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Antelope Canyon is a place of ethereal beauty that draws travelers from around the world to marvel at its striking shape, which seems to make hard rock look as though it’s nearly liquid. Carved from sandstone by millennia of blowing sand and flowing water, the most famous portion of Antelope Canyon is, geologically speaking, a “slot canyon.” It’s a particularly holy place to the Navajo (Dine) Nation, who thus restrict access in order to protect both the physical site itself (the sandstone walls are fragile and can easily be scratched or defaced) and visitors (flash floods are not uncommon and can be lethal in a canyon setting), as well as the overall sanctity of the spiritual location.
Therefore, if you want to visit, you’re going to need to sign up for a tour. It’s not a bad deal, though, as tour guides can help you find the best light for photography, illuminate some of the geological features and explain how they came to be, and give an overview on some of the history and culture of the Navajo people and others who have lived in this area.
Because of restrictions on vehicles and certain other types of traffic, tours are generally walking/hiking tours, though there are a few boat tours available, so which one you choose is largely going to depend on where you’re headquartering your vacation and what your budget is. The following are the best Antelope Canyon tours that Viator has to offer.
Best Overall: Antelope Canyon and Glen Canyon Scenic Tour
Departing from either Sedona or Flagstaff, this tour focuses on Antelope Canyon but includes a number of other activities. The day starts with a pickup at your hotel in either of the aforementioned cities and then drives you out through the Navajo Nation’s lands to the town of Page in a comfortable, air-conditioned vehicle.
From Page, you’ll take a four-wheel-drive off-road vehicle into a drivable segment of the Canyon. You’ll be able to jump out of the vehicle for photo ops at several locations and get a good view from inside the vehicle as well, and you’ll take a 90-minute walking tour with a Navajo guide.
From there, you’ll move on to visit some historic and natural sites in the Glen Canyon Recreation Area, including Lee’s Ferry, Lonely Dell Ranch, the Colorado River, Lake Powell, and the Vermillion Cliffs, all explained in detail by your tour guide.
At the end of the day, you’ll be transported back to the front door of your hotel. Entrance fees, ground transportation, bottled water, and a simple boxed sandwich lunch are all included in the fee.
Best Private Tour: Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell & Zion
If you’re up for a splurge and prefer something a bit more luxurious than a shared mini-coach, consider this Viator Exclusive tour that includes an overnight in a three-star hotel in Page, Arizona. You’ll be picked up in a luxury vehicle from your Las Vegas hotel and drive to Lake Powell via the Virgin River Gorge. You’ll see the Glen Canyon Dam, the Carl Hayden Visitor Center, and have a picnic boxed lunch at the edge of the lake itself.
After lunch, it’s on to Antelope Canyon, where you’ll take a 90-minute walking tour with a Navajo guide (note that this segment of the trip is a public tour, not a private one), and then a short guided hike to Horseshoe Bend, a dramatic loop in the Colorado River. You’ll then have dinner and spend the night in Page.
On Day 2, you’ll head into Zion National Park through the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and make a stop at the Big Water Dinosaur Center, where real dinosaur fossils that were found in this area are displayed. Zion National Park has a large number of beautiful hiking trails for all fitness levels, and your guide will help you choose one that suits your preferences.
After a pleasant day in the park, you’ll be driven back to Las Vegas in comfort. Note that the price of the tour covers up to four people riding in the same vehicle, and includes all entrance fees and the hotel itself, as well as boxed lunches both days.
Best Helicopter Tour: Arizona Desert Helicopter Tour w/Tower Butte Landing
The real majesty of Antelope Canyon can only be seen from inside it, but it’s still very fun to catch a glimpse of it from high above and marvel at the other geological wonders of this area. The short flight from the airport in Page takes you over Antelope Canyon itself, Lake Powell, and the amazing Grand Staircase before landing on top of Tower Butte, a massive rock structure where, from the top, you can see a complete panoramic view of the desert, the canyon, the mountains beyond, and the lakes and rivers that run through them.
It’s an extraordinary vantage point and one that can’t be reached by any other method (climbing is not allowed on the Navajo Nation). When the tour is over, you’ll be returned to the Page airport.
