Antelope Slot Canyon: Worth the Visit
The slot canyons of the Southwest are iconic to the beautiful landscape. Antelope Slot Canyon is no exception. Years and years of fast-moving water carved through the sandstone of northern Arizona, creating arguably the most recognizable slot canyon in the world. Its beautiful, sweeping formations are picturesque. In fact, images of Antelope Slot Canyon dominate a quick google search for slot canyons in general. These canyons can be dangerous to explore unguided due to flash floods, so tours offer a safe alternative.
Visitors have described the fearsome beauty of the desert for decades, but it was the indigenous people who settled the area that tamed it. Their history provides a fascinating and heartbreaking reminder of the beauty and tragedy associated with northern Arizona. The Navajo and other groups lived sustainably in the area for centuries. Consequentially, paying respectful visits to museums and reservations while visiting can round out a trip in ways that pleasure-seeking alone cannot.
Famous for layers of beautiful red sandstone, the Vermillion Cliffs to the north of the Grand Canyon and just west of Antelope Slot Canyon provide a beautiful landscape to be appreciated by everyone who visits the area. The southern end of Glen Canyon, including Horseshoe Bend, is much the same. The seemingly windswept layers of red sandstone are breathtaking. They ripple across the backdrop for hikers, golfers, boaters alike to enjoy at any time of the year. The landscape almost seems to be solid stone. Be that as it may, ponderosa pines, pinyon pine, and juniper dot the landscape.
The desert of the Southwest is famous for its massive sandstone structures. Arches, pillars, canyons, and protruding formations can be found in The Valley of Fire in Nevada, Arches National Park, Goblin Valley, and other similar places. Because of this, each location is visited by swarms of people every year, fascinated by the almost unearthly shapes. Understandably, it doesn’t seem possible that they could have formed naturally at first glance. Antelope Slot Canyon is such a formation. All of these structures contribute to the landscapes that are the subjects of award-winning paintings and photos.
The weather and time of year impact the scene as well. Each season is beautiful in its own right: early summer provides a lovely contrast of reds, oranges, and greens; winter can offer a dusting of white snow that the rock layers peek through; spring brings wildflowers and cactus blooms to add color splashes that remind viewers of an abstract painting; autumn displays the beauty of the rock formations unadulterated. Similarly, you find the same rough, desolate artistry in Antelope Slot Canyon. It seems frozen in warm autumn: unchanged.
Branching off the Colorado River, the Antelope Canyon feeds into Lake Powell, which is a popular boating and water recreation area. The Arizona town of Page, at the base of the lake and just to the west of Antelope Slot Canyon, offers conveniently located resorts and hotels. In addition, a municipal airport and three major highways provide access to the town. The page has a beauty of its own.
Conveniently, this quaint little town has its own hospital, authentic food, a museum, a tavern, and a golf course with a gorgeous backdrop. It is this backdrop that persuades Page’s visitors to explore. Consequentially, people also often visit the famous and nearby Horseshoe Bend while on the Antelope Slot Canyon trip. While in Page, you can visit petroglyph sites and cave dwellings, go on scenic hikes, and more.
When I visited the area as a kid, I was more interested in boating than the amazing rock formations around me. I was too preoccupied with winning at “tube wars,” kneeboarding, or wakeboarding to even notice. Also, working on a tan took time, and there were other kids my age to impress. Later in life, I developed a love for landscapes and developed a passion for art, however, I did not have an interest in that either at the time. What did I care about slot canyons?
Later on, I and a few other people made our way up a slot canyon on a guided tour. When I wasn’t goofing off with my friends, I couldn’t help but be slowly changed by what I saw. I can’t say the slot canyon trip was the turning point for my artistic development, but it certainly helped. I’m glad I decided to go.
Dixie’s Lower Canyon Tours
Dixie’s Lower Antelope Canyon Tours offers the safest and most rewarding tours of Antelope Slot Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Hikes along the floor of the narrow canyon feel almost ethereal. Midday sunbeams that find their way to the bottom almost appear to be heavenly communication. Similarly, the glow radiating from around corners as you move from narrow to open areas is breathtaking. You can almost feel and hear the ages of water that rushed through. Other sections of the trail seem to have been haphazardly carved away by gigantic fingers working wet clay.
Fortunately, ladders and stairs that lead down into the fissure make the descent possible on foot. These manufactured structures, anchored to the natural features, contrast with nature in a way that accentuates the feeling of entering a hallowed place when you reach the bottom. Similarly, the same contrast causes a feeling of ascending from the sacred and returning to reality at the end of the hike. However, during the quiet walk along the base, you feel detached from urban life in a way that is humbling.
Why care about petty things? The world is so much bigger than you, and yet when you are down there if you pay attention, you might feel a connection to something bigger. The experience can be a breath of fresh air. It can be a break from the regular stress of life. It can be a moment for self-reflection. We all need a break and space to grow sometimes.
Even with so much to do and visit within a ten-mile radius, Antelope Slot Canyon is worth the visit.
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