Ilya Genkin Fine Art Landscape Photography, Travel Photography

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Antelope Canyon

Arizona, USA


Antelope Canyon is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page, just outside Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and close to AZ 98 a few miles east of town (at milepost 299). Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew. The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse bighanilini, which means "the place where water runs through rocks." Lower Antelope Canyon is Hazdistazi (advertised as "Hasdestwazi" by the Navajo Parks and Recreation Department), or "spiral rock arches." Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

Upper Antelope Canyon is the most frequently visited by tourists, due to two considerations. First, its entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing. Second, beams (shafts of direct sunlight radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon) are much more common in Upper than in Lower. Beams occur most often in the summer months, as they require the sun to be high in the sky. Winter colors are a little more muted like the photo displayed here. Summer months provide two types of lighting. Light beams start to peek into the canyon March 15 and disappear October 7 each year.

Lower Antelope Canyon is located a few kilometers away. Prior to the installation of metal stairways, visiting the canyon required climbing along pre-installed ladders in certain areas. Even following the installation of stairways, it is a more difficult hike than Upper Antelope—it is longer, narrower in spots, and even footing is not available in all areas. At the end, the climb out requires several flights of stairs. Despite these limitations, Lower Antelope Canyon draws a considerable number of photographers, though casual sightseers are much less common there than in Upper. The lower canyon is in the shape of a "V" and shallower than the Upper Antelope. Lighting is better in the early hours and late afternoon.

Entry to the Upper Antelope Canyon is restricted to guided tours led by authorized guides. The fee to enter the Lower Antelope Canyon is collected by attendants at the carpark near the canyon edge.