There are plenty of slot canyons scattered across the Southwest, but Antelope Canyon is arguably one of the most popular to visit. Its’ tall walls, narrow passages, and vibrant colors make it one of the most sought after for photographers and travelers from all over the world.
If you’re looking to miss the crowds and experience the canyon a different way, then kayak Antelope Canyon from Lake Powell! This all day adventure allows you to kayak through part of the canyon, dock your kayak where the water ends, and hike into it on foot.
In this post I am going to cover how to get to Antelope Canyon from Lake Powell, safety considerations, and extra things to consider so you have a safe and enjoyable adventure.
ABOUT ANTELOPE CANYON
First, let’s get aquatinted with the rich history of the canyon itself. Antelope Canyon is located in Page, Arizona and is categorized as two parts- an Upper Canyon and Lower Canyon. It sits on land that belongs to the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation. They made Antelope Canyon a Tribal Park in 1977 and have been giving tours since.
Antelope Canyon is known as “the place where water runs through rocks” by the Navajo Nation because that is essentially how it was formed. Water ran through the sandstone for hundreds of years, carving its way to make the shapes we see today. The walls of the slot canyon rise up to 120 feet high in some parts!
If you enter the slot canyon from Lake Powell, it isn’t likely that you’ll get far enough to see views much like you would from the tours. The extremely unique part of the canyon is reserved for the Navajo tours. However, it still is worth it!
Since we’ll be on tribal land, please continue to be very considerate and practice the leave no trace principals.
ADVENTURE LOGISTICS + SAFTEY
There is definitely a level of preparation to take before embarking on your kayaking adventure. Kayaking to Antelope Canyon is not a last minute adventure. It can be difficult to secure kayak rentals during the busy season, you need to be mindful of any chances of rain, and the wake created by boats and jet skis is very rough.
I’ve listed below all of the details I feel are important to consider before starting your adventure!
BEST TIME TO KAYAK ANTELOPE CANYON
I think we can agree that kayaking is most enjoyable during great weather. Lake summer and early fall are the busiest, yet best times to be out on the water at Lake Powell. Why? Because the outside temperatures are warm and the water has had time to warm up itself!
If you don’t care about the temperature and aren’t going to swim during your adventure, I’ve heard that winter is a great time to also kayak to Antelope Canyon. There are less people and boats which means no crowds or wake!
The time of year you go just depends on your personal preferences. Keep in mind that if you don’t have your own kayaks you may have difficulty securing a rental during offseason. The group who told me they went in January said they were able to find ONE rental who was willing to operate still!
Pro Tip: I suggest starting early in the day such as 8 a.m. to try to make it back before the late afternoon wind and weather changes roll in.
HAVE A LIFE JACKET
The #1 most important thing is to have a life jacket with you. It does not matter how good of a swimmer you are, accidents happen. The wake from Antelope Marina to Antelope Canyon can be very rough if there are other boats and jet skis on the lake, and if there is any wind.
If you are considering paddle boarding to Antelope Canyon I’d highly suggest against it unless it is offseason and you are certain the wake will not be strong. I can’t imagine having been on a paddle board when I went!
CHECK THE WEATHER
Checking the weather before you go is essential. This will not only help you plan what to wear, but also make you aware if rain or wind is to be expected. You never want to be inside a slot canyon if it is raining, even if it is raining miles away from you! The flashfloods can reach Antelope Canyon from miles away, and yes they do get them here!
CAUTION: It is extremely dangerous to be inside a slot canyon during a rainstorm. No matter if you are hiking or on the water, you’ll want to check the weather in and around Page, AZ for it can rain elsewhere and still flood down to Antelope Canyon.
TELL SOMEONE YOUR PLANS
Lastly, it would be a good idea to tell someone your plans and when you expect to return by. When my group visited we told our kayak rental owner when we expected to be back, plus he had a specific last pick-up time we had to be back for.
GETTING KAYAK RENTALS
If you have your own kayaks to bring, great! But if you need rentals, there are several places in the area you can rent from. I do suggest booking as far ahead in advance as possible, though, because they get completely booked during peak seasons!
I’ve had a great experience renting from WazSUP Kayaks. Bill was extremely accommodating to our last minute rentals and for a fee he even dropped off our kayaks and picked them up for us at the marina. Bill gave us directions to Antelope Canyon, some tips, and provided us with life jackets and paddles also. Highly recommend!
WHAT TO PACK
Below are some things I found helpful to pack during my adventure. I chose to take my hiking pack with me and store everything inside.
- Life Jacket
- Hat, sunglasses, and/or sunscreen
- Waterproof phone pouch
- 2L of water
- Layers over swimsuit
- Waterproof shoes
KAYAK ANTELOPE CANYON FROM LAKE POWELL
FINALLY what you’ve been waiting for- the low down on the kayaking adventure. Below are maps giving you an overview of where you’ll be going. The first map shows you where you’ll be embarking on your adventure in comparison to Page, Arizona.
