If you’re planning a trip to Arizona anytime soon, it’s likely that you’ve prioritized a visit to Antelope Canyon.

There’s just something magical about the idea of this particular slot canyon.  Maybe it’s the sculpted orange sandstone narrow walls or perhaps the hauntingly beautiful light beam that seems to shine down in every photo of the canyon on Instagram that has us DYING to get there to see it for ourselves. I mean, think of the photos…

What if there was a place just as cool as Antelope Canyon, if not cooler…

Well, right near Antelope Canyon, there exists several other slot canyons that are just as intriguing, beautiful, and are free- well, to a certain extent. Antelope Canyon requires that you make a reservation for a tour. These tours genuinely cost an arm and a leg. A sightseeing tour alone for one person is up to $75.00 USD. You want to bring your tripod? The photo tour starts at $109.00. Ouch, the light beam just doesn’t seem quite as impressive now.

I promise you that if you set aside your need to see Antelope Canyon, this other option will excite you just as much.

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Narrow sandstone walls in the canyon

If you’re looking for a breathtaking experience with less traffic, visit Wire Pass Slot Canyon. The slot canyon is just northwest of Antelope Canyon and is often overlooked by tourists. The canyon offers a 3.4 mile flat and enjoyable hike. To access the canyon, there is a small fee under $10.00 USD. The scenic hike starts out on desert wash that leads you towards the main canyon. There’s a section that has a bit of a down climb that requires rope but is generally easy navigate.

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Rope section in Wire Pass Slot Canyon

The canyon itself offers textured sandstone walls that are similar to Antelope Canyon’s and is incredibly fun to hike through. The canyon opens up to a massive arch wall just before it intersects with Buckskin Gulch (another slot canyon to consider exploring).

I seriously recommend that you save your cash and explore this canyon instead of the popular and heavy trafficked Antelope Canyon!

Happy hiking!

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Written by Hailey Playfair

Hailey is an accomplished adventure and outdoor lifestyle photographer, she is the Co-Founder of Life Outside Studio, and is wildly passionate about the outdoors. Her work has brought her all around the globe, specifically to some of the most remote places in Iceland and Canada's North where has been tested against the extreme elements. Hailey is an avid hiker, backpacker, and explorer. When she's not outside, Hailey can be found preparing for her next big adventure by beating herself up in the gym, dehydrating plant based backpacking meals, and spreading the message of living a vegan lifestyle while pursuing a living in the great outdoors.

3 comments

  1. Quite the difference in fees Hailey. And with less traffic within the canyon, the experience would be that much more positive at Wire Pass Slot Canyon.

    Your photography here is jaw dropping. I have done a bit on slot canyon hiking in the Canyonlands 35 years ago. I need to get back at it. Thank you for sharing! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words Carl! Wire Pass Trail definitely offered a lot of photo opportunities. That is incredible that you went to Canyonlands. I was supposed to go to Canyonlands a few weeks ago but we could not make it there due to rain unfortunately! I hope you get to do more canyon hiking soon! 🙂

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