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Arizona’s Antelope Canyon: Where the “Slots” Always Pay

antelope canyon arizona zuni rv park
With Las Vegas less than two hours from Kingman, travelers to Arizona may think the slots in Sin City are a great reason to visit the area. But savvy visitors know where the “slots” always pay—Arizona’s Antelope Canyon.

Antelope Canyon is a phenomenal natural wonder in the Lake Powell area—a decent day trip from Kingman and a comfortable base camp at the Zuni RV Village and Campground. Antelope Canyon is a “slot canyon,” characterized by narrow gorges and high, steep walls comprised of ruddy, layered sandstone. To experience this masterpiece of nature, a guide is not only suggested, but also required. The physical structure of a slot canyon lends itself to potentially treacherous conditions—steep climbs, flash floods, and limited accessibility.

But the payout comes in the form of some exhilarating hikes and some truly stunning photo opportunities for both amateur and professional photographers alike. One thing is for certain. A guided tour of Antelope Canyon is never a gamble. This “slot” always pays.

Riddle Me This

While Vegas’ Luxor boasts a massive sculpture of the enigmatic Sphinx, it doesn’t take a genius to puzzle out that Mother Nature is the better artist. Antelope Canyon is a mammoth natural sculpture carved out over time by wind and water. Flash floods bore holes in the soft sandstone. Wind carries and deposits loose sand over the area. And the sun bakes everything hard before nature repeats the process over and over through millennia. The staggering result is the colorful layers exposed like a sliced cake as you climb down one of the many ladders to explore the canyon.

Antelope Canyon lies on private Navajo land. To experience this natural wonder, you’ll need to book a tour with one of several authorized tour companies in the area. You can find any of these knowledgeable tour operators on the Navajo Nations Parks website. There are several companies ready to safely guide you through Antelope Canyon and offer insight into the area’s geology and history. In fact, Antelope Canyon draws its name from the roaming herds of pronghorn antelope that historically populated the area.

Up and Down

While a gambler’s luck goes up and down with every roll of the dice, your odds of experiencing Mother Nature’s awesome art show are one hundred percent with a visit to Antelope Canyon. Sometimes called “Corkscrew Canyon,” Antelope Canyon offers visitors two options for adventure—the Upper Canyon Tour and the Lower Canyon Tour. Either option will take your breath away. If your time is limited and you can only visit one, consider your personal preferences to determine which tour is right for you.

Upper Antelope Canyon

By far, many visitors favor the Upper Antelope Canyon tour and with good reason. “The Crack,” as it’s known colloquially, affords many spectacular Insta-worthy moments as golden shafts of light play down through the crevasses and dance along the sandy, rocky canyon floor. Take note, especially if you are trying to visit both sections in one day, these “light beams” only take the stage sometime between 10AM and 1:30PM, depending on the time of year. So, if you want to catch “nature’s spotlights,” plan on an early start in Lower Antelope Canyon.

Lower Antelope Canyon

Just like Tony Bennet in the spotlight at the Venetian, Upper Antelope Canyon might steal the show, but don’t miss out on the swirling majesty of the sandstone art scape of Lower Antelope Canyon. For hikers looking for more of a physical challenge, the lower canyon may have more to offer. Unlike the upper canyon’s relatively gentle grades, the lower canyon reaches more abrupt, deeper depths. Passage often requires navigating a ladder with narrow channels sometimes only allowing one person through at a time.

Getting There

To get to Antelope Canyon from Kingman, take I-40 E toward Flagstaff. Travel for 147 miles and take Exit 201 and get onto US 89 N. From there, you will travel approximately 120 miles where you’ll want to turn right onto AZ 98 E. Drive on for another 4.5 miles to reach Antelope Canyon. The park entrance lies just off Hwy 98 where many of the official tours begin. Be sure to arrive early and know what items are and aren’t allowed in the park.


Do you need a permit to visit Antelope Canyon?

Yes, but the permit costs are usually factored into official tour pricing.

What items are prohibited in Antelope Canyon?

Food and drink, other than water, are not allowed in the canyon. Do not bring selfie sticks or tripods unless you have specifically booked one of the photography tours. Also, leave bags, fanny packs, and purses at home or in your locked vehicle as they are not allowed on the tour.

When is the best time to go to Antelope Canyon?

While it is open year-round, the best photo ops best present themselves between March and October. Keep in mind the crowds will also be making their appearances at that time, so the “perfect shot” may elude you. Crowds and costs are lower in the off-season, which extends from November through February. Plan ahead to avoid intermittent closures during monsoon season, which occurs between June and September.

So, if you want a vacation experience where the odds of a good time are in your favor, you don’t need Lady Luck. Just head to Arizona and the Zuni RV Village and Campground for a comfortable stay and a day trip to Antelope Canyon. With a visit to Arizona’s beautiful slot canyon, the house doesn’t always win…you do.

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