Road Trip Time: Antelope Canyon

Road Trip time! This time, join the virtual field trip journey with the Adventures of ScubaJack to Navajo native land and the amazing Antelope Canyon.

If you are traveling through the American Southwest, you are likely going to visit famous natural parks like the Grand Canyon or Saguaro National Park. Granted, these parks and scenic areas are stunning. They should definitely be items on your bucket list.

But having said that, one of the more underrated, yet impressive landmarks in the American Southwest is Antelope Canyon, a canyon located in Arizona. It is well known for many things, but it is probably most known for being one of the most picturesque places in the United States.

Whether you have already visited Antelope Canyon or are hearing about it for the first time, let’s explore some of the most fascinating facts about Antelope Canyon. After learning these facts, you’ll be able to impress your friends and family both before and during your visit to the canyon.

Some Fascinating Facts About Antelope Canyon
To start, Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. Specifically, it is located in the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. If you were to look at Antelope Canyon on a map, you would find it right near the Arizona and Utah border. To get to Antelope Canyon from a long distance, you would probably need to fly to Las Vegas and drive to the Canyon.

Antelope Canyon has only been open to tourists since 1997. The Navajo Tribe opened up the canyon by establishing a Navajo Tribal Park. Visitors cannot visit Antelope Canyon by themselves. Instead, they need to visit the canyon with a licensed tour operator.

Antelope Canyon is made up of two distinct parts. The first part is called Upper Antelope Canyon (also known as The Crack). The second part is called Lower Antelope Canyon (also known as The Corkscrew). Because Antelope Canyon is on Navajo land, Upper Antelope Canyon is also called “Tsé bighánílíní.” Translated into English, this means “the place where water runs through rocks.” Lower Antelope Canyon is also called “Hazdistazí,” which translates into “spiral rock arches.” This makes sense because Lower Antelope Canyon is well-known for its spiral and corkscrew shape.

When talking about Antelope Canyon, we cannot ignore how the canyon was actually formed. Geologists have found that Antelope Canyon was formed through the erosion of Navajo Sandstone. This erosion occurred from things like flash flooding. Over time, the Sandstone shifted and eroded, which eventually deepened the canyon’s corridors and smoothed out hard edges. Because of this, visitors to Antelope Canyon immediately notice the canyons’ beautiful flowing shapes. The canyon walls are stunning and make for some great photos.

From geology, let’s talk about both the Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. The Upper Antelope Canyon is more frequently visited compared to Lower Antelope Canyon. This is because it is easier to access. The Upper Antelope Canyon’s entrance is actually located on the ground level, so there’s no need for climbing or any other extreme activity.

Along with this, Upper Antelope Canyon is extremely popular because of the visuals. Tourists can see beams of light coming down through Upper Antelope Canyon’s openings. These beams of light are stunning. You can see them more easily in the summer months. While they do exist in the winter, the light will be less bright. If you are specifically planning a trip to see the stunning light in the Upper Antelope Canyon, you should visit between March 20th and October 7th.

Lower Antelope Canyon is actually located a couple of miles from Upper Antelope Canyon. In the past, visitors to Lower Antelope Canyon had to climb pre-installed ladders in certain areas of the Canyon. While metal stairways have been installed, it is still a more difficult hike than if you were viewing Upper Antelope Canyon. Make sure that you have your walking shoes on!

Even though it is more difficult to visit, Lower Antelope Canyon welcomes many visitors. Photographers are known to make the trek. Upon visiting Lower Antelope Canyon, visitors will notice that it has a “V” shape. If you are a photographer and want to get the best possible pictures in Lower Antelope Canyon, you should visit in the early hours and late morning. You will still be able to get some great pictures if you visit Lower Antelope Canyon at other points throughout the day.

Antelope Canyon is a fascinating and place. But it can also be dangerous. The main danger is flooding. Back in October 2006, Antelope Canyon suffered from a massive flood. The flooding was so bad that the Tribal Park Authorities closed Antelope Canyon for five months.

Rain continues to be a major threat to Antelope Canyon. A strong rainstorm can quickly flood the canyon, which can lead to serious injury or even death. Because of this, it is important to stay safe when you are visiting Antelope Canyon. Make sure that you listen to your guide’s instructions and never separate from the group.

And if it looks like there will be bad weather?  It’s probably best to save your trip to Antelope Canyon for another day.

One of the Most Beautiful Canyons in the United States

Antelope Canyon is a stunning piece of natural art. Even if you aren’t interested in national parks or the outdoors, you will definitely appreciate the natural beauty of Antelope Canyon. No matter where you live in the United States, I encourage you to check it out! You won’t be disappointed.

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