We've never been out there, but I've dreamed of getting there to get some photographs and just see the awe-inspiring walls. I can imagine putting my hand on the smooth sandstone that has taken millions of years of erosion caused by water. Initially, I thought it was a combination of water and wind erosion. Still, researching this post, I found out that it is predominately from a stream at the base.
Location - Antelope Canyon is about 171 miles from Sedona, Arizona, about 4.5 hrs north of Phoenix. About 220 miles from the Grand Canyon (when I looked, route 64 was closed, which seems it would cut out about 120 miles).
Specs - The floor elevation is 3,704ft with the upper canyon being 660ft in length, while the lower canyon is 1,335ft in length.
Upper Antelope Canyon is called Tsé bighánílíní, by the Navajo, which means 'the place where water runs through rocks'
Lower Antelope Canyon is called Hazdistazí by the Navajo, meaning 'spiral rock arches.'
Hiking - The upper canyon is much easier to hike since the floor is level to the entry point. However, the lower canyon is longer and narrower in places with uneven footing in some areas and up to five flights of stairs.
Makeup - Upper Antelope Canyon walls are above ground and have the shape of an "A," and is 660ft long. The Lower Antelope Canyon is below/underground, with the walls having a "V" shape and is more strenuous and longer.
Lighting - The best light in the lower canyon is early hours and late morning. It tends to be visited by photographers more than a casual tourist. The upper canyon has incredible light rays during the summer months with more muted colors in the winter.
Options - Well, the only place to see the iconic light beams is Upper Antelope Canyon, but lower Antelope Canyon nearby. From what I've been able to tell, it is cheaper and less crowded. Still, again you won't see the light beams there. But on a down note, the light rays are only visible from March to Early October and 11pm-1pm. While it is from images I've seen pretty spectacular to see, is it worth the hotter temps and crowds? The temps in the canyon are usually 5-10 degrees cooler. You still have to get to the canyon.
Something is amazing about the swirling reddish sandstone that climbs roughly 120 feet above the stream bed that carved the canyon. With the canyon being on the Navajo Reservation, it is a spiritual place. A permit must be obtained before entering. At the time of writing this, I found a few places that do tours, but due to Covid, they aren't doing tours right now. Prices ranged from $40-$60 per person for a standard tour and $80-$90 per person for a photography tour (which allows for tripods and is 2 hours). Some included all the required tax fees and Navajo Parks and Recreation permit fees. Tour location
With some of the downsides of a trip to the canyon, I still think I'd like to go; for now, we will keep it on our bucket list. To learn more about the park check out the Visit Arizona website by clicking here.