Antelope Canyon in December: Cold Weather Can’t Take Shine Off This Breathtaking Sight

Fast Facts:

Entrance Fee Tour guides are mandatory to visit Upper & Lower Antelope Canyon. Please check Navajo Nation Parks site for the list of licensed guided tours. We booked Antelope Slop Canyon tours.
Credit Card Accepted Depends on the tour operator
Handicapped Accessible No
Parking Available Yes, at the guided tour operator office.
Changing Room No
Lockers Available No
Food Available No

Recommendations:

  1. Please note that you cannot take your own vehicle to the canyon entrance. Navajo Parks and Recreation department mandates all visitors must be transported by licensed tour operators.
  2. Tour guides are mandatory in both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. That is, you are not allowed to visit Antelope Canyon by your own.
  3. If you’re visiting Antelope Canyon in the month of December, make sure you pack warm clothes. Don’t forget gloves and head band/hat to cover your ears.
  4. You don’t need any special shoes, just the comfortable one. Be advised that sand will get into your shoes.
  5. The canyon is 1/8th of a mile one-way, and therefore, there will be a little walking involved.
  6. The tour of Antelope Canyon is NOT handicapped accessible because of bumpy ‘off-road’ and rocky and sandy terrain.
  7. There are no restrooms, food or water available at the canyon. Therefore, don’t forget to use the bathroom and grab some water before you take off for your tour.
  8. Light beams peek into the canyon from March and October. If you’re visiting canyon in winter, you won’t see the light beams but it’s still magnificent and worth a visit.
  9. If you’re visiting Antelope Canyon in Page, AZ, I’d highly recommend visiting Horseshoe Bend on the outskirts of Page. It’s simply breathtaking and………completely free.

Overview:

Antelope Canyon had always been on my travel bucket list. I remember how mesmerized I was when I had first seen pictures of light beams touching the floor of the Antelope Canyon. It had been on my wish list ever since.  Light beams peek into the canyon between March and October. Since I’d visited Antelope Canyon in December, I couldn’t see the light beam in this trip but it was still magnificent. Antelope Canyon is located around 8 miles east of Page, AZ, which is a beautiful town with many attractions like Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe bend, Lake Powell, etc.

Weather at Antelope Canyon, Page, AZ in December:

When we visited Page, AZ in the month of December, the weather was cold with daily high temperatures in mid 30’s. However, visiting Antelope Canyon in cold weather is like a blessing in disguise because of less crowds and absence of desert heat waves. With careful planning, a trip to Antelope Canyon in December can be a great winter getaway.

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Year-round Weather at Antelope Canyon, AZ:

Not visiting Antelope Canyon in winter? No problem. The chart below will give you an idea about the year-round weather in Page, AZ and the average high and low temperature by each month of the year. Hopefully, this information will help you plan your trip to Antelope Canyon and Lake Powell.

Source: http://www.usclimatedata.com

Temperature wise, Antelope Canyon can be visited any time of the year. March to October is popular time to visit because light beams peek into the canyon during this time. One thing to watch out for sure while visiting Antelope Canyon is rains. There is always a danger around flash floods in Antelope Canyon during rainy season. What makes planning more worse is rain does not have to fall only on or near the Antelope Canyon slots for flash floods. Rain falling several miles away ‘upstream’ of the Antelope Canyon can still whip through the canyons. This is one of the biggest reason why Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon can be visited exclusively through guided tours.

Upper Antelope Canyon vs Lower Antelope Canyon:

We had visited Upper Antelope Canyon, and the following factors had helped us reach this decision:

  • Upper Antelope Canyon is more touristy as compared to Lower Antelope Canyon. That is, more tourists visit Upper Antelope as compared to Lower Antelope.
  • Upper Antelope doesn’t involve any climbing. However, this is not the case with Lower Antelope. Lower Antelope involve moderate climbing of stairs and ladders.
  • Though Lower Antelope gets light beams as well, professional photographers prefer shooting light beams at Upper Antelope.
  • Upper Antelope is wider as compared to Lower Antelope.

As it is clear from above factors, Upper Antelope is more popular than Lower Antelope because of accessibility, more tours, light beams and width.

Getting to Page, AZ:

If you are in Las Vegas, Grand Canyon or nearby, the best way to visit Page, AZ is by car. Page is located around 130 miles north-east of Grand Canyon Village (2 hours) and around 275 miles (4 hours) east of Las Vegas. However, if you are in some other part of country/world and want to visit Antelope Canyon, flying is the best bet. City of Page, AZ has Page Municipal Airport which is a commercial service airport with daily flights to Denver and Phoenix.

Our time at the Antelope Canyon:

After carefully going through the list of licensed guided tours on Navajo Nation Parks website, we decided to choose Antelope Slot Canyon tours for our excursion because of great reviews on their TripAdvisor page. We made the booking in advance on their website, and the cost came out to be around $58 per person which included Navajo Permit fee of $8. While comparing Antelope Slot Canyon tours with other tour companies, the other tours looked a little cheaper because they didn’t include the $8 Navajo Permit fee as they collect it in cash on the day of the tour. Make sure you account for this permit fee while comparing different tours.

We had booked 1:00 PM tour. The tour company asked us to report by 12:30 PM at their office located at 55 S. Lake Powell Blvd. Page, AZ. There was enough parking available at their location. The office itself was more of a souvenir shop with ample space to house 20-25 people. Since it was cold outside, we spent our time waiting inside the shop and buying some souvenirs. The restrooms were nice and clean. At 12:30 PM, we were asked to board their pick up trucks. Though the trucks were not air conditioned, it was nice that they were mostly packed which, for the most part, saved us from the cold.

The first 10 minutes of the ride in the pick up truck was very pleasant. Then, we went “off road” and the ride became very bumpy. After around 20 minutes ride, we arrived at the Antelope Canyon entrance.

