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Antelope Canyon

Highs and Lows in Page, Arizona

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Antelope Canyon serves up awe-inspiring views and perfect photo ops

 By Katie Self

Antelope Canyon
Photo by Sven van der Pluijm.

Teetering on the border of Utah and Arizona, the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons are one of those destinations you have to see to believe. Between the golden hues, the smooth rock formations and the streams of light that work their way down to the ground, it’s no wonder these canyons are one of the most photographed destinations in the Southwest.

Thanks to massive floodwaters over the centuries, the canyons’ interior has been transformed into smooth, creamsicle-colored caverns with canopies sporadically formed above the desert floor. Known as slot canyons, the dramatic formations allow beams of sunlight to shine through, creating that perfect light that photographers are known to chase.

Exploring the canyons means signing up for a guided tour — there’s no solo adventuring here. Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours provides guided hikes for, you guessed it, visitors interested in honing their camera skills. Guides encourage a small group of shutterbugs to play with the streams of light, soft sandstone, and natural bends and curves of the canyon walls.

If you’re not a photo junkie, Ken’s Tours offer a no-frills, small fee option for traversing into the caverns as well. Cash is the only form of payment accepted, and a small Navajo Nation fee is added to admission. Don’t be fooled by the location – Ken’s setup is a simple shack, but his tours of the lower canyon don’t disappoint.

 If you go

Where to stay: Lodging can be sparse in the immediate vicinity, but just 30 minutes northwest is Amangiri, a five-star spa resort offering wellness getaway options, locally sourced cuisine, and tranquil, private rooms and suites.

Ease of exploring: While the upper canyon does not require any climbing, its lower counterpart calls for a fairly easy walk down a metal staircase.

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