A Secret way to see Antelope Canyon for FREE [video]

Antelope Canyon is a place of magic and wonderment. The narrow walls and winding paths mesmerize the visitor as sunlight flickers through the cracks above and dances on the curvy walls. The smooth sandstone provides a canvas for the light to illuminates the vibrant palette of earth tone colors.

Antelope Canyon in Page Arizona - Photo by Mike Shubic

Antelope Canyon is a treasure of the desert and one of the top attractions in Page, Arizona. Unfortunately, to see this unique place requires a steep admission fee (over $100pp) and a Navajo guide leading dozens through the cramp spaces.

In this post and video I am going to share an alternative and free (well, almost free) way to see Antelope Canyon. In the video below I show you my experience accessing this incredible natural wonder via Lake Powell.

Antelope Canyon is located in Page, Arizona

Page, Arizona is located in the northern part of the state, situated within the Navajo Nation. Antelope Canyon can only be viewed by an authorized tour company. Most tours operate from either the upper or lower parts of the canyon. However, there is another option that many people don’t know about, and that is accessing Antelope canyon via Lake Powell, then hiking up the canyon (until reaching the slot) on your own, which does not require an admission fee. You do however need a boat, kayak, jet ski or paddle board to reach the mouth of the canyon.

If you have your own kayak, paddle board or boat, you can put-in at Antelope Point, which is a boat ramp. Unfortunately, the current lake levels make the ramp inaccessible for boats, however you can walk down a sandy embankment to the lake with a kayak or paddle board. If you don’t own one, you can rent your choice of watercraft at Antelope Marina, which is a bit farther away from the mouth of Antelope Canyon than Antelope Point. Depending on how hard you paddle, you should budget at least an hour paddle each way, plus an hour or two of hiking/exploring. A half day rental is perfect if you are mindful of the time.

After leaving the main channel and entering Antelope Canyon, it becomes quite calm and peaceful with very few boats or paddlers. At least, that was the case when I visited in October of 2022. The summer months from Memorial Day to Labor Day is the peak season. I recommend doing this excursion outside of the peak months, or at least, do this adventure very early in the morning.

If the water level is really high, you can kayak all the way to the slot part of Antelope. If the water levels are low like they currently are in 2022, you’ll only paddle to a sandy open area of the canyon and will have to hike about half a mile where the canyon narrows to a slot. It really is a stunning canyon and it only gets better as it narrows and the walls become smooth and curvy.

I ran across a steep area that would likely be impassible if not for the fact that someone brought in a ladder, which enables you to continue your journey.

Tips on Kayaking and hiking to Antelope Canyon via Lake Powell

  • Bring a Dry Bag – Keep all of your valuables safe in a waterproof bag.
  • Bring Plenty of Water – This is especially true in the summer months.
  • Be Careful not to tip – If you are in the open water and tip your kayak over, it’s very, very difficult to get back in, so if you need to get out, be sure it is near shore, or on a rock. I paddled up to a German couple who fell out of their kayak and could not get back in. If I had not been there to help, I’m not sure what would have happened. They also did not have a dry bag and their backpack went into the lake, soaking everything they had.
  • Food – Be sure to bring some food or snacks as you will be gone for several hours and burning a lot of calories.
  • Shoes – Even though you will be on a lake, in a kayak, be sure to bring shoes with you, the sand during the hiking portion can get very hot. I have seen many people burn the heck out of their feet.
  • Sunscreen – Be sure to keep replying sunscreen, the sun is brutal during the summer months. A hat and bandana are also good things to have with you.

More about on Visiting this Incredible Natural Wonder

Antelope Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon located in the American Southwest, specifically in the Navajo Nation in northeastern Arizona. It is known for its stunning red sandstone walls and unique rock formations, which have been shaped over time by the forces of erosion.

There are several ways to visit Antelope Canyon, including by boat, which is the focus of this post. If you choose to visit the canyon by boat/kayak, many will likely take a guided tour with a professional tour operator, but this is pretty expensive and not necessary. You can rent a kayak for half a day at Antelope Point Marina and it’s only $25 or so. You really don’t need a guide. It’s also much cheaper to see Antelope Canyon by kayak then taking guided tours through the upper and lower parts of the canyon. As I indicated earlier, the cost is over $100pp.

Walking through Antelope from Lake Powell will take you through a wide open canyon, then through winding passages. You will have the opportunity to see the beautiful slot and rock formations up close, often with few people as you’re not on an organized tour. Visiting Antelope Canyon by boat can be a unique and memorable experience, offering the opportunity to see the canyon from a different perspective.

Sun beams shining down into Antelope Canyon

That’s it from Antelope Canyon, if you have any questions, leave a comment below. So, until next time, we’ll see ya on the road…

Mike Shubic

Mike Shubic is a seasoned road trip travel video blogger, traversing the byways of the world looking for those hidden gems of the road. From unique destinations, unexpected discoveries, creative cuisine, intriguing inns to exciting attractions…the road is his page. The experiences are his ink. And every 300 miles, a new chapter begins. Whether you live vicariously or by example, Mike will do the exploring so you can have an adventure.