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Must see in North America: Antelope Canyon 

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Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed places in the United States. In our opinion, it is a must see attraction. The slot canyon is near Page, Arizona and sits on Navajo land. Over several thousands of years, water and the wind carved and sculpted the sandstone into the unique formations viewable today, experts say.

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Antelope Canyon is part of the Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park. There are two canyons, the upper and the lower. The Navajo name for the lower canyon is Hasdeztwazi, which means spiral rock arches, experts say. Pronghorn Antelope roamed the area in the past, which is how the English name was chosen.

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The colors are so vibrant that it was easy to click away as a guide pointed out where the formations had changed over time. Click on the photos below to see larger versions of each, and scroll below them to see more and read tips for visiting Antelope Canyon.

 

Most national and state parks in the United States require an entry fee and little else. Antelope Canyon, though, needs a tour guide, which we recommend booking online in advance to avoid a long wait. We used Ken’s Tours and loved our guide and the overall experience. The standard guided tour is about 90 minutes long with a group size of no more than 15 people. Several fellow travelers told us they were stuck in the canyon with hundreds of people. We were lucky not to experience this situation.

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We only toured the lower canyon, so all of our photographs are from that viewpoint. Professional photographers prefer the tour of the upper canyon, experts say. Regardless of which one you choose, make sure to bring your camera. We didn’t use a tripod or a timer but still walked away with hundreds of interesting shots. Read more about our favorite lightweight camera here. The shapes and colors are mesmerizing and easy to photograph. For the more focused photographer, there is a tour just for you that requires an SLR or DSLR camera and a tripod for each person. Learn more about it here.

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Besides which tour to choose, visitors should consider what day they plan on going to Antelope Canyon. We booked our trip for the Tuesday after Memorial Day weekend. We still experienced a large crowd in the waiting area but weren’t crammed into the canyon with hundreds of folks. Our guide said weekdays during the spring are the best time to visit for good light and few people. We recommend booking the earliest spot in the day since most people like to sleep in while on vacation.

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The guides at Ken’s Tours are local Navajos, who work outdoors under the blazing sun all day. Our guide, and the few others we met along the way were courteous and knowledgeable about the history of the land, which is why we recommend tipping them. The prices for the tours are not terribly high and likely cover the company’s overhead. So leave some extra money in your budget for a tip.

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If you have time to visit a nearby spot, check out Lake Powell as well. Tons of boat tours offer incredible views. The Antelope Canyon boat tour is about 90 minutes long and gives visitors an entirely different view than the ones available on the two tours mentioned above. They depart from Wahweap Marina at Lake Powell Resort. Learn more about them here.

Have you ever visited Antelope Canyon or Lake Powell? What did you do there? What was your favorite moment?

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