Exploring Lower Antelope Canyon Geology

by | Jul 1, 2024 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

According to Geology Science, Antelope Canyon was formed through millions of years of erosion, primarily caused by flash floods. The canyon is located in the Navajo Nation near Page, Arizona, and is carved into the Navajo sandstone, a sedimentary rock formation that dates back to the Jurassic period, around 190 million years ago.

Continue reading to learn more about Antelope Canyon and how it is constantly changing before our eyes. Let’s dive deeper into the impact weather conditions have on its formation and transformation and how Antelope Canyon became what it is today.

A guide leading a kens tours group

Formation and History

Antelope Canyon’s walls are made primarily of Navajo Sandstone, a type of rock that originated from ancient desert sand dunes. These dunes were gradually compressed and cemented together, forming the stunning, smooth sandstone layers that we see today. The canyon’s age and unique properties contribute to the characteristic wave-like formations and vibrant colors, which have been further defined by wind and water erosion over time.

The weather plays a significant role in shaping and transforming Lower Antelope Canyon. Flash floods, in particular, rapidly alter the canyon’s interior. During monsoon storms, water rushes through the canyon, eroding the sandstone and deepening the canyon. These floods can also create new formations and smooth out existing surfaces. In addition to the wind, which also transforms the canyon by carrying sand particles that abrade the rock surfaces. 

People taking pictures in Antelope Canyon

Unique Features of Lower Antelope Canyon

The most captivating feature of Lower Antelope Canyon is the walls of the canyon and how they form smooth curves or striations. These striations are formed by varying layers of sediment and mineral deposits that create the colors and textures of the canyon walls. When you mix the sunlight and shadows constantly shifts the views from inside the canyon. As sunlight streams through the narrow openings at the top of the canyon, it creates beams of light that change the color of the stone from soft oranges and pinks to deep reds and purples. The ever-changing light conditions make each visit to Lower Antelope Canyon a unique and unforgettable experience, showcasing nature’s artistry in its most enchanting form.

People walking in Antelope Canyon

Seasonal & Lasting Changes

Not only does the time of day create an entirely new scene inside of the canyon, but the seasons do, as well. In winter, the lighting is softer and more diffused due to the lower angle of the sun, casting gentler shadows and creating a more muted color palette on the canyon walls. While summer has more intense sunlight that dives deeper into the canyon. The result is an increase in vibrant hues and producing the iconic light beams that photographers and visitors cherish.

Depending on your comfort level with temperature, you may want to choose summer or winter based on how hot you’re willing to handle your tour! Winter temperatures can be cool, making it a comfortable time to explore the canyon without the heat. Summer does bring extreme heat, necessitating early morning or late afternoon visits to avoid the hot temperatures. Regardless of the season, the weather continues to change the canyon over time. Flash floods during monsoon season erode the sandstone, creating new formations and altering existing ones.

The continuous erosion and sediment changes mean that Lower Antelope Canyon is always changing. It looks like there’s no stopping the changes that we’ll see in the canyon, even across the next several decades! Overall, the canyon will remain recognizable, subtle changes will continue to happen. Meaning generations from now will see something different in the canyon that we won’t see today!

Man walking up stairs in Antelope Canyon

Beauty Can Sometimes Be Dangerous

One danger that Ken’s Tours is well aware of is flash floods. While flash floods can become deadly, they do hold a place in the constant erosion and creation of the canyon itself. Due to the dangers of flash floods in the canyon, Ken’s Tours takes any rainfall very seriously. The first way that we mitigate the danger is the installation of staircases to make exiting the canyon faster and safer than before. Not only that, but we will cancel and reschedule tours based on weather. We’ll notify you via email and will post updates on social media, as well. 

man taking photos in antelope canyon

Best Times For Photos

Taking photos of the canyon is one of the main reasons why people visit! Here’s some tips that we have for you when you visit: 

  • Mid-morning and mid-afternoon hours when sunlight filters into the canyon – creating those iconic light beams
  • Summer months will have more opportunities for capturing light beams
  • For less chances of crowds interfering with your photos, you might want to think about visiting during spring or fall 
  • Be sure to arrive early 
  • Your guide will point out some of the best spots to take photos, so be sure to stay close to your guide and ask questions along the way!


If you’re interested in booking a tour with Ken’s Tours, visit our booking page to learn more about our different tour packages!

Plan Your Visit With Ken’s Tours

When planning your visit, you can select from various bundles such as a half-day, full-day, or two-day experience. A half-day could consist of a guided walking tour through Lower Antelope Canyon via Ken’s Tours and a scenic horseback trail ride with Tower Butte Trail Rides.

To extend your adventure, consider adding a 2-hour boat excursion by LPX or exploring Mountain Sheep Canyon and Black Streak Canyon for a full-day experience.

Opting for the two-day option allows you to stay at Hyatt Place, indulge in elevated dining at Rimview Terrace, and kayak down the Colorado River with Kayak The Colorado, ensuring a comprehensive and unforgettable experience.

Here are some important safety tips to consider when you’re thinking about booking a tour with Ken’s Tours: 

  • Each tour is about an hour long.
  • Bring plenty of water, especially on hot days.
  • Wear closed-toed shoes. We recommend hiking boots.
  • Check the weather before the tour.
  • Understand signs of dehydration and be mindful while hiking for those signs.
  • Stick with your guides.

    Ready to visit Lower Antelope Canyon and experience it firsthand with Ken’s Tours? Our guides are ready and waiting to lead you through this natural wonder, while diving deeper in the cultural significance and geological history of the canyon. 

    Don’t miss the opportunity to witness the magic of Lower Antelope Canyon with your own eyes and take some amazing photos!

    If you’re interested in booking a tour with Ken’s Tours, visit our booking page to learn more about our different tour packages!

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