How to Explore Arizona's 4 Most Iconic Slot Canyons
Few, if any, slot canyons in the world can come close to rivaling the awe-inspiring curves and undulations of the sandstone slot canyons near Page, Arizona.
The Page, Arizona slot canyons offer a one-of-a-kind experience for all visitors. Though popular amongst hiking enthusiasts and professional photographers, the canyons are beautiful enough (and accessible enough) to appeal to just about any crowd. I mean, you’ve seen the pictures, right? Who wouldn’t want to see this for themselves?! Please note that all four of the canyons below require a Navajo guide to accompany you...don't go adventuring off on your own!
Typically visited by day, as pictured above, this slot canyon can also be visited at night through a tour with Lionel Bigthumb; your adventure may yield some photos similar to the below image. Upper Antelope Canyon, also known as Tsé bighánílíní — “the place where water runs through rocks”, is typically the most crowded of the slot canyons near Page, Arizona for a number of reasons. For one, this canyon has the largest caverns, meaning that it can accommodate even the largest of tour groups. Additionally, the entire canyon is at ground level, so no climbing is involved to get to or through the canyon. This makes it accessible to just about everyone. You won’t have any trouble finding a great tour that visits this canyon, but know that you won’t be alone. If you’re impatient with crowds, this might not be the best destination for you. If you are hoping to catch a photo of the canyon without people in it, you DEFINITELY have to sign up for a photography tour. Check out Mark Handy's post for more details.
If you only have time to visit one of Page’s famous slot canyons, Lower Antelope Canyon has my vote. Known as “Hazdistazí” (meaning “spiral rock arches”) to some, Lower Antelope Canyon brings the most bang for your buck if you have limited time. Even though it is only a quarter-mile long, its landscape is dense in amazing features, including some of the most iconic undulating formations in the rock walls, along with amazing lighting and coloring. Even amateur photographers can take incredible photographs in this canyon! Check out Mark Handy's post for more details.
A tributary to the larger Antelope Wash, Rattlesnake Canyon is not as tall or as long as either Upper Antelope Canyon or Lower Antelope Canyon. It also doesn’t have the famous “light beam” phenomenon that those canyons are known for. However, the color quality of the rocks, the superb lighting, the unique formations, and the winding passageways of this canyon give it a feel and appearance that is spectacular in its own right. Factoring in a number of elements, I have to admit this canyon is my favorite! Check out Eric Harris's post for more details.
As its name suggests, Mountain Sheep Canyon offers a rugged feel and more strenuous hike than the other slot canyons. The trek is longer than it is for the other canyons (about three-quarters of a mile), and there is quite a bit of scaling ladders along the way. The ladders are all secured to the rock, but a few of the climbs might be enough to make you a bit nervous…especially with younger children. Also, beware that this canyon is not immediately adjacent to the Antelope Wash, where the others are located; you will have a bit more adventurous (read: bumpy) ride to get to Mountain Sheep Canyon. Check out my post for more details.
For more details, history, and photography tips on the Page Slot Canyons, check out this post.
Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.
Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.