Looking for the best slot canyon option for your upcoming trip to Arizona? Antelope Canyon X is a great, low-key alternative to consider. Keep reading to find out more.
Arizona’s slot canyons are one of nature’s marvels and an absolute must do on a trip to Arizona. Carved out over millions of years, they are one of the most unique geological formations not only in the US but in the world.
You’ve probably heard about Antelope Canyon, but what about Antelope Canyon X? Antelope Canyon X is a lesser-known part of Antelope Canyon, a great alternative to the all-popular Upper and Lower Antelope Canyons which nowadays tend to be crowded and more expensive.
In this guide you’ll find everything you need to know about visiting Antelope Canyon X Arizona, what is Canyon X, how it differs from the other parts of Antelope Canyon, how to choose the best Antelope Canyon X tour and our top tips for visiting.
* This guide contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
What is Antelope Canyon X?
Antelope Canyon X is a slot canyon in Arizona. It’s located near Page, Arizona in Navajo Nation.
Antelope Canyon is a rather long red rock slot canyon that spans around 23 miles through the Arizona desert. There are generally three different parts that travellers can visit; Upper Antelope Canyon, Lower Antelope Canyon and Antelope Canyon X.
It is located in the lower or southern parts of Antelope Canyon, Page AZ.
These magical slot canyons were formed over millions of years by erosion, as water rushed through the cracks in the rock widening and deepening them over time to become the passageways that we see today.
Other Names for Antelope Canyon X
Antelope Canyon X does go by a few different names. You might see it being referred to as:
- Antelope Canyon X
- Slot Canyon X
- Canyon X AZ (Canyon X, Arizona)
- X Antelope Canyon
- Canyon X Antelope Canyon
- Canyon X Page AZ
- Canyon X Antelope
Either way, all these names refer to the same place. In this guide, we will refer to this slot canyon as Antelope Canyon X or Canyon X which are the two most common names.
The Navajo name for Lower Antelope Canyon is Hasdestwazi which means ‘spiral rock arches’.
Best Time to Visit Antelope Canyon X
Antelope Canyon is open all year round and it’s possible to visit during all seasons and months of the year.
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is in the spring, fall or even winter to make the most of fewer crowds and therefore more flexible tour times.
Given Arizona’s desert climate, you can expect low nightly and high daytime temperatures, especially in the summer when it can be very hot indeed. When visiting in the winter, early spring or late fall you’ll need to pack plenty of layers as it does get very cold, especially in the mornings and evenings.
In terms of crowds, Antelope Canyon X sees most of its visitors during the summer months so I would avoid the peak season months of June through August as tours fill up faster and you won’t have as many photography opportunities without crowds in your photos.
When to Visit Antelope Canyon X by Season
Here’s a quick summary of what you can expect during each season at Antelope Canyon.
Spring (March to May) – Spring is a popular time to visit Antelope Canyon due to milder temperatures and less extreme weather conditions. There are fewer crowds than in summer and you’ll still be able to get good light coming into the canyon at around midday.
Summer (June- August)– This is the busiest time to visit so expect plenty of crowds. Sunlight and heat can be very intense so make sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection.
Due to the intensity of the sun in summer and to avoid the harshest of contrasts in your photos, it might be better to book an earlier tour during the summer months.
Fall ( September- November) – temperatures start to cool after the summer and light becomes softer the further into fall you get. Crowds tend to thin out the further into fall you progress. There’s quite a large difference between visiting in September and November in terms of crowds.
Winter ( December-February)– Winter is the least crowded time to visit Antelope Canyon and the Canyon is quieter with tour numbers reduced. You can expect colder temperatures so you’ll need to come prepared. Sunlight is also less intense during these months resulting in softer and more subdued photos.
Best Time to Day to Visit Canyon X
Considering a slot canyon’s geographical characteristics – extremely high sandstone walls on either side with small openings at the top – they just don’t receive much light.
In fact, early in the morning and later in the afternoon, slot canyons are pretty dark inside. This makes things difficult for photography and can result in just very dark and lacklustre photos.
You really want to visit Canyon X when you can get as much light as you can coming into the canyon. This means that the best time of day to visit Antelope Canyon X is as close to midday as possible.
