Antelope Canyon is the most well-known slot canyon in the United States! Most people are familiar with the tours that take you through two parts of the canyon: the upper slot canyon and the lower slot canyon. You must pay a fee and sign up for a tour time before being herded through the canyon with a huge tour party.
Most people are unaware, however, that you can kayak to a portion of Antelope Canyon. You can rent a kayak for the day and kayak across Lake Powell to get there from Antelope Point Marina.
In this guide, I’ll go over the benefits and drawbacks of kayaking Antelope Canyon, as well as the best ways to see the canyon, what to bring, and what to expect on your kayaking adventure! If you’re looking for more things to do in Page, AZ, check out this guide to the Best Things to Do in Page, AZ, which includes lesser-known slot canyons, photography inspiration, and bucket-list experiences!
Walking Tour VS Kayak Antelope Canyon
I’ve done both the walking tour and kayak Antelope Canyon, so I believe I’m able to make an informed recommendation! Both have advantages and disadvantages, but I don’t think you can go wrong with either! This slot canyon is breathtaking and an absolute must-see on your road trip!
walking tour of antelope canyon
In 2018, I went on a lower Antelope Canyon walking tour with Ken’s Tours. This was my first visit to the canyon, and it certainly lived up to the hype!
When you sign up for a walking tour in advance, you will be given a time slot to arrive at the tour. Your tour party will consist of approximately 20 people who will accompany you as you walk through the canyon. Furthermore, you must share the canyon with other tour groups as well as Ken’s other tours. To put it mildly, you’ll feel like cattle being herded through the canyon!
However, the views of the canyon from the walking tour are unrivaled, and I will argue that they are far superior to those seen from a kayak in Antelope Canyon. The canyon will become more narrow as those lovely light rays shine into it.
I don’t believe the cost of walking Antelope Canyon is significantly higher than the cost of renting kayaks for the day.
Kayak Antelope canyon
When you kayak Antelope Canyon it is also less crowded! You can walk through the slot canyon on your own, without crowds, without a tour guide, and without being rushed. You are free to spend as much time as you like admiring the canyon!
While this section of the canyon isn’t as spectacular as the walking tour, it’s still incredible! Regardless of how you see the canyon, I guarantee you will be blown away.
Now for the drawback… In Lake Powell, the bulk of the kayaking route passes through a wake zone. That is to say, there are wakeboarding boats and jet skis flying by. The waves are strong (imagine ocean kayaking) and will make you feel as if your kayak is about to tip over!! It’s also a physically demanding kayak because you’ll be paddling across the waves AND upstream on your way back to the marina.
Let’s just say I’m in pretty good shape, and it was a tough time!
After having tried both, I would not suggest either, ha!
I would HIGHLY recommend renting a jet ski or a small boat to get to Antelope Canyon from Lake Powel if you have the extra cash (same way the kayaks go). You won’t have to paddle through the unpleasant wake zone, and you’ll be able to enjoy Antelope Canyon at your leisure, away from the crowds.
Taking a boat across Lake Powel rather than a kayak would save you a lot of time and resources, which you can put towards hiking deeper into the slot canyon. I wished I hadn’t been so exhausted from the strenuous kayaking and could have spent more time exploring the slot canyon at the time.
Jet skis and boats can be rented from the Antelope Point Marina, which also rents kayaks.
**Keep in mind that if you kayak on a day when the lake isn’t too crowded, it won’t be too difficult. I went on a Saturday, which meant the lake was clogged with boats.
Antelope canyon location
Antelope Canyon is in Northern Arizona, near the Utah state line, in the small town of Page. The canyon is very wide, and there are several access points, including one from Lake Powell! To get to this place, start at Antelope Point Marina (or the public boat ramp if you have your own boat/kayak) and walk left toward the slot canyon.
You’ll kayak in Lake Powel’s main area as well as the slot canyon area until the water becomes shallow enough for you to park the kayak and walk into the canyon.
Important Info about Kayaking Antelope Canyon
- It’s about 3.5 miles from Antelope Point Marina to where you’ll park your kayak (so 7 miles round trip).
