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A TRAVEL AND LIFESTYLE BLOG BY PHUONG TRAN ♡

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THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO KAYAKING ANTELOPE CANYON FROM LAKE POWELL

I was fortunate to have been able to take one of the Antelope Canyon tours back in 2018. The slot canyons are truly a remarkable sight. Unfortunately, Antelope Canyon Tours have been cancelled and Antelope Canyon has been closed since March 2020 due to Covid-19. However, there is a way for you to see Antelope Canyon. There's a very small area of Antelope Canyon that is open to public. Please note that this is NOT THE SAME area where the Antelope Canyon tours take place so the slot canyon you see here is not as pristine compared to Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon. Nonetheless, it's still worth the trek to see Antelope Canyon up close and personal.

*Disclaimer: This area of Antelope Canyon belongs to Arizona and is not part of the Navajo Nation Reservation (see map below or you can see the full map here).


The map on the left shows Lake Powell outside of the Navajo Nation Reservation (on the right). 

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

Currently, this is the only way to access Antelope Canyon. It is a hike in and hike out type of hike so you can hike as far as you'd like before entering Navajo Nation Reservation. We only hiked about an hour in but you can hike for several miles and get pretty close to where the Antelope Canyon Tours start. I do not recommend proceeding past that as you'll be trespassing into Navajo Nation Reservation.

If you're kayaking or paddle boarding, I recommend packing the following items:

  • Water resistant bags (for phone, dry clothes, towel, etc.)
  • Water
  • Snacks
  • Wet Wipes/Tissues (there are no bathrooms)
  • Trash bag to carry your trash out - Please do not litter! 
  • Layers/warm clothes if you're going during the winter as it can get pretty cold when there's no sun

GETTING THERE:

The closest marina to the entrance of Antelope Canyon is Antelope Point Marina. You can drive down the ramp and unload your kayak or paddle board then park your car at the parking lot at the top of the ramp. We went during the winter so the boat ramp was closed to all motor boats. I actually preferred that there weren't any motor boats because the motor boats can flip your kayak over if they're too close or too fast. Also, we enjoyed having the entire lake to ourselves as it was very peaceful and calming. 

PADDLING LAKE POWELL:

You can rent kayaks and paddle boards near Lake Powell. We brought our inflatable kayak but there are a few rental places that will bring the kayaks and paddle boards directly to the marina for you so you don't have to transport them. You can also access the hiking trail on jet skis or small motor boats. There are some boat tours that will take you to the Antelope Canyon, however they were closed for the winter season and they only operate from March-October.

Follow the map above to get to the hiking entrance of Antelope Canyon. Take an immediate left once you depart the marina and keep paddling for roughly 1-2 hours depending on your speed. You'll reach an opening on the left that turns away from Lake Powell. When you see the buoy below, then you're heading in the right direction. From the buoy, you'll paddle for another 1-1.5 hour until you reach the hiking entrance. You'll dock your kayak or paddle board and hike the trail on foot. We started paddling around 7:30am and reached the trail around 10am (yes, we're really slow paddlers lol).

Please be courteous of others and move your kayak/paddle boards out of the way so others can load and unload. We were the first ones there but we puled our kayak out of the water and moved it to the side. However, we noticed that groups after us literally just left their kayaks in the water so it was difficult for us to load our kayak back in the water because there were no room. Please be considerate and move your things to the side.


HIKING ANTELOPE CANYON:

Antelope Canyon is HUGE. We hiked for a good hour or so and it felt like an endless maze. Again, this is a hike in hike out trail so you can hike as far as you'd like. From the entrance of the trail to the entrance of the Antelope Canton Tours is several miles but I noticed that the best slots were roughly 30 minutes in when you start climbing the rocks so you really only need to hike that far if you want pictures with the beautiful rocks. 

The trail itself is pretty easy. There are some areas where you'll need to climb a little bit but definitely suitable for all ages. We went the day after rain/snow so there were some mud. 

TIPS:

I recommend starting early. We started at 7:30am and were the only ones at Antelope Canyon for the first hour or so people before started coming in. We saw another group around 12pm so we enjoyed having Antelope Canyon to ourselves for a bit. 

Instead of paddling on a kayak or paddle board, you can rent a small motor boat or jet ski and go directly to the hiking entrance. It's much faster than paddling and much easier. I would recommend doing that if you're on a time crunch or are not experienced paddlers. We're not very good at kayaking so it took it 2 hours each way and our arms were so sore. I think we'll rent jet skis next time :)

Bring a tripod with you so you can take photos of yourself if you don't have anyone else to take them for you. Usually during the Antelope Canyon tours, the tour guides would happily take your photos for you but it's pretty empty here so you might not see anyone to ask to take photos for you.

If you have an iPhone, I recommend using the iPhone filter "vivid warm" when you take photos. That filter enhances the color of the rocks and you get that beautiful orange/red color. I learned this trick from our tour guide when we went so trust me, it really makes a difference with your photos. The photo below on the left is without the vivid warm filter and the photo on the right is with the vivid warm filter. You can see that the photo on the right is much brighter and the colors look better.

 
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Antelope Canyon is such a beautiful place. If you get the chance to see Antelope Canyon up close, I definitely recommend it! 💝

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