Best Boat Tour: Lake Powell Boat Tour: Antelope Canyon
Head to Wahweap Harbor and hop on board this small cruise boat for a trip through Lake Powell into the lowest part of Antelope Canyon (about two miles west of the canyon head, where the more famous curve-sided slot canyons are). On the way, you’ll pass the Glen Canyon Dam, the second-highest concrete arch dam in the United States, plus a number of other natural wonders, all while the crew explains the geological forces that built this remarkable structure, as well as some Navajo history and an explanation of the significance of the dam itself.
It’s a great angle from which to see the canyon and its surrounding area, and one you can’t get to on foot, so give it a try. An extended tour is available, as well, for those who’d like to sail a few miles further to Navajo Canyon.
Best Combination: Antelope Canyon, Lake Powell & Glen Canyon w/Rafting
You’ll see the sights from three different vantage points on this tour: air, land and water. Beginning at Grand Canyon National Park Airport, you’ll hop aboard a small plane for a 140-mile flight over the Grand Canyon’s East Rim, the Colorado River, and Lake Powell to the airport in Page, Arizona. At the airport in Page, you’ll be picked up by a Navajo tour guide in a 4x4 vehicle for a 90-minute driving tour to Antelope Canyon.
You’ll head into a two-mile-long tunnel to the starting point for your rafting trip (it’s a motorized raft, not a whitewater situation, so no need to be the super-adventurous type), which will take you 15 miles down the Colorado River, through the absolutely stunning Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
At the end of your rafting trip, you’ll board a comfortable air-conditioned coach which will take you on a 3.5-hour drive through gorgeous desert scenery (with a stop at a Navajo Nation trading post), dropping you back off at the Grand Canyon National Park Airport. It’s a packed day and a great way to see a whole lot of things in one fell swoop. A simple boxed picnic lunch is included.
Best Tour from Sedona: Antelope Canyon Tour and Horseshoe Bend
If your southwest trip is headquartered in Sedona, consider this full-day tour that includes pickup and dropoff at your Sedona hotel. You’ll drive to Antelope Canyon via a National Scenic Byway through the Oak Creek Canyon and see the striking geological formations of the Painted Desert in every direction.
Upon arrival, you’ll be led into the canyon by a Navajo guide, who’ll illuminate the history and geology of the site, as well as help you take some great pictures of this extremely-photographable location. After your tour, you’ll stop at the Cameron Trading Post to shop for Navajo, Hopi, and Zuni artisan crafts.
A picnic lunch is provided at Glen Dam, from which you can see Lake Powell and the Glen Dam Gorge. The day’s final activity is a hike up to Horseshoe Bend, after which you’ll begin the beautiful drive back to Sedona.
Best Tour from Flagstaff: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour
This budget-friendly guided tour leaves from a central location in Flagstaff and heads straight out to Antelope Canyon in climate-conditioned comfort. Upon arrival at the canyon, guests will join their Navajo guide for a 90-minute trip into its depths for a moderate hike and lots of photo ops. Nearby Horseshoe Bend is next, where guests will take a short hike (less than a mile) for the best possible view. A simple picnic lunch is provided, as is commentary from a knowledgeable expert tour guide and all entrance fees.
Best Tour from Las Vegas: Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Day Tour
Escape the hustle-bustle of Las Vegas for a day and head out to the remarkably peaceful desert area just a few hours to the east. This small-group tour picks you up early in the morning from your Vegas hotel in a comfortable mini-coach, where you’ll be served a continental breakfast (with plenty of coffee).
Your 4.5-hour drive to Antelope Canyon is via the Virgin River Gorge and through Kanab, Utah, and is well-supplied with snacks, soft drinks, and free Wi-Fi. Upon arrival at the canyon, you’ll join your Navajo guide for a 90-minute tour, after which you’ll drive to Page and enjoy an included basic restaurant lunch (sandwiches or burgers).
After lunch, you’ll visit Horseshoe Bend for a 1.5 mile round-trip hike and then a quick visit to a scenic overlook of Lake Powell, and then it’s back to Las Vegas in comfort.