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Visiting Antelope Canyon in December Winter Weather

weather in antelope canyon

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

Fast Facts:

What’s UpThe Deal
Entrance Fee & Tour GuidesSo, you’ve gotta have a guide with you, and there’s an $8 entry fee per person. Tour guides are mandatory to visit Upper & Lower Antelope Canyon. Please check the Navajo Nation Parks site for the list of licensed guided tours. We booked Antelope Slot Canyon tours.
Credit Card AcceptedIt’s a toss-up. Some places will let you pay with plastic, others want cash. Give a quick shout to your tour company ahead of time to know what’s up.
Handicapped AccessibleThe terrain’s not built for wheelchairs, which is tough. If you’ve got accessibility needs, it’s a good call to chat with the tour folks to see what’s doable.
ParkingNo worries about parking. The tour companies have got you covered for a spot to leave your wheels.
Changing Room/Lockers/FoodWe’re going old school here—no changing rooms or lockers, and no food spots. Pack some munchies and maybe a change of clothes in your car.
How to Get ThereAlright, getting there is part of the adventure. Most folks drive in, using GPS to get to the tour operator’s office. If you’re not up for a road trip, there are shuttles from nearby cities, and some tour packages even include transport. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but that’s all part of the fun, right?

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 Canyons. That is, you are not allowed to visit Antelope Canyon on 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 a headband or hat to cover your ears.
  4. You don’t need any special shoes, just comfortable ones. 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 to October. If you’re visiting the 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. Sorry, it is no longer free.

Best Tours to Antelope Canyon

Overview:

Antelope Canyon had always been on my travel bucket list. I remember how mesmerized I was when I first seen pictures of light beams touching the floor of the Antelope Canyon. It has 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, 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, Arizona in December:

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

Year-round Weather at Antelope Canyon, Arizona:

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 for 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 at any time of the year. March to October is a popular time to visit because light beams peek into the canyon during this time. 

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One thing to watch out for while visiting Antelope Canyon is rain. There is always danger around flash floods in Antelope Canyon during the 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 ‘upstream’ of the Antelope Canyon can still whip through the canyons. This is one of the biggest reasons why Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons 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 involves 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 the above factors, Upper Antelope is more popular than Lower Antelope because of accessibility, more tours, light beams, and width.

Lights Beams in December:

Disappointment Alert! If you’re visiting Antelope Canyon in December, you will not be able to find light beams in the canyon. Lights peek into the canyon from mid-March to early October. The summer months (June, July, and August) are the best months to see the light beams. During these months, the best time of the day to witness light beams is around noon, plus minus an hour (11 a.m.–1:00 p.m.).

Though you won’t be able to see the light beams in winter months (November, December, January, and February), it is still magnificent and definitely worth a visit.

Getting to Page, Arizona:

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 northeast 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 the country/world and want to visit Antelope Canyon, flying is the best bet.

The 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 the Navajo Nation Parks website, we decided to choose Antelope Slot Canyon Tours for our excursion because of the 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 the 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 in cash on the day of the tour. Make sure you account for this permit fee while comparing different tours.

We had booked a 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 p.m., we were asked to board their pickup trucks. Though the trucks were not air-conditioned, they were mostly packed which saved us from the cold (not completely, but for the most part).

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

Sandy and bumpy ‘off-road’ to Antelope Canyon

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

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

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Entering the canyon

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

One of the biggest advantages of visiting Antelope Canyon in December was fewer crowds

Don’t judge the 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.

Spot the face..

Us at the canyon 🙂

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

Antelope Canyon Through the Seasons: A Tapestry of Time

Embarking on a journey to Antelope Canyon is akin to stepping into a living painting, one that, like a capricious artist, alters its palette with every season. Each period of the year drapes this natural masterpiece in different hues, moods, and atmospheres. Here, we unravel this tapestry, thread by thread, to reveal what each season holds for the intrepid traveler.

Spring: The Canyon Wakes Up

So, spring is like hitting the snooze button on your alarm. The canyon is just waking up from its winter sleep, and everything feels fresh. You’ve got temperatures playing between 60°F and 80°F, which is pretty sweet. It’s like nature’s inviting you to a VIP event, where the main attraction is those awesome light beams starting to make their grand entrance again.

Now, here’s the deal: people are catching on to this, so you won’t be the only one getting the invite. Visitor numbers start climbing, but it’s not super crowded. For photographers, this is your jam. The lighting is fantastic, and the mild warmth means you’re not sweating over your camera. Oh, and a cool time to visit is around mid-March during the equinoxes — the sun does this unique lighting trick that’s pretty epic.

Summer: Party Time in the Canyon

Summer in the canyon is like the ultimate rave. The sun’s out, and it means business. We’re talking temperatures soaring between 90°F and 100°F, sometimes even higher. But here’s the kicker: those light beams you’ve seen in epic travel photos? They’re in full party mode, and the canyon literally lights up like a festival.

But with great parties come great crowds. It’s peak tourist season, so expect to make some new friends while you’re there, and make sure you book your spot early. Photographers, this is your time for those dramatic, once-in-a-lifetime shots. Just be ready to jostle a bit for the perfect spot. And keep an eye out for the summer solstice around June 21st—the sun puts on quite a show. Heads up, though: Summer storms are a thing, and they can throw a wrench in tour plans.

Fall: The Canyon’s Chilled-Out Phase

Now, as summer waves say goodbye, the canyon starts to chill a bit—literally. Fall swings by like a cool friend who knows the best hangout spots. Temperatures are like a comfort blanket, cozying between 65°F and 85°F. It’s not freezing, but you might want to pack a light jacket just in case.