When the sun is at its highest point in the sky, sitting right above the slot openings, you’ll be able to get as much light as possible flooding into the canyon. In turn, you’ll be able to see all the brilliant orange colors more vividly and have overall better photos from your visit.
If you’re timing your visit to photograph light beams, you’ll want to visit as close to midday as you can. Note, however, that this is the most popular time.
If you’re visiting during the peak summer months, make sure to book your Antelope Canyon tour as far in advance as you can.
Is Antelope Canyon X part of Antelope Canyon?
If you’ve heard of Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon, you might be asking yourself whether Canyon X is still part of the same Antelope Canyon.
Antelope Canyon X is part of the famous Antelope Canyon. It shares the same geographical similarities and is essentially a more southern section of Antelope Canyon.
Canyon X offers visitors a chance to explore a beautiful slot canyon with unique rock formations and narrow passageways.
One of the biggest differences between Canyon X and Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon is that it’s a less crowded alternative to the others and can provide a quieter and more intimate experience for those looking to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
However, there are some differences between visiting Canyon X and Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon which I’ll discuss in the headings below.
These differences will help you to make a decision about which part of Antelope Canyon might be best for you depending on your interests and what you want to get out of your visit.
Antelope Canyon X vs Lower Antelope Canyon
So what are the main differences between Canyon X and Lower Antelope Canyon and how do you decide between the two?
Lower Antelope Canyon and Canyon X have many similarities and a few differences to be considered when deciding on where to visit.
Ultimately, if you have time you could visit both, however, I’d probably recommend visiting Canyon X and Upper Antelope Canyon if you have the time and budget as they have the starkest differences between them.
Both parts of the canyon have very similar scenery. In both canyons, you’ll be able to see those smooth canyon walls and linear striations. Both canyons also have very similar colorings.
They are also pretty much as narrow as each other. Both Canyon X and Lower Antelope Canyon have wider and narrower sections to walk through during the tour.
In contrast, Canyon X is deeper than Lower Antelope Canyon. Canyon X can get to 125 feet in some parts, whereas Lower Antelope Canyon has a depth of about 75 feet. This in turn means less light at the canyon bottom when visiting those parts of Canyon X.
Visiting Antelope Canyon X is much cheaper than visiting Lower Antelope Canyon and Canyon X is much less popular. This means much smaller group sizes, especially in the shoulder and low seasons and the tour pace is also slower and more relaxed.
Antelope Canyon X is the least crowded part of Antelope Canyon you can visit.
At Lower Antelope Canyon, due to the sheer volume of people, guides often need to rush through groups of people much faster, so if you want to take good photos and you need time to do this then visiting Canyon X might be the better option.
What about light beams? You may have seen the famous light beams in photos of Antelope Canyon and if you’re wondering which Canyon to visit for light beams it’s Upper Antelope Canyon.
Lower Antelope Canyon does get a few light beams from March until October but Antelope Canyon X gets none. If you have your heart set on capturing the light beams flooding into the canyon, visiting Antelope Canyon X is not an option to go for.
Also note that to get into Lower Antelope Canyon you’ll need to be able to descend down some metal steps. For those with mobility issues, Antelope Canyon X is the better option as the descent down into it is on a very gradual, staired walkway.
Antelope Canyon X vs Upper Antelope Canyon
The most apparent differences lie between Antelope Canyon X and Upper Antelope Canyon so it’s really these two that are worth considering.
Canyon X is much cheaper to visit than Upper Antelope Canyon. For those on a budget or trying to keep trip costs down, this might make the choice for you alone.
Antelope Canyon X is much less popular than Upper Antelope Canyon. This means less crowds, smaller tour groups and a much more relaxed environment. It also means that you’ll have more time to take photos and you’ll have photos without strangers in them when visiting Canyon X.
Canyon X is more than twice as deep as Upper Antelope Canyon- that’s 125 feet vs just 50 feet. This depth has a big effect on light. This means that Upper Antelope Canyon receives much more light than Canyon X.
In turn this leads to generally better photos, especially for handheld photos or if you plan to use a camera without good light sensitivity. (You cannot take a tripod on a tour that isn’t a designated photography tour).
For light beams, Upper Antelope Canyon is the best place to see them. Upper Antelope Canyon gets the most light beams, Lower Antelope Canyon gets some at certain times of the year and Canyon X get no light beams.
