A lot of people don’t know this, but there are many alternatives to Antelope Canyon that aren’t just as beautiful if not better, but are also nearby to it. In this post, I’ll show you at least 7 of them (actually it’s 11 now).
Antelope Canyon has gotten a huge reputation for being “that spot” with the amazing canyon walls with sunlight coming through them, and at the same time like most major marketed spots like it, people seem to think that’s the “only” place where you’ll find such beauty, but once they plan a trip to see that, they may discover several disappointing things about it like I did.
Here’s what happened when I tried to visit Antelope Canyon for the first time:
In 2022, after visiting Monument Valley, I was driving south west through Arizona, heading towards Kanab (It’s in Utah) and during that drive, I was looking for easy hikes near me and stuff to sight see on the way. To my surprise, Antelope Canyon came up and it’s been a spot I had wanted to see for years.
Unfortunately when I arrived to the area where I could access Antelope Canyon, I discovered these 3 things:
- Antelope Canyon is on private land and only accessible via a special tour to it ($130 per person!).
- Antelope Canyon is extremely popular and often over crowded (you often don’t see pictures of that).
- And finally, some restrictions may limit your ability to visit this area.
Since I hate tours and crowded areas (you probably do too), I figured it wasn’t worth it and continued my drive and while I was disappointed at first that I couldn’t see Antelope Canyon, I got the idea to look up other places and very quickly discovered that there’s places like Antelope Canyon nearby and the more I researched these spots (and later explored many of them), the more I discovered there’s so many more places like Antelope Canyon that I could have imagined, and what’s why I documented them and put them in this article for you.
The long and short of what I continue to learn about these amazing spots that while yes, Antelope Canyon is an amazing sight to explore, it is simply “just” a very scenic slot canyon and if you know anything about the south west (Arizona, Utah specifically), you’ll know that there are TONS of slot canyons all across these states. And this is a perfect segue to our main topic:
Here are (now 11) Antelope Canyon alternatives (many near it):
- Antelope Canyon X.
- Secret Canyon.
- Cathedral Wash.
- Waterholes Canyon.
- Mountain Sheep Canyon.
- Rattlesnake Canyon.
- Owl Canyon.
- Antelope Canyon from Lake Powell.
- Red Canyon.
- Wire Pass Trail.
- Willis Creek Slot Canyon.
Most of these alternatives are anywhere from 30 minutes to 1 hour away (in diameter) to Antelope Canyon, and most of them look either exactly like it, or are far better in appearance. Let’s discuss each one in detail now:
1) Antelope Canyon X:
Guided tour required? Yes. Consider this company.
Distance: 1.5 hour tour.
Location: 10 minutes from the official Antelope Canyon tour spot.
Description: Make sure you include the “X” part if you decide to go here. It’s basically off the same road as you would take if you were looking to visit one or more of the guided tours to Antelope Canyon itself.
- Way less crowds.
- Lower costs ($65 per person to my knowledge).
- As good if not better than the regular Antelope Canyon.
In fact, if I were to give you a picture of both these places, I’ll bet you couldn’t tell me which is the original one and which is the Antelope Canyon X. That’s how similar these 2 spots are.
2) Secret Canyon (Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon):
Guided tour required? Yes.
Location: Also near the Page Arizona, Antelope Canyon area. This company does tours there.
Distance: Under 1/4 mile, maybe an hour tour.
Description: Secret Canyon is very close to Glen Canyon and the famous Horseshoe Bend tourist attraction (hence why it has it’s nickname is Horseshoe Bend Slot Canyon). It is also a very scenic area that bears a lot of resemblance to Antelope Canyon but also has better benefits.
- Also a ton less crowds (under 20 per tour).
- Also lower costs than Antelope Canyon.
- Looks very similar.
If you’re OK with doing guided tours but dislike large crowds, then is another awesome choice to visit.
3) Cathedral Wash:
Guided tour required? No (car fee to enter region is required though).
Location: This hike is located inside Marble Canyon Arizona.
Distance: 3 miles round trip.
Description: Cathedral Wash is the alternative hike I found and did after I decided to skip Antelope Canyon. It was only about 40 minutes away from it and I am very thankful that I did it! This is not a simple, family friendly hike but much more for adventure seekers (right up my alley). I absolutely fell in love with this hike and will totally do it again if I’m in the area (highly recommended).
- Extremely scenic hike!
- Also has a slot canyon section (doesn’t look much like Antelope Canyon though).
- Only 1 car fee required to enter (about $15 per car).
- Hardly any people there!
- No tour fees or guided tours (do it yourself).
- It’s in Vermillion Cliffs that also has tons of other beautiful hikes and adventures.
