Antelope Canyon is easily the most famous slot canyon in the USA! Most people know about the tours that will walk you through two parts of the canyon, one is the upper slot canyon and the other is the lower slot canyon. You must pay a fee, sign up for a tour time, and you are herded through the canyon with a large tour group of people.
BUT what most people don’t know is that you can also kayak to a portion of Antelope Canyon. Located at Antelope Point Marina, you can rent kayaks for the day and kayak through Lake Powell to get to it.
In this guide I will go over the pros / cons to kayaking Antelope Canyon, best way to see the canyon, must pack items, and what to expect during your kayaking adventure! If you are looking for more ideas in the area, be sure to check out my guide on Best Things to do in Page, AZ for lesser-known slot canyons, photography inspiration, and bucket list experiences!
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Walking Tour v. Kayaking Antelope Canyon
I have personally done BOTH the walking tour and kayaking Antelope Canyon, so I think I am qualified to give my honest recommendation! There are definitely pros and cons to both of them, but truly I don’t think you can go wrong! This slot canyon is absolutely breath taking and a total must-see on your road trip!
Walking Tour of Antelope Canyon
I did the lower Antelope Canyon walking tour with Ken’s Tours back in 2018 (you can read about it here, but excuse the bad pictures that were taken pre-photography days haha!). This was my first time seeing the canyon and boy did it live up to the pictures!
You sign up in advance for a walking tour and you will be given a time slot to show up to the tour. Your tour group will have roughly 20 people that you walk through the canyon with. On top of that, you also have to share the canyon with other tour groups AND Ken’s tours other tours. So to put it lightly, you will feel like herded cattle walking through the canyon! 🙂
The views of the canyon from the walking tour are unmatched though, I would say much better than if you kayak Antelope Canyon. You will see those beautiful light rays shining into the canyon and it will be more narrow.
The cost to walk Antelope Canyon is roughly the same as it is to rent kayaks for the day, so I don’t think that is a big factor.
Kayaking Antelope Canyon
Kayaking Antelope Canyon is FAR less crowded! You get to walk the slot canyon on your own, without crowds, without a tour guide, and without any time constraints. Free to take as much time as you want to enjoy the canyon!
While the part of the canyon is not as impressive as the walking tour, it is still REALLY amazing! I guarantee you will be extremely impressed whichever way you see the canyon.
Now for the downside… majority of the kayaking route is through a wake zone in Lake Powel. Meaning, there are boats wakeboarding and jet skis flying past you. The waves are intense (think kayaking in the ocean) and will make you feel like your kayak is about to tip over at times!! It is also a very strenuous kayak because on the way back to the marina you will be paddling through the waves AND up stream.
Let’s just say I consider myself in fairly good shape and it was a very difficult time!
After experiencing both, I would recommend neither, ha! 🙂
I would HIGHLY recommend spending the extra money and renting either a jet ski or small boat to access Antelope Canyon from Lake Powel (same way the kayaks go). This way you don’t have to kayak through the miserable wake zone AND get to experience Antelope Canyon at your own pace with no crowds.
Taking a boat through Lake Powel instead of a kayak will save you a ton of time and energy that you can spend hiking deeper into the slot canyon. At the time, I wished I wasn’t so tired from the strenuous kayak and I could’ve spent more time exploring the slot canyon.
You can rent jet skis or boats from the Antelope Point Marina, the same place you would rent the kayaks.
**Keep in mind that if you kayak on a day where the lake isn’t busy, the kayaking wouldn’t be too hard. I unfortunately went on a Saturday when the lake was packed with boats.
Where is Antelope Canyon?
Antelope Canyon is located in Northern Arizona, right on the boarder of Utah in a small town called Page. The canyon is fairly large and has a few different access points, one from Lake Powell! To access this point, you will need to start at Antelope Point Marina (or the public boat ramp if you have your own boat / kayak), and head left towards the slot canyon.
You will kayak both in the main area of Lake Powel and in the slot canyon area until the water gets shallow enough for you to park the kayak and walk into the canyon.
Recommended Read: ULTIMATE List of Things to do in Page, AZ!
Important Info about Kayaking Antelope Canyon
- From Antelope Point Marina to the point of parking your kayak is roughly 3.5 miles (so 7 miles round trip).