Where you’ll begin your adventure: Antelope Point Launch Ramp.
Kayaking Distance: Roughly 7 miles RT
Time: Typically 5-6 hours
Entry Fees: $30 per car for the day unless you have the America The Beautiful pass!
Parking: Free and available up the hill from the ramp.
The second map shows you the route from the Antelope Point Launch Ramp to Antelope Canyon. It is roughly 1 mile from the ramp to the entrance of the canyon.
The entrance will be the first on your left and marked so it is easy to see. Once you start kayaking down the canyon you’ll just go as far as the water takes you, dock your kayak on the sand bar, and begin hiking!
When my group kayaked Antelope Canyon we got a late start and it was on a stormy day, which is not recommended! There were plenty of other people out on the water at the same time so we kept a very close eye on the weather and played it by ear the entire time.
It was sunny and beautiful when we first launched from the Antelope Point Launch Ramp and headed towards the canyon. The wake wasn’t too terrible at this time so it was relaxing being able to just paddle and watch people jumping from the rocks.
After about a mile we reached the entrance to Antelope Canyon. It was easy to spot because the entrance is wide and the first left turn you can take from the launch point. The sign at the entrance helped too!
Boats and jet skis can make it into the canyon also, but are suppose to go 5 miles per hour because it is a no-wake zone. Everyone we encountered during our adventure obeyed, so hopefully they do for you too!
At first Antelope Canyon is wide and the rock walls are tall, but not towering over you. As you continue to kayak deeper into the canyon the walls gradually grow taller and narrower, enclosing in on you. At this point the stormy clouds started getting worse and we felt a few sprinkles. We took a chance to proceed since plenty of other people were too.
We didn’t want to stop paddling because it seemed like after each corner the views got better and better! Paddling as fast as we could through the canyon, we finally reached the end and were able to dock our kayaks with the others.
It was decided that we’d walk about 1/2 mile into the canyon then turn back since we weren’t sure about the weather. We took our life jackets with us just to be safe. Again, we didn’t want to stop because the views kept getting better and better! The further you travel up the canyon the more enclosed it becomes.
You can hike for miles, almost up to the point where they have Antelope Canyon blocked off for tours. I can only imagine the slot canyon gets more interesting the further you go. If you do kayak Antelope Canyon and proceed to hike, I suggest leaving plenty of time for hiking a couple miles in!
Once we made it back to our kayaks it did start sprinkling enough to the point where we were getting wet. We paddled as hard and as fast as we could to get out of the canyon, but people were still docking and hiking as we were leaving! I’m glad we left when we did, though, because the afternoon weather only got worse.
Kayaking the wake area back to the launch ramp was tough with the wind and waves from boats combined. The best I can compare it to would be kayaking on an ocean with waves. They were strong and kept turning us in different directions. People were getting pushed up against the rocks on the side.
My group and I just kept paddling as best as we could through the waves all the way back to the launch ramp. It was exhilarating and frightening at the same time because I didn’t want to tip over, but I always love a challenge!
THINGS TO DO NEAR ANTELOPE CANYON
Since you’ll be in the area, a stop by Horseshoe Bend is a must! Its just a short 1.5 mile round trip walk from the parking lot to the peer down at the Colorado River where it carved out a horseshoe shape in the canyon.
Recently they’ve revamped the area and are now charging an entry fee of $10. There is more organization to the parking lot with the addition of vault toilets and a path to the viewing point over Horseshoe Bend.
Watching the sunset here is bucket-list worthy!
Whether you want to camp on the beach or post up for a day and play in the water, Lone Rock Beach is a fun place to be during the hot months. Camping is permitted just about anywhere in the park, even right at the waters edge! It is recommended to have a 4×4 vehicle if you want to drive down to the water, but if you don’t have one you can park up by the restrooms and walk down.
LAKE POWELL DISPERSED CAMPING
If you’re looking to camp in the area you can also try dispersed camping anywhere in the Glen Canyon Recreational Area. One of the most beautiful points is Alstrom Point. You’ll need a high clearance 4X4 vehicle to access this remote location and know how to drive on some rough back roads. But the sunrise here is worth every bump!
To learn more about camping in the area click here.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON KAYAKING ANTELOPE CANYON
I’ve visited Antelope Canyon three times- twice to take the walking tours, and once to kayak the canyon. To me, kayaking Antelope Canyon was the most thrilling way to experience it! Being able to be out on the water and hike a portion of the slot canyon seemed like the best of both worlds.
Even though the wake was rough and somewhat frightening on the way back, I still want to go back and kayak it again. Except next time I’ll be sure to have better weather and enough time to hike deeper into it!
As always, please be considerate of the environment so we can keep enjoying it and remember to leave no trace.
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