4) Waterholes Canyon:
Guided tour required? Yes ($80 per person last time I checked).
Location: This is another slot canyon not far from Antelope Canyon.
Distance: Under 1/2 mile.
Description: This particular alternative to Antelope Canyon gets mixed reviews (see this Alltrails page for details). Some say it’s great for checking out and others don’t think so highly of it (most of the Google reviews though are pretty positive and recommend visiting this particular slot canyon). Either way, it is another alternative slot canyon to consider exploring.
- Less expensive than Antelope Canyon.
- Also less crowded.
5) Mountain Sheep Canyon:
Guided tour required? Yes.
Location: 15 minutes south from Page Arizona but in order to get there, you would need to pay for a tour which starts outside the canyon, possibly in Page itself.
Distance: Under 1/4 miles.
Description: This is another alternative spot that gets mixed views from people, but it’s overall great for the same reasons every other spot on this list is to Antelope Canyon. You may find that this particular place is less “smooth” on the ground than others, but it still has similar features though.
- Of course, it’s cheaper.
- Another obvious one is that it’s less crowded because it’s much less known about.
The simple truth is, doing a Google search for “Slot canyons” in the same region as Antelope Canyon will bring up gems like this (and many others).
6) Rattlesnake Canyon:
Guided tour required? Yes, learn more here.
Location: Literally 2-3 minutes north of the Antelope Canyon entrance.
Distance: 1/4 mile.
Description: Firstly, the name of this spot might scare people but it’s not really like that. Second, there are several places across the US that have the name Rattlesnake Canyon and I’ve included a link to the specific one near Antelope Canyon. Overall, this particular spot closely resembles it and it’s one more to add to your list.
- Very beautiful spot.
- Less crowds too.
- Less costs for the guided tour than for Antelope Canyon.
- Same kind of smooth canyon walls as it.
7) Owl Canyon:
Guided tour required? Yes.
Location: Here is the location of Owl Canyon. It’s quite close to the other slot canyons above (and Page as well).
Distance: 1/4 mile. You can get tours to this spot from one of the many Navajo tour companies nearby (there isn’t a specific one for this particular area, but if you reach out to the nearby tour companies and mention this place, odds are there may be a tour deal available).
Description: There is more hiking involved in Owl Canyon than most of the spots on this list, but once more, it is another great alternative to Antelope Canyon. I won’t even list the benefits because they are still the same as any other option on this list (less crowds, less expensive and also scenic).
Obviously Antelope Canyon itself is the most famous out of all these spots for good reason (the lighting, the beams and so forth), but considering all the cons to visiting it, I would strongly recommend that if you are in this area, to not rely on ONLY making it to this specific area. Consider these 7 and also know that this region of Arizona has many adventures available in the form of other slot canyons and other cool things to do!
Update: More free alternatives to Antelope Canyon added!
I also noted that a lot of the original options still required you pay for a tour, so I found more options that didn’t and I’ve explored a few of them personally. And just in case you are looking to find out how I discover these spots, it’s actually pretty simple. I use a simple method I detail in the how to find easy hikes near me post. That’s how I was able to find many of these places.
8) Antelope Canyon from Lake Powell (alternative path to avoid the crowds/fees):
Guided tour required? No.
Location: Inside Lake Powell (I include the details in the description).
Distance: Varies but you have to either boat, kayak or jet ski to it from Halls Crossing Marina.
Description: This option will actually help you explore chunks of Antelope Canyon itself, but from the other end of it. To access it, you will need to first go to Lake Powell (usually Halls Crossing) and from there rent a kayak or jet ski and make your way to the back door area of Antelope Canyon.
This can be found on a map, and you will also likely encounter lots of other people who leave their boats/kayaks on the shore there. You will be able to disembark your boat and hike into Antelope Canyon that way and it will get more and more narrow as you progress deeper into it.
This alternative method helps you see the popular canyon from another end, but without having to wait in line, pay huge tour fees or just straight up miss the chance to do it because of all the red tape. But at the same time, this method isn’t that simple either so make sure you research the option ahead of time and know you’re ready to first go on boat, before reaching the right place to hike into Antelope Canyon.
9) Red Canyon in Kanab Utah:
Guided tour required? No, but you can hire guides if you want and there is an off road drive to get to the canyon here.
Location: 15 minutes north of Kanab Utah.
Distance: 4-5 miles.
Description: I would only recommend this specific slot canyon hike if you are heading west from places close to Antelope Canyon like the town of Page Arizona (and have a 4 wheel drive). Basically Red Canyon lies near another amazing gem of a town called Kanab and that’s in Utah.
