(all-new updated guide for 2023)
Antelope Canyon, a slot canyon located in Northern Arizona, is a breathtaking natural wonder known for its stunning, winding passageways and exquisite, warm-hued light beams. If you’ve always dreamed of a unique, intimate, and memorable wedding, an Antelope Canyon elopement might be the perfect choice for you. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the steps to plan your dream elopement in this remarkable location (or how to even just experience it as a tourist!)
Antelope Canyon is located in Page, Arizona and sits on Navajo Nation land. Tourists are ONLY permitted to access it through a tour booked with one of the several licensed tour operators in town. As explained by Antelope Canyon Navajo Tours, “This means that the tribe is in control of who has access to their lands and how they manage it. As such, the only way for visitors to experience the splendor of Antelope Canyon is via a tour led by certified guides from Navajo-owned companies, providing an opportunity for both conservation and education about the canyon’s unique history and cultures.”
Did you know that there’s two parts to Antelope Canyon? Keep reading for information on the differences between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon…
The Upper Canyon is the more ‘iconic’ one that you’ve likely seen images of. It’s a super simple walk through the canyon, less than a mile long! Lower Canyon requires climbing down a few ladders but is equally breathtaking.
The best time to visit the canyons is mid-afternoon for the iconic light shafts you’ve see in images of this spot. Most tour companies consider the 10:30/11:00 time slot to be the prime sunbeam tour. Per Antelope Slot Canyon Tours, “The colors are fairly uniform throughout the canyon and visibility is good. If some of the colors are not as brilliant, be assured that at their worst, they are spectacular. We linger at the sunbeams which pour down like heavenly messages. We will have little chance to be alone in the canyon on this tour, nor will we be able to hear the quiet that some of the other tour-times provide, but this is a visual extravaganza. Sunbeam comes in from April 1 – Sept 30.”
Another prime-time slot is around 1:00pm! Antelope Slot Canyon Tours also said: “The colors are very similar to the late morning tour, but the north end is slowly becoming the brightest, most colorful end. Some of the people are beginning to thin out, which allows you a more personal experience. A marvelous blend of color, shape and majesty will strike you on this tour!”
When I went to Antelope Canyon, I booked the prime time sightseeing Upper Canyon tour with Antelope Slot Canyon Tours at 10:30 AM in the month of August. It was a great experience, despite the insane crowds in the canyon as you’re walking through it. Since there are many tour companies that offer tours in this canyon, there’s often times multiple groups going through the canyon at the same time. With an already tight space to walk through, it can feel crowded pretty quickly.
Tours range from $50-$100 per person for an hour tour, depending on the company, tour time and canyon that you’re visiting. Per the Navajo Nation’s website, here’s the available Antelope Canyon Tour Operators:
The Upper Antelope Canyon tours typically books up months in advance, so definitely plan ahead of you’re wanting to check it out!
The Antelope Canyon tour companies used to offer photography tours, but those photo-specific tours were discontinued by Navajo Nations in 2019 to improve the experience for larger number of people on the general tours. Those discontinued photography tours were only available to those with a professional camera and a tripod. You were put in a group with several other photographers, with the purpose of that tour being to take epic landscape images of the canyon. People often confused that photography tour with one that you could book to take wedding photos in the canyon, when in reality they were only for landscape images. The tour companies now only offer sightseeing tours in Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon.
HOWEVER – don’t lose hope! Contrary to what social media shows you, there’s actually several other slot canyons in the Page area that offer private tours, perfect for your Antelope Canyon elopement (well, not exactly Antelope Canyon. But – there are several other canyons that look VERY similar!)
For these other various slot canyons, they are still located on Navajo Nation and DO still require a booked tour in order to access them (unless you’re willing to go a bit outside of the Page, Arizona area).
In order to take any ‘posed’ type of photos (engagement session, wedding pictures, elopement ceremony, etc), you’ll need to book a fully private tour. These types of tours are not typically listed on tour company websites – it takes calling around to find a tour company that offers private bookings. Additionally, Navajo Nations also requires a $100 (at minimum) commercial permit obtained by the photographer, depending on the tour company. Navajo Nation DOES NOT issue commercial permits for Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon, period. Tour companies might tell you that they offer a private tour for Antelope Canyon, but you will be unable to obtain the required photo permit from Navajo Nations.
If you’re set on the vibes of an Antelope Canyon elopement, here at Uncharted Elopements – we’ve done the research for you and have all the details needed to be able to make that vision of yours become a reality.
Taadidiin Tours, LLC (best option for elopement photography!)
We at Uncharted Elopements are an all-encompassing crew of elopement pros. We’re photographers, videographers, planners and officiants – our Antelope Canyon elopement packages have you covered.
We’re stoked for your to experience the magic of Arizona’s slot canyons, whether it’s as a tourist or for your elopement day.
The UE Team