The Antelope Canyon is a natural formation in Native Navajo territory lying just east of Page, Arizona. At its base, its elevation is 3,704 feet above sea level, while its colorful descents, carved to depths of 120 feet, make it into a popular place for a vacation destination. It is very common to see the pronghorn antelope graze in the region, which is where it’s English name comes from. It is identified as a “slot canyon”, meaning it was created through the effects of water rushing through its rocks. This created a current-like pattern on the blood-red and brown rock, along with a maze-like architectural structure.
Visiting The Antelope Canyon
Tourism flourishes in the area around Antelope Canyon, due to both its unique look and the sights of the animals that graze in and around it. Many tours led by the Navajo natives are available, who own and operate the area. These tours start in a vehicle, but then transfer to foot when arriving directly upon the site. Once there, visitors will then be brought into this amazing subterranean realm of stone. This scenic tour is very popular among tourists and, given one's lucky enough, they may even catch a glimpse of the famous pronghorn antelope within. This is a very popular destination for photographers, as the natural lighting is perfect for capturing the essence of these magnificent rocks. No matter their interests, Antelope Canyon is truly a sight to see for anyone traveling through the American Southwest.
Antelope Canyon has many allures that have made it into such a popular tourist spot. Among these is the Rainbow Bridge Trail, which is the largest natural bridge in the world. This bridge spans a distance of around 275 feet high, and is 42 feet thick and 33 feet wide. The Native Americans of the area consider this bridge to be a very sacred place, and it serves as a religious ground.
The canyon is also home to the aforementioned Pronghorn Antelopes, whose own progenitors grazed in the area for as long as the Navajo have lived there. The grass and water in the area also make it into a popular grazing ground and watering pit for cattle as well. Hiking through the canyon is very popular, but visitors should strive to be respectful of the Native grounds. Due to such considerations, this is also why tourists are not allowed to stay in the canyon for more then 2 hours per visit, as of May of 2011.
Antelope Canyon is in a desert climate, with its walls created through water erosion from the sporadic flash flooding from occasional desert rains. This formation occurred over the course of many years prior to the canyon's existence. The canyon itself has two parts including an upper and a lower section. The upper section is very accessible to anyone, while the lower section, also known as “The Corkscrew”, is much more difficult to reach, and visitors to the site must travel through a series of staircases to get to it.
Although Antelope Canyon is a popular and beautiful site, it may also be a very dangerous one to visit at times. During the rainy season, flash floods are an imminent threat. Flash floods can be caused by drainage that begins dozens of miles away which, without warning, can flood the canyon. For this reason, all travellers must be accompanied by a tour guide who has special training correlated with the canyon. On the other hand, efforts by the Navajo and government entities at multiple levels have long worked to protect the integrity of the canyon, so that it may be enjoyed sustainably for generations to come.