Are you wondering when’s the best time to visit Antelope Canyon? Then you’ve come to the right place.
Antelope Canyon is an incredible slot canyon in the American Southwest. It’s known for its winding passageways, gorgeous glowing colors, and striking light beams.
We’ve been to Antelope Canyon three separate times now in three different seasons so we’re here to tell you about our experience visiting so you can decide when to visit for yourself!
(Major spoiler! We went on this tour in April and again in October and loved it/the weather both times.)
This article is going to tell you the best month to visit Antelope Canyon, the best time to see the light beams, what the weather is like all the months of the year and so much more.
Our Favorite Time to Visit Antelope Canyon
As we mentioned above, we’ve been to Antelope Canyon now three separate times. Of those three times, we’ve visited twice in the spring and once in the fall.
Overall, we think the best time to visit Antelope Canyon is either in April or October. Visiting in these months will give you cooler weather, fewer crowds, and still the chance to see the light beams.
Many people are only able to travel in the summer months when their kids are out of school. If this is your situation, just know that this area of Arizona can get quite hot in the summer.
Our advice is to book your tour early in the morning to avoid the heat and the midday crowds.
Best Time of the Year to See the Light Beams
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon to see the light beams is the summer months, as this is when the sun is highest in the sky.
While you can see the light beams from approximately around mid-March to around mid-October, the sun is highest in June, July, and August.
Also, you will need to visit Upper Antelope Canyon to see the most dramatic light beams. It’s possible to see a few beams in Lower, but the most prominent beams are in the Upper section.
Since this is a slot canyon, you will need to wait until around midday (around 11:00 am to 1:30 am) for the sun to be high enough in the sky to shine down inside the canyon.
Do be aware that all of the sections of Antelope Canyon get crowded during these top three summer months. To avoid the intense crowds but still have a chance of seeing the light beams, visit in the shoulder seasons (April, May, September, and October)
However, due to how popular Antelope Canyon is getting, it honestly will probably be crowded any time you visit, so don’t worry too much.
One big thing to keep in mind is, you won’t see the light beams if it’s a cloudy day! On our most recent visit, we had an overcast day and were pretty bummed to not be able to capture the light beams again.
Fortunately, the slot canyons are still beautiful without the light beams, so if you’re unlucky with the weather, you’re still likely to have a lovely time.
Unsure of what section of the canyon to see?
Learn about our experience at both Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon
Best Time to Avoid the Crowds
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon to avoid crowds is during the winter season. Seeing Antelope Canyon in the winter will give you a unique chance to explore the canyons without as many tourists, adding to their mysterious appeal.
While you won’t see the spectacular light beams in the winter, the spiral rock formations, unique curved walls, and stunning colors are beautiful all year round.
Besides the summer high season, holidays are busy all year round, whether it’s Christmas or Spring Break, so avoid these times and public holidays to see the canyons with fewer tourists.
Another way to avoid crowds is to visit on weekdays, as weekend tours are always busier. Tours at the very beginning and end of the day are also less busy than the primetime midday tours.
All that said, Antelope Canyon has surged in popularity, and these days, it can be busy all year round, even in the shoulder season.
To avoid crowds in the winter, make sure you visit after the Christmas holidays. You’ll find the fewest groups in mid-late January, as few people book vacations here at this time.
Things to Know about the Antelope Canyon Weather
Although this natural wonder is gorgeous all year round, the best time to visit Antelope Canyon for good weather is in April, May, October, and early November.
Northern Arizona starts to get colder from late November onwards. July is the hottest month, so it isn’t the most pleasant time to visit the desert if you don’t like the heat, but if you’re a sun-lover, you might not mind the high temperatures in June and July.
Page, the canyon’s nearest town, gets around 44 days of precipitation of rain every year! So while the canyons desert location will hopefully lead to you getting good weather (and seeing those all-important light beams), overcast days and rain could happen any month.
🌊 MONSOON SEASON
While snow and heavy rain are unpredictable and could change year to year, Antelope only closes for about 10-15 days yearly. The monsoon lasts from June through September, during which thunderstorms can cause incredibly wet days and flash flooding! So this isn’t the best season to visit Antelope Canyon if you want to avoid the rain.
Morning tours are the least likely to be canceled in monsoon season, as there’s a higher chance of thunderstorms the later in the day it gets.
Speaking of bad weather, Antelope Canyon often reaches below-freezing in the winter and can get snow or equally chilly winds. When snow doesn’t close the canyon, it leads to truly stunning photos, with the white snowfall contrasting against the orange rocks.
So while the canyon only gets two inches of snow each year, it is a gamble when traveling at this time – check weather reports in advance in case of a snowstorm to see the likelihood of the canyon closing.
Finally, ensure you bring your sunglasses when visiting in the Spring – even if it’s not very sunny. Spring is the windiest time of year at Antelope Canyon, which kicks up sand and dust. Flying sand is rather unpleasant without sunglasses! The area gets the least wind in October and November.
