After we visited the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, we didn’t immediately drive down to the South Rim. We first drove to Page, Arizona, on the shore of Lake Powell. A Lake Powell boat ride booked for the next day, we spent our first morning in the area visiting the Upper Antelope Canyon.
Below, Ed walks to the left of our Navajo guide into the canyon.
The canyons are in Navajo land. The only way to enter them is to book a tour ahead of time with a Navajo tour company. Our group drove about 20 minutes from Page in a large all terrain vehicle. Off the highway we drove on sand roads to reach the canyon.
Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon formed by sandstone erosion. Rainwater runs from the basin above the slot canyon sections, picking up speed and sand as it rushes into the narrow passageways. Over time the passageway has eroded away, deepening the corridors and smoothing hard edges to form characteristic “flowing” shapes (thank you, Wikipedia).
Flash floods still occur, and periodically force the closing of the canyons to visitors. Before the Navajo regulated tourism, there had been time when spelunkers were killed by flash floods inside Antelope Canyon. Twelve people were killed the last time such a calamity occurred, according to our guide.
There are famous Antelope Canyon photographs of sand drifting in the air, hit by shafts of light from above. Those pictures are achieved with patient planning and special equipment. You won’t see images like that here (except the example excerpted to the left). But nonetheless, even in a limited time, walking the approximate 660 feet (200 meters), jostled by many other tourists with their phones out, I believe I was able to take some evocative beauty shots worth your time and eyes.