near Lake Powell home. Within the 120-foot walls of the stunning Antelope Canyon lies a sacred and spiritual place on the LeChee Chapter land of the Navajo Nation.
Divided into two parts, Upper and Lower Canyon, you are greeted with spectacles unimaginable as light shoots onto the canyon floor illuminating the sandstone- and limestone-mixed walls painted by nature in radiating hues of warm tans, rustic oranges and sun-burnt reds. As many choose to hike the canyon, it serves as a haven for the photographer in you, as the beauty within the canyon practically places one-of-a-kind photo opportunities in front of your lens.
The Upper part of the canyon received the Navajo name of Tse’ bighanilini, meaning, “the place where water runs through rocks.” This portion of the canyon is highly visited due to it being on ground level requiring minimal hiking or climbing by its visitors. This half of the canyon is an ideal location for capturing the radiating sunbeams filling the canyon as they occur most often in the Upper Canyon. The attraction of the alluring shafts of light is best viewed from mid-March through early October.
The Navajo named the Lower Canyon, Hasdestwazí, meaning, “spiral rock arches.” This half of the canyon requires more hiking and climbing via the installed stairways and ladders along with the canyon walls that take on a “V” shape. Although this portion of the canyon does not attract as many photo-hungry patrons as the Upper Canyon, it does boast sites less commonly photographed with much less fellow visitors. Lighting in this half of the canyon is best in the early and late afternoon.
Within the unique canyon that nature continues to create is the world’s highest natural bridge spanning approximately 275 ft., 42 ft. thick and 33 ft. wide. This spectacle that takes place outside the canyon walls has appropriately taken the name Rainbow Bridge Trail.
As the surrounding desert landscape is no stranger to flash flooding caused by seasonal monsoon rainstorms, the canyon walls have been carved out over time to create this truly breathtaking space and patterned walls that many flock to year-round to view. Known to the Navajo as a sacred place, being inside the canyon walls is much like being in a cathedral; the sight is simply moving and the experience is ever lasting.
To visit this hidden Arizona gem and have it come to life right in front of your eyes, it is best to schedule a tour ahead of time. In that, be prepared with the newly enforced time limit of two-hours inside both the Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon. Many of the guided tours second as an instructional photo tour allowing you to capture the best images within the canyon.
To learn more about Antelope Canyon and schedule your tour, visit antelopeslotcanyon.com.