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Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, Which one is better for you?

  1. By Kevin
  2. On Mar 21, 2017
  3. North America
  4. Travel Tips

After a travel about Upper Antelope Canyon in Dec 2016, I'd like to share some trip experience about Antelope Canyon with you. I visited the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon National Park with a 2-days bus tour there. I reached the Upper Antelope Canyon firstly, and it’s dark, cramped, crowded, expensive to visit, and wildly over-photographed by professionals and amateurs alike.

So, why bother going to Upper Antelope Canyon, enduring the crush, and adding to the over-flowing of glowing slot canyon images (gorgeous and not)? Is it too facile to say, “Because it is there?” Probably. After all, Disney World is ‘there’ and I have no desire to go … there. No, rather, for the lover of natural beauty, the outdoors, all things desert, and for a photographer, sublime images may be had and, special bonus: they are yours.

Antelope Canyon Tour

First, whether a pro or nay, if you want to be able to photograph the canyon at a less than a herd pace and capture images that can be processed to full advantage, you need to use a tripod. That means you must sign up for the Photography Tour. In fact, I recommend it. Non photography tour members can take neither a tripod nor a backpack. As a member of the ‘elite’ and more importantly, much smaller Photography Tour, you must take a tripod (and SLR) and you may take your backpack (though I recommend foregoing it if you can, as it will likely just get in your way). The photography tour (as offered by Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours) costs twice as much ($80) but it is worth the cost, especially if you get a good guide. Our guide was named Leon and he was good. He parted the waves of humanity in-canyon, held them up for us when we were shooting or in the tight narrows, and pointed out structures and potential shots that we likely would have found ourselves — given enough time and much less people.

Due to the reflected light colors and canyon wall structures this Upper section of Antelope Canyon has a much different personality than the Lower section. I recommend doing both, though not on the same day.

Antelope Canyon Tour

Yes, it would be great to have this canyon to yourself, but that's not possible. Pay the extra for a photography tour, go off-season, and you will have the next best thing. Plus, a lot of gorgeous photographs...hopefully!