May 31, 2012

Antelope Canyon & Horse Shoe Bend , Arizona

Over the Memorial Day long weekend, we decided to visit Upper Antelope Canyon. We planned to drop in and spend some time at the Grand Canyon on the way and then drive on to Page, Arizona. This little town is perched over 4000 ft above sea level. Very pretty and well lit up as the Glen Canyon Dam and the Colorado river are just a stones throw away. It was a little windy with a slight nip in the air.

upper antelope canyon
Sunbeam in the canyon

Thanks to our friends Anu & Alok who recently visited the area, we were able to get first hand information from them, and recommendations too. We decided to go with Carol Bigthumb' s Antelope Canyon tours ( click here for their website ). We highly recommend them too after having experienced one of our best visits to natures hidden beauty. They have different tours that you can consider. Lower Antelope Canyon is not recommended for those who have kids as it is quite tiresome, climbing ladders and crawling is required in the canyon. The jeeps were high clearance vehicles with closed windows and doors. It was a relief as we did not have to bother about the sand dust outside getting into our eyes or the intensity of the midday heat.

upper antelope canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon

Some important points to consider.

  1. Reserve your seat over well in advance. Though the seat is reserved, your actual payment is done only when you arrive in person.
  2. Be prepared for change in the weather. It was very windy over the Memorial day weekend. We were told by our guide that they have seen a trend on that weekend for some years now. Windy weather = sand storms & limited visibility when driving. 
  3. Carry a tall tripod, a good lens and a cover to protect your camera. If it is windy, it will be raining sand inside. We were covered head to toe, backpacks with red sand falling from the top. The photography tour is highly recommended. You will be given ample time ( 2 hours ), tips on settings, chance to take pictures without people\ hands\legs in it. The guides are very friendly and work with other guides so you get your moneys worth in unforgettable pics.  This is the first place where we noticed that people were asked to move aside so that we could take pictures :-). 
  4. The location for the tour starts at Mile 302 ( visual landmark are 3 flags on Highway 98 about 1 mile after the NGS Power plant.
  5. The time on the Indian reservation is 1 hour back even though the Page is an hour ahead. Do check the time your tour starts. ( We arrived 1 hour early even though were on time ) I am not sure if this changes, please check with Carol via email\ phone ) Should this happen and if you have sufficient time you can head back to Page and visit the scenic view road at N Lake Powell Blvd and US 89. The view is amazing. From the parking lot there is a trail to go down. I loved the rock formations, looked as if it was layers and layers of lava. As with any trail going down, coming up is a bit steep but manageable. It is definitely not stroller friendly. 
  6. Visit Horseshoe Bend 4 miles south of Page on 89 on the right hand. Believe me its worth it. From the parking lot, it is a sandy uphill path. and then down hill around 10 mins. Once on the edge, be very cautious if travelling with children as its a dead drop 500 ft into the canyon. The view is just magnificent as its a horse shoe with the Colorado river winding its way around it. Since it was extremely windy the day we went, it was difficult to stand and take pictures. Many people literally crawled up to the edge on their bellies and enjoyed the view. To get a complete pic of the horseshoe bend and the river, take a wide angled lens. We arrived around 3.30 pm and the view was gorgeous as the sun was in front of us giving the Colorado river a gorgeous hue of blue and green. 
  7. Antelope Canyon is within the Grand Circle Loop of Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Arches,  Monument Valley and visiting all can be done in one trip if you have time and plan it well. The distance from Las Vegas to Page is about 4.5 hours, so if you are visiting, think about a side trip to Page too. 
scenic view
Scenic Road View down the trail

scenic view
Scenic view trail 

horseshoe canyon
Looking down Horse shoe Point


  1. You seem to be getting good at this .. Nice one again and good photography.

  2. :-) Thank you Natraj! This place is undescribable. Planning a visit here is a must! Never seen anything like this. You will love it.

  3. That's some great pics and information! Hopefully the stars will align someday for us to visit. We already know who our travel advisers are going to be ;)

    1. Thank you Alex !!! Would be glad to make your trip a memorable one by giving you all the information we have !!! Its an experience and I know you will love it !!