The day after our Angel’s Landing Hike, we decided to have an “easy” day. We started the day with our third and final attempt at the Wave lottery (more on this on a later post) and then had a long breakfast in Kanab before deciding on our plans for the day.
We decided on a day trip to Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon. The Lake Powell area is a little over an hour south of Kanab in Page, Arizona. We arrived mid day, the sun was shining, the temperature was 100 degrees and both of us had waterfalls of sweat in all its glory.
The Antelope canyons are one of the most photographed. It rests on Navajo land east of Page, Arizona and is divided into two separate areas referred to as Upper Antelope Canyon, or “The Crack”, and Lower Antelope Canyon, or “The Corkscrew”.
Because it is on Navajo Tribal Land can only be access with a tour guide. There are two main tour companies: Dixie Ellis & Ken’s. We later learned that Dixie and Ken are siblings. Their family inherited the Lower Antelope Canyon area when the Navajo people divided the land based on livestock owned. Ken and Dixie’s ancestors had the most livestock when the land was divided. There are tour groups of 16 that leave every 20 minutes. When we arrived at 11:30, the waiting area was a zoo. You buy a ticket for a designated departure time, but are warned that there can be up to an hour wait to enter the canyon.
The canyons are a short walk from the waiting area, but the descent into the canyons involve steep stairs and ladders. Here is a video from the “easiest” part of the descent:
Due to the iconic nature of the location, individuals of all age groups and physical capabilities come to view the canyons causing long backlogs when a more apprehensive visitor attempts the descent. We also learned that they are planning renovations this coming year to simply the descent into the canyons. We weren’t interested in standing for an hour under the noon heat so opted for the last ticket of the day, the 4 PM time slot.
We then traveled to rent a kayak and spend the next few hours in Lake Powell. This is where we wished we had an earlier start to the day! Lake Powell, like everything we had experienced in Southern Utah/Northern Arizona is like now where else in the world. In one of our Instagram posts from the visit we wrote “He loves vermilion cliffs. She loves azure waters. They found both here.”
From the Lake Powell boat slip, you head to the left where a short kayak brings you to a motor free water way that runs along Antelop Canyon. Here red and white rock walls frame every side with turquoise water all around.
We kayaked in the heat down Antelope Canyon, unfortunately we didn’t have enough time to get to the end of the canyon as we had to turn around to get to our 4 PM time slot at Lower Antelope Canyon The water was phenomenal, not too cold but incredibly refreshing.
It was probably for the best we did not stay longer. On our way back to the marina the wind picked pushing us away from the boat slip. It took us 40 minutes to kayak out (and our kayak almost flipped over a few times) what should have taken no more than 10 minutes (heavy wind often means the rains are coming).
We rushed to load our kayak on the car as the rain started. We got to Lower Antelope Canyon just after 4 pm when it was pouring. We were in luck, the rain had cleared out the place. However, with the rain coming down, there was also a good chance our tour would get cancelled. Its usually good if you want to remain alive to avoid slot canyons during the rain, but apparently this slot canyon doesn’t flood when the storm is coming from the North. Flooding only occurs when its raining to the South. Our tour guide Sullivan knew this and offered to take us on a private tour as long as we agreed to move quickly. We agreed, but also warned Sullivan of Quan’s love of picture taking.
IT WAS INCREDIBLE.
We had the Canyon to ourselves and were treated to majestic views of rain falling down the slots. We walked through puddles that gathered along the bottom, we learned that after rain fall the Navajo guides remove the water with buckets so that the canyon walk ways are cleared for the next day’s visitors. We also got some amazing anecdotal stories from Sullivan (some of which we shared above).
Here is where we took some of the best pictures we’ve had so far and a lot of them were taken by Sullivan one of the best photographers we had ever met:
Later back at our AirBnb we met other guests who on a prior day also booked a 4pm tour and also ended up having the canyon to themselves. So this is our big tip for any visitors- go at the end of the day. It is worth it!