Lower Antelope Canyon is one of the two parts of the Antelope Canyon located in Page, Arizona. The main canyon is a slot canyon type which are more deep than wide. From the numerous Yelp and Tripadvisor review that we scoured through while planning the trip suggested that the ideal hour to visit the canyon is about 11 am. The sunlight shines down on the canyon, its light reflecting off the yellow sandstone reflecting off a warm, golden hue.
The entrance fee for accessing the Navajo National Tribal Park is $8 per person. Its best to carry the exact change as they often run out of small cash. We booked our guide services with Ken’s Tours and were charged a nominal $20 fee which seemed significantly less compared to the $40 fee for touring the Upper Antelope Canyon. All bookings were made online and we paid in cash only after arriving at their tour offices in Navajo Nation, Page.
As per our itinerary we intended to stop for breakfast at Flagstaff which by I10 is 2 hours away from Scottsdale. Our breakfast stop, The Northern Pines is located next to the Days Inn. They open early for breakfast and had been highly recommended by reviewers on Yelp. The restaurant was buzzing with people and we were quickly shown to our seats. While reading their extensive menu to decide on the order, we recharged ourselves with some hot coffee. Husband opted for the Chicken Mixer breakfast meal with a side of fresh fruits and cranberry juice while I settled for a Fried Chicken Steak breakfast meal. The meal was warm, delicious with huge portions and we left carrying boxes with the leftover food.
Next stop – Lower Antelope Canyon. We got the tickets from the counter at Ken’s Tours and were asked to wait for our turn in the rooms attached to the office. Soon after our guide arrived to take us down for the canyon tour. He explained that these formations were the result of water erosion over millions of years. Wikipedia tells me that:
Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of Navajo Sandstone, primarily due to flash flooding and secondarily due to other sub-aerial processes. Rainwater, especially during monsoon season, runs into the extensive basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageways eroded away, making the corridors deeper and smoothing hard edges in such a way as to form characteristic ‘flowing’ shapes in the rock. [Source: Wikipedia]
There are staircases fixed to the canyon wall. The descent was a sharp down, so we were instructed to put away our cameras and focus on the steps and be careful. There were quite a few points which involved climbing up and down the steep stairs making this hike not quite suitable for children. In all times the guide was very patient with the group.
Down in the canyon the sunlight filtered through the narrow gap between the rocks and light up the walls. We could see a strip of the sky through the gap. The play of shadow and light resulted in some surreal images which had all of us mesmerized at the first sight.
A short 12 minute drive away on I89 is Horseshoe Bend a meander like formation for Colorado river. Since it is a short hike to the overlook point, it is advised to carry a bottle of water and cap as there are not many rest points on the way. The overlook offers a striking wide view of the rock walls that contain a variety of precious minerals like hematite, platinum and garnet.
Total distance traveled: 750 miles Total duration of travel: 12 hours