Arizona is often known for its sunny weather and beautiful desert but there are many more topographical features to love about the 48th state. Arizona is home to dozens of canyons and here are five to enjoy this summer:
1. Antelope Canyon
Antelope Canyon is one of the most photographed slot canyons in the world. As stunning as it is mysterious, Antelope Canyon is divided into two canyons: Upper Antelope Canyon, often called ‘The Crack,’ and Lower Antelope Canyon referred to as ‘The Corkscrew.’ Antelope Canyon is located on Navajo grounds just east of Page, AZ. To learn more about this area, we suggest reading The Difference Between Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon: A Tourist’s Guide here.
Antelope Canyon was formed by the erosion of a geological formation called Navajo Sandstone. The erosion is mostly caused by flash flooding, especially during the monsoon season. The ray of light often seen in photos of Antelope Canyon is particularly bright in the summer usually around lunchtime.
Only have a day? If you are departing from Phoenix, then visit our Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend Tours from Phoenix to see the itinerary.
2. Canyon de Chelly
Canyon de Chelly is a National Monument on the Navajo Nation Reservation in Eastern Arizona. In this expansive park, you will see Native American ruins and the famed Spider Rock spire. Summer is an excellent time to visit Canyon de Chelly because the Visitor’s Center offers free guided hikes each weekend.
We suggest booking a private tour for Canyon de Chelly as a Navajo guide is required to join you in the canyon. Visit our Luxury Private Tours page to learn more and contact us about your dream vacation!
3. Oak Creek Canyon
Sometimes called the canyon cousin to the Grand Canyon, Oak Creek Canyon is a river gorge nestled between Sedona and Flagstaff. Slide Rock State Park is located at the mouth of the canyon and is an excellent place to cool off in the hot summer months. Slide Rock is named for its natural water slide formed by the slippery rock bed at the base of Oak Creek Canyon. Don’t forget your water shoes!
4. Canyon Lake
So Canyon Lake isn’t technically a canyon but it’s definitely worth a look while visiting Arizona. Canyon Lake is a reservoir that was formed when the Salt River was dammed in the early 1900s.
Visitors most often talk about the unusual rock formations and hidden coves at this lake. Another favorite is an afternoon float on the Dolly Steamboat. Perfect for water-skiing, fishing, picnicking, or just leisurely summer sightseeing, Canyon Lake is a highlight of Arizona’s Apache Trail. Ready to experience the wonder of the Superstition Mountains? Check out our Apache Trail Tours from Phoenix.
5. Grand Canyon
Of course, we have to mention the Grand Canyon when talking about Arizona canyons! Often considered one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, the Grand Canyon expects over 5 million visitors this year, many of them in the summer while on vacation. We highly recommend taking a guided tour so you don’t have to worry about parking and waiting in line. Learn more about Grand Canyon Vacations and discover which Rim you want to visit next!
There are many viewpoints to choose from at the Grand Canyon, but the South Rim has the deepest and widest views of the canyon. Many guided tours can show you the best viewpoints depending on the time of day. If you are feeling adventurous, a helicopter ride is an excellent way to stay cool and get a unique perspective of the grandeur of the Grand Canyon.
Popular Canyon Tours
Summers are short! Be sure to maximize your time at these canyons by planning ahead. Holiday weekends can be overwhelming for first-time visitors with large crowds and parking issues. So, if you’d prefer not to waste time planning and driving, consider one of our Canyon Tours.