JUNE 2022

Lower Antelope Canyon

While we were in Page, Arizona recently, we visited both upper and lower Antelope Canyon.  On my last post, I posted only photos from Upper Antelope Canyon.  So, this time, I thought I would share with you what the experience was like touring lower Antelope Canyon.  The photos are, in some ways, similar, but the experience quite different. 

My reservation was for 9:40am.  John dropped me off in the parking lot for the canyon, which is out in the desert outside of town, and from there, you can walk to Lower Antelope.  We arrived about 10 minutes after 9 and I checked in.  The lady working behind the counter told me that since I was traveling alone, they did have a spot open for 1 more person on the tour that was getting ready to leave at 9:15 if I was interested.  I said I was and off I went. 

Lower Antelope Canyon

I met up with other tourists outside, on the back patio of the tour office, where the tour guides talk for a few minutes and share what the rules are inside the canyon.  The main thing to remember at this time, is that you must always wear your mask while in the canyon, outdoors on the patio, and certainly in the office.  Everywhere!  This is the law in The Navajo Nation currently.  There are no exceptions. 

Lower Antelope Canyon

I’ve heard it said, that entering Upper Antelope Canyon is like entering a natural light-filled cathedral at ground level, and that entering Lower Antelope Canyon is more like entering the cathedral through the crypt.  This is an apt description.  There are long sets of stairs that you take down into the canyon. Like Upper Antelope Canyon, it remains cool underground, and it was not unduly warm. 

Lower Antelope Canyon

Each tour guide takes in about 9 or 10 people, so the groups are small and somewhat separated from each other.   Our guide shared how, before Covid, there would sometimes be up to 1,000 people at a time crammed into the narrow, underground passages of Lower Antelope Canyon.  They don’t do separate photography tours in Lower Antelope, and I don’t know if they ever have.  You can see the sky in some places, but the light doesn’t come through there as much as it does in Upper Antelope.  There are some incredible colors and shapes in Lower Antelope to make up for it.

Rocky Mountain Sunset Formation, Lower Antelope Canyon

Once again, they don’t do photography tours per se and there are no tripods allowed inside the canyon.  You can take your cell phone of course, or your dslr if you like, I brought mine, but there really isn’t anywhere to set up a tripod anyway.  The passages are quite narrow in places.  You must be able to climb and descend staircases with narrow treads.  Most have railing you can grab onto at the top to pull yourself up, but not all of them do.  A nice pair of middle-aged tourists from Michigan helped me up a couple of times, which I thought was very nice. I probably outweighed the lady who was helping me by 30 pounds, but just having a steadying hand was occasionally helpful.  I appreciated it. 

“The Seahorse”, Lower Antelope Canyon

Many of the rock formations inside the canyon have names, like Rocky Mountain Sunset (one of my favorites) and The Seahorse, where the sky shines through the walls of the canyon, looking like a seahorse from a certain angle.  The whole thing, from check-in to finish, was about 90 minutes. 

Tourists Emerging from Lower Antelope Canyon

During this time, John sweated it out in the parking lot, and watched people go in and out of the office and the porta potties.  A thrill a minute, I’m sure.  However, while I do think John would have been able to do Upper Antelope Canyon, I know he wouldn’t have been able to do Lower Antelope Canyon.  It’s too narrow and there are too many sets of stairs and ladders. 

If you’re a younger adult, and you think you might ever want to do this, I would suggest you do it as soon as you can.  It doesn’t get easier as you age.  That’s my unsolicited two cents worth. 


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