Sandy and bumpy ‘off road’ to Antelope Canyon

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The first sight of the Antelope Canyon was simply breathtaking, and I just couldn’t wait to go inside.

 

Magnificent first sight of the Antelope Canyon

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Before going in, our awesome tour guide Marla asked us to change our camera/iPhone settings so that photos turn out to be good. It was really nice of her to do that otherwise the default settings of the camera would have picked up nothing inside because of low light.

Entering the canyon..

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From the moment we stepped into the canyon, we were simply awestruck by breathtaking views

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One of the biggest advantage of visiting Antelope Canyon in December was less crowds

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Don’t judge beauty of Antelope Canyon by my photographs. I consider myself an amateur photographer. A professional photographer would have done more justice to this fascinating sight.

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Spot the face..

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Us at the canyon 🙂

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Where did we stay in Page, AZ

We were visiting Page, AZ during our trip to Vegas. This is how we’d planned our week long trip: Fly into Vegas, a few nights in Vegas, drive to Grand Canyon, a night at Grand Canyon village, drive to Page, AZ, a night in Page, AZ, drive back to Vegas, spend another night and fly out. That is, we were looking for someplace to spend just one night in Page, AZ. We opted for Best Western Plus At Lake Powell, Page because we got a great rate for this hotel at Booking.com and the hotel had good reviews on TripAdvisor. We’d paid $58.18 including taxes for a double room. Pretty good bargain, right? Well, I am not done yet! $58.18 including breakfast. How about it now? The room was clean and the breakfast was sumptuous. Overall, we enjoyed out stay at Best Western Plus At Lake Powell, Page and I would highly recommend it.

Please note that we’d visited Antelope Canyon in December which is considered to be off/shoulder season. May be, that’s why we scored such a great deal for this hotel. The prices may vary based on your dates of travel.

Verdict:

Antelope Canyon is a must visit for its breathtaking sights. I would highly recommend booking your tour with Antelope Slop Canyon tours for their great service and awesome tour guides.

About the Author

devesh.s.sharma@gmail.com

20 Comments

Mimi

Thanks so much for this post! My friends and I were planning to visit in January and I was getting a little discouraged regarding the light beams. But your pictures look great!

Reply
The Traveling Engineer

Even I’d doubts before visiting Antelope Canyon in December. It was definitely a little cold, but Antelope Canyon was still breathtakingly beautiful. If you find my pictures great, you will love the canyon even more. My pics don’t do any justice to the beauty of this sight. 🙂

Happy travels!

Reply
Susan

Thank you so much for the post. I am planning a trip for two families and we were wondering if December is a good time to see Antelope Canyon. This post answered almost all my questions and now we are all looking forward to the trip.

How about horse shoe bay? I heard it is very close to the AC….

Reply
Susan

I am sorry – I should have written Lake Powell… Do they run the boat in December? How long shall I plan for Lake Powell?

Reply
The Traveling Engineer

I am sorry, but I don’t know much about boat tours at Lake Powell. We couldn’t fit a boat tour in our itinerary because of time constraints. I have heard good things about it and I think you should visit there if you’re in the area. 🙂

Sundar

Devesh
I will be visiting LV & AZ this December, I have dittoed you. It will be nice if I could call you.

Reply
Ronald

Wow fabulous posts. Thanks for the detailed explanations which have convinced me to arrange a visit in February.

Reply
LIPSA

Wow! Really helpful and informative post!
Like you, this place has been on my bucket list as well, since the time I saw the pictures.
My friend and I (two girls) plan to visit in Jan 15th, 2017 (Sunday). We are going to spend the night before in Grand Canyon (14th) and do the 2-3 hrs drive to Lower Antelope Canyon the next day morning to reach there by 10am, spend an hour in the canyon and head back to Vegas (5 hr drive approx) the same day to reach before it gets dark. I had called one of the the tour companies (don’t remember which one), and they say advance booking is not required and we can just walk in from the parking lot to book our tickets and winters won’t see high crowds. However, I have a couple of other questions and it will be really helpful if you could help me with this:
1. Any idea about the chances of Antelope Canyon being closed in January due to snow? I have read that many people have successfully visited this place in Jan. Do you have any inputs on this?
2. I read there is some time zone difference between Navajo Lands and other parts of Nevada. Is that true?
3. Is it safe for two girls to drive alone?

Sorry for such a long comment. Thanks.

Reply
The Traveling Engineer

Lipsa, I am glad this post helped you with the questions you’d about visiting Antelope Canyon. Though I’ve also heard about booking tickets from parking lot at the last moment, I’d recommend booking a tour company and tour in advance. This way you’ll have an exact idea about the place you need to go and time by which you need to be there since your schedule look pretty tight to me. As for other questions, please see my responses below:

1. Since it doesn’t usually snow a lot in Page, AZ, I don’t think there are high chances of canyon being closed in January. But, you can’t really predict weather. Chances are low though.
2. Yes, there is a time difference between Las Vegas, Nevada and Page, AZ. Arizona state is 1 hour ahead of Nevada. You’ll have to account for this difference while going to AZ and while going back to NV.
3. Yes, it is safe for girls to drive alone anywhere in USA. I would recommend avoiding roads less traveled and staying at remote places.

Feel free to reach out if you’ve any additional questions! Happy travels!

Reply
LIPSA

Just one more question, does GPS nav work to this place? It’s is our first time to this area, so being extra-cautious 🙂

Reply
The Traveling Engineer

3G/4G phone signals are great in and around Page, AZ. However, you’ll lose signal whole driving between Las Vegas and Page. I would recommend downloading directions on your phone and running it offline or using a GPS navigation system for car.

Reply

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