Visiting Antelope Canyon: Is it Really Worth the Hype?

We recently returned from a trip I'm calling the Ultimate Southwest Road Trip™. We hit parks in Nevada, Utah, and Arizona for a pretty memorable spring break with our teenage son. One of our stops was in Page, Arizona where we spent time visiting Horseshoe Bend, Antelope Canyon, and Lake Powell. I had heard glowing reviews about Antelope Canyon but went back and forth trying to decide if it was worth the expensive tour fee and if it really would live up to the hype. We actually were blown away by our visit and wanted to share the experience so you can make the best plan for your upcoming visit. 


Visiting Antelope Canyon: Is it Really Worth the Hype?


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Earlier in our trip, in Kanab, Utah, we rented ATVs and drove to Peek-a-boo Slot Canyon. Many locals will tell you that Peek-a-boo rivals Antelope Canyon but that they {the folks in Arizona} have just done a better job marketing themselves. Knowing we already had a slot canyon tour scheduled, I hesitated to make reservations at Antelope Canyon, wondering how different they could be. 

They are different! And if you have time, both are worth exploring. But if you only have time for one...sign up for Antelope Canyon for sure!

The Difference Between Peek-a-Boo Slot Canyon and Antelope Canyon

difference between peek a boo and antelope slot canyon

So the first big difference is that they are in different states! Peek-a-Boo slot Canyon is in Kanab, Utah, and Antelope Canyon is in Page, Arizona. They are about an hour and 15-minute drive from one another, so it is possible to squeeze in both on a visit if you are in the area.


Peek-a-Boo Canyon (left), Lower Antelope Canyon (right)

Antelope Canyon requires a Navajo guide to enter. Antelope Canyon is on Navajo Nation land {not National Park land} and requires an additional $8 fee per person for admission. This fee doesn't have to be paid twice if you are visiting both upper and lower canyons if you do both tours in the same day.

Many people feel like they are being herded like cattle through Antelope Canyon since you are required to be with a guide, I didn't feel that way. We had a small group of 10 with one guide in lower Antelope Canyon {though I hear that ratio is a bit different if you go on the upper canyon tour}. At Peek-a-Boo canyon we were able to take our time and wander through though we felt the pull to head back to our awaiting ATVs. 

Read more about taking an ATV tour to the slot canyons here.

climb slot canyon
Peek-a-Boo Canyon

In Peek-a-Boo canyon there are no rules about video recording or climbing the walls {for teens visiting I guess it needs to be said!}. You can set up tripods and bring pets along with you. There are generally fewer rules {as of now}, in Peek-a-Boo Canyon. It's definitely much more laid back.

We were able to access Peek-a-Boo canyon because we had our ATVs, so technically, you kind of need a tour to visit too since access is very limited. I wouldn't advise attempting to drive it or hike in. We saw huge four-wheel-drive trucks stuck and very tired-looking individuals trying to trudge through the fine sand, neither making it very far.

antelope canyon couple
Lower Antelope Canyon

Tours to Antelope Canyon can sell out months in advance, as opposed to tours to Peek-a-Boo canyon which are more flexible. Antelope Canyon is a one-way trip through the slot canyons as opposed to Peek-a-Boo canyon which is an out and back, giving you a different viewpoint from both directions as you walk through. 

While on our tour of Peek-A-Boo Canyon {which happened first on our trip}, a couple who had visited Antelope Canyon brought out their photos when I started asking about the differences. Antelope Canyon has been more intricately carved giving you those amazing shapes and formations that Peek-a-Boo Canyon just doesn't have.

Antelope Canyon stays about the same temperature inside as it does on the outside, meaning it can get hot in the summer months. However, Peek-a-Boo canyon does get cooler, which could make it a welcome treat on a hot day.

Lower Antelope Or Upper Antelope: Choosing the Tour That is Right for You

lower or upper antelope canyon which tour to take

I spent hours trying to decide which canyon to book a tour for. Upper Antelope requires a few minutes drive from their office location in their four-wheel vehicles. From what I hear {since I've not done the tour}, Upper Antelope is wider and shorter. It's about 100 yards in length and mostly flat.

Lower Antelope is often described as being the more adventurous of the two canyon walks, with small ladders, three to four flights of stairs to descend into the canyon, and a few tight spots you have to squeeze through. 

Upper Antelope Canyon has more distinct light beams and is often a more expensive tour than Lower Antelope Canyon. Because the area in the Upper canyon is wider, the tour groups are often larger. 

antelope canyon arch

The tour for Lower Antelope Canyon usually lasts around an hour, while the tour for Upper Antelope Canyon is a bit shorter.

Because we were traveling with our teen son, I decided to book the Lower Antelope Canyon tour, since it seemed to be the more adventurous option. I don't regret our decision at all.

If you are claustrophobic or have mobility issues, the Upper Antelope Canyon is probably a better choice.

Consider renting a houseboat on Lake Powell just minutes from Antelope Canyon!

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Some Tips to Make the Most of Your Visit to Lower Antelope Canyon

Try to line yourself up as the first tour group into the canyon. That way, you don't have anyone in front slowing your group down and you can take pictures without other people in them.

Read the e-mail instructions you receive after booking your tour. There are no backpacks, tripods, or selfie sticks to name a few, and the people checking in around me obviously missed that information and had to repack all their belongings and return things to their cars.

There are no restrooms in the canyon, so be prepared.

As soon as you book your airfare or start planning your trip, make a reservation for a tour to Antelope Canyon. They often sell out!

I saw several day trips for Page, including ones for a combination of Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon tours offered from Las Vegas. It's about a four-hour drive, so if you find yourself wanting to visit, make it an overnight stay rather than a day trip, otherwise, you will be spending most of your day driving on a tour bus.


Don't be afraid to hand your camera or phone over to your guide. They will be happy to offer you the best angles and settings so that you get the best photos from your trip.


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