Antelope Canyon is one of the breathtaking places on earth that you should visit in your lifetime. This slot canyon is located just 6 miles east of Page, AZ. It offers a magnificent view of canyon formed in several million years by wind and water. It is a must-to-go place for nature lovers and photographers. There are two antelope canyons located nearby – the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon. Include the visit to these canyons with your visit to Grand Canyon or the Monument Valley as it is not too far from these places.
The “Upper Canyon” is called as “Tse’ bighanilini” by the Navajo which means “the place where water runs through rocks”. The” Lower Canyon” is called as ” Hasdestwazi” which means spiral rock arches.
In ancient times, herds of pronghorn antelope were roaming freely in the Antelope Canyon, from which it derived its English name. However it is not known who have first discovered it. It was once the place for cattle grazing, as local Navajo tells about the place.
The older Navajos people enters Antelope Canyon as if they are entering to the cathedral. They stands for sometime before entering in to the canyon. The reason they do so, is to be in the right form of mind and also to pay respect to the canyon and to the mother nature.
The formation inside the Antelope Canyon was due to the erosion of the Sandstone by flash flood, wind, and rainwater. The speed of the water and wind which rushes towards the restricted passage from millions of years make this canyon deeper and smoother in this recent time and will continue further. Flash flood is very common phenomena which happens here especially in the Lower Canyon. There was a tragic flash flooding which happened in August of 1997 which drowned 11 tourists. There is a memorial rock with names of all the victims just before the entrance.
Upper Antelope Canyon
The upper Antelope canyon is the most popular among the two canyons and it is also one of the most photographic spots and the most visited. You cannot visit canyon without local Navajo’s guide. Trip to the upper canyon are about 1 1/2 hours long starting in a 4-wheel drive vehicle from the town of Page to the Canyon entrance. After that you have to walk in to the Canyon. It is a easy walk with no climbing or hiking. You will get near about 50 minutes to explore its beauty and photography.
It’s very important that you reach there at right time to get the stunning photographs. When the sunlight filters down the carved sandstone walls, it makes the color of the wall more vibrant, it also changes its patterns constantly.
Few portions of the canyon are wide while others are very narrow and no light is reaching to the floor. It takes less than 5 minutes to walk through the canyon.
There are also extended hours of photography tour in which you will get about 2 1/2 hours time. Reservation for this tour is highly recommended. This tour is not only for a professional photographer but for an amateurs as well. Your guide in the canyon will also suggest you the best spot to click amazing photographs. Do not forget to take these essential equipments with you, they are tripod, remote or cable release to get long exposure timings, extra memory cards, batteries, small pen light to see the settings.
Lower Antelope Canyon
As compared with the Upper Canyon, the Lower Canyon is much longer and deeper. It is also slightly difficult which requires climbing down the metal ladders in few places to get down to many sheer drops. 11 people drowned here in August 1997 because of the flash flood. Because of the flash flood a 50 feet water sweeps inside the canyon as a result of the thunderstorm 5 miles away. It also deepens this canyon by 4 feet. After this incident, the lower canyon was closed for a long time and then reopened with various safety measures. Now they constantly check with the weather station and close the entry if there is any news of the thunderstorm or rain.
The entry fees to the Lower Canyon is less than the Upper Canyon.