While planning for the USA West coast Itinerary, we almost missed to online book the Antelope canyon tour and when we tried booking it 2-3 prior to the planned day, nothing worked out. So, while exploring all the available options, I thought of booking Antelope canyon X as an alternative to the popular Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon.
In December 2019, we booked it for $30.19 per person with an additional $8 for the Navajo Park hiking permit Fee and $7 for the taxes. We received an email with the dos and don’ts and the directions to arrive at the location. This blog is about my experience at Antelope Canyon X booked with the Taadidiin Tours.
Antelope Canyon X by Taadidiin Tours operates small-group excursions into a different section of the same canyon. Since they are the only tour provider here, you don’t have to worry about overcrowding and can enjoy a more serene visit to the natural wonder.
We stayed at flagstaff after visiting the Grand Canyon National Park and it was around 2 and a half hours from the Taadidiin tour reservation center.
We started off at 8:00 AM in the morning and arrived 30 minutes before our scheduled tour. After signing in the waiver form and checking in, we waited for a few more people to show up. There were about a dozen people booked for the 11 a.m. tour, and we all loaded up in two 4X4 transport vehicles to make the 3-mile commute to the mouth of the first slot canyon.
There were tour guides waiting for us to join. After greeting, they assisted us to the first slot canyon which was at 200 meter walk.
As I descended below ground, one step after another, I was convinced we’d left planet Earth. The Slot Canyon was truly magnificent. I am still just amazed at how the water erosion has carved away these breathtaking beautiful canyon walls.
The narrow passages, smooth curves, and warm tones of this sandstone slot canyon had me infatuated instantly ❤️
What are Slot Canyons ? They start as narrow cracks in the rock. Over millions of years, rainwater and flooding widens and deepens the opening. Hence, the result is a narrow, tall passage through the rocks of the plateau, that can be miles long.
If you visit Antelope Canyon during winter, you will miss those bright haloes. However, you would be able to enjoy Antelope Canyon almost entirely by yourself.
It felt like the patterns and texture of the rocks were telling an incredible story of its creations by the rains and floods in Arizona.
Our guide knew exactly what pictures we would want before we even did. During our tour, the guide told us what settings we should switch our phones to for the best results and along the way pointed out features we should snap.
After taking turns admiring the different corridors in the first slot canyon, we proceeded to follow our guide for a short walk away to the second one. Finally, we got to see the effects created by the light entering through the ceilings and rocks.
While our guide accompanied the group the whole time, we never felt rushed and were able to linger wherever we wanted to take lots of pictures or just admire the scenery.
You would see snow patches in some of the open corridors of the canyon during the winter season. I absolutely loved the contrast of the white snow with the orange rock
In the end, you’ll ride back to the parking area and be on your way with some amazing photos to look back on. Additionally, I am delighted to inform you that the canyon REALLY looks like the pictures you see on Google images!
WHAT TO KNOW BEFORE YOU GO
- Best months– The best months to visit Antelope Canyon are between the end of March and early October. During this time, we can see light beams that enter the Antelope Canyon which creates a unique phenomenon.
- Best Time of the day– To see the light beams in Upper Antelope Canyon, you need to plan your visit during the middle of the day, between 11 AM and 1:30 PM, when sunlight is perpendicular to the canyon.
- Booking– I would recommend booking your tour ahead of time during the busy times (like holiday weekends, summer, and winter break). Although, you can get tickets to Antelope Canyon X even the last minute!
- Location– Antelope Canyon X tours meet on Highway 98 southeast of Page. After passing parking areas for other Antelope Canyon tours, you’ll see a sign that says Canyon X and a parking area with a trailer.
- Time Zone– Canyon X Tours follow Arizona time, which is in the MST (Mountain Standard Time) zone and does NOT observe daylight savings. So, be mindful while coming from Nevada and the West Coast to Arizona.
- Toilets– You will see few portable toilets nearing the paring area where you’re dropped off to begin your Antelope Canyon hike. The Page is about a 15-minute drive away, so plan your nature breaks accordingly.
- Only Taadidiin organizes tour for the Antelope Canyon X
- Parking– Be careful where you park. There is a lot of sand and gravel, and we witnessed a car get stuck in a soft spot.
WHAT TO BRING
- Of course, a camera. Use a slower shutter speed between 2 and 6 seconds. Because you’re keeping the shutter open for so long to let more light in, set the aperture anywhere between F11 to F18. Refer this link for more details – Paul Photography tips
- Arizona gets extremely hot in the summer, and sometimes the shoulder months. So, wear sunscreen and drink plenty of fluids before, during, and after your tour. Waters are provided at the entrance of the canyon.
- Wear comfortable shoes for the Antelope Canyon hike, as you’ll walk up and down a sandhill. Also, dress appropriately for the season (winter may require jackets).
- Please do not bring pets. They have reacted differently inside the canyons.
Antelope Canyon X by Taadidiin Tours was a lifesaver! Instead of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, experience this canyon for a better overall experience.
I could not help wondering as I left Canyon X, how long before it became as popular as Antelope Canyon. I fear with the improvements made and the ease of access now to this wonderful place that in the years ahead it will no longer be a “Secret Canyon of the Navajo”.
Thanks so much for reading! Do let us know how do you like the post by commenting in the below section. Also, don’t forget to read my next post on Horseshoe Bend
Also, don’t forget to visit the blog on my entire West coast trip.
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