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Slot canyons

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Slot canyons


I did a little research on the internet about all these slot canyons around Page but I´m quite confused about it. Is there anybody who could make it clear to me, please? Sorry for the long post!

From what I know there are Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon, Waterholes Canyon and Canyon X and others.

We travel on budget so we wanted to go for a Waterholes Canyon but I read that this canyon is somehow part of a Secret Canyon now?? (https:/…) Do you reall have to go for a guided tour?? It is also ridiculously expensive...

Upper Antelope Canyon is all sold out and too crowded. No chance here. And Lower Antelope Canyon is too crowded so we dont really want to go there either.

There is also Canyon X, which is great mystery to me too. According to this website: https://www.antelopecanyon-x.com/ it seems OK (we would go for hiking tour). But I dont know how exactly it works. Do you have to book it ahead and then just wait besides the road??? Or do they have any cabin where they sell tickets and provide information? Is Canyon X also as cool as other canyons and not so crowded?

I apologize for having too much questions...

Have a nice day


9 replies to this topic
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Destination Expert
for Grand Canyon National Park
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1. Re: Slot canyons

So, in Page, Antelope and Waterholes are two of the major canyon networks that extend for miles into the backcountry, all on Navajo lands. There are various branches in the network, and geographically, they're named like "the upper arm of the east branch". There are a lot slots back there. Locals and outfitters give them names like "Secret Canyon" or "Canyon X". Upper Antelope was known as the "crack" and Lower as the "corkscrew" until the official Upper and Lower parks were created by the Navajo.

Upper and Lower Antelope are developed "parks" right on a road; you enter a gate, park, pay or check-in, etc. At Upper, there's a short truck ride from the parking lot up Antelope wash to the small slot canyon. Access is easy and, yes, they can get crowded.

The narrows of Waterholes right by the road (to the overhead wires, about 2 miles up) used to be open to visitors for self-touring with just a Navajo Parks permit but they've recently changed regulations to require a guided tour. Some of the other slot tours are also in Waterholes but much further upstream; these were always accessible by tour only.

For the Canyon X tour you mention, there's a parking lot at the mile-post mentioned on 98. You just park your car there to meet the tour that will take you into the backcountry. Yes, book ahead. Pretty sure Canyon X is one of the upper arms of Antelope, while Secret is in Waterholes... but I may be wrong (I think KBot knows this better than I do.)

I think you can be pretty confident that the newer tours, like Canyon X or Secret are going to be less crowded but, of course, you'll probably pay more for that privilege.

Edited: 05 August 2018, 01:17
New York City, New...
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2. Re: Slot canyons

DetTiger did a great job simplifying the different names. We bring our guests to Page every couple of weeks and have done many, but not all of the slot canyons. Both guided and unguided before the slot canyon tourist explosion and after with the strictly guided tours.

I will call your attention to DetTiger's last paragraph - If you are on a strict budget, it will be one of the Antelope Canyons you visit. If you are looking for a less crowded tour or very interested in photography (or photos without other people in them), then it will be something other than Antelope Canyon. No matter which you choose, it is worth the $ and effort to do a tour.

Sedona, AZ
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for Sedona, Arizona, Monument Valley
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3. Re: Slot canyons

Excellent advice above.

My friend Laurent Martres, photographer extraordinaire, reminds us in his latest book, that slot canyon tours around Page are all priced between $45-85. These are typically 60-90 minute tours. In comparison, an annually pass to all of the National Parks and National Monuments in the USA. Costs $80 and is good for a year.

You must decide what is worth the cost.

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4. Re: Slot canyons

DetTiger thank you very much for you amazing answer! It is little bit sad that Waterholes is not accessible by hiking anymore - I would like to expolore the canyon on my own. But thats the way it is. So now I´m just thinking about which tour to take because I´m reading all over the internet that visiting a slot canyon is an amazing experience. So we will probably go for it.

Comparing the price for a slot canyon to the price of annuall NP pass is good point of view RedRox.

North Carolina
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5. Re: Slot canyons


Thanks for sharing your friend Laurent Martres here - looking at his website - tremendous daytime photographer! He is a true artist with the camera!

Edited: 05 August 2018, 22:03
Sound Beach, New...
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6. Re: Slot canyons

We just spent last week in Page (visiting our son ). Wound up doing Canyon X, I didn't want to deal with the crowds at Upper Antelope Canyon (husband wouldn't do Lower). I have nothing to compare to it to, so can't say we missed anything by going there and not Antelope, but it was very good! We all enjoyed it, weren't rushed like a herd of cattle and it was cheaper.

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7. Re: Slot canyons

How long did the canyon x tour take? I am planning ahead for next year. Thank you.

Raleigh, North...
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8. Re: Slot canyons

Page was by far the most expensive destination in our grand loop including GC, Page, Arches, Bryce, Zion. Specifically because of the antelope canyon tours ( we did both upper and lower) as well as the glen canyon half day float trip we did. But i will redo one of the antelope canyons and the float trip again in a hearbeat. Both were fantastic.

I agree with statement above. All national park entries together came by for $85. and then we dropped quite some change at Page.

Evanston, Wyoming
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for Page, Grand Canyon National Park
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9. Re: Slot canyons

@Vojtěch K: you might check out Ligai Si'Anii Tours. They are based out of LeChee, ~20 minutes South of Page, AZ. Their Wind Pebble Canyon tour (1-1.5 hour tour) goes for $50/person, which is comparable to the main branches of Antelope Canyon. Visit www.hikingslotcanyons.com

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