Best Time to Visit Antelope Canyon Breakdown by Month
|Chance of Rain
Antelope Canyon in January
January is both the low season and the coldest time to visit the canyon. If you’re lucky, you may even see a dusting of snow decorating the canyon; the orange canyon walls combined with white snow are indeed an extraordinary sight.
If snowstorms are reported, drive safely and check weather reports before going to Page.
While there are no light beams, mid-late January can be the best time of year to visit Antelope Canyon if you want to avoid the crowds. It’s one of the only times to see when tours aren’t booked out, and you can enjoy smaller groups as you explore this magical region.
Average temperatures are 28℉ – 43℉, with a 10% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in February
While Arizona approaches spring in February, it’s still in the cold season with particularly chilly weather at the beginning of the month, so bring warm clothes!
There are no light beams, which means fewer crowds. If you don’t mind the cold, it’s one of the best times to visit Antelope Canyon to avoid busy tours, and there’s a very low chance of rain.
Average temperatures are 32℉ – 49℉, with a 10% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in March
Spring is upon us, and March brings warmer weather to Antelope Canyon. It’s also the wettest month in the first six months of the year, although the precipitation is still at a low of just 0.7 inches in March.
This is still the desert, after all. It’s also the windiest month, so bring sunglasses to avoid the chance of flying dust and sand.
Since March falls in the shoulder season, it has comparatively fewer tourists, and the light beams begin from around the 20th of March onwards. This is the best month to visit Antelope Canyon if you want to see the vibrant light and color before the high season.
Average temperatures are 40℉ – 60℉, with a 9% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in April
With a chance of light beams and milder temperatures, Antelope Canyon is incredible in April. While some weeks fall within the shoulder season, the region gets very busy during spring break – so bear this in mind if you were hoping to avoid the surge of tourists that come in high seasons!
Average temperatures are 46℉ – 67℉, with a 7% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in May
While there is a chance to see light beams from late March, they really get going in May as the sun starts to get higher in the sky. May is considered the official beginning of light beam season.
It’s also the driest time of year, so there’s almost no chance of closure, and the weather is warm without being too hot. May is one of the absolute best times to visit if you want a high probability of seeing the light beams! The colors of Lower Antelope Canyon begin becoming more vibrant, too.
Average temperatures are 54℉ – 76℉, with only a 5% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in June
The possibility of tour closures in June is very unlikely, as this is the driest month. The weather is warm, and the sun is at its highest, creating a high chance of seeing incredible light beams. The colors are also very vivid at this time of year.
This is also the beginning of the high season, so make sure you book tours and accommodations in advance as it is hard to book hotels last minute with so many tourists passing through the region.
Average temperatures are 65℉ – 89℉, with only a 3% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in July
The high sun brings dazzling light beams and scorching days. Bring water, a hat, and sunscreen, as temperatures can reach up to around 105℉ on particularly hot days.
However, there is also the potential of heavy rain since July brings the beginning of the monsoon season, although there’s still a low chance of cancellation. Book tours and accommodation in advance and in the morning to avoid a lesser chance of rain. This is the best time to see Antelope Canyon’s light beams!
Average temperatures are 73℉ – 93℉, with a 10% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in August
Although August still has beautiful light beams, we don’t think this is the best time to go to Upper Antelope Canyon. It’s a hot and very crowded month. It’s also the rainiest time of year, even though there are only five days of rain on average.
The crowds are more of a disadvantage than in early summer, as the holidays mean tours are even busier than usual. You should book tours and accommodations in advance and prepare for hot, crowded areas. Bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.
Average temperatures are 71℉ – 90℉, with a 16% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in September
The weather begins cooling down as we approach fall, particularly toward the end of the month. It’s also the final month of monsoon season, and the light beams are still shining. With fewer crowds, many consider the shoulder season to be the best time to see Upper Antelope Canyon.
While you should still book your trip in advance, the biggest crowds are slowly dispersing following the summer holidays.
Average temperatures are 63℉ – 83℉, with a 13% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in October
At an average of 1 inch of rain, October is Antelope Canyon’s wettest month. But the heat is cooler and more pleasant, and the crowds are finally disappearing, especially if you visit on a weekday.
Along with November, it’s also the best month to go to Antelope Canyon if you want to enjoy the colorful foliage on your drive through Arizona. In early October, the light beams begin to slowly fade out, but it’s still a magical time to visit.
Average temperatures are 49℉ – 68℉, with a 9% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in November
Although it gets cold by the end of November, most of the month has pleasant temperatures.
Unless you specifically want to see light beams, it’s still one of the best times to visit, with fewer crowds and less rain. It’s also the best time to tour Lower Antelope Canyon, as the colors are still vivid despite the lower sun.
Average temperatures are 37℉ – 56℉, with an 8% chance of rain.
Antelope Canyon in December
The best time to tour Antelope Canyon in December is before or after the Christmas holidays. While the seasonal cold weather can reach freezing temperatures and, thus, fewer tourists, the crowds pick up once the holidays start.
It’s still a lovely time to visit; just bring warm clothes, and if you’re lucky, there might be snow. Like in high season, book your trip early if visiting during the holidays.
Average temperatures are 29℉ – 4℉, with only a 9% chance of rain.
