Can You Visit Antelope Canyon Without A Tour (2023)?

Disclosure Policy click here.

Antelope Canyon is a special place in the American Southwest. When the sun is shining, shafts of light beam into the canyon, highlighting the towering orange and gold sandstone walls. Thousands of people visit this unique and beautiful canyon each year, wondering can you visit Antelope Canyon without a tour? 

No, you can’t visit Antelope Canyon without a tour, plus you must have an authorized tour guide and permit to visit. As this slot canyon is a sacred place, on protected land that belongs to the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. However there are many fantastic guided tours you can take. Like this highly rated and most popular Upper Canyon tour.

A trip to Antelope Canyon isn’t as easy as driving up to the park’s entrance and hiking off on your own. 

We’ve put together a  guide for the best Antelope Canyon tours,  information and tips, as well as what to bring to make your trip planning easier. Ready? Let’s go!

Top Pick: Upper Antelope Canyon Tour

Our top pick is this Upper Antelope Canyon Tour, as it is accessible to most people, including families, for its easy walk at ground level. Plus this tour consistently gets rave reviews for the knowledgeable guides, picture-taking tips and stunning canyon views.

Can you visit Antelope Canyon without a Tour?

While you can’t hike or visit Antelope Canyon on your own, or without a tour, we’ve highlighted your best options for day trips with tours, as well as local onsite tours that start in the park.

Due to its spiritual significance, it was named the  Navajo Tribal Park in 1997. Navajo guides will take you through their sacred land and give you a history of the area.

Read on for the important info you need to know, and our top picks for tours.

Beam of light shining on Antelope Canyon sandstone walls
Antelope Canyon on a sunny day

BEST ANTELOPE CANYON TOURS

Looking for the best Antelope Canyon Tours? You have come to the right place. 

Whether on a tour from Las Vegas or Page, AZ  or starting right at the park’s entrance, this sacred and beautiful slot canyon is an experience not to miss. 

The best tours here provide a variety of different experiences, for all ages. Including seeing the lesser known X shaped Canyon, climbing ladders to parts rarely seen  or taking an easy walk through the Upper Canyon.

If you are looking for a day trip without having to make the drive yourself, we recommend these popular ones from Las Vegas, Nevada, and both Flagstaff and Sedona.

Your Navajo guide will take you through the canyon, while giving you interesting facts and history on the area, and the formations.

As well as help you get the “perfect” instagram worthy photos. 

No matter what type of experience you are looking for, we have something for you.

🚘 If you are planning on renting a car for Antelope Canyon, car rentals are cheaper, with more choices from Las Vegas, or Flagstaff than in Page, AZ.

Ready to discover more about the best Antelope Canyon Tours what you need to know before your visit? Let’s go!

UPPER ANTELOPE CANYON TOURS

Upper Canyon is the most popular and accessible section of the canyon, as it is at ground level, with less than a 2% incline. 

If you are not super active, or have trouble climbing up and down stairs, then the Upper Antelope Canyon is the best choice for you.

It’s also great for families with little kids who aren’t too keen on longer, steeper walks.

Upper Antelope Canyon Tour

RATING 4 / 5:

Light filtering into upper Antelope canyon.
Upper Antelope canyon with a light beam

Upper Antelope Canyon Tour | ⭐️ RATING: 4 / 5 Stars | LENGTH: 60 – 90 min | HOURS: 7am – 3:25pm

Taking this Upper Canyon Tour is a family friendly opportunity to see the gorgeous beams of light shine down on the sandstone walls.

This is a very popular tour, as it’s at ground level, so suitable for most visitors, and the guides are fantastic.

The Navajo refer to the Upper Canyon as “the place where water runs through rocks.”

There will be plenty of time to take photos of this magical place, and learn about the history of the canyon and the local area.

The amazing views created by nature, the once in a lifetime photos taken inside the canyon and the memories of the entire experience. Our tour guide was exceptional and made our experience more enjoyable – Eric ⭐️ Upper Canyon reviews ⭐️

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Upper Antelope Admission Fee & Permit
Guided Tour of Upper Antelope Canyon
Parking Fees

LOWER ANTELOPE CANYON TOURS

Lower Antelope Canyon is less busy, and more strenuous but lends itself to stellar photographs as there is more variety and light throughout.

You will need to walk up and down multiple steep staircases, and sometimes ladder access (depending on the tour), through the carved sandstone. 

These are the best Lower Antelope Canyon Tours for more adventurous, and active people and families.

