If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon’s South Rim and find yourself craving a unique experience, head over to the Navajo Nation on your way out and explore the nature-made cathedrals of Antelope Canyon.
Located in northern Arizona, only three hours away (driving) from the Grand Canyon’s Southern Rim, Antelope Canyon is a surreal geological wonder.
Divided into Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, this area is owned and controlled by the Navajo Nation and fees are charged for entering either extreme of the canyon.
Antelope Canyon; The Phenomenon
Antelope Canyon is coveted mostly for photographic opportunities. The attraction itself is an internal fissure within the dry, desert earth barely more than a slit viewed from the outside.
The Upper Antelope Canyon is more accessible than the Lower Antelope Canyon because it is more level and allows more light to filter through, making it an ideal photographic subject.
The Lower Antelope Canyon is more difficult to access; this slot is reserved for physically able visitors. Climbing down into the void reveals an extremely narrow canyon characterized by undulating walls formed by water erosion. The haunting hollows of the canyon create a dance of light and shadows along the walls, producing a surreal landscape.
A mere half a mile in length, this attraction packs an incredible amount of beauty into literally a pocket of earth.
Cathedral canyon is a beautiful slot cave and the Navajo Nation’s main attraction. Visiting this canyon requires the company of a tour guide, however the tour includes a hike that will guide you through all the rock formations of Antelope Canyon, including Cathedral Hall, Thumb Rock, Pucket Rock, and the Four Sisters.
The entrance to Cathedral Canyon is a vertical tunnel which must be climbed down by strategically placing your hands and feet; while it is not arduous, certain physical ability is required.
Cathedral Canyon is composed of a main chamber with walls rising almost 100 feet high (30 m). Considered a sacred space (hence “the cathedral”), the Navajo still believe this slot canyon has spiritual value.
Antelope Canyon Tours
Owned by the Navajo Nation, the main attractions of Antelope Canyon are best enjoyed via expertly guided tours. Certain attractions, like Cathedral Canyon, can only be seen with a tour guide.
The difference between hiring a tour guide or exploring by yourself would be the lack of a traditional flute concert. The tribe also holds a tour that includes stargazing and traditional storytelling around a bonfire.