Antelope canyon is located on Novajo Nation land near Page, Arizona. It is one of the beautiful and most visited canyons in the United States. The Antelope Canyon is a ‘slot canyon’, formed by water gushing through rocks. Usually, a slot canyon is notably deep than wide with some canyons measuring around 1 m (3 ft) wide and 30 m (100ft) deep. The formation of a slot canyon depends on the type of rock and rainfall. Most of the slot canyons are formed in sandstone and limestone rock but in rare cases they are formed in granite and basalt too.
The Antelope Canyon was formed by the erosion of sandstone that occurred mainly due to flash flooding and other natural factors like wind and extreme climatic conditions. The rain water mixed with sand in the basins gushes into the narrow passageways. During this process, the passage erodes making it deeper and wider. The erosion, over millions of years smoothened the inner walls to display brilliant array of colors.
The Antelope Canyon has two parts :
Upper Antelope Canyon : It is also called ‘Tsé bighánílíní’ by the Novajo tribe, which means “the place where water runs through rocks”. This canyon has more visitors than the lower canyon since it is easily accessible. The entrance and the whole stretch are at ground level and doesn’t require climbing. It also has wider walkways. Another factor that attracts the visitors is it’s beauty. In some areas where sunlight passes through the opening and touches the floor, it displays a changing pattern and shadows of vibrant colors. The light beams can peek mostly during summer, March 20 to October 7 each year.
Lower Antelope Canyon : This canyon is also called ‘Hazdistazí’ which means “spiral rock arches”. It is in a ‘V’ shape and not as deep as Upper canyon, therefore not making the light beams penetrate effectively . This canyon requires climbing in some areas making it difficult to hike. It is longer than the upper canyon, narrower in some places and needs to take stairs to exit.