There aren't many slot canyons in Arizona but you can certainly visit some of the most famous ones. So let's see which are the main and most easily accessible.
There are some general recommendations to keep in mind before entering one of these canyons, we talked about them more in depth in our article dedicated to American slot canyons.
- Antelope Canyon: Upper, Lower e…
- Water Holes Canyon – Secret Canyon
- Arizona Hot Springs Canyon
Antelope Canyon: Upper, Lower e…
Let's start right from Antelope Canyon, the most famous slot canyon in the United States and perhaps even the world. It is located near the town of Page and is part of the Navajo reservation. To be able to visit it, booking is mandatory and, given the large influx of tourists, it is advisable to move in advance.
In fact, there are two distinct slot canyons: theUpper Antelope (the most famous and visited one) and the Lower Antelope (slightly more challenging to visit, but less crowded). I also point out also one third section of Antelope Canyon, formed in turn by two different slot canyons (North and South): its name is Antelope Canyon X and, although a few kilometers away from the most famous, it is an integral part of the same gorge and is an excellent alternative to the other two, offering almost the same spectacle and a less chaotic situation.
If you want to find out all the information you need to organize your excursion, you can read our in-depth study entirely dedicated to how to visit Antelope Canyon.
But these are not the only slot canyons in the area. In a radius of a few hundred meters away you can also visit, always only and only by booking a tour, well three more slot canyon, each with its own particularity. These are:
- Owl Canyon
- Mountain Sheep Canyon
- Rattlesnake Canyon
The great advantage of visiting these somewhat unknown slot canyons is to have less crowds of tourists around you which will allow you to fully enjoy the place. The disadvantage, as mentioned, is that they can only be visited by purchasing a special tour, which is not exactly cheap. Furthermore, this forces you to plan ahead.
Water Holes Canyon – Secret Canyon
This slot canyon is defined by many as the best alternative to Antelope Canyon, both for its beauty (in my opinion, however, only similar and not the same) and for the fact that, being less crowded, it offers the opportunity to enjoy your excursion with greater peace of mind.
Before it was not necessary to book a tour, but you could access the Water Holes Canyon in complete freedom. Now instead (unfortunately) it is necessary to book a tour on site, not very cheap. However, you can find all the information on how to reach it by reading our article on Waterholes Canyon.
Arizona Hot Springs Canyon
This slot canyon is located within the Lake Mead Recreational Area, just south of the famous Hoover Dam. It can be accessed via a 4 kilometer trail (one way) that starts from a dedicated parking area along Highway 93, located just over 5 and a half kilometers away. south of the dam.
After about 600 meters from the parking lot you will meet a crossroads from which two paths start: the White Rock Canyon Trail and the Hot Spring Canyon Trail which practically form a sort of loop joining along the banks of the Colorado River. However, I suggest you choose the second option as it is a bit shorter. However, keep in mind that you will have to face a difference in height of about 220 meters which contributes to making the path quite tiring and recommended only for those in good physical condition.
Most of the walk will be spent along the course of a large canyon, but the most spectacular and curious attraction of this slot canyon are the so-called Hot spring or small artificial pools of hot water that have been created between the high walls to prevent an excessive flow of water from pouring along the course of the path. The closer you are to the source, the hotter the water will become, even reaching a temperature of 40 °.
If you have followed the Hot Spring Canyon Trail, once you pass the pools, you will find a ladder that you can use to continue your journey to the bank of the Colorado River, where it will not be uncommon to find many moored canoes used by those who have preferred to use the course of the river to reach this area.
If you want to take this path, they are there some recommendations to keep in mind. You do pay attention to the heat which is particularly dangerous in this area during the summer months (so much so that officially the path is usually considered closed from 15 May to 30 September), also because for most of the walk you will be exposed to sunlight without even having a shadow area . So do not be fooled by the relative shortness of the journey and plan the excursion with due attention.
A further notice concerns the risk of bathing in swimming pools since the presence of a named protist organism has been found in the water Naegleria Fowleri which, in severe cases, can cause infections and death. The warning signs that you will see along the way therefore invite you to avoid letting the water of the pools into your nose or mouth.