Antelope Canyon is the most-visited and most-photographed slot canyon in the American Southwest. It is located on Navajo land near Page, Arizona. Antelope Canyon includes two separate, photogenic slot canyon sections, referred to individually as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon or The Corkscrew.
Antelope Canyon is a popular location for photographers and sightseers, and a source of tourism business for the Navajo Nation. It has been accessible by permit only since 1997, when the Navajo Tribe made it a Navajo Tribal Park.
Upper Antelope Canyon is called Tsé bighánílíní, "the place where water runs through rocks" by the Navajo. It is the most frequently visited by tourists, due to two considerations. First, its entrance and entire length are at ground level, requiring no climbing. Second, beams (shafts of direct sunlight radiating down from openings in the top of the canyon) are much more common in Upper than in Lower. Beams occur most often in the summer months, as they require the sun to be high in the sky. Winter colors are a little more muted. Light beams start to peek into the canyon March 15 and disappear October 7 each year.
Lower Antelope Canyon, called Hazdistazí, or "spiral rock arches" by the Navajo, is located a few kilometers away. Prior to the installation of metal stairways, visiting the canyon required climbing along pre-installed ladders in certain areas. Even following the installation of stairways, it is a more difficult hike than Upper Antelope - it is longer, narrower in spots, and even footing is not available in all areas. At the end, the climb out requires several flights of stairs.
Despite these limitations, Lower Antelope Canyon draws a considerable number of photographers, though casual sightseers are much less common there than in Upper.
The lower canyon is in the shape of a "V" and shallower than the Upper Antelope. Lighting is better in the early hours and late afternoon.
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