The surreal beauty of Antelope Canyon

If you type in Arizona into Google images, you would be familiar with images of sandstone buttes and the Grand Canyon. But another image floating around is that of slot canyons. But Antelope Canyon is a beauty all its own.

I had seen photos of the amazing Antelope Canyon rich in red, orange and yellow and even purples and blues for months. So when we decided on a road trip around Arizona, I knew I had to make this place a point on the itinerary. Plus it’s also a photographer’s paradise.

I was surprised to see on a map, Antelope Canyon located in Page, Arizona, was not surrounded by expensive hotels, tourist traps or a big city. In fact, the drive into the small town was rather sparse and empty, industrial at times.

Located on private Navajo land, the slot canyons are made from Navajo sandstone and were formed by flash flooding and erosion. Due to this, the canyons can only be viewed by the tour.

To keep with the theme of a non-tourist destination, entry was distinguished by a small sign to a parking lot with a demountable office that handles appointments. Tours all meet here to then be transferred by 4×4’s across the hot sands to the entry to the canyons.

There are two Canyons; Upper and Lower and both have their pros and cons. I chose the Upper Canyon due to the dramatic light beams that illuminate the inside.

Walking through the corkscrew carvings you have to remind yourself it is all naturally made.

The guides are wonderful and very knowledgeable. They will also help with getting the perfect photo. Some will even throw sand up in the air to catch the light. You should have seen all the photographers at that point.

The ideal time to book is between 10 am and 12 pm, when the sun will be high enough to stream down through the slots.

While there are none of the regular tourist attractions around Page, Arizona, Antelope Canyon is well worth the trip.

Steph_profHerstory is a weekly column on women and travel by Steph Ridhalgh. Steph is a Sydney born; New York based television producer and travel blogger. Not one for being quiet for too long she simply loves talking about travel and lifestyle.

Steph is the founder of STEP(h) ABROAD, a travel and lifestyle resource for those who love to be in the know and know how.

Connect with her on the web, Facebook and Twitter