Slot Canyons of Arizona


Just over an hour’s drive from the Grand Canyon, far from the crazy chaos of the South Rim, is a natural wonder that for me rivals the beauty of the Grand Canyon, yet attracts a fraction of the visitors.

It looks like nothing from ground level. A crack in the desert floor, giving no clue as to the secrets contained within. The Navajo who own the land around the slot canyons, greet you at the entrance and of course seperate you from a modest few dollars. You are then left to your own devices to enter and explore the canyons. Lower and Upper Antelope Canyons are the most popular to visit, both within a short drive of the town of Page.

The colour of the rocks change as you scramble through the narrow fissure, and most spectacularly the colours change as the sun moves across the sky and sheds its light on a different part of the rocks. A dark cave is suddenly illuminated by a shaft of light, maybe for no more than 5 minutes, and then is gone.

The caves are liable to flash flood, and the guardians at the entrance will no admit anyone if there is a risk of rain. Although a visit here is not on the standard route for a visitor to the Grand Canyon, if you do make the detour you will be highly rewarded.

(Apr 2004)

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Freelance travel writer

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