Lower Antelope Canyon Tour (60 minutes)

RATING 4.5 / 5:

Blue sky shining through wavy orange rock, Lower Antelope Canyon.
Lower Antelope Canyon light & shadow

Lower Antelope Canyon Tour | ⭐️ RATING: 4.5 / 5 Stars | LENGTH: 60 min | HOURS: Every 30 min 8:45am – 2:45pm

This gem of a Lower Canyon Tour is for adventurous travelers, taking you down ladders to access a part of the canyon most people don’t see. Carved by flash floods from the upper mesa.

Discover the natural beauty of Lower Antelope Canyon with this 90 minute guided walking tour into the depths of the canyon. 

Wear comfortable shoes, as this walk is longer than the upper canyon.

Learn about the areas geology, history, and Navajo Traditional ways.

“We had an absolutely amazing experience at the Antelope Canyon. Such a breathtaking tour and our tour guide was wonderful. It couldn’t have been any better!” – Aaron ⭐️ Lower Canyon reviews ⭐️

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Lower Antelope Admission Fee & Permit
Guided Tour of Lower Antelope Canyon

 Ken’s Tours Lower Antelope Canyon (45 to 60 minutes)

RATING: 4.5 / 5:

Lower Antelope slot canyon USA, sun shining through.
Lower Antelope Canyon USA

Ken’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tour | ⭐️ RATING: 4.5 / 5 Stars | LENGTH: 45-60 min | HOURS: Every 30 min 7 am – 3:30pm

Booking Ken’s Lower Canyon Tour, is perfect for active families or those wanting a shorter excursion with a small group (10 participants max) to the Lower Canyon. 

Watch the ever changing views of Lower Antelope Canyon as the sun filters light softly across the walls. Creating a stunning display of light, dark and shadows.

The Navajo call the Lower Canyon Hasdeztwazi or “Spiral Rock Arches”

You must be able to climb up and down the steep narrow stairs of the Lower Canyon.

“The canyons are amazing. Our tour guide ensured that we had a memorable tour. He was very knowledgeable about the canyons, region and also how and where to take some amazing photos.” – Deepak ⭐️ Ken’s Lower Canyon reviews

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Lower Antelope Admission Fee & Permit
Guided Tour of Lower Antelope Canyon

CANYON X TOURS

Antelope Canyon X is the least well known section of the slot canyon. It’s  known for its ‘X’ shape which was created by millions of years of erosion and strong winds.

Because it’s the least busy option, you don’t usually have to reserve your spot as early. Great for last minute bookings, or if all other tours are booked out. 

Antelope Canyon X Admission Ticket

RATING: 4.5 / 5:

Sandstone in light and shadow Canyon X, USA
Antelope Canyon X, Arizona USA

Antelope Canyon X Tour | ⭐️ RATING: 4.5 / 5 Stars | LENGTH: 90 min | HOURS: Every 40 min 8am – 2:30pm

Going on this Antelope Canyon X tour is just the thing if you are looking for a hidden gem, prefer fewer people on your tour, while also  still getting to see the beautiful sandstone formations.

Take photographs of the beautiful sculpted red, pink  and orange sandstone walls through two sections of the canyon. People love the knowledgeable Navajo Guides who share stories of their culture and history of the area. 

Note: Does not include the $8 Permit Fee / per person. Bring cash to pay at entrance

Our tour guide was the best! He took amazing photos of us, did a cool demonstration of how the canyon was formed. We never felt rushed. He was informative and super personable. Many many thanks! – Cathy ⭐️ Antelope Canyon X reviews

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Antelope Canyon X Admission Fee
Guided Tour of Antelope Canyon X

DAY TRIPS TO ANTELOPE CANYON

Day trips to Antelope Canyon leave from Las Vegas, Sedona & Flagstaff, AZ. They usually include a trip to Horseshoe Bend, as well your choice of Antelope Canyon Tours.

It’s a great way to check items off your bucket list, if your family only has a short time in the area. 

Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour from Las Vegas (with lunch)

RATING: 4.5 / 5:

Light beam in Antelope Canyon Arizona
Famous Antelope slot canyon light beam

Day Tour from Las Vegas | ⭐️ RATING: 4.5 / 5 Stars | LENGTH: 13 Hours (approx) | LEAVES: 6am Las Vegas Hotels

This highly rated Day Tour from Las Vegas is a grand opportunity to see two iconic, stunning natural landmarks in one day, Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend.  

You can sit back, relax and just enjoy the scenery with a safe, experienced and knowledgeable driver and guides. 

Along the way, enjoy views of  Lake Powell, Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, Virgin River Gorge, Glen Canyon Dam Overlook, and Kanab, UT.

Follow your Navajo guide through your chosen slot canyon tour made upon booking; Upper, Lower or Canyon X.

Enjoy an easy 1.5 mile round trip hike in Glen Canyon’s Horseshoe Bend. Plus fantastic views of the Colorado River. 