- Budget a full day to kayak Antelope Canyon – it will take roughly 2 hours to reach the part of the canyon where you park your kayak and hike into the slot canyon. I say roughly, because if it is a windy day or a lot of boats at Lake Powel, it will take you a long time to get through the wake zone.
- Once you park your kayak, you can walk through the slot canyon for several hours if you choose. About 20 minutes into the walk, the canyon will begin to narrow and you will start to see those beautiful sand stone walls that you see in photos. Personally, I hiked for about an 30 minutes before turning around.
- Kayak Rentals cost $45 for the entire day if you rent them from the Antelope Point Marina.
- Rent the kayaks in advance, especially during the weekends! When we showed up to check into our kayak rental at 9:30am, they were already sold out for the day. You can reserve kayaks in advance here.
- Sunblock Packets are a MUST. They are the size of a ketchup packet and make re-applying sunblock a total breeze!
- Travel Size first-aid kit! If you have ever kayaking a long period of time, you know how easily you will get blisters on your hands. Make sure you bring at least a few Band-Aid’s!
- Portable, waterproof speaker. Music always makes time go by faster and will make the kayaking a lot more enjoyable!
- Waterproof case for your I-Phone. You want to be able to document your adventure without risking your phone getting wet!
- Waterproof Hiking Sandals. I know these aren’t the most attractive things in the world, but you will be getting your feet wet! You will also be hiking through a slot canyon and need something that is reliable.
- Waterproof Shorts. These are my favorite water resistant shorts that I wear on hikes, kayaking, or most adventure travel! They are incredibly flattering and super comfy!
- A classic, black ballcap. This is my go-to hat, same brand as the waterproof shorts. It is a bigger size and covers my face from the sun!
Kayaking Antelope Canyon
Now that you know the pros and cons to kayaking v. doing a walking tour and some important things to know, lets get into all the details about the kayaking trip!
You will start by checking into Antelope Point Marina where you will get into your kayak at their dock. Again, I would recommend booking your kayak in advance because they do sell out!
Once you depart from the kayak dock, you will kayak through the marina in a no wake zone.. enjoy it while it lasts 🙂
You will shortly reach the end of the marina where it will become a wake zone, meaning the boats and jet skis can go their full speed, causing waves! Keep left and kayak along the canyon wall, you will see other kayakers doing the same thing.
TIP: If you go early in the morning or during the week days, you will enjoy your adventure a lot more! There will not be as many boats / jet skis, which will make you kayak a lot smoother.
To reach Antelope Canyon, you just keep left for roughly 1-1.5 hours until you reach the canyon opening. Along the lake you will see beaches to stop at, cliff jumping spots, other boat ramps, etc. It will be very obvious once you reach the opening to the canyon because you will see a no wake sign and a lot of people turning into the area.
Recommended Read: One Jam-Packed Day in Sedona!
Once you reach this point, the kayaking will be very enjoyable!! This is a no wake zone that will have some shade and the canyon walls will begin to narrow, making it a gorgeous and peaceful kayaking trip 🙂
You will continue deep into the canyon for about 30-45 minutes until you reach a shallow beach area. This is where you will find a spot to beach your kayak and begin the hiking portion!
Antelope Canyon is an out-and-back trail, meaning you hike in as long as you want, turn around, and hike the same way back out. The canyon is deep and you can hike into the canyon for several hours before turning around! For me, I hiked in about 30 minutes (until the canyon began to narrow) before turning around.
If you opt in for a boat or jet ski rental, you will get to the canyon much faster and can spend more time exploring the canyon – that is what I would recommend!
Once you are done exploring the canyon, it’s time to jump back in your kayak and head back to the marina! Keep in mind that the lake will likely be busier as the day goes on (meaning more waves) and you will also be kayaking upstream. Be prepared to take some breaks and stop at a beach on the way back.
Overall, kayaking Antelope Canyon was a cool experience! I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if I didn’t do it on a weekend. The lake was extremely busy with boats and jet skis, making the kayaking very difficult. If you go on a quieter day, I would love to hear about your experience in the comments! 🙂
Want more travel ideas for this area? Be sure to check out these guides!
- ULTIMATE List of Things to do in Page, AZ!
- A Jam-Packed Sedona Itinerary!
