Lower Upper Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon
Marvel of nature cut by water

Upper Antelope Canyon

Antelopes Eye

This well-known and most visited slotcanyon of the United States is located near Lake Powell east of Page. Inspired from the beautiful pictures from Michael Fatali and Tom Till I went to the Upper Antelope Canyon in 1996 for the first time. Since then I have been there many times but the last time I only went to the Lower Antelope Canyon. The "Antelope Canyon Navajo Tribal Park" is private property of the Navajos and is a great trip for thousands of visitors each year. The very interesting motifs in combination with different exposures to light and different red colours are just a paradise for (hobby) photographers.

How to get there:

From Page you follow Highway 89 south and then turn left on Highway 98 east. You drive directly towards smoky chimneys of the coal powerplant. You follow the road for a few miles and at milepost 299 you see the parking lot of the Upper Antelope Canyon on your right side. The Lower Antelope Canyon is of the opposite side of the road that leads to Antelope Point.

The entrance fees got more expensive in the last years. Besides the walk-in visitors there are lots of daily tours from Page to Antelope Canyon Tribal Park. I think the price is not fair. The entrance fee (september 2007) for Upper Antelope Canyon is $26 (for a maximum of one hour) and the Lower Antelope Canyon costs $21 (with a maximum of 4 hours). This includes a $6 Navajo fee which is the official entrance fee of the park. The rest is for the owner.

Upper Antelope Canyon:

Upper Antelope Canyon

Structures

Upper Antelope Canyon

Mystic Light - Upper Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon

Face to face

Upper Antelope Canyon

Glowing Sandstone

The Navajos call it "Tse Bighanilini", which means the place where the water runs through the rocks. After you have paid you will get carried in a pick-up truck through the hot dusty air to the entrance of upper canyon (officially named Corkscrew Canyon). The entrance is really unimpressive but after walking through a small crack you get to a colorful wonder world. Through the reflection of sunlight the high and dark sandstone walls glow in red, brown and violet. The best time for a visit for photographers is in the summertime around noon. At that time the sunlight reach the bottom of the canyon and the spotlights give a nice atmosphere. Those spots come from the sand that is coming down and break the light Lots of photographers throw sand in the air to amplify the effect of the beam. Unfortunately the Upper Antelope is the more known and more frequented of both canyons. The visitors are often in the way and you can't take pictures without having people on the picture. After my second visit I have lost my joy to go there. This part is also not very long so you reach the end very soon.

Lower Antelope Canyon:

Upper Antelope Canyon

Antelope's Eye

Upper Antelope Canyon

Around the corner

Upper Antelope Canyon

This way up

Upper Antelope Canyon

The Arch

Upper Antelope Canyon

Hall of colors

Upper Antelope Canyon

Crack in the wall

Upper Antelope Canyon

Hole in the rock

Upper Antelope Canyon

Noses

Upper Antelope Canyon

Unforgettable

Upper Antelope Canyon

Shadow & Light

Upper Antelope Canyon

The Bear

The Navajos found the right name for it: "Hasdeztwazi" that means spiral rock arches. After you have paid someone leads you- with a guitar- to the small crack through which a few ladders leads you down in the canyon. Before you get there you see a memorial tablet that reminds you of the terrible accident in august 12th 1997. 11 tourists lost their lives in a flash flood. You should always watch the weather forecast before you get there. The Lower Antelope is not that deep and dark as the upper canyon but is not less beautiful. You will realize that in the first few minutes. Everything is smaller and narrower and there are lots of nice formations of the walls which - depending on the time - glow in different colours from blue, violet, red and orange. Mother Nature has done its best: water and wind have smoothed the walls. The walls are less than 4 ft apart from each other so you have to squeeze through it sometimes. This is difficult when you have a tripod with you. The number of visitors has also raised here but if you take your time you will have parts of the canyon for yourself. You have better opportunities to take pictures than in the upper canyon. Our last visit was (unfortunately) around noon. The disadvantage is the bright light. Very often the sun shines directly at the sandstone walls and sandy bottom which makes a picture impossible. If you are in Page the whole day I would suggest the morning and the afternoon for the lower antelope and around noon the upper antelope. You only have to pay the entrance fee for the lower canyon once so you can come back at another time of the day. At the end of the lower canyon you can get up the ladders again to get to daylight and return to the parking lot. But I suggest going the same way back because you will see different motifs and the colours are changing often.

Photo advice:

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You should take enough rechargeable batteries and memory cards and a tripod with a remote control release. Only then you will get the time exposures very sharp. Don't take pictures of the sky and the direct sunlight because the contrast is to heavy.The UV-filter was also very helpful because of the sand which is falling down.

Conclusion:

You should have seen both parts of the canyon. But for me the Lower Canyon is more beautiful. Take you time and don't feel pushed by the Navajos. Look over the shoulder from other photographers and you will find lots of new motif and you can always learn something.




Last update: 08/25/2009