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Here’s the sweet part: the crowds start thinning out. It’s like having VIP access to the canyon without the VIP crowds. You can hear yourself think, and there’s no rush, so you can soak in the vibes at your own pace.

Photographers, this is still your playground. The light beams aren’t as intense as summer, but they’ve got this soft glow that’s just unreal. It’s like nature’s version of a photo filter. Plus, with fewer folks around, you’ve got more space to work your magic.

And hey, if you’re into the whole Halloween vibe, late fall gets kind of spooky in a cool way. The way the light hits the rocks It can cast some eerie shadows, making for some pretty awesome shots.

Winter: The Canyon’s Secret Retreat

Alright, here’s a secret: winter is like finding that hidden café no one knows about yet. The canyon is quiet, with temperatures dropping down to between 40°F and 60°F. It’s chilly, sure, but in a refreshing ‘morning coffee’ kind of way.

Now, because it’s cooler and the sun’s on vacation, those famous light beams are pretty rare. But here’s where it gets interesting: You get to see a whole different side of the canyon. Without the usual light show, the textures and colors of the rocks themselves take the spotlight. It’s understated, but man, is it beautiful?

Oh, and remember what I said about a secret café? Yeah, visitor traffic is way down. It’s like you’ve got this world to yourself. Photographers should think of this as an exclusive backstage pass. You can capture the raw beauty of the canyon without a bunch of strangers photobombing your shots.

So, there you have it! Antelope Canyon isn’t just a one-season wonder; it’s got moods and vibes that change throughout the year. Whatever time you choose to visit, you’re not just getting some views; you’re getting an experience that’s unique to that season. Pack your bags, set your expectations, and, hey, let the canyon surprise you!

CategorySpringSummerFallWinter
TemperaturesMild: Averages from 60°F to 80°F.
Just right for exploring.
Hot: We’re talking 90°F to 100°F.
Sunscreen is your best friend!
Cooling off: Comfy range from 65°F to 85°F. Light jacket weather.Chilly: Between 40°F and 60°F. You’ll want to stay bundled up.
Visitor TrafficGetting busier: The secret’s out, and the crowds start to build.Packed: Peak tourist season. Expect lots of new friends!Easing up: The big rush is slowing down. More breathing room.Quiet: It’s like you’ve got the whole place to yourself.
PhotographyIdeal: Great light, comfortable temps. Perfect for a photo hike.Dramatic: Those light beams are on point for stunning shots.Gentle glow: Softer light beams, fewer people Snag that clear shot.Subtle beauty: No beams, but the textures? Amazing.
Unique VibesFresh and hopeful: Nature’s waking up, and the light beams return.Energetic: It’s lively and bustling. The canyon’s most vibrant seasonReflective: Things get a bit more contemplative and mellow.Peaceful: A serene, introspective vibe. The canyon rests.
Side-by-side comparison of each season in Antelope Canyon.

My Conclusion:

Antelope Canyon, located near Page, Arizona, is a popular destination for photography enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. With its stunning red sandstone walls and dramatic light beams, the canyon is a sight to behold. Although the canyon is beautiful year-round, visiting in December can be a unique and special experience.

One of the main draws of visiting Antelope Canyon in December is the chance to see the canyon in a different light. During the summer months, the canyon can be extremely hot and crowded, making it difficult to fully enjoy the beauty of the place. In December, the temperatures are cooler and the crowds are smaller, allowing visitors to have a more peaceful and intimate experience.

Another reason to visit Antelope Canyon in December is the opportunity to see the canyon in a different light. The canyon is known for its beautiful light beams, created when the sun is at just the right angle to shine through the narrow openings at the top of the canyon. During the winter months, the sun is lower in the sky, which can create a different type of light beam. This can make for some truly stunning photographs and memories.

The winter also offers an opportunity to see snow in the canyon, which is a rare sight. Snowfall in the area is not a common occurrence, but when it does happen, it adds an extra layer of beauty to the already stunning landscape. The snow covers the red sandstone walls, creating a unique contrast that can’t be seen at any other time of the year.

Visiting Antelope Canyon in December also offers the chance to experience the local culture and traditions. The Navajo Nation, which manages the canyon, celebrates the winter solstice with a traditional Navajo ceremony called the “Nightway Ceremony.” This ceremony is a healing ceremony that is held over several nights, and it is a unique opportunity to experience Navajo culture and tradition.

When planning a visit to Antelope Canyon in December, it’s important to be prepared for the colder temperatures. Layering is key, as temperatures can fluctuate throughout the day. A good pair of hiking boots is also essential, as the canyon floor can be slippery and uneven. It’s also important to bring plenty of water, as the canyon can be dry and arid.

In terms of photography, it’s important to note that the light beams in the canyon can be unpredictable, so it’s essential to be flexible and be ready to take advantage of the light when it presents itself. It’s also important to note that tripods are not allowed on the canyon’s guided tours, so a sturdy, hand-held camera is a must.

Overall, visiting Antelope Canyon in December offers a unique and special experience. The cooler temperatures, smaller crowds, and different light conditions can make for a truly breathtaking and unforgettable experience. The chance to see the canyon in a different light, as well as the opportunity to experience local culture and traditions, make December a great time to visit. With the right preparation and a flexible attitude, a visit to Antelope Canyon in December can be an experience of a lifetime.

Verdict:

Antelope Canyon is a must-visit for its breathtaking sights. Though I was a little skeptical about the weather and snow before visiting Antelope Canyon in the winter months, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.

It was a little cold, but no snow and crowds. I would highly recommend booking your tour with Antelope Slop Canyon tours for their great service and awesome tour guides.

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