Lower Antelope Canyon With Kids: What You Need to Know. It’s been on our Arizona bucket list for years, and we finally took a tour of Lower Antelope Canyon! Located a bit south of Page, Arizona, this world famous slot canyon offers visitors a chance to walk next to sandstone walls that have been formed by years of water and wind erosion. It’s truly mind blowing, and the best part? It’s totally doable with kids!
We went with Dixie’s Antelope Canyon Tours, mostly because the times available for tours matched best with our schedule. Their sister company, Ken’s Tours, is right next door and has equally good reviews so you honestly can’t go wrong with either option. You must pay for a tour to access Antelope Canyon, there is no self guided options. (You can access a portion of the canyon for free via Lake Powell, but this requires kayaking several miles to the entrance. We hope to do this option sometime in the future!)
Check in for tours is 45 minutes before departure time. We arrived about 30 minutes before, and had signed the waiver online as well, so we used the wait time to use the restrooms and apply sunscreen. Restrooms are port a potties just outside the main building. At 15 minutes before departure time, we joined our group tour right outside in a partially shaded area. A employee went over rules and guidelines, and then the group was divided into smaller groups of 15 people each and with a Navajo guide; if you booked multiple people in the same reservation, you will be kept together. Besides our personal group of six, we had a family from Switzerland, and a family from France!
Our guide took us on a 10 minute walk to the entrance of the canyon. He was very friendly, and kept us entertained with information about the history of the canyon, and what we might see during the tour. Questions are welcome! The walk was a mixture of sand and stone, and there was no shade. Once at the entrance, we had a shaded area to wait our group turn to descend in to the canyon.
Lower Antelope Canyon With Kids: What You Need to Know
This is where the fun began! There is a series of about 5 ladder sections, and the last one is steep so everyone descended backwards. The metal ladders are all very secure, with wide steps, and hand rails. Our 4 year old was a bit scared on the last section, and needed lots of encouragement, but she did great! Our 69 year old grandma was along and she had no issues either. No photo taking is allowed on the stairs and we can understand why – both hands are needed to safely descend the ladders.
Once in the canyon, we couldn’t stop being in awe of the gorgeous swirls of the canyon walls. It’s so other wordly and every bit as amazing as any pictures you might see! There are 8 sets of ladders to ascend as you go up the canyon, ranging from 4 steps to 12 steps. Some have rails, or you steady yourself on the canyon walls.
Our guide kept us on a steady pace, but we didn’t feel rushed. He was also excellent at giving suggestions for photo ops, and took family photos often. This was so helpful and appreciated!
The canyon tour took about 40 minutes, and the time flew by. Our 4 year old got a bit bored and just wanted to play in the sand half of the time. But at the end, when we ascended back to the top and looked back, it was amazing to realize that the large crack you could see was just the beginning of all the canyon beauty! Our 11 year old and 8 year old admitted they weren’t sure what to expect and thought it would be boring – but were completely wrong and loved every minute.
We took a short 7 minute walk back to our starting point at the main building, and said goodbye to our tour guide. Not every family gave a tip, but we felt our guide was outstanding and deserved it. We would 100% do this tour again, and we would definitely recommend this tour company!
Lower Antelope Canyon With Kids: What You Need to Know
Here are some tips and thoughts if you’re considering doing the Antelope Canyon Tour with kids:
- baby carriers are allowed! We didn’t see any on our tour, but the website clearly states it’s allowed. Hubby also carried our 4 year old on his shoulders a few times with no issues – just not on the stairs. He did half side carry her a couple times on the stairs to ease her fears.
- difficulty wise, it’s really an easy hike to the canyon, through the canyon, and back to the main building. The sand was easy to walk through. The stairs are the only potential issue, but again, the stairs are solid metal, the steps are wide, and there is no rush to descend or ascend. It was steep a few times, but felt safe. We’ve hiked steeper mountains before with no hand rails!
- is it good for young kids? Yes, if you’re willing to help them, or have them in a carrier. All ages are welcome. I wouldn’t have attempted it solo with three kids. But having another adult along was perfect. So maybe a 1:1 adult/kid ratio for littles, with kids ages 7 and up able to do great.
- check the website for what you can and can’t bring. Basically, only hats, water bottles, and cell phones are allowed. No bags or backpacks (even fanny packs), and no video taking is allowed. This last one was a bummer for us but after touring, we can see why. Hundreds of people tour the canyon every day, and taking videos slow down the system they have in place. Photos are good memories! And tip: for iPhones, make sure to have the Live Photo option turned on so you get a 1 second video as well as a photo!
- we took our tour at the end of July, at 1:45pm. We expected it to be warm, but with Arizona in a heat wave that month, it was 100 degrees. We don’t recommended this BUT it worked for our family by hydrating well beforehand, wearing hats, and hydrating well afterwards. Please use discretion when taking young kids and really, any person out in the heat for this amount of time. One girl in our group didn’t hydrate beforehand and started to feel dizzy and weak; she had to miss the tour and return to the main building with her mom.
- our total tour time was about 1 hour and 15 minutes, start to finish, not counting the 15 min orientation beforehand.
- cost was $55/adults, $35/child (ages 8-12) plus the Navajo Nation fee of $8/person and tax. It was $35/child (ages 4-7) plus tax only, no Navajo Nation fee. Ages 3 and under are totally free, but must be on the reservation.
- Page is located about 4.5 hours north of Phoenix, and 2 hours north of Flagstaff.
If you have further questions, please leave a comment and we’ll try to help! Overall, touring the Lower Antelope Canyon with kids was easier than we anticipated, twice as fun as we imagined, and ten times more beautiful in person than any photo could show!