“This trip was well worth the early wake up and almost 5 hour bus ride. Horseshoe Bend was more impressive than I thought it would be and an easy walk to the viewing point. Antelope X was absolutely amazing. Our tour guide was great in helping us get some really cool pics today and we had plenty of time to explore.” – Christy ⭐️ Las Vegas Day Tour reviews ⭐️

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Round trip transport from Las Vegas (select hotels), lunch, snack, bottled water
Admission fees & guide to the Antelope Canyon of your choice (Upper, Lower or Canyon X)
Horseshoe Bend Admission & self-guided tour

Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour from Sedona

RATING 5/5:

Horsehoe Bend and Colorado River on a sunny day.
Antelope & Horsehoe Bend Day Trip

Day Tour from Sedona | ⭐️ RATING: 5 / 5 Stars | LENGTH: 12 Hours (approx) | LEAVES: 6:30 am Sedona, AZ

Taking this small group tour (max 12 people) from Sedona, allows you to experience gorgeous red rock views of Oak Creek Canyon & the Painted Desert along on your way. Until you reach your first stop at Upper Antelope Canyon (90 minutes). 

Opportunity to hike the 1.5 mile round trip trail at  Horseshoe Bend. Watch the mighty Colorado River wind its way through the rocky canyon below.

Finish off your day at the Cameron Trading Post to grab some Zuni, Hopi, and Navajo artisan crafts and souvenirs, ending with a great photo op at the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook.

“This was a beautiful day-long tour that was well worth every minute of the trip! Our tour guide gave us a wonderful experience throughout the day. Each stop of the tour provided incredible views and scenery and the Antelope Canyon is something you can’t miss.” – Lisa ⭐️ Sedona Day Tour reviews ⭐️

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Round trip transport from Sedona (select hotels), lunch, bottled water
Admission fees & guide to the Upper Antelope Canyon
Horseshoe Bend Admission & self-guided tour
Stop at Cameron Trading Post & Glen Canyon Dam Overlook

Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour from Flagstaff

RATING 5/5:

Antelope Canyon stairs and sun beam shining in.
Antelope Canyon Stairs and Sun Beam

Day Tour from Flagstaff | ⭐️ RATING: 5 / 5 Stars | LENGTH: 9 Hours (approx) | LEAVES: 8am Flagstaff, AZ

After booking this Day Tour from Flagstaff, be prepared for breathtaking views, iconic desert scenery, knowledgeable guides, and just the right amount of time at each site. 

Start your day off by traveling the highway through the Navajo Nation, and quintessential red rocks of Glen Canyon.  Before arriving at Horseshoe Bend, your first stop of the day.

See dramatic Horseshoe Bend, the part of the Colorado River which snakes, bends and twists after a short hike. Take a photo of the horseshoe shaped loop, loved by many visitors from around the globe.

Finish off the tour at Antelope Canyon to see the stunning sculpted sandstone.

“Our guide was awesome and very knowledgeable. We had a small group and she kept us on schedule. At Antelope Canyon our Navajo guide was also a wealth of knowledge with a great laugh. Recommended for anyone 10/10.” ⭐️ Flagstaff Day Tour reviews ⭐️

WHAT’S INCLUDED IN THIS TOUR

Round trip transport from Flagstaff, lunch, bottled water
Picnic lunch at Glen Canyon Dam, soda, bottled water
All taxes, fees, handling charges & professional guides
Visit Horseshoe Bend, Glen Canyon Dam Overlook, Antelope Canyon

TIPS FOR VISITING ANTELOPE CANYON

Antelope Canyon Information

While Antelope Canyon is one slot canyon, there are three different sections of the Canyons to visit; Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon and Canyon X

Peak times to visit are March through October to see the famous light beams streaming down the curved, eroded walls of the canyon. You will need to book well ahead during this popular and busy time. 

November to February is off season, and a quieter experience. With the exception of Thanksgiving and around Christmas and New Years. 

  • Tours operate year round, 7 days a week. So there are plenty of opportunities to visit any time of year. BOOK WELL IN ADVANCE!

Upper Canyon tours tend to be the most expensive and the most popular. These tickets sell out more quickly so book ahead to avoid disappointment.

The closest town to the famous and beautiful slot canyon is Page, AZ, but you can also grab grab day tours from Las Vegas, Sedona and Flagstaff.

For the day of your tour, be prepared for the four-wheel-drive excursion through a sandy riverbed to get to the canyon.

🚘 If you are planning on renting a car to visit Antelope Canyon, car rentals are cheaper, with more choices from Las Vegas, or Flagstaff than in Page, AZ.

Slot Canyon Tips

  • Around midday is btween 11am -1:30 is the prime time, so book your tour well ahead, as this time slot sells out quickly. 

