Beautiful but dangerous slot canyons

Upper Antelope Canyon Guide

Upper Antelope Canyon Guide

Western American slot canyons are spectacular. I have seen photographs; you probably have seen photographs.  I wanted to see one myself.

Canyoneering simply means exploring canyons.  But to the adventurous, it often involves remote locations, rappelling and swimming as well as hiking.

However, we are not going to rappel into a canyon. My body isn’t up to it.   Alie has had rheumatoid arthritis for 47 years.  But I really wanted to see one.

Utah and Arizona have wonderful slot canyons (very narrow passages) to explore. They are formed by rushing water cutting through the rock. But the flash floods that cut those slots can also kill.  Sometimes the rain is so far away hikers are not even aware it is happening.

Ancient steps carve in the rock.

Ancient steps carved into the rock.

Eleven tourists were killed in Arizona’s Lower Antelope Canyon in 1997.  Seven hikers died in Utah’s Keyhole Canyon last year.  The best defense is to check weather reports before going exploring.  Failing that, climb as high and as fast as you can.

When we reached Page, Arizona, we signed up for one of the many tours of Upper Antelope Canyon.  We chose it simply because it involved fewer stairs for Alie than Lower Antelope Canyon.  We were not aware of the 1997 deaths.

Upper Antelope Canyon is in the Navajo Nation, requires a permit and one can only see it with a guide.  Our tour guide was aware of the dangers and explained them to us even though there was no rain in the area.  With him along, it became merely a stroll down a sandy path.

But it was so wonderful.   These photos do not do it justice.  You have to see it for yourself.

Click on photos to enlarge.


About ralietravels

Ray and Alie (Ralie) are a retired couple who love to travel. Even during our working years, we squeezed a trip in whenever we could, often when we had to stretch the budget to do so. We have been fortunate to vacation in all 50 states, all the provinces of Canada and one territory and a little more than 50 countries. We like to drive, but we particularly love to travel back roads to find unusual sights, people, and experiences.
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8 Responses to Beautiful but dangerous slot canyons

  1. Pit says:

    Fantastic pictures: thank you. Even if you see they don’t give the real experience justice, I’m glad you posted them. They do give an impression of the beauty of those spots.
    Have a grea tweekend,


    • ralietravels says:

      Thanks. As we head toward the Arctic Circle, we will be losing signal, so it is likely my posts won’t be as regular for a few weeks — nor my chance to read about Texas BBQ, etc.


  2. Beautiful. And it is always wise to keep and eye out for weather in the desert. Seems a bit ironic. –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Claudette and Dan says:

    Photos are amazing. Thanks Ray.


  4. Ross Hollander says:

    Thanks for sharing. Truly amazing


  5. Will be in Arizona next spring and will definitely try and get a permit to visit one of these rare wonders. Great photos. David


    • ralietravels says:

      I am told vists to Antelope Canyon are restricted by the Navajo Nation to those led by tour companies. If you want to visit alone or in a small group, I would contact the tour companies and ask about it. If you are physically up to it, there are other canyons in the area not on Navajo land; check with the National Park Service.


  6. Pingback: An Interstate highway to love (or some of it). | RalieTravels

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