USA/AZ: Upper Antelope Canyon

Another absolute jewel of the American Southwest is the Antelope Canyon, located entirely in the Navajo sovereign nation (probably should count it as a separate country?). It’s a true slot canyon, where the distance between walls is mere feet, while the walls rise up high around you almost obscuring the sun. There are two sections of the Antelope Canyon – Upper Antelope Canyon (“the Crack”), and Lower Antelope Canyon (“the Corkscrew”). The Upper Antelope Canyon (this post) is very narrow and twisting but not particularly deep. When I first came here in 2000, there were no tourists and you could have the whole canyon to yourself, climbing and squeezing between walls. Nowadays there are ladders and tours are fully sold out every single day. The canyon is called Tsé bighánílíní, ‘the place where water runs through rocks’ by the Navajo, as the canyon is formed during annual flash floods when torrents of water rush at high speed through the canyon, sculpting its walls. Quite a few tourists died here in the past, caught by unexpected flash floods carrying debris and rocks. But it’s worth the risk (and going in the dry season), as this is truly one of the wonders of the world!