Overall Best Time of Year to Visit Antelope Canyon
While every month is beautiful, the best time of year to go to Antelope Canyon is either the shoulder season or late January to avoid crowds.
If you want to balance fewer crowds with magical light beams and vivid colors, shoulder season (April and September) is the best time to go.
If you’re just going for light beams, June or July is the best time to visit, especially for photography. But make sure you book your tour and accommodation well in advance.
And if you don’t mind about the light beams, visit in mid-late January for the chance to visit without the crowds.
Best Time of Day to Visit Upper Antelope Canyon
Many people want to know what the best time of day to visit Antelope Canyon is. And for good reason- timing your tour perfectly will make for some incredible pictures
The best time to visit Upper Antelope Canyon for the light beams is during the middle of the day, when the light is highest above the canyon, allowing for the biggest and brightest beams to shine through.
So midday is ideal, and a tour between 11:00 – 1:30 pm will give you a great chance to see the beams.
We recommend booking a tour that begins at approximately 10:30, 11:00, and 12:00.
If you want to see the light beams, make sure the tour doesn’t start too late. For example, if it begins at 1:00 pm, the light beams will likely be over when you’ve actually arrived in the canyon – especially on a crowded day.
However, while it is the best time of day for Upper Antelope Canyon’s light beams, you should avoid primetime if you don’t mind not seeing them, as that is also peak time for crowds.
In this case, it makes more sense to book tours later in the day or book the first tour of the day.
Although the area is busy all day during peak seasons, there are often fewer crowds in these off-peak times, especially if you visit on a weekday.
Best Time of Day to Visit Lower Antelope Canyon
The best time to visit Lower Antelope Canyon is between 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. While Lower Antelope Canyon doesn’t get the light beams that the Upper Canyon is famous for, the sunlight still illuminates the beautiful colors on the walls during this time.
So the morning is the best time to see Lower Antelope Canyon’s vibrant colors. However, both morning and late in the day are great times to photograph the canyon in a softer light.
We went on a tour to Lower Antelope Canyon at 2:30 pm the last time we visited and the light inside the canyon was still beautiful, so you really can’t go wrong with any time you choose.
If you are wondering about the best time to go to Lower Antelope Canyon without the crowds, we’ve found that the first and last tours of the day are the quietest.
Other Things to Do Near Antelope Canyon
- Canyon X – located deep within Antelope Canyon is the lesser-visited ‘Canyon X.’ The canyon gets its name from the unique X shape, formed by decades of flash floods and forceful winds eroding the walls. Canyon X was one of our favorite parts of visiting Page, read more about our Canyon X tour and experience.
- Horseshoe Bend – the iconic view of this horseshoe-shaped canyon, carved naturally from the Colorado River over many centuries, is an unmissable activity just a 10-minute drive from Antelope Canyon.
- Lake Powell – this stunning man-made reservoir is just a 15-minute drive from Antelope Canyon, so it’s the ideal attraction to combine with a canyon tour. In fact, if you visit Antelope Canyon on a boat or by kayak, you can even access a unique section of the slot canyons from the lake!
- Kayak to Antelope Canyon – did you know you can also explore Antelope Canyon by kayak? This was our absolute favorite activity we did when in Page!
Where To Stay Near Antelope Canyon
The nearest town to Antelope Canyon is Page – at just a 10-minute drive away, this is the ideal place to stay during your visit.
- Red Rock Motel: is a great budget pick for anyone visiting Antelope Canyon. The rooms are clean, there is a kitchen for cooking your own meals, and the owners of this motel are the sweetest people. Every room also has its own little patio area. For the price, you really can’t beat this place!
- The Bear’s Den B&B: This top-rated Antelope Canyon accommodation is highly reviewed for its welcoming hosts, complete modern amenities, and cozy outdoor area (which includes a hot tub)!
Our preferred place to stay when visiting Antelope Canyon is at a campground. Check out all the best campgrounds near Antelope Canyon here.
Wrap-Up: Best Time To Visit Antelope Canyon
In conclusion, the best time to visit Antelope Canyon is the shoulder season – especially April or September – for most visitors! This way, you can balance the lower crowds of the Winter season with the fantastic light beams seen in the Summer.
If you’re visiting solely to photograph the light rays, visit in June or July when the sun is highest. The best time of day to see Antelope Canyon’s light beams is between 11:00 am and 1:30 pm.
In contrast, the best time of day for Lower Antelope Canyon’s vibrant colors is between 10:00 – 12:30.
The best time for Antelope Canyon’s quieter tours without the crowds is the low season.
Avoid holidays and weekends if possible. If you visit in mid-late January, you’ll be able to see the canyon at its quietest.
However, there is no ‘wrong time’ to visit Antelope Canyon! Every season brings a unique flair to the canyon and gives the region a unique beauty. Nothing will stop these swirling slot canyons from being anything but spectacular every day of the year!
We hope this article about the best time to visit Antelope Canyon helps you plan your trip. We would love to connect with you! You can learn more about us here or read more of our recent blog posts here. Also, follow us on Instagram (@UnearthTheVoyage) and Facebook to see what we are up to next!