Hiking Antelope Canyon
Do you like day hikes? Love photography? Hiking photographers will want to be hiking Antelope Canyon at least one time in their lives. Antelope Canyon is one of the most photogenic of all the slot canyons of south west USA. Possibly one of the most photogenic places I have ever been.
There are two main slot canyons, Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. Which one to visit?
Upper Antelope Canyon, the one mentioned here, is arguably the more scenic of the two. Most of the ‘famous Antelope Canyon photos‘, are taken here. Some of the locations even have special names, such as ‘the heart‘. Visit and find out why.
Photography in Antelope Canyon
Average photographers can finish a tour and walk away happy with the quality of their photos.
Things hiking photographers should know:
- It is dusty, so bring your favourite lens cleaning material with you
- Access is with a guide only
- The guides know all the famous camera angles
- It is crowded
- Pre-plan your camera settings as there is little time to make changes inside the canyon
- Set a high ISO due to the low light, most was set at either 400-800 ISO.
- Don’t forget to look around and enjoy the sight without looking through a camera lens!
- Did I mention it was crowded!
Taking a tour to Antelope Canyon
There are many tour agencies in the town of Page, Arizona. I simply wandered the streets and chatted to the agents and booked a trip. Rates are around $30-$80. The special ‘photography tour‘ of the canyon is more expensive, up to several hundred dollars. They claim to spend a little bit more time in the canyon and arrive at the time when the beams of light are filtering into the canyon. Although, the light beams only occur for a short couple of months each year in the summer.
Due to the huge crowds that visit this place it is very regulated. People are shepherded through the gorge on a tight schedule. There is enough time to take a good photo, however, many people complain that they didn’t have enough time for that perfect photo. If you want a little more time then throw down some money for the photography tour or better still, pre plan your camera settings before entering.
If hiking Antelope Canyon, it should be noted that it is nearby to the Grand Canyon, so anyone planning to hike the Grand Canyon should consider the detour. I traveled by bicycle through Cottonwood Canyon from the scenic gems of Bryce Canyon and Zion National Park, many others take a similar route when in this part of the world.
Can you hike Antelope Canyon without a guide?
No, it can only be visited with an approved guide. Private access to Antelope Canyon is forbidden.
The bad side of Antelope Canyon
The expression ‘loving a place to death‘ might have been invented here. Grandiose beauty, but tourism at its crowded worst, despite the best efforts of the guides. Yes, it is crowded, but just check out the photos below.