|Spectacular Antelope Canyon - Part 1 of 11 of
2010 Tour of Fantastic Southwest USA
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Spectacular views of brilliantly colored sandstones in the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon (羚羊峽谷) near Page in
north-central Arizona, USA. We toured the Lower Antelope Slot Canyon in the morning of and the Upper
Antelope Slot Canyon in the afternoon of June 6, 2010 as part of our 10-day tour of the fantastic southwest
USA from May 31 to June 9, 2010 including Nevada, Utah and Arizona.
The rock surface has a polished appearance from centuries of erosion and visitors can sense the waves that
left their mark on the smooth texture of the canyon. It is nature's work of art and photographers' dream.
Reflected sunlight causes the walls of these slot canyons to glow with intense shades of red, pink, orange and
yellow. It is one of the most spectacular landscapes in the world.
The Upper Antelope Canyon is at about 4,000 feet elevation and the canyon walls rise 120 feet above the
sandy floor or stream-bed. The Upper Antelope Canyon is a narrow but easy to walk through canyon. The trip
through Upper Antelope Canyon is an easy walk on a level, sandy path. The sightseeing tour lasts for about one
and half hour.
On the other hand, the Lower Antelope Canyon is more challenging physically because its floor often has sheer
drops for 10 feet or more, thereby, requiring the steep, steel ladders as shown above and below. It is more fun
for those who are physically fit and adventurous. The sightseeing tour of Lower Antelope Canyon also lasts
about one and half hour.
Mid-sections of steel ladders to get up and out of the Lower Antelope Canyon at the end point of the tour
More views in Lower Antelope Canyon.
The entrance stations and the parking lots of Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon are near
this Junction of Highway (AZ) 98 and Navajo Rt N22B (Indian Route 222) as shown above. (The front
windshield of our rental car was dirty when I took these pictures through the dirty windshield from inside the
The beginning of the Lower Antelope Canyon is a very narrow and shallow crack in the sandstone
ground. As one walks forward, the width and the depth of the crack increase.
Antelope Canyon is home to one of nature's most wondrous creations - the stunning beauty of
mystical slot canyons. There are two slot canyons, Upper Antelope Slot Canyon and Lower Antelope
Slot Canyon, in Navajo Tribal Lands near Page in Arizona, USA. These slot canyons were essentially
carved and formed by flash floods and the sand carried by the rushing flash floods that eroded the
sandstone over time. The slot canyons are deep, narrow, majestic and beautiful passageways. The
gorgeous sloping angles of the rocks - coupled with the shifts of light that make their way down from
the rim of the canyon - combine for a scene that cannot be fully explained with words. The
sandstone striations, wildly curving walls, ethereal light and tortured twisting passages that
characterize the Antelope Slot Canyons attract enormous interests among tourists and
photographers in the hot summertime. None of these images can match the one you'll experience
when you step into the canyons and see this wonder for yourself. The spiritual feeling of tranquility
and serenity in such slot canyon is immense.
Before the construction of the Glen Canyon Dam on the nearby Colorado River resulting in Lake
Powell and the power plant, antelopes used to roam free in this area. This probably is the reason for
the name of Antelope Canyons.
Some drops in floor level in the Lower Antelope Canyon are only a few feet and the steep steel "ladders" are
very narrow with width as narrow as your heel and have no handrails. It takes some effort to keep your
balance in going down such narrow drops with no hand rails. My monopod for my photography turns out to be
very helpful as a hiking stick to keep my balance in hiking through such more challenging Lower Antelope
The end point for the tour of the Lower Antelope Canyon is substantially lower than the entrance point. At the
end point, the visitors have to climb up several connected sections of steep steel ladders to get up and out of
the deep canyon as shown in the following photos.
Autumn foliage in the gorge
Two views in the Upper Antelope Canyon.
The entrance station and the parking lot for the Upper Antelope Canyon is on the south side of Highway (AZ) 98
near the junction of AZ 98 and Rt. N22B (Indian Route 222) as shown on the picture above.
A tourist descending a steel ladder inside the magnificent and vibrant Lower Antelope Canyon.
Lower section of the steel ladder to get up and out of the Lower Antelope Canyon at the end point of the tour.
Upper sections of steel ladders for visitors to get up and out of the Lower Antelope Canyon at the end point of
The outside air temperature was more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees C) in such desert
environment when we toured the Antelope Slot Canyons on June 6, 2010. The steel guard rails of the ladders
were even hotter than the air temperature. I would like to but could not hold on to the steel guard rails when I
was climbing up on these steep ladders to get out because they were so hot. I wish I had brought my winter
globes so that I could hold on to the guard rails while climbing up these steep steel ladders. (Inside the slot
canyon, the air temperature dropped by at least 20 degrees and was quite comfortable.)
