Upper Antelope Canyon
Gently carved and formed by the erosion of Navajo sandstone over the course of countless centuries, Antelope Canyon outside of Page, AZ is one of the most bewildering places on earth. Over time rainwater, particularly during flash flooding, ate away the passageways of the canyon, making the corridors deeper and smoothing the canyon walls in such a way as to form distinctive ‘flowing’ shapes in the rock.
‘Tsé bighánílíní’ – Navajo for “the place where water runs through rocks.”
The canyon includes two separate slot canyon sections known as Upper Antelope Canyon (“The Crack”) and Lower Antelope Canyon (“The Corkscrew”). Upper Antelope Canyon is the most visited of the two because not only is it all ‘ground-level,’ not requiring any climbing, but being relatively short (only about 600′ long), it can be a quick and easy excursion. The shafts of direct sunlight emanate down from openings in the top of the canyon more frequently than in the lower section also drawing people from around the world. Both canyons offer spectacularly vibrant colors when the sun shines overhead, producing deep contrasting textures and layers of sandstone.
It has been accessible by tour only since 1997, when the Navajo Tribe made it a Navajo Tribal Park and is a major source of tourism for the Navajo Nation.