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If there’s one thing I’ve learned since moving to Las Vegas, it’s that the city is more than just casinos, clubs, and dazzling lights—it’s a gateway to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the American Southwest. 

And guess what? Some of the best sights are just a few hours drive from Las Vegas, like Lower Antelope Canyon, which is a perfect day trip or weekend getaway for adventurers and nature lovers. If you love roadtrips, you are going to love this tour!

Beautiful formations inside Lower Antelope Canyon

In this blog, I share…

  • what is Antelope Canyon?
  • my honest review of Max Tours
  • my experience taking an Antelope Canyon Tour from Las Vegas
  • tips for getting the most out of your experience
  • quick comparison of Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon
  • alternative overnight 2 & 3 day tours exploring even more famous Southwestern sights
  • pros and cons of this tour to see whether or not this tour is for you

This is a brand collaboration with Max Tours. As always, all opinions are my own.


Before we dive into my experience with Max Tours’ Antelope Canyon day trip tour, let me answer some popular questions.

What is Lower Antelope Canyon?

Located in Arizona, Lower Antelope Canyon, is a breathtaking slot canyon formed over millions of years ago by the erosion of Navajo sandstone, primarily through flash flooding and wind.

Known for its narrow, twisting passageways and stunning light patterns, Lower Antelope Canyon offers a more intimate and adventurous experience compared to Upper Antelope Canyon.

When is the best time to visit Antelope Canyon?

Tickets often sell out well in advance during the peak months of May to September. To avoid the crowds, consider visiting between November and March. For the best lighting and colors inside the canyon, tours between 11 am and 1:30 pm are recommended.

My Antelope Canyon Day Trip Tour from Las Vegas

If you’ve come across Lower Antelope Canyon online, you already know what an incredible creation Mother Nature has gifted us.

There are two different parts of Antelope Canyon: Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon

On this tour, you will be visiting Lower Antelope Canyon, which has been made famous by a photo taken by Peter Lik that sold for $6.5 million, setting a world record for the most expensive photo ever.

Peter Lik's $6.5 million photo, the most expensive photo in the world, taken inside Lower Antelope Canyon

Why Book with a Tour Company

For those who love road tripping but prefer to let someone else do all the work, booking with a tour company is great because they do all the navigating and driving. 

I’m personally not a fan of driving. So much so, that if you gave me a Lambo, it would be nothing but a shiny piece of art in my driveway.

So, when Max Tours invited me to experience their Lower Antelope Canyon guided tour with transportation included, well, it was a no brainer. Not to mention the lunch and snacks included. 😉  

They also plan the entire itinerary for you. All you have to do is show up, sit back, have a snack, and enjoy the views.

The Tour Begins

Your journey starts in fabulous Las Vegas, where you’ll hop in Max Tours’ cozy van with yummy drinks and snacks to set off for Arizona. You’ll take a roadtrip through 3 different states on your way to Antelope Canyon. 

Once we met with our friendly tour guide, Liz, she gave us the rundown of how the day would go and offered something to eat and drink right from the start. Our van was in good condition with AC and plenty of leg room, so we felt comfy. Then it was time to set off on our roadtrip for Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell. 

Snacks on the Max Tours van

Most of us were a bit tired so Liz turned down the lights and we all took a little nap. We had a long drive ahead.

Tour Length

The Lower Antelope Canyon tour I did was 15 hours from pick up to drop off; the longest tour that Max Tours currently offers. Total drive time is 10 hours (5 hours there, 5 hours back) covering over 500 miles. Then, 5 hours of exploring between the destinations.

Because of the length of time it takes to do this tour, you won’t be picked up / dropped off at your hotel like their other tours. For this tour, you’ll meet at Paris on the Vegas strip at 7:00 AM and you’ll be dropped off around 10:00 PM. It’s a long day, giddy up!

The Drive

Along the way, you’ll see some pretty stunning landscapes across 3 states (Nevada, Arizona and Utah).

