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Page, Arizona

Ditch the crowds of Antelope Canyon: Explore Waterholes Canyon!

2.8 Miles Total - 300 ft gain - Out-and-Back Trail

Originally added by Tyler McKay

You want to see the amazing slot canyons around Page, AZ, but want to skip the crowds at Antelope Canyon? Then this is for you!

I’ve been dying to get to Antelope Canyon for a while now, so when I was finally in Page, AZ it became a priority. However, the crowds and the cost quickly made me realize that Antelope Canyon might be better saved for another trip. If you just want to walk through, you’re looking at about $40 and a horde of people. And when I say a horde, I mean 30 or so cars in a parking lot at one area we pulled into, many of which were actual busses. If you want to take a camera and tripod on the tour, (duh?) you’re looking at $80! There will still be people, but it is more organized so that people can get professional looking shots without others in their shot. Oh, did I mention both tours have tour guides? I don't know about you, but I like to explore a little bit on my own. 

The time, crowd, and money commitment made it hard for me to justify going to Antelope Canyon while I was on a 3,000-mile road trip. I had other expenses that I needed to think about while travelling on a budget. Luckily, Waterholes Canyon wasn't far! Just beyond Horseshoe Bend to be exact. It cost only $12 a person and we saw less than 10 people our entire time!

If you’re on a budget or have already seen Antelope Canyon, then I highly recommend Waterholes Canyon as a great alternative. It won't get you the same results, but they are still spectacular! The slots themselves are awesome and there are plenty of little places to pull off the main trail to check out. The color change of the walls varies as the sun hits different parts, but no matter when you go I guarantee you'll be in awe. 

To get your permit, visit the Tribal Parks Office, which is a trailer located right next to the LeChee Chapter House along Copper Mine Road. The woman that was working was extremely helpful and full of knowledge about the area. Once you get the permit, hop back in your car and drive out South towards Horsehoe Bend, actually past it by a few miles. You’ll be looking for a small pull off section on your left before you hit a bridge. If you go past the bridge, you’ve gone too far. You’re looking for a sign that says “Lake Powell Tribal Park.” 

The trail was pretty well marked by cairns and the entire hike took us about 3 hours, but there was hardly anyone there! Bring you camera and some water, and then enjoy your time in solitude. If you went to Horeshoe bend beforehand you’ll probably be tired of all the people, so it will be nice to get away. On your way out, don't just turn around. Take a left and you'll find a trail that takes you along another marked trail along the top of the canyon. You'll even end up at an area that has a resemblance to The Wave!

I’m not knocking Antelope Canyon and I will definitely see it one day, but this wasn't the trip for it. Overall, I would definitely recommend visiting the canyon. It’s not quite Antelope, but it’s pretty dang close! Remember that you’re on tribal land, so be respectful, take care to follow all of their rules, and remember not to go past the power lines once you get there.

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