This post is in addition to my ‘The Ultimate Arizona Road Trip Guide‘ blog post. So if you haven’t read that yet, check it out here! In this blog, I’ll be sharing all the necessary tips and advice for visiting Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and The Grand Canyon.
The Antelope Canyon Tour was my favorite activity during my trip in Arizona. The experience of exploring and walking through the undulating canyon was so beautiful. The sandstone formations with its smooth curves and vibrant colors, illuminated by sunbeams is something I’ll never forget. I was in awe of the intricate details of the rock formations that have been shaped by centuries of wind and water erosion. It’s a perfect destination for photographers and nature lovers. I highly recommend putting Antelope Canyon on your travel itinerary if you haven’t been there already.
So, now that you know it’s a must visit, you’re probably wondering, what the heck the difference is between Upper, Lower and Canyon X, right? Because I know I was definitely confused when choosing. But don’t worry I’ll explain below!
First thing you should know, is that you HAVE to book a guided tour to visit Antelope Canyon, no self guided tours available.
I personally booked a tour for the Lower Canyon over the Upper Canyon to save some money, also because a lot of reviews said it was more fun. You can even book Canyon X if you’re really on a tight budget! So what’s the difference besides price? Read on below.
Upper Canyon is shaped like an ‘A’ and has more room to walk. This is where you see those popularly photographed sunbeams in the canyon. It’s also at ground level. This tour is known to be more popular, aka more people.
- $100pp+ depending where you book.
- Book here or through Get Your Guide.
Lower Canyon is shaped like a ‘V’ having a larger opening on top so there’s more light coming in. It’s also below ground level so you’ll need to walk down some steps to access it. Ken’s Tours seems to be most affordable for the Lower Canyon. But book early because they will sell out!
- $73.18pp (including taxes and fees (double check prices)).
- Tickets also available on Get Your Guide
Canyon X is a slot canyon with taller walls, so it’ll be darker inside than Upper and Lower).
- Taadidiin Tours $52.86pp (including taxes and fees (double check prices)).
- Tickets also available on Get Your Guide
Additional Tips / Need to Know for Lower Canyon
- Not sure if this goes for all tours but we weren’t allowed to bring any bags or backpacks unless it was clear.
- Water bottles and cameras are allowed though.
- There was no need for additional transportation once you park for this tour. It’s a short walk to the steps down into the canyon.
- Sand will fall into the canyon from above (especially if windy) so be careful looking up. My jacket had sand in it for a week, haha.
- I personally loved all the photo tips and help given by our tour guide. They know all the angles and hacks to capturing the perfect photos in the Canyon.
- There are bathrooms but they have dry toilets and one of those portable sinks with reused water.
*** While in Page your phone and car will jump between 2 different timezones randomly, so just remember Page follows Phoenix Timezone, not Tuba City. Don’t get confused and think you missed your tour! This has something to do with zones observing or not observing Daylight Savings Time.
Horseshoe Bend, AZ
An absolute must visit! One of those natural wonders that actually looks like all the stunning photos you’ve seen, but better, obviously. I can’t even explain the feelings I had the moment I saw the peak of Horseshoe Bend slowly appear as I stepped closer the edge… Just wow! The sheer scale and winding Colorado River sweeping through the red rocks was breathtaking. Not going to lie, it was definitely freaky being able to walk right up to the edge of the cliff with no obstructions or railings but at the same time it will be something I’ll remember forever.
Tips / Need to Know
- There’s a $10 fee per car (check their website before you go).
- The trail to the view point is a short 10-15 minute walk (.75 miles round trip).
- There are some overhangs on the trail for shade or shelter from rain or snow if needed.
- If you plan on driving there yourself, try to visit early since the parking lot can fill up and get crowded. We went at 8-9am and it was fine, but when we left the lot definitely filled up.
- If you’re scared of heights or standing on the edge of the open cliff don’t worry, there is also a viewpoint with railings.
- The lighting on the canyon can be tricky since it is so low and causes harsh shadows, so keep that in mind if you plan on taking photos. It was pretty harsh early in the morning. It got better as we were leaving.
- You can hike, fly or kayak around Horseshoe Bend.
- It was SUPER windy when we went. Not sure if that’s usual but just wanted to note that.
- Antelope Canyon is located super close by, so you can easily see both in one day.
Grand Canyon National Park
My husband and I had a not so typical experience at the Grand Canyon. Ok, so technically we can check off the Grand Canyon from our bucket list, but did we actually see it… NO! It was COVERED in snow with zero visibility. The photo above is what we saw. We visited in late March which is hit or miss with weather. Do yourself a favor and check their live cams before visiting so you’re not disappointed like we were.
Know Before You Go
- It’s a bit of a pain to get to the Grand Canyon, especially certain times of the year, depending on weather. If you choose to stay in the more popular, neighboring cities like Page, Flagstaff or Sedona, it’s all around 2 hrs to get to, give or take.
- The Northern Rim is only open a few months a year. It’s estimated to reopen June 2, 2023 – October this season (subject to change). Just double check their site for dates.
- The Southern Rim is open year round, 24/7.
- IF the Grand Canyon gets heavy snow, some roads may be closed and put a blockage in your road trip plan. This happened to us! The northern road (Desert View Dr, 64), out of the Grand Canyon was closed due to snow and we had to go all the way south through Flagstaff then back North, adding 2 hours to our drive. 4 hours total!
- You can actually sometimes wait hours to get into the Grand Canyon, past the ticket booth. I suggest going really early or late to avoid this. Again, check the live cams.
- You can pre-purchase your ticket or purchase at the booth. Your ticket actually gives you access to the Grand Canyon for 7 days!
- Private Vehicle ($35 valid for 7 days)
- Motorcycle ($30 valid for 7 days)
- Individual (bicyclist, hiker, pedestrian) ($20 valid for 7 days)
Technically, we could have tried to go back since we had 6 more days to use the ticket, but weather was still crazy, so we didn’t bother.
Click here to read more on my Arizona Road Trip. I included tons of links and a lot of details to make your planning super easy!
Check out my Instagram here or Tiktok here for helpful videos and real life experiences of locations I mentioned!
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