Sunday, February 5, 2017

Lower Antelope Canyon - A Marvel

First Look
Narrow shafts, no visible way to enter, a sea of red soil making you wonder where you are to go next, and there you see it – A narrow opening in the side of the seemingly flat land. The opening shaft more like a slit in the mountain - like someone cracked the mountain open is the first sight that makes you wonder about the force of nature but the real deal is yet to come. At least for me the “wonder” phase for Antelope Canyon began with that glance at the entry crack.
The entrance
Long ride, a day’s delay, extremely crowded area and the only horrible “loo” experience in US so far had kind of made me question if Lower Antelope Canyon was actually going to be the bucket list place I always imagined it to be and twenty minutes later I was standing gaping at a marvel that erased all the doubts in my head.

The Magic Begins
Crowd, cold, rushed entry to exit tour nothing can actually stop you from praising Antelope Canyons which are actually Nature’s might and art sketched on ancient rock, etched and leveled by winds and water over centuries.

See the shapes?
Antelope Canyons are slot canyons located in the Navajo Nation of Arizona that are a part of the Grand Canyon. So you can imagine how old this place must be and ever curve and cut of Antelope Canyon tells you about the time gone by. My friends – the ones with whom I did the recent Grand Canyon road trip and I – joked at the entrance level that maybe people chiseled the slot to make it more appealing, but as we moved ahead in Lower Antelope, the area kept getting narrower and the formations more elaborate and stunning.  That tiny slot that started out with towering colourful rocks on two sides of a path barely enough for 15 people to stand – had arches and hollow ringed rock formations.

A friend of mine posed for me near an arch!
By the time you are done with your tour you would be speechless, cold but forgotten all about that long tiring drive, the crowded narrow path and well the loo too. I usually am very verbose when it comes to describing what I felt in a place but Lower Antelope Canyon actually rendered me speechless. That’s why I will let the photos do all the talking but will surely leave you with what to do for Antelope Canyon tips!

The changes

The Must Dos!

1.   Tours and Tickets - Buy your guided tour ticket in advance and preferably keep the tour timing between 10 AM to 1 PM. Antelope Canyons are a part of Navajo Nation and thus are private properties of the natives. Due to this there is no way you can enter the canyons without a guide. The ticket prices are quite high considering it will be at most a thirty minutes walking tour so consider that and also keep tab on if your tour is getting cancelled due to rain or heavy snowfall. I didn’t feel a photography tour was required to see Lower Antelope Canyon, but Upper Antelope is a whole different case. You get enough time to click but be aware of time and people always because the place is extremely crowded and your guides will rush you throughout the tour.

Let it shine
2.  Keep Buffer – Antelope tours during monsoons and winters have high probability of getting cancelled due to flash flood alerts. If you are travelling during this time, keep a day’s buffer for Antelope, i.e. plan your trip in a way that you are close to Antelope (South Rim Grand Canyon or Page itself) for at least a day.


3.  Necessities – Do not! I can’t stress enough on this but do not rely on the tour area cafes and loos for anything! Page Downtown is just 20 mins away from Antelope – that is the place you would want to go for all your food, coffee, water, washroom necessities.
That was it. That gap is what we crossed
4.  The right clothes – During summers it is extremely hot in the Canyons and winters are freezing. Be sure to dress right else the thirty minutes long walk would seem like eternity.

I got my pic!!!
5.  And most important one – Enjoy! This touristy place will not disappoint you, at least not for the most part.

How to get there from Las Vegas

How to get there?
Closest Airport - Page. 
Next closest and the most convenient one would be Las Vegas.
You could take guided bus tours from Page or Vegas but we did a Road Trip from Vegas and I would say it is the best way to cover the place.

Where to Eat?
Page Downtown. Many options in the area like MacD, TacoBell, Subway, Starbucks and some local restaurants. My saviour was Subway!

Where to Stay?
Hotels in Page would be a good options but most of them are 2 star places and expensive for the services they provide. I stayed in Red Feather Lodge at Grand Canyon Village South Rim, but there are plenty of options close by.  Courtyard Page or Best Western plus in Page would be the most convenient options to stay in close proximity of Horseshoe Bend, Lake Powell, Glenn Canyon Dam and Antelope Canyon.