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Published on October 17th, 2012 | by AZHG

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Antelope Slot Canyons of Arizona

Arizona Home and Garden Magazine: Exploring the Antelope Slot Canyons. Light beams pour through colorful carved sandstone at the Antelope Slot Canyons at Page, Arizona.

If you haven’t visited Antelope Canyon near Page Arizona, put it on your list.

Antelope Canyon is managed by the Navajo Nation Parks and Recreation and includes Upper and Lower Canyons. Both are located within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation.

Upper Antelope Canyon

The Navajo name for Upper Antelope Canyon is Tse’ bighanilini, which means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Upper Antelope Canyon is considered to be the most beautiful slot canyon in Arizona (or anywhere) and has been made popular by endless photographs of light beams and sand pouring through narrow crevices of the carved sandstone.  Over time, flash floods have eroded paths just a few feet wide and over a hundred feet deep.

You must sign up with a Navajo-run guide operation in Page in order to visit the Upper Antelope slot canyon.  Because the sun must be overhead to illuminate the red-orange and yellow walls, the best time for photographs are between 10am and 2pm preferably with full sun.  Since the light beams begin to appear around March 15 and disappear around mid-October, these are the most popular times to visit Upper Antelope Canyon.  Lower Antelope Canyon has a different orientation and can be nicely photographed even during the winter.

Whether you photograph or not, it is wonderful to experience the slot canyons.  In fact, experiencing the carved 120-foot canyon walls, the echo of voices,the beams of light and the soft sand, will make you feel respect for the beauty and force of nature in this ancient cathedral.

We enjoyed a visit in mid-May with a with a tour operation that was located across from our motel.  We boarded open tour trucks and headed for the canyon entrance.   We heard that you can also show up at the Park Entrance to join a tour.  We paid $46 per person for our tour.

Our guide was very knowledgeable, entertaining and an expert at managing the traffic flow in such a way that our group was never crowded — quite an amazing feat with hundreds of tourists visiting every 2 hours! Along with geological and historical information, he made every effort to provide each photographer with opportunities to take pictures.  Having read complaints online about a Disneyland kind of experience, this guided tour far exceeded our expectations.  We were so glad that we joined this tour and experienced the Upper Antelope Slot Canyon.

Click here to view a list of Navajo Tour Guides to Antelope Canyon: http://navajonationparks.org/htm/antelopetours.htm

Lower Antelope Canyon

The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdeztwazi or “Spiral Rock Arches.” The lower canyon is  just as beautiful as the Upper Canyon.  It is longer and deeper than the upper section and also slightly more challenging, requiring climbing down ladders in some places to descend several sheer drops. You can drive to the entrance, park, and pay. Show up early so you don’t have to wait in line.  Hundreds tourists from all over the world visit the slot canyons.

Navajo Parks and Recreation Department was established in 1964 and remains one of the oldest programs in the Navajo Nation government.  It’s mandate is to protect and preserve these special areas, promote economic and social opportunity for the people, and manage the huge number of visitors who come to see and experience the wonders of the Navajo Nation.

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