The Page, Arizona Slot Canyons

Introduction

While Lower Antelope Canyon and Upper Antelope Canyon are the best known and most dazzling of the Page slot canyons, there are many others. These may not be as spectacular as the Antelope Canyons but they are unique and have far fewer visitors. They generally have fewer restrictions on photography, on the amount of time you can spend in them, and in some cases do not require a guide. Almost all of the Page slot canyons are east of the Colorado River and are made of Navajo sandstone, a few (Stateline and Wiregrass) are west of the Colorado and are composed of Entrada sandstone. Entrada lacks the fine structure and detail of Navajo sandstone.

All of the slots east of Page are tributaries of Antelope Wash or Waterholes Canyon, with the exception of Cathedral. Cathedral drains via Honey Draw and flows into the Colorado just northwest of the Page McDonald's. The western slots drain into either Wahweap Creek or the north shore of Lake Powell. Further from Page are the main and east forks of Upper Kaibeto Creek, these slots are closed to all visitors and are not covered in this article. They flow into Lake Powell via Face Canyon.

Photographing Slot Canyons

Slot Canyons are among the most difficult to photograph subjects in the southwest. They are narrow and crowded which makes tripod setup difficult. Slot canyons are dark, you'll have trouble focusing and seeing your camera settings. If you're on a tour you'll feel rushed, and dynamic range is high so exposure bracketing is often needed. Here are some suggestions to make your life in a slot easier:

Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons

Both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon are incredibly popular and will be crowded, but a one-time visit is worthwhile. To get to either canyon from Page take 89 local (Lake Powell Boulevard) to Coppermine Road, follow Coppermine Road to Highway 98 and make a left. Take 98 about 2.5 miles to the sign for Upper Antelope Canyon on the right. To get to Lower Antelope make a left on 222 just beyond the entrance for Upper Antelope Canyon. Both require the full time presence of a guide while touring them.

As of late 2017 there are three companies leading guided tours to Upper Antelope: Antelope Slot Canyon Tours, Antelope Canyon Tours, and Adventurous Antelope Canyon Photo Tours. All three offer both scenic and photo tours of the canyon. Scenic tours last 90 minutes, no tripods or bags are allowed in the canyon, monopods may be okay. Photo tours last two hours, tripods are required to participate. Upper Antelope has very high walls and is one of the darker slot canyons. A tripod is required to get good quality pictures, so you should book the photographers tour if your primary interest is coming back with a good photograph. Scenic tour rates for the three companies are similar, as of 2017 scenic tours cost approximately $58 during prime time (roughly tours starting between 10:30 and 1:30) and $48 other times. Rates for photo tours vary considerably by company, check them via the links above. Upper Antelope Canyon is only 100 yards long and generally gets better color than Lower Antelope.

There are two companies offering scenic tours of Lower Antelope Canyon: Dixie Ellis Lower Antelope Canyon Tours, and Ken's Tours. Both companies forbid the use of tripods. Rates for scenic tours are currently the same for both companies. During the winter months (November 1 through February 28) Ken's offers a two hour photo tour, this is not offered during the rest of the year.

If you visit Upper Antelope Canyon you should go during the morning as this is when the ray of light enters the canyon. I have been to Lower Canyon in both the morning and afternoon and didn't see much difference in conditions, although I have heard that morning is better. Lower Antelope also gets rays of light during part of the year. In Upper Antelope the best light is often near the top so you'll be working with a normal or short telephoto. Occasionally you will want to go wider than 24mm.

Lower Antelope is about 1/4 mile long and ends abruptly with a 100 foot drop off. The canyon continues on to Lake Powell but never slots up again after the drop. In Lower Antelope Canyon there are some ladders to climb so bring a light pack if allowed. When you get to the drop off in Lower Antelope you can either exit the canyon by climbing up a ladder and then rim walk back to your car, or you can backtrack up the canyon. Both canyons are closed after heavy rains or when rain is threatening.

Lower Antelope Canyon is covered by the Page topographic map and Upper Antelope by the Lechee Rock topo map.

Other Antelope Drainage Slots

Many other slot canyons feed the antelope drainage. Here is a partial list.

Other Drainages

Waterholes and Secret Canyons - Waterholes Canyon is the only slot canyon on Navajo land which can be explored without a guide. A $12 permit from Navajo Parks and Recreation is needed. Secret Canyon is in the upper part of Waterholes, and a guide is required. Information about Waterholes and Secret Canyons can be found here and images here.

Cathedral Canyon - is unique in that it is the only Page area slot east of the Colorado River which does not empty into Antelope Wash or Waterholes Canyon. Drainage is via Honey Draw which passes under Highway 89 between McDonald's and Burger King. Three hour tours cost $100 and are offered by Antelope Slot Canyon Tours. Cathedral Canyon is covered by the White Dome topo map.

Stateline Canyon - This canyon crosses the Utah Arizona border just east of Greenehaven, hence the name. Unlike all of the other Page slots the land is not part of the Navajo Nation so no guides, permits, or fees are required. Stateline trail begins 500 feet west to the turnoff for Studhorse Point. Park at the turnoff. The trail is about two miles long and has several dropoffs which require serious rappelling, fortunately they can be bypassed via the right rim. More details about the hike can be found at RoadTripRyan. Stateline Canyon is covered by the Ferry Swale and Lone Rock Topo maps.

Google Map of the area

The google map below shows the locations of all of the slots canyons in the Page area except for Cardiac, Ligai Si' Anii, and Wind Pebble Canyons. I do not know the exact locations of these canyons.

To view the map larger please click on the box in the upper right corner of the map.

USGS 24K Topographic Maps

The fifteen topo maps cover all of the Antelope, Waterholes, and Kaibeto Creek Drainages. These maps together with a merged map can be downloaded in a variety of formats by clicking or right clicking below:

Page Slot Canyons Index Map

Geo Tiff/Avenza KMZ Oruxmaps KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Cedar Tree Bench KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Dead Monkey Ridge KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Explosive Rock KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Face Canyon KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Ferry Swale KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Horsethief Mesa KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Lechee Rock KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Lees Ferry KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Many Ghosts Hill KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Page KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Tse Esgizli KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
West Canyon Creek KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
White Dome KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
White Hill KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Wild Horse Mesa KMZ Oruxmap KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared
Merge of all fifteen maps NA NA KMZ Decollared Oruxmap Decollared Avenza Decollared

 


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Canyon X sand fall

Sand Fall in Canyon X

Lower Antelope Canyon

Lower Antelope Canyon

Upper Antelope Canyon color

Upper Antelope Canyon

Eye of the Eagle beam of light in Lower Antelope Canyon

Eye of the Eagle Light Beam

Rattlesnake Canyon Arch

Rattlesnake Canyon Arch

Waterholes Canyon

Waterholes Canyon

Secret Canyon near Page, Arizona

Secret Canyon

Canyon X near Page, Arizona

Canyon X

Rams Head Canyon slot

Rams Head Canyon

Mountain Sheep Canyon near Page, Arizona

Mountain Sheep Canyon

Great Horned Owl in Owl Canyon

Great Horned Owl

Rattlesnake Canyon sandstone

Rattlesnake Canyon Faux Arch