- Things to do in Kanab (in between Lake Powell and Las Vegas)
- Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon Guide
- One Day in Bryce Canyon National Park
- Navajo Loop Trail in Bryce Canyon
Thanks so much for stopping by!
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Thank you for sharing your experience with us!!! I was planning on kayaking to antelope, but I’m glad I came across your blog and I think I’m going to rent the jet ski. So I just want to verify – is it possible then to leave the jet ski on the side like those kayaks in your picture above? If so, did you see other just skis parked on the side? Thanks soooooo much for your advice!!! 🙂
YES, definitely take the jet ski! It is a no wake zone through the canyon, so you will need to go really slow. You will be able to park the jet ski in very shallow water and walk a bit to the base of the canyon. Have so much fun! 🙂
hey there, so I called the jetski rental place you mentioned and they said the only way to get to the canyon for walking is with the kayak. When I asked her about parking the jetski, she said its not really possible, water levels are very low and you wouldnt just leave one there. Do you think she is just saying that, and I really could park my jetski? I would prefer doing a jetski over a kayak 100% just want to make sure you forsure saw others doing that. thanks for your time!
I mean, I saw a ton of people doing it. BUT I am not sure if it was their own jet ski or a rental. They might have felt more comfortable taking their own jet ski out versus a rental.
Thank you for your helpful tips about Kayaking Antelope Canyon. We are renting a houseboat next month and will have a 19′ speedboat and probably some kayaks. I read what you said about Jet Ski’s but did you see anyone securing a speedboat anywhere? I know levels are lower now and may not be apples to apples.
We could also bring the kayaks on the speedboat if there are beaches closer to the canyon than Antelope Pt. Marina is to the canyon. How far out would you say the closest beach to tie up the speedboat would be ( If you can remember! ).
[…] to this area a few times now and I swear it gets better every time! Be sure to read my guides on Kayaking in Lake Powel, Things to do in Page AZ, and Visiting Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend! […]
[…] This city is very close to Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Lake Powell (you can kayak to Antelope Canyon), Sedona, Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend. A lot of people will visit all these famous sites, […]
Hi! Thank you so much for all the information! First timer here so I need all the tips I can get. Do you still need a park pass or permit ( whatever it is called) if we kayak or boat to the canyon?
When you drive into the marina to park, you will need to buy a pass but that’s it! You don’t need a permit to access the canyon though and you do not need a guide! 🙂
I’m reading that you need a permit to hike antelope canyon. Is this the case if you enter with a kayak or jet ski?
You mentioned renting a boat to get there faster. Would you dock the boat near the jet skis?
Yes, I saw people bringing a very small boat and just anchoring the boat close to shore!
[…] Antelope Canyon is a slot canyon that is broken up into two sections, “Lower Antelope Canyon” and “Upper Antelope Canyon.” Creative right? This is by far the most photographed canyon in the southwest due to its smooth, flowing, sandstone walls. If you plan to make a weekend out of this, check out my guide on Kayaking to Antelope Canyon! […]
[…] Click here to read my full guide on Kayaking to Antelope Canyon! […]
I am glad to run into your post. Would you please give me more information or links about renting a boat to Antelope canyon? Thank you so much in advance.
Hi Tonya! You can rent a boat from Antelope Point Marina. If you plan to explore the canyon, you will need to rent the smallest boat they have or jet skis!
We’re looking at boats to rent – the smallest we see at Antelope Point Marina that we can rent the day we’ll be there is 26′ – is that too big to get to the point where you start hiking?
Hi Kristen! That may be pretty large. The only thing I would be worried about is the water not being deep enough in the canyon. People who had boats had VERY small boats, probably the smallest the marina offers! If there are not small boats available during your dates, I would recommend renting jet skis instead OR rent paddle boards to take off from the boat to get you to the canyon entrance. 🙂
You can rent a 19′ boat from Wahweap Marina, but the reviews are pretty bad & very unclear online about when you can pickup the boat for the day & when to return & not answering the phone so far… I’m looking at the same thing after Antelope Point Marina cancelled our double kayak rentals (apparently people are capsizing so they’re just not renting them for a while even though we’d be there on a Thursday)… my wife & sister in law have some health issues where they’re both worried about kayaking… I figured my brother & I could do all of the paddling… now I’m looking at a small boat but APM only rents 26′ or 22′ pontoon for a decent amount more… Seems rather wasteful for just 5 of us (including my nephew).
