Arizona: Page – The spectacular Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is an unbelievably beautiful place that has been carved over time by the passage of water.
I think most people have seen photographs of Antelope Canyon; it is a very popular place for photographers. In fact it was these images that drew me here.
Also known as “corkscrew” canyon, Antelope is a slot canyon in Arizona, close to Lake Powell and the city of Page.
The canyon was formed by the erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic “flowing” shapes in the rock.
What makes Antelope Canyon special is not just the amazing contorted shapes and patterns that have been carved in the sandstone, but it is the light that comes into the canyon through narrow slots, often projecting as beams.
The Canyon lies on Navajo land east of Page and the only way to explore it is with one of the guided tour companies that operate out of Page. We arrived on a wonderfully sunny day and joined one of the 4 x 4 vehicles that headed out into the desert towards Antelope Canyon. The tour companies offer different tours ranging from a basic tour of the Canyon to more adventurous journeys into the many slot canyons and trails that run through the area. There are also tours more dedicated to photography, which gives you more time in the Canyon to get those perfect shots.
As we had our kids with us we decided on the basic tour, not wanting to stretch the limits of their patience (or ours). There are better times of day and times of year to visit the Canyon which is dictated by the angle of the sun. The optimum times of year to visit are May through September (which is also the busiest) and the best times of day are between 10 am and noon. We went during May and the crowds we not bad, so we got a lot of shots without many people photobombing. During the tour, we spent about an hour in the Canyon, but that was plenty of time to take a lot of photos.
Page, AZ is easy to find as Highway 89 passes through it.
Where to stay:
- Lake Powell Motel
- Rodeway Inn
- Country Inn & Suites
- Clarion Inn
- La Quinta Inn & Suite
- Comfort Inn & Suites