After spending a night in Grand Canyon, we drove about 2.5 hours west toward Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona. Before this trip, I did not have a proper appreciation for the glorious landscapes that are housed in Southwest, USA. The mountains, canyons, the structures...the natural landscapes only improved the more we drove. If only I knew that was a warm-up for the gorgeous views to come.
Before our visit, we searched for companies to schedule a tour. This is the only way you're able to see the canyon. We found a few tour companies online, but ultimately decided on Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours because their site promised an informative tour that shared the history and geology of the canyon. Perfect.
We booked our tour for five people and received confirmation that we'd be able to pay onsite in cash or with a credit card. The instructions said to arrive an hour early, so we left Las Vegas in enough time to get there an hour before our 10 a.m. tour.
As I drove, looking at the beauty of Mother Nature, one of my friends noticed that her phone changed times and skipped ahead an hour. Apparently, time zones changed in the middle of our trip!
After slightly freaking out about possibly missing our tour, we called Navajo Tours and let them know what happened and that we were on our way. They kindly let us know that while Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings, the Navajo Nation does, so we were still on course for an on-time arrival. Whew!
Once we pulled onto the last road on our GPS, we spotted Navajo Tours' signature blue jeeps. We knew we were in the right place.
Pro-Tip: In order for our entire group to be together, we all had to either pay in cash, or we'd all have to pay on one card. My friend paid with her credit card and we all reimbursed her. Be prepared either way!
There were about 50 other people there waiting for their 10 a.m. tour to start too. To pass the time, we used the bathroom, took pictures and talked to other guests. Once the 10 a.m. hour approached, the tour guide began calling out names for groups of 14 to load into the jeep (Hey, we remember you 'American Dragon' group!) Everyone lined up accordingly and we each went to our corresponding jeeps. We rode about 10 minutes through sand dunes to the entrance of the canyon.
Pro-Tip: No one tells you when signing up for an Antelope Canyon tour that you'd be speed racing in the desert in order to get to the canyon. Sand EVERYWHERE. Be sure to wear a scarf of some kind to cover your hair, eyes and face. And wear clothes that you don't mind getting dusty. You'll leave the canyon with a thin layer of dust over your entire body.
The guided tour consisted of the other people who rode in our jeep. Charles, our tour guide, gave us little anecdotes about the canyon as the tour progressed. I won't spoil them for you here, but it was interesting listening to them. Charles also ensured that our cameras were on the right settings to get the most appealing pictures.
Pro Tip: The 10 a.m. or 11 a.m. tours are best for pictures because of the lighting.
Made of sandstone, Antelope Canyon was formed after water ran through it for hundreds of years and considered a sacred site to the Navajo Nation. The pictures don't do the canyon's beauty and tranquility justice.
There were several other tours being given at the same time, so we had to be mindful of other guests as we toured the canyon. We toured the Upper Canyon, as this is the easier option. The Lower Canyon requires you to climb down metal staircases and is a little more labor intensive.
Overall, the tour lasted about an hour and was well worth the 2.5 hour drive from the Grand Canyon. I've never seen any natural structures like it. It is truly a sacred place. Check out my pictures below. And believe it or not, they're not filtered!
Pro-Tip: After your visit, head to a Mexican restaurant called El Tapatio. I had one of the best margaritas I've had in a long time! And the food was delicious too. Trust me!
Photo Credit: Ashlee Tuck