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Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours
The Natural Wonders of Antelope Canyon
by Carl Burnham
Imagine walking on a sandy canyon floor as you make your way through winding Navajo sandstone passages that take on a magical glow depending on the angle of the sun from above. Awe inspiring, stunning, starkly beautiful nature at every turn, this is Antelope Canyon.
View video snippet of Antelope Canyon
Located in the Navajo Tribal Park just outside Page, Arizona, we took an amazing photography tour with Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours. Antelope Canyon is an area that the Navajos refer to as "the place where water runs through rocks" or Antelope Canyon. The Canyon is actually a series of narrow slot canyons made of Navajo sandstone that rises up to 120 feet from the sand floor. Antelope Canyon has been shaped over the ages by the forces of wind and water and continues to shape the canyons today.
Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours offers tours of Antelope Canyon and also nearby slot canyons that they have exclusive tour operator access to, as half day or all day tours on a daily basis year round. Each of the canyons within the Navajo Tribal Park have a special uniqueness about them. I especially enjoyed the peace and tranquility of having the slot canyons only to ourselves (only available through Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours. This
Tour also has priority over other tours going on in keeping other groups back while photos are being taken within the Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon areas. Lane was our experienced guide, and son of Carol Bigthumb, the owner. As Lane drove us into the Navajo Nation area as our registered Navajo tour guide, we were glad to have him do the driving as some areas are a challenge even for a 4-wheel drive in this remote area.
Lane gave us tips on where the best angles were for great photos, talked to us about coyotes, wild pigs, and other area wildlife, some Navajo traditions, and the unique perspective of living near Antelope Canyon where antelope used to run wild through.
Our first stop was Lower Antelope Canyon, nicknamed the "Corkscrew." As we walked towards the canyon, Lane pointed out some dinosaur tracks. I was fascinated with the range of views as I meandered within this canyon and can see why it has it's nickname. Every angle presents a unique photographic opportunity.
Rhonda Climbing Down Into Rattlesnake Canyon
This slot canyon along with Sheep's Head and Owl Canyon can only be accessed through Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours. Rattlesnake Canyon is narrow, with ladders in places to help you traverse the levels of the canyon. Lane walked ahead to check for any snakes (no rattlesnakes, only the harmless variety here). Lots of scenic photos taken.
"Monument Valley" at Antelope Canyon
Upper Antelope Canyon or the "Crack" tends to be crowded and the most visited as it is the easiest to walk (and having no ladders). This is the canyon that Lane's grandmother discovered at the young age of 16 while sheepherding. As we drove up there was a large group of foreign tourists with another tour guide. This canyon is also popular with photographers, and tripods are around every corner of the quarter mile long canyon. Have patience with others taking photos. I chose to not use a tripod for the trip as I was not taking long exposure shots, and it would have gotten in the way. I was not disappointed in any of my shots. Midway into the canyon the walls rises 120 feet above the sand floor. One thing to keep in mind is to check your camera after coming out of the canyon and clean your lens. Carry some extra ziploc bags and tape around your camera to help keep sand at bay as it can be dusty inside the canyons. It is not recommended to be changing lens during the tour as it is dusty everywhere.
Sheep's Head Canyon can get very narrow compared to the other slot canyons, and involves short climbs in spots as you make your way in between the walls.
View a video snippet of Sheep's Head Canyon.
An Owl Watching Over Us At Owl's Canyon
As we entered Owl's Canyon, an owl flew out from a canyon post as his partner eyed us from a high perch. It was sad to note that someone had shot an owl here recently. The wall colors were impressive here as well. A permit and tax fee for entering the Navajo Reservation Antelope Canyon area is included with your tour.
Visit the Antelope Canyon Tours website for current rate information on half-day (3-5 hours) or all-day tours (6-8 hours), and for staying at the Hogan Bed & Breakfast.
Photographers and tourists come from all over the world to photograph Antelope Canyon and be in awe of the canyon's many natural beauties. It is a magical and uplifting experience as the canyon walls seem to come alive with color and glow as the sun shines in. It's no wonder that Navajos view the area as sacred.
For photographers, the best photo times to go to capture the special shafts of sunlight is mid-day during the summer months as the sun is overhead.
We would like to thank Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours for assisting with our feature.
Adventurous Antelope Canyon Tours
P.O. Box 572
Page, AZ 86040
(tell them Southpoint.com sent you)
large octagon shaped structure with walls of juniper logs and red clay, with a nearby outhouse. As a guest you can sleep on sheep skin padding, or you can bring your own sleeping
bags for extra comfort. A traditional Navajo breakfast is provided on request, or a regular breakfast.