- By Kevin
- On Mar 22, 2017
- North America
- Travel Tips
Antelope Canyon Tour comprises two separate parts and you have to book trips when you travel to the Upper Antelope Canyon & Lower Antelope Canyon National Park separately. Lower Antelope is less populated with tourists, cheaper to visit, longer, and the Canyon spaces are much tighter inside the canyon walls. Upper Antelope is more frequently visited, more expensive, and has much wider walkways in the canyon.
The important difference between the Upper Antelope Canyon & Lower Antelope Canyon National Park for me was the famous light beams of Upper Antelope. While you can find the light beams in Lower Antelope as well, Upper Antelope’s light beams appear to be more dramatic and seemed to be the more guaranteed route for stunning photographs.
So which one is right for you? Well, they are both going to blow you away so you really can’t go wrong with either one. But if you are trying to narrow it down, one thing to consider is your personal mobility. In Lower Antelope, you will have to climb some stairs and ladders and get through some very tight spaces with moderate scrambling. In Upper Antelope, that is not the case because the floor is flat and there are only a few narrow sections. So if mobility is an important concern then the decision is easy: go with Upper Antelope National Park.
One big advantage to Lower Antelope is that there are far fewer people visiting the canyon, which means you don’t have to deal with mass herds of people. Another is that Lower has the more adventurous appeal, because you may be able to venture without being accompanied by a tour guide and there’s a little bit of climbing here and there. While the spaces are more cramped and thus more difficult to set up a tripod, you won’t have to deal with the big crowds so it balances out. But once again, if you are going to Antelope Canyon to shoot the light beams you probably want to go with Upper Antelope.
Another difference is getting there. For Upper Antelope, you will arrive at a parking lot where you will sign in under a tent and then jump aboard an open-bed truck and head a few minutes down the road and then on to a bumpy off-road to reach the canyon. We did a photography tour (more below) so we were taken to the canyon in an enclosed SUV. For Lower Antelope, you simply show up at the parking lot and then a guide takes you down into the canyon. Based on reviews, it appears the guides use their discretion as to whether they’ll accompany you down there or not.
Overall, I think the two main determining factors are mobility and desire to shoot the light beams. But just know, you really can’t lose any way you go and remember you can always schedule a tour for both. As for my recommendation, I say do both. However, if you can’t do both then I’m on Team Upper Antelope (at least for your first time out there).