Geography of Antelope Canyon, Arizona

By | August 12, 2022

Natural artwork, color spectacle and an incredible photo opportunity. Antelope Canyon is one of the most impressive sights in the United States and is located in the Lake Powell region of Arizona. A place that – if you come to the area around Page – you should absolutely have admired it live in all its glory once in a lifetime. The best time to admire the beams is at lunchtime.

The cracks in the ground were created by the water of Antelope Creek, which dug through the soil there over the course of millions of years. The narrow width of the watercourse resulted in an impressive slot canyon. The Navajo Indians, on whose reservation the canyon is located, once called the upper part “Tsé bighánílíní”, which means something like “place where water flows through the rocks”. The English name “Antelope Canyon” is derived from Tales of the Navajo Indians over the antelopes that graze along the famous slot canyon in winter.

The bizarre landscape with its reddish rock and the remarkable rock formations is in itself an incredible beauty and is always worth a visit. The view is rounded off by the rays of the sun, called beams, which shine into the gorge, especially at lunchtime, and thus create a wonderful color spectacle. Absolutely breathtaking as a motif and a dream for photographers. It is not for nothing that the canyon is one of the most photographed slot canyons in the southwestern United States.

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Weather and climate in Antelope Canyon

The Antelope Canyon in Arizona (AZ) has a predominantly dry climate with an average of two rainy days per month. It is coldest in the winter months of December and January. Freezing temperatures are also possible here. It gets warmest in the summer months from June to August. During the summer months, the thermometer can easily climb up to 35 degrees Celsius.

The slot canyon, which is also called Corkscrew Canyon, can basically be visited all year round. Caution is advised when it rains. There is a risk of flash floods here, which have already claimed deaths in the canyon. The slot canyon is therefore not accessible during this time.

Outdoor clothing adapted to the temperature conditions in the corresponding season is recommended.

Geology and geography of Antelope Canyon

Antelope Canyon is located in the southwestern United States near the city of Page in Arizona. Nearby is Lake Powell (Navajo Nation Reservation). Antelope Creek, which only flows intermittently after torrential rain, flows into Lake Powell 3 miles east of Page. Most of the watercourse is wide and sandy. As it formed, the rain and water of the river made their way through the soft Navajo sandstone, creating the deep, narrow crevices of the slot canyon.

The fact that there is ultimately a river running through the walls of the canyon also explains the dangers associated with visiting the canyon. Because normally the river is dry and you can walk dry feet over the dusty sand in the river bed. But if there is heavy rainfall, real water masses suddenly flow in the area between the rock walls. These flash floods are also called flash floods.

The canyon consists of the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon and is located in Lake Powell Tribal Park. The sections are separated from each other by several kilometers of desert area. So, first of all, you should know whether you want to visit only one part or both.

Upper Antelope Canyon

The Upper Antelope Canyon in the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation sits at a height of just over 1,200 meters, with the canyon’s walls rising 36.5 meters above the river bed.

Lower Antelope Canyon

The Navajo name of the Lower Antelope Canyon is “Hasdestwazi”, which means something like spiral rock arches. The Lower Antelope Canyon is also in the LeChee chapter.

Flora: The unique flora of the canyon

The poppy fields are undoubtedly a highlight in Antelope Valley. But they are only part of the lush flora that resides within the Antelope Valley. Pine trees, cacti and many wild flowers complete the unique atmosphere in the valley.

Fauna: Animal species in the canyon

Many wildlife can be seen in the Antelope Valley. Including of course the animals from which the name of the valley and the canyon is derived, but also desert sheep, coyotes, prairie dogs and desert squirrels. Those who love majestic birds can, with a little luck, spot hawks or even a golden eagle in the sky.

Note: Entering the canyons is only possible as part of guided tours. If you would like to specifically observe animals on site, it is best to ask for such tours explicitly.

Geography of Antelope Canyon, Arizona