Carved over millions of years by the forces of water and wind, a slot canyon is a narrow crevice in the earth with striated, sandstone walls that appear to be flowing. Narrow at the surface – some as small as three feet wide – these canyons can drop more than a hundred feet. Beneath the surface, the canyon takes on an ethereal appearance with natural light playing off the undulating walls.
Antelope Canyon near Page, Arizona, is one of the most visited slot canyons in the world. Located on the Navajo Nation, the canyon is actually separated into the Upper Antelope and Lower Antelope. The upper canyon is the most visited and an easier hike.
Descending into the canyon is like stepping into another world. Photographers, movie directors and visitors swoon at the sculptured rock, enlivened by ambient light. As you wander along, the smooth, flowing sandstone formations create a surreal and hauntingly beautiful experience.
As spectacular as the canyon appears, it is also extremely dangerous. Flash floods are frequent – and deadly. Because of this, Antelope Canyon can only be visited through guided tours.
Tours to the canyon require riding in 4-wheel drive tour vehicles across rugged terrain. While every effort is made to ensure passenger comfort, some segments of the drive can be bumpy. Adventurers willing to make the trek will find that the experience worth the drive.
Even amateur photographers can capture breathtaking images of swirling stone in rich desert hues. Those who wish to photograph beams of sunlight shining down into the canyon will need to visit mid-day between the months of April and September.
If you’re planning a Road Adventure to Arizona, put Antelope Canyon on your list of “must see” attractions. Be sure to bring your camera, extra batteries, camera lights and lenses. Years from now, your artful photography will reflect a timelessness and beauty that’s yours alone.