Overview Kayaking Antelope Canyon Arizona
Antelope Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon just outside of Page Arizona. There is a famous hiking tour that photographers love to embark on to photograph the smooth lines of the canyon wall as the sun breaks through the top.
Kayaking Antelope Canyon is a beautiful unique experience and a fantastic way to explore the slot canyon. Your journey starts off in a narrow section of Lake Powell and then you turn off into Antelope Canyon where the canyons walls get taller and narrower the deeper you kayak into the canyon.
Kayaking Antelope Canyon is about a 6 mile round trip, with an opportunity to stop and beach your kayak to hike through the canyon as well. The total kayaking distance can change based on the water levels of Lake Powell. This year the water levels were pretty low so our Kayak trip may have been slightly shorter.
I have always wanted to come back to Lake Powell and check out Antelope Canyon by Kayak after we Kayaked Labyrinth Canyon last year on a 32 mile Kayak Camping trip. This trip would just be a one day kayaking trip but was just as beautiful!
Antelope Canyon Kayaking Maps
The map above can be downloaded and viewed on Caltopo here for use planning your own trip to Kayak Antelope Canyon.
Antelope Point Boat Launch
For this trip we drove to Antelope Point Boat Ramp which is on Navajo land. From Page Arizona the Antelope Point Boat Ramp is about a 15 minute drive. Since we drove all the way out from Southern California we stayed in Page Arizona at the Best Western the night before our paddle. This allowed us to wake up and get our kayaks in the water in the morning before the winds picked up in the afternoon.
⚠️ High Wind Warning
Pay attention to the wind before Kayaking Antelope Canyon or anywhere near Lake Powell. Typically the early mornings is the calmest time to kayak or paddle board with winds significantly picking up in the early afternoons.
Windy.com is pretty helpful and they have a great mobile phone app as well.
I highly recommend you get an early start if you plan on kayaking Antelope Canyon. If you are trying to make it back in the windy afternoons, you could get stuck and need to be rescued.... no joke this happens fairly often. As always check the weather before you hear out, and pay extra attention to the winds.
When we got to the Antelope Point Boat launch it was not too busy. Unfortunately there was a bit of a drought so the water levels in Lake Powell were pretty low when we arrived. The one great side effect of the low water levels at least for us was the boat ramp no longer reached the water. Since the boat ramp didn't reach the water, the launch was closed to power boats which made it not crowded at all.
When we arrived at Antelope Point, we drove all the way to the bottom of the boat launch and unloaded our Pakayak Kayaks from my Jeep Wrangler and carried them to a small sandy area to prep our gear before we departed. After unloading I drove back up the boat launch and parked in their large parking lot. The boat ramp is pretty long, so it was a pretty long walk back down to Rachel who was waiting with all our gear. As we prepped our gear there was an Antelope Canyon Kayak Tour departing. I was happy they left way before we were ready so we were not following them into the canyon and we had it mostly to ourselves as we paddled in.
It was a steep rocky launch point with the water levels so low in the lake. Once I got my feet in the water, it was super cold as well and a steep drop off in the water as well. Since it was a steep drop off in the water, I had to quickly jump in the kayak and couldn't walk out a little from the shore.
Kayaking to Antelope Canyon
Once you push off from Antelope Point Boat Launch you are in Southwest Lake Powell and it's pretty narrow here. You can either go left or right once you push off as you are in a bit of a narrow channel, paddle left to head towards Antelope Canyon. This will be the largest body of water you are on this trip. As you paddle hug the coast on your left as you travel South, and you will not miss the opening for Antelope Canyon.
🌊 Pro Tip: Best Waterproof Bags
There are a lot of waterproof bags out there. I prefer bags with waterproof zippers vs roll top waterproof bags. If you would like to check out my favorite, read this review I wrote here on my favorite waterproof bags.
Kayaking along the Lake Powell coast is beautiful as you float above the shallow crystal clear water looking at the rocks below. In the beginning of the paddle the coast is pretty low, but as you get closer and closer to Antelope canyon the low coast on your left will slowly start to rise and turn into a gorgeous cliff.
Kayaking Antelope Canyon
Once your turn into Antelope Canyon, the real excitement begins to kick in!
As you enter Antelope Canyon from Lake Powell you pass a floating "No Wake" buoy which is instructing power boats to go slow and not create a wake. If it was busy in Lake Powell with power boat traffic as you paddled towards Antelope Canyon then you are probably very familiar with boat wakes at this point. Luckily for us the boat launch was closed to power boat traffic and it was early in the morning so there was not a whole lot of boat traffic. I am sure in the middle of summer time it's probably a bouncy ride to Antelope Canyon.