If one of your priorities is to see them you’ll want to visit Upper Antelope Canyon.
If you can’t decide and you have more time in the area, by all means, visit both. It’s sometimes nice to visit both to be able to compare the two.
Antelope Canyon X Tours
To visit Antelope Canyon X or any other slot canyons in the Page, Arizona area, you will need to book a guided tour through one of the tour operators that offer access to these canyons.
These tours typically provide valuable insights into the geological features and photography opportunities within the canyons.
You cannot visit Antelope Canyon yourself, without a tour. The Canyon is protected by Navajo Parks and Recreation which only allow authorized tour companies to take visitors into the canyon.
Unlike Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon, there is only one company offering tours into Canyon X. This makes things easier in a way, as once you’ve decided you want to visit Canyon X, you don’t need to research and decide on a tour company.
The tour company offering tours into Antelope Canyon X is Taadidiin Tours. They offer a few different types of tours you can book to see Canyon X.
Taadidiin Tours only does tours to Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon. They do not do Lower and Upper Antelope Canyon Tours. For Upper Antelope Canyon Tours click here.
Antelope Canyon X Hiking Tours
Antelope Canyon X Hiking Tour is the most common Canyon X tour. This is the general tour of the canyon that involves a walk down into the Canyon and through two slot canyons.
Don’t be discouraged by the word ‘hiking’- this is not a strenuous or long hike by any means, especially for those with good levels of fitness and mobility. The descent is very gradual and once in the canyon, it’s pretty much flat at the bottom of the canyon.
On this Hiking Antelope Canyon Tour, you’ll descend down to the canyon with your group and your guide will lead the way explaining everything from its history and formation to it’s Navajo significance.
Guides are also great at giving advice for camera settings so you can take the best photos.
To book this tour you’ll need to do so online here. If visiting during the peak summer months, make sure to book as soon as possible as Antelope Canyon tickets can sell out.
The Antelope Canyon X Hiking Tour lasts 1.5 hours and you are advised to arrive for check-in 30 minutes before your tour time.
Remember it’s best to visit as close to midday as you can to make the most of the maximum amount of light entering the canyon.
Antelope Canyon X Photography Tours
Another tour that’s offered is the Antelope Canyon X Photography Tour. This tour is the one to take if you want to take better landscape photos of the canyon with a tripod.
Due to the canyon’s depth and the little light in it, it’s pretty difficult to take brilliant photos of the canyon with a handheld camera. You’ll need to either really bump up your ISO leading to more grain or slow down your shutter as much as possible which could lead to blur with just the slightest movement.
The only way around this is a bring a tripod on your tour, which the photography tour allows you to do. You are not allowed to bring a tripod on the Antelope Canyon X Hiking Tour.
The photography tour is 3 hours long, giving you more time in the canyon to set up your tripod and photograph the best parts of it with plenty of time. It gives you time to play with bracketing, different camera settings and even any in-camera filters.
On this tour, you are able to take a camera bag with different lenses, batteries, SD cards and a tripod.
It’s worth noting that they are pretty strict with the type of photos you can take and limit this tour to just landscape photography i.e. photos of just the canyon. Any special occasion, portrait or staged photos aren’t allowed which includes Instagramy-style photos with a model.
The photography tour is quite a bit more expensive which is why most people do just the hiking tour and bring their cameras to take handheld photos.
* Don’t forget to add the photography tour extension.
Antelope Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon Combo Tour
Taadidiin Tours also offers tours to the less popular Cardiac Canyon. Cardiac Canyon is another beautiful slot canyon in the area but it’s much smaller than Antelope Canyon Page Arizona at just 2.5 miles in length.
Cardiac Canyon is not a popular slot canyon at all, so if you decide to visit, you’ll most likely be the only tour group there. It’s a great option for those who want to visit an Arizona slot canyon without any crowds at all. Tour group numbers for this tour are also very low.
One of the best tours is the Antelope Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon Combo Tour which is a 6-hour tour to both Canyon X and Cardiac Canyon.
This tour involves quite a bit of hiking, so it’s best suited for those able to hike 4 miles without issues.
Best Tour of Antelope Canyon X
It’s hard to say which of the above is the best tour of Antelope Canyon X. As they are all run by the same company, the structure and information you receive from the guides will be very uniform.