Throughout the drive, we also stopped at truck stops frequently for bathroom breaks. You can also use the time to buy more food or charge your phone. Your van will also have USB charging ports. 

Carl Hayden Visitor Center, Arizona

Your first “bonus stop” is to witness Glen Canyon Dam at the Carl Hayden Visitor Center. Here, you can learn about the dam and see cool dinosaur fossils. 

The observation platform juts out over the dam giving a great view from above. You can also walk to and stand on the Glen Canyon bridge.

This is also a rest stop, so you can buy souvenirs, use the restroom, or charge your phone. 

After we hopped back in the van, we were just a few minutes away from Antelope Canyon bordering Utah and Arizona. You’ll be on the Arizona side. 

FUN FACT

Lower Antelope Canyon is known as Hasdestwazi in Navajo, meaning “spiral rock arches.” Often referred to as “The Corkscrew” because of its twisted walls, this canyon is V-shaped, with a narrow base that widens at the top. The wider opening at the top allows more light to penetrate, making the canyon brighter inside.

Arrival at Antelope Canyon

Welcome to Navajo Nation! 

Antelope Canyon is one of those places you have to visit at least once in your life. Hidden beneath an unassuming rocky desert plain, it is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. 

Think: Jurassic Park meets Star Wars meets Indiana Jones.

After our Max Tour driver/guide handed us off to our Antelope Canyon tour guide, we were off on an adventure! 

The Walk

To access the canyon, you walk on a short trail until you join a queue of other tour groups waiting to get down a series of stairs. Each tour group has their own time slot which helps keep things organized, giving you more time to spend in the canyon without crowds of people obstructing your views. 

Once it’s your group’s turn, you climb down a series of steps until you’re down in the canyon. There are also stairs throughout parts of the canyon, which kind of makes it feel like a fun maze.

Famous Rock Formations

The whole hike once inside Lower Antelope Canyon is roughly 1.1 mi and is mostly flat, although there are parts where you will be walking up and down stairs to access the rest of the canyon.  

Once you’re down in the canyon, you’re surrounded by beautiful, colorful rocks made of Navajo sandstone, twisting in unique patterns and spirals. 

The snake-like maze through the canyon is often so narrow that you have to walk in a single file line. All around you, you are surrounded by these towering, dramatic rock formations which are out of this world!

Many of the rock formations resemble realistic things and are given names to match like “Lions Head”, “Sunrise over the Rockies” and “Lady in the Wind”, which, if you have a good guide, they will point out to you.

an interesting rock formation called Sunrise over the Rockies
“Sunrise over the Rockies”

I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing. It’s easily one of the most epic landscapes I’ve seen in the US. It’s amazing to think that it took millions of years to create this stunning masterpiece. 

Our guide was a former geography teacher, which was so cool. She was spouting fun facts left and right. It made the experience so much more enjoyable.

Every now and then, you’ll have to cover your eyes from the sand when it gets windy. When I came home, I found so much sand in my hair!

Taking Photos of Antelope Canyon

At some point or another, you have no doubt seen a stunning TV or computer screensaver of Antelope Canyon by National Geographic and the likes without realizing it. You will have plenty of opportunities to take similarly gorgeous photos.

Our guide was quick to give us creative photo suggestions for different angles, pointing out unique rock shapes. She even gave us tips on how to use the settings on our phone to capture the best shots.

Just don’t expect to have a full-on photoshoot with outfit changes ladies. You’ll hold up the line. And for me to say that…. I love my outfit changes. There’s just not enough time.

The great thing about Lower Antelope Canyon as opposed to Upper Antelope Canyon is that the tour is just one direction. So, you won’t have people walking head on toward you. If you can get far enough ahead in the group, you can take some stunning shots with no one in them.

The land where the canyons are found is considered sacred to the Navajo people. Please be respectful and follow their rules. For Antelope Canyon, this means no videos. However, photos are allowed.

