Characterized by brilliantly colored sandstone walls carved into smooth wave like formations, and captivating beams of light that illuminate portions of the canyon from above, Antelope Canyon is a stunning, and rather surreal example of nature at work. No wonder it is one of the most widely photographed, famous canyons in the world!
(Click on the images below to view the full size photo!)
The canyon actually owes its existence mainly to swiftly flowing flash flood water, which has carved its way through the soft sandstone bedrock of the area for millennia, creating hauntingly beautiful structures. Flash flooding can actually create flows of water that can reach up to 50 ft. deep in some areas of the canyon, and can sweep in suddenly after storms.
A Stunningly Beautiful, Amazing Place
One of the most stunningly unique regions of the country, the canyon winds its way through portions of Utah and Arizona, offering a retreat from the suppressing heat of the dessert day with temperatures up to 20 degrees lower than outside the canyon. Some sections of the canyon may be cooler than others, especially in areas where there is little to no opening overhead.
These cave like sections of the canyon are dotted with small openings where sunlight streams into the canyon, illuminating the brilliant colors of the sandstone walls and portions of the sand covered canyon floor, creating the enchanting scenes shown here. The canyon walls can reach up to 120 feet high in some areas, treating visitors to astonishing views of their smooth, wave like surface.
The canyon area also boasts the world’s largest natural land bridge, The Rainbow Bridge Trail, an astounding 42 ft. thick natural rock structure which spans 275 ft. The Rainbow Bridge is an understandably especially sacred and religious place for the Navajo, and also one of the most popular features of Antelope Canyon.
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Another simply dazing feature of the area is the infamous “Wave” which straddles the border of Utah and Arizona. This remote area lies above ground, presenting a colorful display of smooth, carved sandstone formations resembling waves, in a wide range of red, yellow, and orange hues. (Shown Below)
The Wave is one of the most amazing places in the world to visit, though it is accessible only by obtaining a Back Country Use (Hiking) Permit via a BLM permit lottery. Only 10 permits to the area are issued each day, with only 20 people allowed into the area per day, in order to prevent premature erosion of the soft sandstone features by human foot traffic.
Despite its rugged beauty, Antelope Canyon can be dangerous to traverse. Prone to unbearable temperatures, flash flooding, and possessing a vast and confusing landscape, the canyon sees many hikers go missing each year. None the less, the smoothly curving shapes of the interior walls, and gentle waves of age old sand illuminated by stunning beams of light continue to attract multitudes of eager visitors from around the world each year as well.
Fortunately for those who cannot, or do not wish to endure the searing heat and potential dangers of Antelope Canyon in order to catch a glimpse of this vast and striking natural feature, others have taken gorgeous photographs for all to view.
Viewing these spectacular images of Antelope Canyon alone, it is little wonder why the ancient, indigenous peoples of the area determined it to be a sacred site. It certainly lives up to this sentiment, and is sure to continue to do so for millennia to come!
Antelope Canyon – A Stunningly Beautiful, Amazing Place
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