59°F
weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Day Trips: Stunning slot canyons that are relatively easy to access

While there are hundreds of stunning slot canyons in our region, most of them are difficult to reach and many require technical skills to explore them.

Two of the best, however — tops on my list for being visually stimulating — are pretty easy to access.

Both are located on the Navajo Indian Reservation just outside of Page, Arizona. Late spring is an optimal time to go, as the weather isn’t hot yet and the summer tourist season hasn’t started yet.

The slots lie a few miles apart along Antelope Creek, a usually dry wash that drains into Lake Powell.

Upper Antelope Canyon is known to the Navajo as Tse bighanilini, meaning “the place where water runs through rocks” and Lower Antelope Canyon is called Hasdeztwasi or “Spiral Rock Arches.”

You will need to have an authorized guide or outfitter, available either in the town of Page or at the trailheads on Antelope Creek.

Be advised these are tremendously popular tours so you won’t have solitude, but the natural beauty and photo opportunities of these canyons are well worth that minor shortcoming.

The majority of people visit one or the other of the slots but some tour companies offer a package deal for seeing both.

If you have enough time and energy to do both slots, I would recommend it, as each provides a different experience.

Upper Antelope Canyon is best for those with children or for people who don’t want to climb up and down stairs.

To start a tour here, your guide will load you up in an open-air vehicle or other transportation and drive a few miles up the wash to the entrance.

Once inside the canyon, the walking is easy, though on soft sand.

The pinks, reds and oranges of the corkscrewing sandstone walls are amazing to see.

The sand was originally laid down in graceful waves, and though the sand long ago turned to stone, these waves are still visible and beautiful just worn from water.

While the canyon is only about 200 yards deep, a group awestruck by the formations and, of course, photographing them, will take some time to pass all the way in and out.

Because the canyons are so deep and narrow, the best light for photography is at midday through September, so plan your trip for that time if you can.

The Navajo consider these canyons to be spiritual places and most guides will give you lots of details on their culture. Some even will play the flute for visitors while inside the canyon.

Lower Antelope Canyon is a bit different because you need to negotiate stairs throughout.

This canyon has excellent formations as well, but because of the different natural light in this one, the colors appear to be more red, pink and purple.

As all slot canyons, these are extremely dangerous places to be during and after heavy rains. Water funnels down through them, in powerful flows bearing much mud and debris.

In 1997, 11 tourists visiting lower Antelope Canyon were killed in such a flash flood. Precautions established since then should keep you safe, as long as you heed them.

For tour guides and more information on visiting both canyons contact. (928) 645-9496. www.visitpagelakepowell.com/

Deborah Wall is the author of “Base Camp Las Vegas, Hiking the Southwestern States,” “Great Hikes, A Cerca Country Guide,” and co-author of “Access For All, Touring the Southwest with Limited Mobility.” Wall can be reached at Deborabus@aol.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
List: Christmas, holiday events in Pahrump region

Here is a look at Christmas and holiday-related events in the community. See full list at pvtimes.com and in the Nov. 27 Pahrump Valley Times newspaper print edition and in upcoming editions of the newspaper.

Pahrump community joins together for Thanksgiving feast

On a chilly day in the Pahrump Valley with the crispness of autumn singing in the air, hundreds gathered together for an afternoon of companionship, camaraderie and good food at the Community Outreach Thanksgiving Dinner.

Divas on a Dime: Puff pastry palmiers offer versatile holiday baking

Puff pastry is a freezer staple year-round, but I find myself using it constantly during holiday season. Its ease is matched only by its versatility. I’m sharing a technique for making palmiers that’s so easy it’s a perfect treat to make with your kids. Or if you’re like me it’s a perfect shortcut to making people think you’re an expert on French pastry.

Nevada producers reminded to sign up for program

The U.S. Department of Agriculture this week reminded producers in Nevada that the nationwide deadline to sign up for the Market Facilitation Program is today, Dec. 6.

Spring Mountain Medical’s toy drive is underway

The Christmas spirit is alive and well at Pahrump’s Spring Mountain Medical as doctors and staff are coordinating a toy drive once again this year.

Library gun ban proposal is set for consideration in Pahrump

The Pahrump Community Library Board of Trustees is set to address a very contentious issue, a possible ban on guns in the library’s story room, at its next meeting on Monday, Dec. 9.

Project at Duck Ponds in Pahrump

The duck ponds at the Nye County and town administration building at the Calvada Eye will be undergoing a thorough cleaning and repair project during the next couple of weeks, town government announced in a Dec. 3 Facebook post.