I've said this in a different post, but I feel like Antelope Canyon has blown up in popularity recently. Sure, the place is THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHABLE place ever but I had never even heard of it until super recently. And a ton of the visitors were millennials from China and South Korea. Nothing wrong with that demographic, it just seemed very much like a place you go to "for the 'gram". With that being said, Antelope Canyon is so Instagram worthy. The colors and lighting make for this otherworldly backdrop that is hard to capture on film (or screen, as the case may be). It's so beautiful that even an amateur photographer can snap one pic and feel like the next Ansel Adams.
You can only go to Antelope Canyon with a tour, you are not allowed to explore on your own. I went with Ken's Tours- Lower Antelope Canyon Tours because they were the only tour group that had any time slots available on the day I would be there. The tour itself was fairly well organised but because of the nature of the canyon you are herded through like sheep. it is not much of a "tour". They have about 15 people per tour guide and 8 groups going through the canyon at once. That means at some points I wanted to stay at one spot longer that I was allowed and at others I wanted to move on before I could. This isn't to say it is not worth doing, but I think it would have been slightly better with less people going through at a time. Or possibly just at a less crowded time of year.
There is an Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon. I was told that the Upper Canyon is slightly easier to get into and has more space for walking around. With that being said, the tour groups let people in all at once, so it is difficult to get the perfect shot without some rando in the way. The Lower Canyon has a metal staircase that you have to descend into the canyon. In 2 spots the stairs are VERY steep. Most people climb down that section of the stairs like a ladder. If heights and ladders are not your jam, I think they will get you into the canyon a different way. I made it down the stairs with no issues. So did my mom.
In the Lower Canyon there are some very narrow passages to get through. In a few spots there is only enough room for one person to go through at a time. It's not a 120 Hours type situation, but if you are not thrilled about confined spaces and groups of people, you may be uncomfortable for sections of the canyon. I joked that if my ass was any bigger I may not have made it out of there. I wish that joke was funnier :P
If you look at the photos and think "OMG I must go!", then it is worth a visit. On the other hand, if you think the photos are pretty but don't think traveling to the middle of nowhere AZ sounds like your scene, you can probably skip it. Page, AZ is a very small town and it was completely overrun by tourists while we were there. I also heard a local complaining about how Antelope Canyon is over-hyped and there are other canyons that are better. I didn't ask what canyons he was referring to since I had already paid my steep fee for my tour of Antelope Canyon.
Horseshoe Bend is only a few miles from Antelope Canyon. The day I was there, traffic to Horseshoe Bend was at a dead stop with an estimated 20 min delay. I still had PTSD from my drive from San Diego to Las Vegas (a 4 hr trip that took more than 6 hours) the day before so I decided to skip it. Much like Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend has been so well documented in photos I didn't feel like I really missed out.
Would you go to Antelope Canyon for the 'gram? Did I miss out on Horseshoe Bend?