20 Interesting Facts about Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is one of the most beautiful landmarks on our planet. It attracts geologists, tourists, and photographers from all over the world.

Antelope Canyon is also one of the most photographed canyons in the world. Its unique wavy carvings, eye-catching colors, and magnificent light beams make it attractive to everyone.

Even if you haven’t known about Antelope Canyon previously, I am sure you have seen its pictures as background on your phone or pc.

Now, let’s learn some interesting facts about Antelope Canyon.

  • Local Navajos named the canyon Antelope because according to their story, herds of antelopes once grazed in the area during the wintertime.
  • Antelope canyon consists of two separate canyons: Upper and Lower Antelope canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is known as “The Crack” and Lower Antelope Canyon is “The Corkscrew”.
  • Upper Antelope Canyon attracts more visitors than the other as its entrance and most of its length locates at the ground level and do not require climbing. 
Picture of Upper Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon / Credit: Pixabay
  • Upper Antelope Canyon also displays glorious radiating beams during summertime. If the sole purpose is to see those beams, you should visit the canyon between March 20 and October 7.
  • Lower Antelope Canyon, as locals call it Hazdistazi (spiral rock arches), locates several miles away from Upper Antelope Canyon. However, its geological structure makes it harder to see its overall beauty. Tourists need to climb in pre-installed staircases and require abundant hiking on uneven grounds.
  • Not everyone is allowed to visit Antelope Canyon since it locates in the Navajo Land. Tourists can gain access to the site through authorized guides only.
  • Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon that runs in northern Arizona. Slot canyons are narrow and deep drainage channels that are formed as a result of water gushing through rocks. Simply speaking, slot canyons begins with a tiny crack and rain flooding carves its way through those cracks and makes it deeper and wider over time.  
  • Page, Arizona is the closest city to Antelope Canyon. Hotels, motels, lodging, and RV parks are available there. RV parking is not allowed within the perimeters of Antelope Canyon.
  • The Canyon specifically attracts photographers and geologists. Photographers capture its supernatural appearance, while geologists study its formation. In fact, according to Forbes listing, Antelope Canyon is one of the top geological wonders of the natural world.
  • The walls of the canyon got their beautiful wavy carvings thanks to the rainwater. Of course, rainwater could not have carved this beautiful structure, eroding sandstone in a short period. Live Science article states that it might have taken thousands of years for rainwater and intermittent creek to form this canyon.
  • Rainwater carved the canyon, and the wind polished its walls. You may wonder how come the canyon got such beautifully smooth walls. The mystery lies with the properties of wind. During extended drought, strong winds make their way on the Canyon’s drywalls and polishing its surface removing the loose sands.
  • The formation of Antelope Canyon began during the Jurassic period. More specifically, the formation took place 191 million to 174 million years ago. This means the canyon was present during the times of dinosaurs.
  • The canyon displays various shades of red and orange as a result of a mixture of iron oxide deposits and windblown sand.
Antelope Canyon Facts
Inside of Lower Antelope Canyon / Credit: Pixabay
  • Lower Antelope Canyon is bigger than Upper Antelope Canyon in terms of length. The Upper Canyon is only 100 yards (91 meters) in length. Lower Antelope Canyon, which locates about 4.5 miles (7 km) away from the Upper Antelope Canyon, has 1.1 miles (2km) in length.
  • The walls of Antelope Canyon rise about 120 feet (37 m) above the stream bed.
  • No one knows exactly who discovered the site first. However, there are some speculations. One claim suggests that a group of Native Indians escaped from the “Long Walk” of 1864 and took refuge in Antelope Canyon. The second claim suggests that a young Navajo girl named Sue Tsosie discovered the site while herding her sheep in 1931.
  • Antelope Canyon tourists can also visit the place called the Horseshoe Bend as it locates only 10 minutes away from the canyon. Horseshoe Bend is also a popular destination for tourists and photographers. Because the bend is a good spot to observe the magnificent view of the Colorado River.
Picture of Horseshoe bend
Horseshoe bend / Credit: Pixabay
  • Tourists who have been in the canyon, recommend taking the early morning tours which begin at 6 am. Because the weather is much cooler, and no crowding during early hours. 
  • Antelope Canyon became accessible by tour only since 1997. In that year, Navajo Tribe made the area a Navajo Tribal Park. Currently, the site welcomes everyone with a small entrance fee.
  • Antelope Canyon can be dangerous during the monsoon season. It is because rainwater can flood the slot canyon easily. Therefore, tour operators assign an experienced guide for every group of tourists. Additionally, operators can cancel the tour if the weather gets too hot to ensure the safety of visitors.

By Arslan Batyrovich

Founder of
Writer, Researcher, Fact-finder, and All-in-one
Loves nature, Likes history, and Adores anything interesting
To get tailored writing or to work with, contact at [email protected]

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