Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon situated on Navajo land in the US state of Arizona. In 1997 it was declared a Navajo Tribal Park and can only be visited through guided tours.
Antelope Canyon includes two separate sections, referred to as Upper Antelope Canyon or The Crack; and Lower Antelope Canyon of The Corkscrew. A long time ago, herds of pronghorn antelope roamed freely in Antelope Canyon giving rise to the English name. The local Navajo names are more descriptive. Their name for the upper canyon translates as ‘the place where water runs through rocks’; and for the lower, ‘spiral rock arches’.
Antelope Canyon was formed by erosion of the local sandstone, particularly by heavy monsoonal rains and flash flooding. What started as narrow cracks have been shaped into deep, sinuous passageways.
The Upper Antelope Canyon is at an elevation of about 4,000 feet (1,219 m) and the canyon walls rise 120 feet (36.5 m) above the stream bed. When the sun is high in the sky, beams, like ghostly pillars, fall down from the narrow openings above. The Lower Antelope Canyon, a few kilometres away, is harder to navigate and involves climbing several sets of stairs. The constant twisting and turning of the narrow rock walls creates a feeling of being inside a living thing, while the moving sun, far above, provides an ever changing display of colour, light and shadow.