To get a sense of the size of the canyon walls as you enter Antelope Canyon, here is a shot of my fiance in her kayak ahead of me in the canyon:
As you continue to paddle down the winding canyon, I was happy there was not a whole bunch of other canyons branching off Antelope Canyon or else you could get lost pretty easily. Luckily while pedaling you can either go down into the canyon deeper or out of the canyon, so it was pretty easy to navigate.
The deeper into Antelope Canyon you go the narrower the walls get. Each time I saw a bend in the canyon walls, I would get excited to reach the next turn and peak around the corner to see what was next. Each time I poked my Kayak around a bend in the canyon I was always impressed with what it had next to reveal.
Since the water is pretty crystal clear, it looks amazing in the shallow sections. The other benefit of kayaking Antelope Canyon in the early morning and avoiding the wind, is the clear water is even more stunning without any ripples from the wind.
Seeing the kayak's shadow on the canyon floor through the crystal clear water was the most stunning part of the trip. It almost looked like there was no water at all and the kayaks were just floating in the air.
Eventually the canyon got very narrow and we made it to the end of the water. At this point you have the option to beach your kayak and get out and continue up Antelope Canyon on foot.
There were already a handful of Kayaks here the morning we went and it was not the middle of the summer. There were a few people who paddled to Antelope Canyon on their own as we did, but the bulk of the kayaks there were from the kayak tours.
After beaching the kayaks, we carried them in aways and kept them out of the way to make it easy for others to land and launch their own kayaks here. We also learned our lesson last year in Labyrinth Canyon, that the wind picks up and can push water up into the canyons which makes the water level rise a bit. So make sure to carry your kayak in a little so you don't have it swept away if the water level rises while you are out hiking.
Hiking Antelope Canyon
Once all our gear in our kayaks was secured and we put our day packs on we headed up the canyon on foot!
Leaving the water for the dry sandy canyon floor was a fun change of pace, and it almost looked like we were on a beautiful version of Mars.
ℹ️ Gear Recommendations
If you would like expert gear recommendations for your next adventure check out the Ten Digit Grid Gear Locker. I detail why each item has a spot in my backpack!
Similar to when we were kayaking earlier, Antelope Canyon starts out fairly wide as you begin hiking and then quickly narrows. As we were venturing further into the canyon we ran into the kayak tour as they were hiking out. Our timing was really working out by having a lot of the canyon to ourselves.
After hiking through the canyon for a little bit, we found a nice shaded spot and sat down and had a quick snack of some almonds and water to refuel for our short hike back to the kayaks and then for our paddle back out of the canyon.
Departing Antelope Canyon
As we hiked back to our kayaks we were starting to feel gusts of wind picking up. I would have loved hanging out in Antelope Canyon a little longer, but we knew that the winds were greatly increasing at noon, and wanted to make it back to our car before it got too bad.
As the winds picked up leaving the canyon was interesting. Depending which direction the current section of the winding canyon you were in determined the strength of the wind. One section would be fairly calm, then you would turn a bend and you were fighting the wind and current. We left early enough though that padeling out of the canyon wasn't too bad.
The worst part was the mouth of Antelope Canyon where it connected back with Lake Powell. It was at this point it was getting a bit choppy and we could really start feeling the wind.
Once back in Lake Powell the smooth water was gone from earlier this morning, luckily from here we didn't have too much further to paddle to make it back to Antelope Point Boat Launch. As we were heading back though, I saw a handful of people who were just starting their journey to Antelope Canyon on their own kayaks. They clearly didn't check the weather before they left, and I pitied the couple I saw in an inflatable kayak fighting the wind just to get to the canyon.
We paddled hard in the more open water of Lake Powell and made good time back to the Antelope Point Boat launch. The wind really picked up right as we were making our final landing. I think my GoPro caught the final few strokes back to land in this photo quite well:
Overall, kayaking to Antelope Canyon was a fantastic adventure! Once we landed we quickly packed up all our gear, and I made the long walk back up the boat ramp to grab the car.
After all the paddling and the short hike, we were starving. I guess the almonds didn't hold us over as much as I would like and we went searching for some lunch in Page Arizona.
I was craving some fried chicken and a nice cold beer. We ended up finding Bird House, whose sign literally read, "Fried Chick Cold Beer.
It was a fantastic spot to relax after a nice hard, fun fantastic day of kayaking in ANtelope Canyon!