Hundreds of locals enjoy free tour of Lower Antelope Canyon

For many residents, it was their first time to the famous canyon.

Last weekend both Dixie Ellis and Ken’s Tours offered free tours of Lower Antelope Canyon to locals, and the locals were very eager to take them up on their generous offer. Facebook and Instagram exploded with photos of Page families and friends enjoying 75 minutes in Page’s most famous slot canyon.

Penni Case, a pre-school director for Page Unified School District, was one of the estimated 600 locals who toured the canyon Saturday and Sunday. Case, who has lived in Page since 2002, was part of a group of 12 friends and family. It was the first time visiting the canyon for all but one in their group.

“We really liked it,” she said. “It was so beautiful. It was longer than we thought it would be.

And because its longer, it gave us more time to enjoy it and the majesty of the rocks.

Case has visited Upper Antelope Canyon a couple times.

“I kind of figured it would be similar to Upper Antelope Canyon,” she said, “but it was quite a different experience. The lower canyon is such a different perspective from the upper canyon.”

Case and her family and friends did their tour with Dixie Ellis’s company. After leaving the check-in station they walked near the crack, which is very narrow at the surface.

“It’s so cool that from on top it’s a narrow little crack but once we were inside it was surprisingly big in there,” said Case.

Case thinks giving tours away for free to the locals was a great idea, and a great marketing tool for the tour companies.

“I think they did a great job selling their business today,” she said. “After taking the tour I have nothing but positive things to say about the tour, our guide and Dixie Ellis and I’m going to be telling a lot of people to take that tour.”

It was also Terry Maurer’s first time through Lower Antelope Canyon, and he was very impressed.

“It was fantastic,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of pictures of it before, but the pictures don’t do it justice.”

Maurer and his group were also impressed with their guide. His guide explained Antelope Canyon’s unique formations through modern geology as well as the Navajo story for how it was formed. Their guide also helped them with their cameras’ exposures and angles to ensure they left the canyon with the best photos possible.

“It was cool having a really knowledgeable tour guide,” he said.

Gordon Lane, public relations manager for Ken’s Tours, said the idea to give free trips to locals was a joint venture between Ken’s Tours and Dixie Ellis Tours.

“This is one of the most-visited places on the globe,” he said. “People travel thousands of miles just to visit this spot. We wanted to encourage people who live only two miles away to experience it too.”

“A lot has evolved and changed in the 25 years since we’ve been doing tours here,” he said. “We wanted them to see what’s new with how we do tours, and how it all works. We’re a really big word-of-mouth company, and hopefully our friends in Page will help spread the word about what a great experience it is.”