  • Most tours last 1 hour to 90 minutes in the Canyon, plus time driving to and from the park’s entrance.
  • Check In Time is 30 Mins Prior and tours run on ARIZONA TIME

  • You need a Navajo permit which is $8 per person. It’s often included in the tour fee, but double check. If not you’ll need to bring cash for this.

  • Bring cash to tip your tour guide

  • Tours cost from $100 to $250+ per adult (often less for children & youth) depending on length of time, where you are starting from and where you book online. 
  • Monsoon Season lasts from June to September, and the canyon may be closed due to risk of flash flood if there are heavy rains.

Do’s & Don’ts of visiting Antelope Canyon

Remember this is a sacred place for the Navajo, so please be respectful on your tour.

  • You need a permit and a guide. The permit fee is usually included in your guide fee, but double check.
  • You can’t bring backpacks, large bags, purses or fanny packs into the Canyon.
  • If using a baby carrier, it must be a front carrier
  • No tripods, selfie sticks or large cameras allowed.
  • You can’t take videos
  • Eat snacks before you go! No food and drinks allowed, but you can bring a small water bottle. 
  • There are no trash cans or bathrooms in the canyon itself, only at the park entrance.

What to Bring

Arizona is a sunny place. It’s a good idea to bring a hat and apply sunscreen, even in winter. 

A good pair of closed toe, sturdy hiking shoes or boots is also recommended, as you will be doing a lot of walking over uneven surfaces.

Blowing sand is also common, so bring a bandana to cover your nose, consider wearing glasses instead of contacts, and cover up your camera lens between photo takes.

Antelope Canyon Weather

Antelope Canyon weather varies throughout the year and season.

Winter: Snow is rare but possible during the winter months. Expect freezing temps overnight to  highs in the 40’s. December and January are the coldest months.

Monsoon season:  Runs from June to September increasing the chances of a flash flood. Be sure to check weather, and for tour cancellations if there’s been heavy rains. 

Summer: Hottest months are July and August. Average with average temperatures reaching above 90°F.

FAQs

What is the best time to visit Antelope Canyon?

The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is spring and summer from June to August. As the sun is high in the sky, and the light beams are visible, filtering down through the slot canyons. You can see the light beams from March to September. To avoid the crowds, visit in Oct / Nov or the off season.

How to get to Antelope Canyon?

Antelope Canyon is located a 10 minute drive east of Page, AZ on  Lake Powell Navajo Tribal Park land. The park’s entrance is located off Highway 98, about 2 miles from Page, AZ if driving. You can also take a guided tour from Las Vegas, Sedona, and Flagstaff.

Can you hike Antelope Canyon without a Guide?

No you can’t hike Antelope Canyon without a guide. The slot canyon is protected by the Navajo Nation and their Navajo Parks and Recreation. A permitted guide must stay with visitors at all times, and visitors cannot go off on their own, or be left at the Canyon alone. There are many wonderful day trips and tours you can take.

Can you walk through Antelope Canyon without a tour?

In summary, you can’t walk through Antelope Canyon without a tour, as this is a special place for the Navajo and to help reduce damage to this protected area. There are many fun walking tours you can take to the three different areas of the slot canyon; Upper & Lower Antelope Canyon and Canyon X.

Our top pick is this highly rated and most popular Upper Canyon tour. As it’s an easy walk, accessible for most people, and gets great reviews for their knowledgeable guides, photo tips and gorgeous canyon views.

When choosing your tour consider:

  • Upper Antelope Canyon – easiest, suitable for most people and family friendly for all ages. Also the most expensive and busy. Book early.

  • Lower Antelope Canyon – more difficult as you must be able to walk up & down steep stairs, and in some tours, climb ladders.

  • Canyon X – quieter, lesser known and visited gem. More possibility for a last minute visit.

I hope this helps you chose the best canyon tour for your Arizona adventures. This special place is not to be missed.

SOUTHWEST USA RESOURCES

Here are our favourite resources we use to research and book our trips. They offer competitive deals, and good customer service. Plus itineraries and more travel ideas for the SOUTHWEST USA:
Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce, Antelope Canyon 7 day road trip
Where to stay near Bryce & Zion
Best places to stay between Bryce & Zion
Tips for Zion with Kids; beat the heat, and crowds
Road trip activities for kids

Booking.com – Book your accomodations here. Excellent all round booking site for lowest lodging rates.
VRBO Book family friendly accommodations here, that have the comforts of home, but without the cleaning!
Viator – Find & book even more experiences, tours & fun lessons world wide.
Discover Cars – Make finding the cheapest or best car for your trip easy (worldwide)
——
Going (formerly Scott’s Cheap Flights) – Save big $$$ on flights
Best places to buy tours & attraction tickets online

Anything else? Check out our Family Travel Resources & Tips page

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!

Scroll to Top