The crack in Antelope Canyon that people exit from

Exiting the Canyon

You don’t realize that the thin sliver of rocky desert plain that you passed by on the way to the canyon is where you’ll be exiting up through. You will need to wiggle your body a little bit to get out, but don’t freak out, you will. 😉 

Horseshoe Bend

After Lower Antelope Canyon, it was time to get back in the van and visit Horseshoe Bend.

What’s cool about this spot is that you walk along a swerving trail overlooking snowy mountains and rocky plains in the distance. But, you don’t see the “horseshoe” until you walk further down the path. 

Then, voila…. a massive horseshoe-shaped bend in the Colorado River. 

You’ll know you’ve reached it when you see a bunch of cavalier tourists dangling off high rocks and precarious ledges. Please don’t be one of these dingalings. I even saw a woman hanging her baby off. (eye roll)

Once you’ve reached the end of the path, there’s a safe observation platform that you can look out from. 

The contrast between the deep blue river and the fiery red cliffs is nothing short of mesmerizing, especially when the sun’s golden rays kiss the landscape during sunrise or sunset.

Lake Powell

Lake Powell is a reservoir on the Colorado River with yachts and boats aplenty. It’s also one of the top boating destinations in the world, although you wouldn’t know it at first glance. The water level has drastically declined over the years.

In the warmer months, you can go fishing, kayaking, paddleboarding or camping here. 

Our visit was more of a quickie stop. Here, you can take pictures and stretch your legs. 

Lake Powell

Is This Lower Antelope Canyon Tour for You?

Now that I’ve shared my experience visiting Lower Antelope Canyon, here’s more about the day trip tour to see if it’s for you. We’ll dive into what to look out for if you decide to go with a tour company, pros and cons of Max Tours, and how to get the most of your experience.

What I Liked About this Tour

When I choose a tour company, I like to do as little as possible. I want to literally hand over my money and have them do everything for me, haha. 

The thing I really liked about Max Tours is that their ticket was all-inclusive. They purchased tickets to attractions for us as well as provided food and drinks. 

Beautiful rock formations inside Lower Antelope Canyon

I also really like when a tour company goes above and beyond to give you an awesome experience. A good tour company will stick to the itinerary, but a great tour company will include some fun, unexpected bonus stops.

We loved our tour guide / driver because she used her knowledge of the best routes to take us on fun stops that weren’t included in the itinerary and told us fun facts along the way. 

When booking a tour company, make sure to choose one that is also conscientious of their guests’ safety. Max Tours limits the amount of hours their drivers can be on the road per day, which made me feel like we were in good hands.

Pros & Cons of the Tour

Pros

  • A variety of tour options

The great thing about this tour company is that they have several different tour options for visiting a given attraction based on your specific interests and preferences. 

For example, if you want to visit Antelope Canyon but don’t want to be in a van cramming 10 hours of driving in a 1 day tour, you can book a 2 day tour where you stay in a hotel room for a night instead like this Antelope Canyon + Hoover Dam 2 Day Tour.

They also have a “sleep in late” tour where you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn like a lot of other tours. 

If you’re even more of an adventurer, hell, why don’t you hit all the Southwestern stops? On this 3 day tour, you’ll see Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Monument Valley, and Antelope Canyon.

  • Small group tour

I also loved how intimate this experience was. All of Max Tours’ group tours are limited to a max of just 14 people. You can even hire the company for a private tour if you’d like.

Cons

  • Early lunch and no dinner

If I had one critique is that lunch was served a bit earlier for my liking. Therefore, there was a large gap between lunch and our arrival back in Vegas at 10:00 PM.

If one wanted to wait to have dinner when they arrived back to Vegas, it would be almost 10:00 PM, which is what we ended up doing since we didn’t like the truck stop fast food options. However, there are plenty of drinks and snacks to tie you over. They even let you take them home since there are so many left over.

Narrow path inside Lower Antelope Canyon
narrow passageways

Is this Tour for You?

