USA Roadtrip #9 – Page and Lower Antelope Canyon

From Bryce Canyon we headed to Page to visit famous Antelope Canyon.

Bryce-Page map

On our way we drove through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, a dirt road. We stopped to see the Grosvenor Arch (B on the map) and then followed the Cottonwood Creek (Cottonwood Canyon Road) all the way to Hwy 89. As the road was not paved I do not suggest taking it during spring floods or rain. We also had four-wheel drive which would have come in handy if the road had not been in such good shape.

The reason we came to Page on our trip was to visit the Antelope Canyons. These are narrow canyons mostly underground (not visible up above) and always require a guide to go with. They have been molded by erosion and flash flooding which still occur at times. There are two different Antelope Canyons. The upper Antelope canyons are larger and more famous (National Geographic pictures) and the lower Antelope smaller with only two tour companies taking people there.

We didn’t book guided tour in advance because wanted to be sure that the weather was good on the day we would be visiting. Well this was not a good decision and all the tours were fully booked for Upper Antelope when we checked the day before. After checking through all the companies we managed to book a photography tour for the lower canyon. Instead of normal tour we chose a photography tour because it gave us more time to take pictures inside the canyon and to use tripods. On a normal tour you just walk through the canyon with a guide. The canyon is very narrow and has steps to get in and out. There also is a continuous flow of groups passing through so in some places there will be queues to go forward. This causes also that groups are hurried forward and you cannot just stop to take photos where ever you want. We were on Ken’s tour and noticed that their guides did not tell much of the canyon but rather let people listen to the other tour company’s guides explain the history and formations (one even had a flute with and played it at some point). Next time I would choose Dixie Ellis’ tour.

I recommend the photo tour if you have a tripod and want to take better pictures (it is dark in the canyon and you have more time on this trip). This tour is longer than regular tour and gives you more time to take pictures (our guide walked us through the canyon twice). The guide also stopped the other groups once in a while so that we could get pictures without any people in them.

I warmly recommend visiting the Antelope Canyon. Next time I will definitely want to visit also the larger Upper Antelope Canyon (just have to remember to book the tour well in advance, not the day before) to try to get pictures of sun beams flowing in the canyon.

Another must place to see in Page was Horseshoe Bend (D on the map). This is a great view of the Colorado River from high cliff. There are no fences and the edges are slippery as well as in some places erosion has made them hollow below. So be careful!

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