Kanab houses tons of amazing places to explore and since this topic deals with Antelope Canyon alternatives, Red Canyon is the place you’ll want to check out for that. No tour is required, but the hike is moderate (several miles one way to get there).
Now this last choice is actually not very close to Antelope Canyon. In fact, it’ll take you about 2 hours to drive to it from the official Antelope Canyon area which is why I said that you should only go here if you’re actually heading in that direction, or maybe doing a road trip. Either way, if you have the chance, visit this hike and especially Kanab because you may find way more to do here than in the areas that surround Antelope Canyon!
10) Wire Pass Trail:
Guided tour required? No. But there is a $6 fee per person permit required ahead of time.
Location: The Wire Pass trailhead is located in a place called Grand Staircase Escalante, specifically the southern section of it. It’s a few hours from Page Arizona and you will need to drive on gravel road to get to this spot.
Distance: 3-4 miles.
Description: I love the Wire Pass Trail not just because it looks a lot like the Antelope Canyon areas, but also because:
- It is way more fun in my opinion to explore.
- You don’t have to pay crazy prices to get in (a permit is needed to get here, but it’s only $6 so you save a lot).
- The crowds aren’t as large (we barely saw 10 people on this trail).
- It’s actually right by the trail to the Wave.
- On top of that, the Wire Pass is itself a long and beautiful slot canyon which connects with other slot canyons so you just get to see and experience way more here than you do in Antelope Canyon.
I took a group of people here who originally wanted to see Antelope Canyon and they were astounded by this trail, so much so that they didn’t even want to go to Antelope Canyon after. Do know that there is a permit required for this hike and I included details on how to get it easily above.
Quick note about the Wave vs Antelope Canyon and which is better:
Since I briefly mentioned it above, I want to give you my take on this: When it comes to the Wave or Antelope Canyon, in this rare case I’d say Antelope Canyon is better because you can actually see it if you pay a high cost.
The Wave hike on the other hand is extremely difficult to do because of their lottery system. However there are also many different Wave hike alternatives that I also did a lot of research on where you don’t even need to pay to try out the other hikes! And if we’re comparing the alternative hikes to both the Wave and Antelope Canyon, in that case, I would say that all the alternatives are equally good to check out!
11) Willis Creek (Canyon similar to Antelope Canyon but has a different color):
Guided tour required? No.
Location: It’s about 4 hours from Antelope Canyon (it’s near Bryce Canyon National Park).
Distance: Up to 5-6 miles in and out.
Description: Not every alternative to Antelope Canyon has to literally look like it. If that were the case, it would get boring to see these spots and that’s why I mixed up this list and another awesome canyon similar to Antelope Canyon you should check out is Willis Creek Slot Canyon.
As you can see, it still has a similar slot canyon look and at the right morning hours, you will have the sun shine in a way to illuminate the canyon, but the color is different and that in my opinion gives this alternative more variety and more reason to see it. Instead of being red or brownish colored rock, it is more whitish and even yellowish peach in some spots.
This is also a very easy slot canyon hike in Utah to do with no permit or fee required to check out (it’s in Grand Staircase Escalante Utah). The only downside is that it’s very far from the official Antelope Canyon and so I’d only go here if you are exploring Bryce Canyon National Park or traveling through road 12, one of Utah’s best scenic drives (it’s worth it).
I will be adding more alternatives to Antelope Canyon to this list (add your suggestions below):
I’m always open to exploring new slot canyons and I know a lot of them look a lot like Antelope Canyon and even if they don’t, they are still incredible hikes and scenic destinations you should check out, also because most of them don’t have large crowds or huge (required) tour fees either.
Questions people ask about Antelope Canyon:
What is the best month to visit Antelope Canyon?
January through late February. Generally far less people travel through Arizona then, you will likely not have to wait in line and the weather is a lot nicer in the area.
Can you just go to Antelope Canyon without a tour?
The only option would be to access Antelope Canyon through Lake Powell, but for the official drive and hike there, you cannot go without a tour.
Is Antelope Canyon a hard hike?
Not at all. It’s less than a mile, very flat mostly and if you do a tour, you will get driven up to the canyon itself.
Is Antelope Canyon worth seeing?
If you don’t mind the lines, tours and fees then yes. But if you do, then see it from Lake Powell or check out nearby slot canyons that look like it.
Why you need to be careful when exploring many Antelope Canyon alternatives:
While I’ve included 11 options above and at least half of them are either easy to find and/or have their own tours, you should know that there are countless others around Arizona and Utah (1,000s). However, most of them are in very remote areas of each respective state which means a lot of them aren’t official hikes or trails so I would not recommend going to them unless you are experienced (you know the slot canyon, what to expect and are an expert at navigating there).