Any chance you tried the 26′ rental?
I am sorry I did not 🙁
Great info, thanks! The walking tours aren’t running right now as the Navajo land is all closed due to covid-19. Do you know if this section is closed, too? If it is also owned by the Navajos?
I went in October when the walking tours were closed, this was all open! I would just double check with the marina though, because sometimes the lake will close for the winter months!
Are there any restrictions on what you can access due to the pandemic? I read online that Antelope Canyon is “closed”.
Hi Katie!! I visited this during October 2020, during the pandemic, and when the walking tours were closed. This is open space & no guided tours, so it is open!
Wow, and it was still that crowded on weekends. I just booked flights and it seems we’d arrive late Friday in Page and check out Lake Powell and Antelope Canyon Saturday. I feel funny if it’s that busy parking jet skiis and walking off 30 minutes deep into the canyon. Ugh, can’t believe I’m asking but any type of boat tour that takes you that way and you can get off for awhile? I hoped to paddle board, but after reading your post, no way as I don’t need a long, hard kayak or SUP trip. I hate to forego, but maybe we should focus elsewhere,
If you are worried about leaving the jet skis, I would just do the Kayaking trip. Just plan to go as early as you possibly can to beat the boat traffic! I made the mistake of going at around 11am on a Saturday… which I think is why it was so busy! Plus it was one of the last weekends Lake Powel was open before winter came, so everyone was out on the lake. I think it would definitely be worth seeing if you are in the area.
Hello! Thanks for the fantastic write-up! Quick question: what areas did you get to see during the walking tour that would be off-limits for a self-guided kayak trip, if any? Just trying to gauge if waiting for the walking tours to open up is worth it. Thanks in advance!
The canyon is extremely large! The actually part of the canyon with the walking tours is more scenic, but the area that is accessible with kayaks is still gorgeous!
Hello! This report about antelope canyon is the most detailed I found on the web! Really really useful. One question: if I reach the antelope canyon from the lake (kayak or jet ski) is it possible to reach the upper canyon too? For example, if I rent the ski jet and I don’t waste so much time in the lake, so I have the time to hike inside the antelope canyon and reach the upper part (the one with light filtering through the rocks)? I’m planning a trip to US next summer but I don’t know if the canyon will re-open because of a improved covid situation.
I do not believe you can access the same part of the canyon as the tours go, but I do believe the deeper you hike into the canyon the cooler it gets! The canyon looks really cool after only a 20 minute walk in, and many people I spoke to who hiked many hours said it only got better!
Hi! Im on a travel assignment for work and wanted to kayak to the canyon and hike it however, I am alone on my assignment. Is it safe to do alone? Thanks in advance!
Absolutely!! You will likely see many other kayakers going in / out of the canyon. It is also one way in / one way out so you can’t get lost inside the canyon! 🙂
Hello! So glad I found your site< it is very informative. We are going to Lake Powell and staying at Lake Powell resort in May and have reserved a 19 foot skit boat for the day. Can we get to Antelope canyon from there? I read your blog that you can get there from Antelope Point Public Launch ramp. Also, Just checking that it is still assessable from the water since it is not open yet by land. Also, would a 19 ft boat be able to get back to the beach area to anchor?. Thank you!
Hi Cally! I am honestly not sure and am not super familiar with boat laws / boat requirements. I would recommend contacting the marina to see what is okay and not okay! 🙂
Hi! Thanks for the info. I’m looking at a map and have a question. Do you go down the Navajo Canyon to get to Antelope Canyon? I see you said you take a left after the marina but just wanted to verify where that left is. Thanks!
No, I did not go down that canyon. At Antelope Canyon Marina, you would make a left out of the Marina towards the Page Airport. If you pull up the marina on the map, you will see the small canyon between the marina & the airport. If you zoom in, it is titled Antelope Canyon! 🙂
Do you go into Antelope Creek in your boat/kayak to see the canyon? Thanks.
This is a wonderful piece about kayaking Antelope Canyon! With the walking tours still being closed due to COVID-19, visiting Antelope Canyon by kayak has become a very popular alternative, and you present the pros and cons without flinching. I help run a website devoted to Antelope Canyon and have already linked to your blog several times.
