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How To Choose Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon | Epic Guide

Many people are curious about the difference between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. As both are uniquely stunning, there are a few differences between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. If time and budget isn’t an issue, we highly encourage you to visit both!

One thing you should know is that you can’t just explore the canyon on your own, you are required to sign up for a tour. Both are high in demand and it’s recommended to book your tour online in advance to ensure a spot. But we found it super helpful to research the positives and negatives between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. Here are some tips on how to choose between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. 

Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon Differences:

Antelope Canyon is separated into two different canyons: Lower Antelope Canyon and Upper Antelope Canyon. Which are two different slot sections of the same river wash. They are both created by flash floods and erosion. 

Do note that the tours for each are separate. Lower Antelope Canyon is underground with a v-shape frame. Upper Antelope Canyon is above ground with an a-shape frame. The walls of Upper are taller so it feels more grand, but also consequently darker.  The shorter walls and wider rim of Lower Antelope Canyon allow much more sunlight and warm colors.

Photography Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon:

Light Beaming Through Lower Antelope Canyon

From a photgraphers standpoint, there is one canyon that is better for photography than the other. But whichever one you choose, you will definitely want to have your camera in hand! If you are specifically visiting the canyon for photography, they have a special tour for Upper Antelope Canyon that is 2-2 ½ hours at a higher rate. They no longer have a photography tour for Lower Antelope Canyon. 

There has been proof that Upper Antelope Canyon is better for photography because there are the famous light beams that shine down through the canyon. Although, Jake and I were able to snap some great light shining through the canyon in Lower Antelope Canyon (photographed above). If you don’t have a fancy camera Lower Antelope Canyon can be better for the average photographer since there is more light that comes in from the top and reflects off the canyon walls. 

Lower Antelope Canyon is said to be best photographed in the morning between 10am-12pm and Upper Antelope Canyon is best 10:30am-1pm. The best months to get the “famous” light beam photos are April-September. If you are just an average photographer and that isn’t your main focus, than any tour time where the sun is in the sky should work great for you! It’s honestly hard to take a bad photo in there!

Price Difference Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon:

When choosing between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, you might want to factor in budget. We used Ken’s Tours for Lower Antelope which lets you book your tour online. The tour costs $40 per person or $20 for ages 8-12 & free under the age of 7. There is also an $8 Navajo Park permit fee per car (Cash only). 

There are other tours available that will be roughly around the same price. If you use Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours for Upper Antelope Canyon, which you can also do online, is $60 per person or $30 for ages 0-12 (Navajo Park permit included). Upper Antelope Canyon is now the only one offering professional photography tours which cost $160 and last up to 2 ½ hours.  

Length Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon:

Another thing to consider when when choosing between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon is the length of the tour. Lower Antelope’s tour is about 3 times the length as Upper Antelope Canyon, lasting about an hour. Upper Antelope Canyon is a ½ mile total out and back, and takes roughly an hour to 1 1/2 hours which includes the truck ride there and back.

Accessibility Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon:

Lower Antelope Canyon has a parking lot located right outside of Ken’s Tours. This is where they charge the $8 Navajo Park permit fee (cash only). Then you just have to check in at the building to get on your tour. Tours leave every 30 minutes and about a 5 minute walk to the canyon opening. Upper Antelope Canyon requires you to park at their business in Page, AZ and then they drive you in a 4×4 pickup to the opening of the canyon which takes about 15 minutes.  

Rocky Mountain Sunrise

Difficulty Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon: 

Both canyons are narrow, but Lower Antelope Canyon more so. So when choosing between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, difficulty, a big thing to consider is the difficulty.

Lower Antelope Canyon is narrower at the bottom and wider at the top, whereas Upper antelope Canyon is narrower at the top and wider at the bottom. 

If you have an issue with being claustrophobic then neither of the canyons provide much space and you might want to choose a different activity to do. 

Lower Antelope Canyon has a few 3-25 foot ladders that you will need to climb up and down to get in and out of the canyon. Upper Antelope Canyon is a flat walk that doesn’t have any ladders you will need to climb. Therefore, Lower Antelope Canyon is more physically demanding. If you have any physical limitations, then Upper Antelope Canyon will be the better option.

Crowds Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon: 

Both canyons are very busy, but over the past few years both have gotten much busier. If you go during peak season, expect there to be large crowds and sometimes a longer wait than your tour time. 

Also, Upper Antelope Canyon is an out and back hike so people are always walking both directions, where Lower Antelope Canyon is a loop. Don’t expect to be able to take your time through the canyon.  The tour guide kind of herds the group like sheep. They are not rude, but also encourage everyone to keep moving. 

I heard that Upper guides really only let you take photos on the way out, then make you walk without stops. To get a photo without other people in it, you have to either point your camera up, or wait for the group to move through and rush up to them afterward. I want to make that clear since in all my photos I don’t show any other people. I don’t want to set your expectations like you have the canyon to yourself. 

Luckily, people are generally respectful if you want them to hide around a bend in the canyon to get a photo without people, or a photo of just your friends and family. 

Choosing Between Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon: 

Since Jake and I are budget travelers, one of the reasons we chose Lower Antelope Canyon was because of the price. Both looked beautiful, so we weren’t worried about missing out. 

Lower Antelope Canyon is easier to access because you drive up and its just a short walk to the canyon. With Upper you have to pack in a 4×4 pick up truck to get to the canyon entrance. Although we love photography, $160 was way too steep for the special photography tour. So we decided to go to lower and just gamble on getting good photos (we were very satisfied). Lower Antelope Canyon is also about 3 times the length of Upper Antelope Canyon, so there are more chances for great photos. 

If money isn’t an issue and photography is your main focus, then I would recommend Upper Antelope Canyon. Upper is the more popular choice. If mobility is an issue, I would probably choose Upper as it is a nice easy walk through the canyon and you won’t have to worry about climbing ladders. Maybe we’ll return at some point to see Upper, but were happy with our decision.

There really is no right or wrong choice when choosing between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon as they are both stunning! I hope this article helps you choose which one best suits you!

And if you are in the area, check out our post: Lake Powell Houseboating Trip | A Day In The Life

If you are in the area, don’t forget to check out the

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