By Lauren Herber, Staff Writer
Just four hours north of Phoenix in Page, Arizona, lies an unspeakable beauty: Antelope Canyon. This natural treasure remains hidden until you actually descend into it, but once you’re inside, it’s like being in a completely different world. To me, the inside of Antelope Canyon was how I imagined the inside of Salvador Dalí’s mind to be: surreal, vivid, and full of texture and static movement. Depending on what time of day you visit the canyon, different colors will be reflected on the walls as the sun’s light drifts through the open spaces at the top of the canyon. I visited Antelope Canyon in the late afternoon, a time of day that I highly recommend: when I started the tour the walls were tinged with gold and orange, but by the end of the tour I began to see deep purples and blues. Each step brought a whole new dimension of color, texture, and shape that took my breath away.
If you want to visit Antelope Canyon, there are a few things that you should take into account when planning your trip. The drive is just over four hours long and takes you past Flagstaff and through the beautiful scenery of Northern Arizona. The roads are long and mostly unpopulated, however, so make sure you have plenty of gas before you start your trip. Additionally, since Antelope Canyon lies on Navajo land, there are a few other preparatory measures that you should be aware of in advance. There are two parts of Antelope Canyon: Lower and Upper. While anyone can book a tour to see Lower Antelope Canyon, only a predetermined number of people are permitted to hike through Upper Antelope Canyon per day. So, if you want to visit the Upper portion, be sure to plan it out in advance. Additionally, you must be a part of a guided tour in order to see either part of the canyon; you cannot hike or tour the canyons on your own. There is an $8 general fee to get into the park, and then tours of Lower Antelope Canyon are $20 per person. The Upper Antelope Canyon tours cost a bit more at $40 per person.
The tour guides are very friendly, experienced, and informative, and are often more than happy to assist with the taking of photos. My tour guide, Jean, was very knowledgeable about how to get the best pictures of the canyon and gave our group tips on how to capture the best angles and lighting, resulting in some truly spectacular photos. I highly recommend this excursion: there is a nice campground close by in the beautiful Glen Canyon Park, and awe-inspiring Horseshoe Bend is just a short 20-minute drive from Antelope Canyon. For more information, visit http://navajonationparks.org/htm/antelopecanyon.htm.