Keep up the good work,
Grand Circle Media
Wow! Thank you so much for your kind words! 🙂
You mentioned that Kayaking was a little more difficult on the weekend with boats, and jet skis, I was planning on going during the week, and I will be traveling with my 73-year-old father. He is active and healthy but I do not want to put too much stress on him, do you think he would be able to do the kayak during the week, in the early morning. I am concerned about the difficulty level.
I think if you went early in the morning when it was not too busy it would be a lot more enjoyable! Just take a lot of breaks and bring a lot of water! 🙂
Thank you for this review! It was very helpful. I’m in Las Vegas & was considering doing this as a day trip. (Is that possible?) I was wondering how many hours total did this take you to do? What time did you get your kayak and what time did you get back/return it? Did you get back before dark? (I don’t know if I want to be out there all night kayaking back in the dark back lol!)
Also, is it possible to kayak to the Horseshoe Bend from this Antelope Point starting point and if so, is it in the same direction as Antelope? Also, how would I get there/any idea how much further (or shorter) would it be?
Thanks so much!
I would not recommend doing a day trip, it would be an extremely exhausting day! I stayed in the town of Page to do this.
I have done a 24 hour trip from Vegas before, where you drive to Page, sleep one night and fit in all the activities into that 24 hours! Plus, you would get time to stop in Kanab on the way back home, which is a really cool area! I have a full itinerary on my site about Kanab. 🙂
[…] Everything to Know About Kayaking to Antelope Canyon […]
Thank you for sharing your experience!! I’ve seen Antelope from the inside nearly 15 years ago and this time was visiting with my two daughters 11 & 13. I have to say that it was incredible!! A day of a great adventure!! We loved it! Breathing views of the Lake Powell and Antelope from the other side! We have used Lake Powell Paddle board and Kayak for rental. Recommend this place for highly knowledgeable and extremely nice crew!!
Ahh yay!! So glad you and your family had fun! 🙂
Very good information. I was wondering if you can kayak from lone rock campground to antelope canyon
[…] Las Vegas and do a road trip to all the famous sites like Zion, Arches, Grand Canyon, Page (home to Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend), Capital Reef, Death Valley,or […]
[…] This way you don't have to kayak through the miserable wake zone AND get to experience Antelope Canyon at your own pace with no crowds. You can rent jet skis or boats from the Antelope Point Marina, the same place you would rent the kayaks. via […]
[…] Antelope Canyon is easily the most famous slot canyon in the USA! BUT what most people don’t know is that you can also kayak to a portion of Antelope Canyon. Located at Antelope Point Marina, you can rent kayaks for the day and kayak through Lake Powell to get to it. via […]
[…] This way you don’t have to kayak through the miserable wake zone AND get to experience Antelope Canyon at your own pace with no crowds. You can rent jet skis or boats from the Antelope Point Marina, the same place you would rent the kayaks. via […]
[…] Kayaking Antelope Canyon is FAR less crowded! You get to walk the slot canyon on your own, without crowds, without a tour guide, and without any time constraints. Free to take as much time as you want to enjoy the canyon! While the part of the canyon is not as impressive as the walking tour, it is still REALLY amazing! via […]
I’m sorry but this is horrible advice. I kayaked the Antelope canyon and did the full 5-6 mile hike. This is peaceful and gorgeous. The Jetski’s and boasts were minimal and they all observe the no wake zones. I’m not really sure if the author is lazy or just didn’t know how to kayak properly.
[…] + Read More […]
Are there overnight options for a kayak camp or kayak in, then hike to an overnight camp?
Not that I know of, no!
I’m planning to go in the beginning of November. Would it be too cold to do kayak to access the canyon? I am guessing I would get wet and might need to walk in water to park kayak? What part of October did you go?
Honestly, the weather is a hit or miss that time of year! We went mid-October and the weather was still fairly warm!
[…] waterside of Antelope Canyon? Hope you’re in good shape. According to the travel bloggers like MyPerfectItinerary.com, “the majority of the kayaking route is through a wake zone in Lake Powell. There are boats, […]
How early can you start? Wasn’t sure if parking was available super early in the morning.
I would just look up the marina hours, they change by the season!:)