Which Antelope Canyon X tour is best for you will depend on your interests (if you’re not interested in photography for example, don’t do the photography tour), your budget and the time you have to visit Antelope Canyon.
What to Expect When Visiting
This is what you can expect from your visit to Antelope Canyon X when taking the Hiking Tour which is what we did.
Once you’ve made your reservation online ahead of time for the tour you desire, you’ll need to make your way to the Taadidiin Tours Meeting Point. You can find this here on Google Maps.
The meeting point is 12.5 miles from Page, AZ and it takes 15 minutes to get there from Page.
You need to arrive at the meeting point 30 minutes before your tour start time to check in.
After everyone on your tour has gathered you’ll follow your guide, in your vehicle, to near the Canyon X entrance where there is a small parking lot to leave your vehicle. You’ll need to leave all your bags in your vehicle here.
Your group will gather for a quick briefing before heading down into the canyon to begin the tour.
Your guide will explain all about the history of the Canyon and how it formed over millions of years. You’ll learn more about the area’s geology, geography and about Navajo culture and the significance of the canyon.
You’ll walk through two different slot canyons which include both narrow sections and wider sections where water has eroded much more of the sandstone rock.
The whole hike lasts about an hour before you return to your car and drive back to the meeting point just off Highway 98.
Canyon X Need to Knows Before Visiting
↠ Arizona Time Zones – If you’re coming in from out of state, you’ll need to pay particular attention to the time of your tour and the local time in Arizona. Arizona runs on MST and it does not follow daylight savings, however, Navajo Nation runs on MDT which does observe daylight savings.
This can get really confusing if you’re travelling to Arizona between March and October.
Also, if you’re visiting Arizona, Nevada and Utah on one trip, make sure to double-check the time of your tour and check your clock is set to the correct time. Your Canyon X tour will be in local Navajo Nation Time.
↠ You cannot bring any type of bag into the Canyon with you so it’s best to leave it in your car. You can take your cell phone, camera, an extra layer in case of cold weather and some water. Any hand-held object is fine but the less you take the better as you’ll need your hands free for taking pictures.
Because of this, I’d highly recommend wearing clothing with pockets. Having a jacket with pockets or jeans/cargos with pockets means that you’ll at least be able to pocket your phone when taking photos with your camera.
↠ Bring lots of water, especially in the summer months. It can get very hot in Arizona in the summer months, even in the shade of the canyon. Make sure to bring water with you and stay hydrated.
↠ Navajo Permit Fee – Apart from the cost of the tour, you’ll also need to purchase a Navajo Permit when you arrive. The fee is $8 per person and this needs to be paid in cash so make sure you have some with you before leaving Page. Everyone over the age of 8 needs to pay this fee.
↠ The trails at the bottom of the canyon are sandy, dirt trails. Make sure to wear sturdy and comfortable footwear for your tour. You definitely don’t need hiking boots- sturdy sneakers are enough, but you’ll probably want to avoid wearing sandals or tennis shoes.
Where to Stay Near Canyon X
The nearest place to stay to Antelope Canyon X is Page, Arizona. Here you’ll find many different types of accommodation and restaurants to visit before or after your tour.
One of the best things we did was to visit Horseshoe Bend for sunrise, come back to Page to have breakfast and then head to Antelope Canyon after that.
You can also spend the night in Flagstaff just note that this is further away and you’ll need more time to get to Antelope Canyon X on the day of your tour.
Here are some of the best hotels in Page and Flagstaff.
Courtyard Page at Lake Powell – One of the best hotels in Page, located close to the Glen Canyon Overlook. You’ll find brightly furnished rooms, gorgeous desert views and a pool to cool off in after a day of adventure. Book a stay here.
Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell – Everything you might expect from a Hyatt property yet this one has a superb location with stunning desert views. Rooms are modern, there’s a great pool area and lots of cosy, outdoor nooks for a drink at sunset. Book your stay here.
High Country Motor Lodge– A stunning, design-focused lodge with a chic southwestern feel, this is a great option in Flagstaff. We love the sauna and cool bar for a lovely way to end the day. Book it here.
I hope this post has helped you to plan your trip to Antelope Canyon. Have any questions or comments about your trip? Let me know in the box below.
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