A lot of us have heard of Antelope Canyon--the famous slot canyon with the beautiful terracotta colored walls with light rays beaming from the sky above. It's an unbelievable creation of nature, which is a popular opinion considering you now need a guided tour to visit since it's risen fame on social media. While I've never been to this particular part (Upper Antelope Canyon), I recently heard about "Lower Antelope Canyon" and I knew I needed to check it out immediately! The best part? You access it by water, which means less people... AND you get to kayak! It gets even better... we camped on the beach! Read along to get some tips on this epic adventure!
Where is Lower Antelope Canyon?
It's located on the one and only Lake Powell, which is located in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, just minutes from Page, Arizona. We were told this section of Antelope Canyon is NOT on the Navajo Nation Land. It's part of the national park!
Lake Powell Paddleboards and Kayaks
836 Vista Ave, Page, AZ 86040
I found this company from a quick google search and they had the best reviews. They rent kayaks, paddle boards, and packrafts. They also do guided tours but we wanted the freedom to explore on our own, so we didn't book that.
The daily cost is determined by how long of a rental you're doing. It includes lifejackets and paddles.
Single Kayaks are $55 per day or $35 for 3 days or more.
Double Kayaks (for 2 people) are $70.00 per day or $45 for 3 days or more.
Kev and I went with the double kayak and a 2 day rental. It was perfect! Our total with tax came out to be around $160. Also, we had 3 big backpacks with us that barely fit on the big one. I suggest getting the double kayak if you plan on camping.
*There is a $30 entry fee to the marina area separate from the rental. Your national parks pass works too!*
What to expect:
We booked online ahead of time because we wanted to make sure there was availability since we're on a tight schedule. We chose the option for a double kayak, the date, time of pickup, and how many days. We then got a confirmation email giving us all of the details and telling us to be at their shop 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time to sign waivers and pick up lifejackets. Once that was done, we drove 15 minutes from their shop in Page, AZ to Antelope Point Public Boat Launch. We drove down to the water and they said to park up in the lot, get our things together, and then come back down where the kayaks were there waiting for us! Also, you must have your lifejacket on the boat at all times or else you can get a ticket. They said you don't need to wear it but it needs to be on the kayak.
On our way down the boat ramp. Hauling our kayaks into the water (they were really heavy and I could barely lift it). Finally getting in!
I'm camping. Where do I leave my car?
There's a huge parking lot at the boat ramp and you're able to leave your car there, free of charge (with the exception of the park entrance fee) for up to 14 days! It couldn't have been easier.
Where to camp:
Pretty much everywhere is fair game to camp EXCEPT inside the Antelope Canyon. We camped on Antelope Island, which is directly across the big channel from Antelope Canyon. I know... so many canyons and antelopes it's overwhelming. If you see a beach, you can head over to it and set up camp. The problem we had was: The water level was low and so some areas that should've been beaches were 30 foot cliffs! We paddled until we saw one little section of sand and got out there. It was a very small, uneven section of ground so we climbed up the rocks about 100 feet and there was the perfect flat ground for our tent and camp. People had been there before because there were remnants of a fire pit.
I have sensitive feet (or I'm just a baby) and I kept getting sharp pokey things in my feet, so I wore shoes the whole time we were at camp... just a heads up!
It was the perfect location because it was directly across the from the paddling section of Antelope Canyon. Once we set up camp, we headed back down to the kayaks and paddled across the way. Just a heads up, getting across that big open section of choppy water is harder than it looks! There were big houseboats and speed boats going by, creating big wakes for our little kayak lol. Also, if you're in the big open area, stay on either the right or left side. The middle is for the big boats. If crossing, get across as fast as possible and don't go at a diagonal!
BUY A DRY BAG! We're photographers and there was no way we were going to do this whole adventure and not take along our gear. It was nerverecking to say the least, knowing that being off balance the tiniest bit would cause us and our equipment to flip over into the water lol. The dry bag put our minds at ease, (slightly). Also, when you paddle, water just naturally gets inside the boat...there's no way around it. Even if you're so careful, it'll still get inside. So be prepared to get wet.
It'd say we paddled close to a mile to our campsite and then another mile to the beginning of the hiking trail in Antelope Canyon. A mile on a kayak, in my opinion, is a lot harder than a mile on foot! My arms were exhausted lol. I was very happy that we got a double kayak since Kevin and I could both paddle.
Once the water comes to an end, you pull your kayak onshore and begin walking by foot. You'll come to a point where you can either turn right or left. The left is about 3 miles round trip and to the right pretty much goes on for miles and miles and miles (so we were told). We unknowingly went to the right and just kept going! We stopped every minute to take photos so we didn't go too far. We walked maybe 1 mile before turning around but it felt like longer because of how long we were out there.
It started out beautiful, surrounding us with big stone walls. Then with each step, it kept getting narrower and narrower, until eventually we were in a slot canyon. I felt like a little kid I was so excited about the beauty of the place! If claustrophobia is a concern for you, I'd say just continue on the trail and just simply turn around if it gets too narrow. It never got to the point that we had to shimmy ourselves through anything. There's kind of a theme of it getting narrow, then opening back up, narrow, then opening back up... however the narrows do get narrower the more you go. I'm unsure about what the "end" of the trail holds but we were not disappointed in the distance we went!
What to Pack:
Waterproof shoes/hiking shoes
at least 2 liters per person per day. (we didn't bring enough water! We brought 3.5 liters for the two of us and we were completely parched by the time we kayaked back to the marina. Our Lifestraw wasn't working either. We underestimated the heat for sure and there's absolutely no shade at the campsites).
Sunscreen--you'll be in the sun all day and you will get burnt if you don't lather up!
Food/Snacks ( for one day we brought peanut butter sandwiches, instant ramen, bars, energy chews and a backcountry meal). We boiled water at the car and put it into a thermos so that we didn't need to bring a camp stove.
Camera (at your own risk)
Tent (optional) We had just gotten a brand new tent that we hadn't used yet so we took this as the perfect opportunity! Our friends that we were with didn't bring one, they just slept under the stars in their sleeping bags. It was all good and fine EXCEPT... a mouse was pestering them all night long and made a late night snack out of their peanut butter sandwiches! I was happy that we had our tent!
Toilet paper (pack it out!)
A change of clothes
Jacket (I got chilly at night)
Things I wish I brought:
More water! It was crazy how dehydrated we got. Firewood! Some adult beverages *winky face*
The Overall Experience:
I knew from the moment I saw this on the internet that I wanted to do it. It looked fun, it looked photogenic, and it looked like an adventure I'd remember forever... AND IT WAS! It wasn't the cheapest but it also wasn't the most expensive. A few things:
Start as early as possible because the sun is brutal. You'll also avoid the group tours in the canyon.
The best thing I did was purchase a dry bag at the shop
Camping was incredible but this is doable as a day trip, 100%. So it's up to you if you want to haul all of the gear out there and/or pay for two days of rentals.
The stars were absolutely jaw dropping (a good reason to camp!)
I would definitely recommend getting a double kayak. It's close to half the price and you'll have more room for gear.
Have a great time!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you get a chance to check out this amazing adventure! This was one of my favorite ones to date. Let me know if you have any questions!
WATCH THE YOUTUBE VIDEO BELOW!