I visited neither of the Antelope Canyons. Rather, I opted to visit the Buckskin Gulch slot canyon, the longest slot canyon in the country, not too far away from Antelope Canyon. While more famous, Upper Antelope Canyon is but 100 yards long, requires the purchase of tickets in the neighborhood of $30, and is thronged by visitors on guided tours, which, I imagine may make photography difficult. The Buckskin Gulch slot canyon, on the other hand, goes on and on and on and on, and you’re likely to spend long periods of time without hearing or seeing anyone else. It too bears a cost to enter, but here the price is a $6 BLM self-issued permit which can be purchased at the trailhead. It is spectacular in its own right, with canyon walls about 100′ high in places. I saw a raven fling through the canyon which was barely wide enough for it to flap its wings and it was maybe midway from the top to the bottom of the canyon walls. This was a most surprising sight. I also saw a coyote, not in the slot canyon–that would be scary–but rather on the trail that leads to it.
The BLM web site cautions that a 4-wheel drive vehicle should be used for the 8 mile drive on the unmaintained dirt Houserock Valley Road to the trailhead but I think that’s probably silly if the road is dry. It’s perfectly passable by an ordinary passenger sedan when dry and there were any number of them at the Wire Pass trailhead. When wet, however, even a 4-wheel drive may have problems at points along the way.
You may not find the famous lights beaming down from the heavens in the Buckskin Gulch slot canyon, but it’s still a terrific place to visit with many beautiful surprises along the way from unexpected patterns in the canyon walls, beautifully colored sandstone, to patches of flowers, depending on the season.