An AZ Canyon Visit During Covid

Canyons are deep gorges where rivers run, or once did flow, over and through rock with great water pressure. The weathering and eroding of the surrounding rock through hundreds of centuries created steep sides and often narrow passageways within what we ultimately refer to as a canyon. Even if a river is not currently flowing through a canyon, precautions need to be taken to assure yourself in not entering a canyon that may be subject to a flash flood while you are there. The rains may be happening a days worth and miles away upstream so always research the geography and weather of an area and/or hire a guide familiar with the canyon you wish to hike. Death can happen if you are caught in a canyon during a flash flood! 

I visited Lower Antelope Canyon in Page, Arizona during Covid; unfortunately we are still in the throes of that virus/pandemic these days. Entrance tickets to this canyon are only available from the Native American family business operating the canyon on tribal land. The Navaho were proud of the vaccination rate of their people, yet even so they operated their business at 35% of their usual capacity to keep themselves and visitors to the canyon safe. This allowed us to be in groups of 6 people and we were required to wear a mask at all times in the canyon; yes even while taking photos of each other. The rule was if anyone in the group of 6 took off their mask we all were not allowed to continue on the tour.

Lower Antelope Canyon is beautiful! When one thinks about a river flowing through for millions of years creating this geologic formation it is really amazing. On this tour we walked to the entrance and down a few flights of steps all on ladders. Within the canyon walls we were within narrow passageways and wider areas, but as we would look up the steep walls we knew we were walled in with sunlight peaking down on us in the majority of places.

So many beautiful spots to photograph and depending on the light it changes every minute. Here are a few more photos:

At the end of the canyon tour we climb some ladders and emerge from a crack in the ground. Notice the woman’s hat and the next photo it is the same spot without her there. Can you imagine so long ago looking over the landscape, seeing the crack and then wondering what was below? It is how they discover these places and I love imagining what I would feel like being the first explorer here …wow!

In the past I visited Upper Antelope Canyon. It too was beautiful! But, on a tour with 20 plus people there, I know I did not get the same sense of awe as I did in this canyon with a smaller group. With a large group it was difficult to hear the guide and really feel the space in the canyon. Our guide at Lower Antelope Canyon told us the business owners are considering their guide’s input to not return to the large groups when Covid is no longer a concern. Guides enjoy the smaller groups, especially when their goal is to be educational and informative, and there is no doubt in my mind the general public do too! If you get a chance to visit these canyons, do so and remember your camera!

Hope this gives you a sense of size!

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