The Slot Canyons in Page, Arizona are one of the most visited places around and have been my dream to visit for the longest time. The famous Antelope Canyons are the most photographed in the SouthWest, of course I want to be there!
You can’t visit it on your own being on Navajo Reservation land. It is expensive to visit, crowded and restricted, with little time and having non-photographic friends along, I skipped the Upper Antelope Canyons and headed straight for the lower Antelope Canyons.
Visiting the Upper Antelope Canyons does set you back a couple of dollars. The entry into the Canyons cost $9 plus paying for a guided tour of $35. The whole trip would last about 1 1/2 hours, another $80 if you want to be in the photographic tour that is really more of you wandering along the canyons on your own for 2 hours.
The lower Antelope canyons is the less famous but not necessary less crowded, it does cost a little less, a total of $38 incuding the permit. It last about 2 hours if you decide to be on your own on a ‘photographic permit’. Basically if you choose that option, instead of the hour long guided trip, you are left on your own to photograph the various sights.
For some reason, most of the Americans on the internet were avoiding the Lower Antelope canyon, apparently only recommending it for fitter hikers. But it is quite an easy stroll with a few ladders. My friend who had a slightly sprained ankle managed quite well with her walking stick. Unless you are super large and hardly exercise at all, it is quite a comfortable walk through.
It gets super crowded, we got in at 8am and the carpark was already packed with photographers and their huge tripods waiting to get in. You don’t really need to book one of those tours from Page. Just get to the carparks early, wait for the tour office to open before you join in. The preferred timing is in the summers of June, July and August when the sun is at the highest. I was there between 830am to 11am and the colors of the walls does get washed out by 1130am when I visited in June.
The lower Antelope Canyon was quite magical, I got carried away and spend longer than my time slot just walking around and discovering the light. By the time I got out around 11.30am, the crowd was packed waiting their turns to get in.
The guides would play their flutes, guitars or sing as they bring streams of tourists into the narrow slots. Quite a great acoustic experience listening to these young Native kids telling stories of their ancestors as they lead the tourists.
The Slot Canyons look totally different from the outside and the colors were washed out to even realise how magical it would be when you walk through the canyons.
The canyons are narrow but some parts do allow space for you and your tripod.
That classic light beam in the slot canyon. Photographers play with the light by throwing sand into the air, creating light beams when the sun is glowing through. Time is essential here as in the Lower Antelope Canyons, light quickly changes by 11am and you won’t get the classic beam shot.
The Raven’s Nest
Large Raven Nests scattered around the Canyons, not quite a santuary for them with streams of tourists disturbing their peace.
The lion’s spot
Hard to tell from here, but look at 4 dark spots slightly off the center. The discoloration is basically the lack of iron in the stones.