This guided tour is for you if…

  • You like road tripping but don’t like driving, navigating, or planning.
  • You’re interested in learning about the area from knowledgeable guides.
  • You are comfortable with a long day trip, as the tour lasts approximately 15 hours. However, since we stopped a few times for bathroom breaks and to stretch our legs, it didn’t feel too bad. 
  • You don’t mind / are able to walk and navigate some stairs and narrow passageways.
  • You don’t like crowds
  • You prefer smaller, more intimate tour groups for a more personal experience.
  • You like the convenience of an all-inclusive tour that provides food and drinks.

Book your Lower Antelope Canyon tour and see what’s included here.

This guided tour is not for you if…

  • You want a shorter car ride. Luckily, Max Tours also has other great tours to choose from with shorter drives to the destinations. Book a 2 day or 3 day tour.
  • You have disabilities that prevent you from walking up/down stairs.
Geeves up against the sandstone wall at Lower Antelope Canyon

Which Tour is Right for You?

If Lower Antelope Canyon is not possible for you physically, consider trying an Upper Antelope Canyon tour, which, as I discuss below, is less demanding.

Lower Antelope Canyon:

  • Intimate Experience: Offers a more adventurous and personal experience with fewer tourists.
  • Crowds: Less crowded, allowing for more leisurely exploration and photography.
  • Cost: Cheaper than Upper Antelope Canyon.
  • Physical Demands: Involves descending stairs and navigating narrow, uneven passageways.
  • Photographic Opportunities: Unique light and shadow play on twisting sandstone formations.
  • Tour Duration: Tours last about 1.5 hours, providing more time to explore.

Upper Antelope Canyon:

  • Light Beams: Famous for its midday light beams, creating stunning photo opportunities.
  • Accessibility: Easier access with a flat, sandy floor, suitable for all ages and fitness levels.
  • Crowds: More crowded due to popularity, leading to a potentially rushed experience.
  • Cost: Generally more expensive tours.
  • Tour Duration: Typically shorter, around an hour.

While Lower Antelope Canyon is perfect for an adventurous, intimate experience with fewer tourists and unique photo opportunities at a lower cost, Upper Antelope Canyon is ideal for those seeking easier access, despite higher costs and larger crowds.

Recap

So there you have it.

Booking an Antelope Canyon Tour from Las Vegas is an amazing way to explore the Southwest’s best sights in a relaxed way without the stress of planning and organizing a trip.

If you book with Max Tours, they’ll handle the bookings, food/drinks, driving & navigating for you. All you have to do is book a tour with them.

You have a lot of different tours to choose from to see Antelope Canyon. A 1 day trip to Lower Antelope Canyon is great if you’re short on time, while 2 or 3 day overnight trips are great for seeing more sights and spreading out your adventures and time on bus.

To make it easier, here’s Antelope Canyon 1 day, 2 day, and 3 day tours you can book.

Tips to Get the Most of Your Experience

  • Be sure to bring a phone charger that has a USB port so you can charge your phone in the van. I kept having to run into the truck stop with my phone charger at 15 minute increments.
  • You have time to take photos, but don’t try to have a whole photoshoot. 
  • When you’re offered a restroom break, take it. Sometimes, there isn’t another one for over an hour.
  • Stay hydrated. The desert conditions are very dehydrating on your body, especially in the hotter months.
  • Wear sunblock and a hat
  • Wear comfortable shoes. You will be walking on a lot of uneven rocks and down flights of narrow stairs. If you get injured, it’ll take 5 hours for a helicopter to get you out of the canyon so…. there’s that.

What to bring/wear?

Dress in layers, it can get chilly in the desert. You’ll also want to bring a small backpack with the below essentials.

  • Sunscreen
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Phone charger
  • Camera
  • Medication

** Note that you can’t bring your backpack to Lower Antelope Canyon. You’ll leave it in the car.

Final Thoughts

Not only does Max Tours offer a great selection of guided tours to some of the most iconic and stunning destinations around Las Vegas and beyond, I also found the whole experience to be very straightforward and hassle free. The only thing you have to do is choose which tour you want. 

Needless to say, I am now a fan and highly recommend you book a tour with them. 

If you have any questions, feel free to leave me a comment below!

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