However, this is not the real end point of the Lower Antelope Canyon because the canyon continues all the
way to open into the beautiful Lake Powell/Colorado River near the Antelope Point. But there are no more
steel ladders beyond the end point of the tour to help visitors to handle additional deep and sheer drops of the
canyon floor. (The flash flood during rain storms would rush all the way down the Lower Antelope Canyon into
Lake Powell.) A video of the Lower Antelope Canyon at Lake Powell can be seen at the following YouTube
It is well worth the extra effort, however, as the Lower Antelope Canyon offers a fascinating glimpse into the
stunning geography of the formation, has more light such that the colors of the stone walls are more brilliant
At one point not so long ago, visitors to the lower canyon relied on ropes and ladders in order to see Lower
The Visitor Parking Lots for touring Antelope Canyon are located at milepost 299 of Highway AZ 98 at
Lechee, Arizona. It is at the junction of Highway AZ 98 and Antelope Point Rd, which is also known as Indian
Route 222 which is also known as Navajo Rt N22B, at Lechee on the Navajo Reservation at north-central
Arizona near Lake Powell and near the border of Utah. It is four miles east of Page, Arizona. Maps of
Antelope Canyon and nearby areas are available near the end of the following website:
and the following website:
The entrance station and the parking lot for Lower Antelope Canyon is on the north side of Highway (AZ) 98
near the junction of AZ 98 and Rt. N22B (Indian Route 222) as shown in these two pictures.
A tall land mark is the Navajo Generation Station with three tall chimneys that are also near the junction of
Highway (AR) 98 and Navajo Rt. N22B. This picture is taken from the Visitor Parking Lot for Lower Antelope
Canyon. These three tall chimneys are visible from the Page airport on eastern side of Page and can serve as
a visible guide for driving to this road junction. There are portable toilet facilities at these two visitor parking lots.
There are two components of fees to visit either one of the Antelope Canyons. The first component is US$6
per person for a standard permit required to enter Navajo territory. The second component is due to the
families who own the land around the canyons and regulate all access - and is US$20 per person (in 2010). If
you want to visit both Upper and Lower canyons on the same day, the first component of the entrance fee is
for a general daily permit to go on the Navajo tribal land. If you show them your receipt at the other canyon,
you do not need to pay that first component of the fee again in the same day.
Flash Flood, Safety and Required Tour Guide:
After paying the fees and registering visitor's name at the entrance station, visitors must join a tour group with
a Navajo tour guide to be able to tour either one of the Antelope Canyons. We waited about 10 to 15 minutes
at the visitor parking lot to get about 10 to 15 visitors to form a tour group. One of the two or three tour guides
at the entrance station then leads the tour group to start the tour.
One of the reasons for the required tour guide is for the safety of visitors. In case if there is a rain storm some
distance away that may produce a flash flood crashing into these slot canyons, an officer will come to notify all
the tour guides to evacuate all visitors out of the slot canyons quickly. With registering of visitors' names, the
entrance station knows who and how many visitors are in the slot canyon. Be aware that a rain storm from far
away can quickly bring flash flood down a slot canyon even if the sky is blue above you. A tragedy occurred in
August, 1997 before such safety procedure is implemented. 11 visitors perished when a flash flood crashed
through Antelope Canyon in August, 1997. Such flash flood can reach as high as 20 to 30 feet. The beautiful
curves on the canyon walls clearly show the power of the flash floods and their carried sands that continue to
sculpt these slot canyons
Short Walk to enter Lower Antelope Canyon:
For Lower Antelope Canyon, it is a short walk of couple hundred feet to go from the parking lot to the entrance
of the Lower Antelope Canyon. However, the beginning of the entrance into the Lower Antelope Canyon is a
very narrow and shallow crack on the sandstone ground as shown in the following picture:
The 4X4 4-Wheel Drive Truck to take the visitors from the visitor parking lot to the entrance of the Upper
20-Minute Ride on a 4X4 4-Wheel Drive Truck to Upper Antelope Canyon:
From the visitor parking lot, there is no paved road for visitors to drive their own cars to the entrance of the
Upper Antelope Canyon. All visitor must get on a 4X4 4-Wheel Drive Truck for a 20-minute ride on a very
bumpy and sandy dry river bed (wash) to reach the entrance of the Upper Antelope Canyon as shown in these
4X4 4-Wheel Drive truck with high clearance is necessary to drive on such dry and sandy river bed (wash) to
go from the visitor parking lot to the entrance of the Upper Antelope Canyon. The soft sand is about one to two
feet deep such that regular cars with low clearance are most likely to get stuck. Riding on such bumpy and
sandy dry river bed is almost like on a small boat on rough sea with high waves. The truck bumps, shakes,
slides and fish-tail swings in every possible ways and directions: forward/backward, sideway, diagonal or
These magnificent views in the Antelope Canyons make it all worthwhile.
