A trip to the Slot Canyons of Arizona can be one of the most memorable experiences! Sridhar Thayur tells us more about the geological phenomenon of slot canyons in this article. 

Primarily crevices sliced through sedimentary rock, the slot canyons are narrow, deep, and with nearly vertical walls, formed by the action of rushing water. One such Slot canyon is the Upper Antelope canyon, located near the City of Page in the Arizona state of United States 


How are they formed?

The Slot canyons in the Arizona region of the United States are peculiar phenomena of Navajo sandstone. Erosion by water and the rubbing power of sand silt, and debris, for centuries is believed to be the reason for the formation. How much water, and at what speed, one can only speculate...These slots are typically very narrow but not too deep to prevent the sun from illuminating the passageways. The movement of light and shadows during the day produces fantastic, enchanting, ever-changing conditions. 


Inside the canyon...

Inside the canyon it is very cool, shady and silent .One can hear only the sound of birds fluttering or a bat's wings flapping which typically live high up in the canyon. The floor of the canyon is mostly flat and covered with fine sand. At times, expect some debris too! The canyon goes on, twisting and turning and at times it becomes so narrow that you need to take off your backpacks to squeeze through. Be prepared to even crawl through the obstructions! As you stroll through the Canyon, the amazing textures and formations of the sandstone leave you breathless!


What makes it splendid.. 

It is the canyons' deep red and bright orange color, its complex shape with amazing textures and patterns that mesmerize the eye. Since the canyon is narrow and twisty, there is very little view of the sky light from inside the canyon. Light can come only through the crevices/cracks on the top of the canyon, bouncing off the floor, then the wall and then another wall until a fantastic array of color is created. Every time, the Canyon looks different depending on the intensity of the light penetrating through the crevices.



Distant thunderstorms can produce flash floods even when blue sky prevails overhead. It was during July 1997, 11 tourists in the Lower Antelope canyon perished in a flash flood.


Never enter any Slot canyon when RAIN IS FORECASTED! The Upper and the Lower Antelope canyons remain closed to visitors whenever rain is forecasted.

Best time to visit the Upper Antelope canyon is around noon when the sun is high on the sky and the canyon is illuminated perfectly with fantastic colors.

It's mandatory to have a 4 Wheel Drive (4WD) as it is a dirt track and very sandy.


Visitors are penalized for failing to obey the instructions of the Navajo tour guides. It is a big deal here. A tourist was penalized $ 200 when standing on the canyon wall taking photographs!


Getting there.

Seeing believing! All the pictures displayed here are of the Upper Antelope canyon, which is about 20 minutes drive from the City of Page. The Upper Antelope canyon is easily accessible. It is not very long, and takes not more than 15 minutes to stroll from end to end. One can also visit the Lower Antelope canyon located close by. The lower canyon is a bit more adventurous and requires a ladder to descend down into the canyon. Visitors are not allowed inside the Upper or the Lower Antelope canyon on their own. Besides needing a permit, a Navajo guide will escort you at all times.


Slot canyons are one of the world's natural geological wonders that offer breathtaking beauty as well as stand testimony to the power of nature!