- To kayak Antelope Canyon, set aside a full day – it will take about 2 hours to get to the part of the canyon where you can park your kayak and hike into the slot canyon. I say loosely that if it’s a windy day or there are a lot of boats at Lake Powel, getting through the wake zone can take a long time.
- You can walk through the slot canyon for several hours after you park your kayak. After about 20 minutes on the trail, the canyon narrows and you’ll see those stunning sandstone walls you’ve seen in pictures. I hiked for about an hour and a half before turning around.
- If you rent a kayak from the Antelope Point Marina, it will cost you $45 for the whole day.
- Reserve your kayaks ahead of time, particularly on weekends! As we arrived at 9:30 a.m. to check into our kayak rental, they had already sold out for the day. Kayaks can be reserved in advance here.
- Sunscreen packets are a must-have. They’re about the size of a ketchup packet and make reapplying sunscreen a snap!
- First-aid kit for on-the-go! If you’ve ever kayaked for an extended period of time, you know how easily blisters can form on your hands. Bring at least a few Band-Aids with you!
- Waterproof speaker that is portable. Music always helps time fly by, and it will make your kayaking experience even more enjoyable!
- For your iPhone, a waterproof case is available. You want to be able to record your adventure without having to worry about getting your phone wet!
- Hiking Sandals that are Waterproof. I know these aren’t the most appealing stuff on the planet, but they’ll get your feet wet! You’ll also be hiking through a slot canyon, so you’ll need something sturdy.
- Shorts that are waterproof. These are my go-to water-resistant shorts for hiking, kayaking, and most adventure travel! They’re extremely flattering and extremely comfortable!
- A waterproof ballcap. This is my go-to hat, which is made by the same company as the waterproof shorts. It’s a little larger and protects my face from the light!
Kayaking Antelope Canyon
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of kayaking vs. walking tours, as well as some important information, let’s get into the specifics of the kayaking trip!
You’ll begin by checking into Antelope Point Marina and launching your kayak from their dock. I would suggest making a reservation for your kayak in advance because they do sell out!
You will kayak around the marina in a no wake zone once you leave the kayak dock. Enjoy it while it lasts.
You’ll soon arrive at the marina’s end, where it will become a wake zone, allowing boats and jet skis to travel at full speed and create waves! Keep to the left and kayak along the canyon wall; you’ll see other kayakers doing the same.
TIP: If you go early in the morning or on weekdays, you can have a much more enjoyable adventure! There will be less boats and jet skis, making your kayaking experience even more pleasant.
To get to Antelope Canyon, simply turn left and drive for around 1-1.5 hours before you reach the canyon’s entrance. Around the lake, there are beaches to visit, cliff jumping spots, and other boat ramps, among other things. When you arrive at the canyon’s entrance, you’ll notice a no-wake sign and a large number of people turning into the vicinity.
Kayaking will be a lot of fun once you get to this stage!! This is a no wake zone with some shade and the canyon walls narrowing, making for a beautiful and quiet kayaking journey.
You’ll paddle for about 30-45 minutes more before you enter a shallow beach area deep in the canyon. This is where you’ll find a place to put your kayak on the beach and start hiking!
Antelope Canyon is an out-and-back trail, which means you can hike in for as long as you want, then turn around and hike back out the same way. The canyon is deep, and you can easily spend several hours hiking through it before turning around! Before turning around, I hiked for about 30 minutes (until the canyon started to narrow).
If you rent a boat or jet ski, you can arrive at the canyon much quicker and will be able to spend more time enjoying it – this is what I would suggest!
It’s time to get back in your kayak and head back to the marina after you’ve finished exploring the canyon! Keep in mind that as the day progresses, the lake will possibly get busier (resulting in more waves), and you will be kayaking upstream. On the way back, be prepared to take some breaks and rest at a beach.
Overall, kayaking through Antelope Canyon was a fun adventure! If I hadn’t done it on a weekend, I think I would have appreciated it a lot more. The lake was very crowded with boats and jet skis, making kayaking very challenging. I’d love to learn about your experience if you go for a quieter day in the comments!