The Upper Antelope Slot Canyon is almost like a cave. Its length is about 150 yards. The natural sun lights that
get into the Upper Antelope Canyon are dimmer than those in the Lower Antelope Canyon. As a result, the
colors of stone walls in Upper Antelope Canyon are not as brilliant and vibrant as those in the Lower Antelope
Photography in Antelope Canyons: The dimmer light in Upper Antelope Slot Canyon makes it much more
challenging and difficult to take good pictures using consumer point and shoot cameras in such low light
condition, especially when there are many visitors are squeezing and moving in that narrow slot canyon. If you
have time limit to visit only one of the two Antelope Canyons, It is much easier to get good pictures in Lower
Antelope Slot Canyon because there are more light.
On the other hand, the trade mark of Upper Antelope Canyon is a vertical beam of light, "light shaft", shinning
down through the top of this canyon to the sandy floor in one special "Cathedral" chamber. This light shaft is
only visible in the mid summer around the noon time when the sun is high in the sky.
A sample photo of this trade mark light shaft can be seen at the following website:
This is the entrance to the Upper Antelope Canyon.
"Sandfalls" in Upper Antelope Canyon.
Under suitable condition of reflected lights, the sandstone looks almost translucent.
Our 10-Day 2010 Tour Route of Southwest USA is a large loop starting and ending in Las Vegas in Nevada,
USA. The sequence of fantastic Point-Of-Interest (POIs) on this large loop is:
Las Vegas in Nevada --------> Kolob Canyon in Zion National Park in Utah ---------> Cedar Break National
Monument in Utah --------> Red Canyon State Park in Utah --------> Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah
--------> Scenic Byway 12 through beautiful Grand Staircase-Escalante Monument in Utah --------> Scenic
Burr Trail and southern Part of Capital Reef National Park in Utah --------> Goblin Valley State Park in Utah
--------> Dead Horse Point State Park in Utah --------> Canyonland National Park in Utah ---------> Arches
National Park in Utah --------> Goosenecks State Park in Utah --------> Monument Valley in Arizona -------->
Antelope Canyons in Arizona --------> Glen Canyon Dam and Bridge over Colorado River in Arizona -------->
Horseshoe Bend of Colorado River in Arizona ---------> Navajo Bridge over Colorado River in Arizona --------->
Scenic Highway 89-ALT from east to west along beautiful Vermilion Cliffs National Monument in Arizona
--------> Grand Canyon - North Rim in Arizona --------> Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada --------->
Hemenway Park in Boulder City in Nevada ---------> Las Vegas in Nevada.
We flew from New Jersey to Las Vegas, Nevada on May 31, 2010 and flew from Las Vegas back to New
Jersey on June 9, 2010. We got the rental car at Las Vegas airport and drove the rental car for this 10-day trip.
Certain specific areas with very rough roads in this trip requires 4X4 4-Wheel Drive vehicle with high clearance.
Therefore, I requested 4X4 4-Wheel Drive vehicle with high clearance when I made the rental car reservation
for this trip.
If not for a special personal constraint, I would have reversed the direction of the sequence of POIs in this tour
loop so that Cedar Break National Monument would be in the last day instead of the first day of this trip in June
for two reasons: (1) The elevation of Cedar Break National Monument exceeding 10,000 feet is the highest in
this tour loop and it still had deep snow on the ground even on June 1 such that many interesting Vista or
Overlook Points were not accessible. Giving it 10 more summer days in June for the snow to melt, Cedar
Break National Monument would be more accessible on June 10. (2) Going up to very high elevation
immediately in the first day of the trip may cause some High Altitude Sickness for some people. By putting
Cedar Break National Monument on the last day, the body has 8 or 9 days to adjust gradually to the High
Altitude condition more smoothly to avoid possible High Altitude Sickness.
The reflected light made the golden sandstone seem to glow from within.
Detailed explanations of three special qualities of reflected light from the red sandstone that make
these slot canyons look so beautiful can be found at the following website:
An 11-minute video is available to show boat tour on beautiful Lake Powell including cruising into the Antelope
Canyon at the following website:
美國大峽谷是因「寬」聞名，羚羊峽谷 (Antelope Canyon) 則以
「窄」取勝 - Slot Canyon。
How I use information age technologies to enhance my enjoyment greatly of sightseeing large driving tour loop
of thousands of miles and of one to two weeks in duration covering many Points of Interest is described on my
web page at: