There may be nothing more beautiful in the world than the art that nature creates over time. This is especially true for a small, nondescript patch of land near Page, Arizona within the LeChee Chapter of the Navajo Nation – the home of the world famous Antelope Canyon.
Tens of thousands of years ago, this sacred land was covered in sand dunes. Slowly, over the course of millenia, those sand dunes compressed into sandstone. During rain storms and monsoons – something Arizona is known for in summer months – water would rush down the nearby mesas and carve into the sandstone, gradually creating slot canyons barely visible above ground. Over the years, the rushing water would continue to flow down to the canyon, creating whirlpools over the small openings above ground, and sending water running down into the canyon, carving unique patterns all along the walls.
Today, Antelope Canyon is one of the most popular tourist attractions on the face of the Earth – often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World. It is a slot canyon, approximately 7.5 miles in length, with two points of entry that you can visit – known as Upper Antelope Canyon and Lower Antelope Canyon. Slot canyons are canyons that are significantly deeper than they are wide, formed from the erosion of water flowing vertically through the sandstone with tremendous force – usually the result of flash flooding. Flash floods, like the ones that occur frequently in Arizona during monsoon season, can sweep away cars, destroy buildings and carry more force than a Category 5 hurricane. As such, certain points in Antelope Canyon can be over 160 feet deep but only 3 feet wide, whereas canyons that are formed by the erosion through horizontal flow of water over long periods of time are far wider.