A Great Place
When should you visit very special and unique places in the world that touch you? Places with an atmosphere you can’t describe or where you even get overwhelmed with emotion.
Jokulsárlón (Google Maps) is a truly striking spot to visit in Iceland and was one of the Game of Thrones filming locations for season 7. However, it does get incredibly crowded during the daytime. Read on for our guide on how to avoid the crowds, when to see the most icebergs and more useful tips:
The lagoon is accessible year-round. Even in the winter, the part of Route 1 (Ring Road) between Reykjavik and Jokulsárlón is usually snow-free. There might be some exceptions when heavy snow-storms occur. Tip: You'll have the best experience and more freedom if you rent a car, preferrably a 4WD. Most of our tips below can only be followed with a (rental) car.
The icebergs are present year round. However, it's impossible to predict the amount of ice on a certain day. Our tips on increasing your chances:
Visit In Winter:
You'll often see more icebergs during the winter months. Another great advantage to visiting in winter is the Northern Lights. The downsides: It's colder, and no boat tours are available in winter.
Visit In Summer:
In the summer, as well as late spring and early fall, there are slightly fewer icebergs, but boat tours are available, and the weather is more pleasant. However, you'll usually spot enough icebergs in every season. A great experience in the summer: Afternoon on a sunny day for incredible contrasts between light, ice and the black beach.
Stay Two Days:
Regardless of the season, you should stay at least two days. Book a nearby hotel (Best Hotels at Jokulsárlón). First you visit the Lagoon in the afternoon/evening, then you stay the night in the hotel and on the next day you get back to the lagoon early in the morning. That way you'll avoid the crowds at both times (evening and morning). Staying two days also means, you can experience different tide levels, often different wind/weather and different light. You'll maximize the chances to see enough icebergs as well. Few visitors report, that almost no icebergs were there on a given day. It's not very likely but possible. Visit 2 days to be on the safe side.
Avoiding the Crowds
Crowds at Jokulsárlón are usually present year-round. The peak summer months bring the most tourists. However, there are easy ways to get away from the crowds:
Be Early or Stay Late:
Be there as early as possible, preferably around 7:30 AM. Then you'll have about an hour or more until the first tour buses arrive. Since a drive from Reykjavik takes about 5 hours, the best bet is to stay at a nearby hotel the night before you visit early. We highly recommend to stay two days (see section above: stay two days for the icebergs and light). Example: Day #1: Stay late at the lagoon until at least 4 or 5 PM when most tourists are gone. Staying late is a great idea even if you are not planning to visit again the next day. The night: Stay at the nearby hotel. Day #2: Be at Jokulsárlón early in the morning (see above).
The area around the main parking lot is always crowded: Check out the layout drawing below. Most people stay within 60 m of the parking area. Just walk a little farther, and you'll get away from the main crowds. About half mile down the road is another parking lot. From there you can go down the cliff to the beach. It's significantly less busy here and most of the time you see as many icebergs. The two beaches are nearly identical, while one of them often has more icebergs than the other. It's impossible to predict that on a certain day. If you'd like to avoid crowds, just go to the beach with fewer icebergs.
Visit In Shoulder Months:
Usually, the place is busy year-round nowadays. The peak season used to be from June until August. However, in the recent years, many visitors also come for the Northern Lights in winter. A chance of a slightly less busy place is the months of late September - October or April - early May. However, don't expect a quiet place during daytime regardless of the season.
Anytime. Every season offers a different experience
Anytime. Every season offers a different experience
- 3185 Adventures’ campground is nestled in a 147 acres of the Robson Valley, with the snow-capped Caribou Mountains on one side, the majestic Rocky Mountains on the other, and the mighty Fraser River winding through forests. The Robson Valley presents a healthy treat for the mind, body and soul.
- The majestic Rocky Mountains on the other, and the mighty Fraser River winding through forests. The Robson Valley presents a healthy treat for the mind, body and soul.
- Explore forest-covered sand dunes, alpine meadows and glaciers in the Rocky Mountains and rare inland rainforests. Visit Mount Robson, the highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies or hike through the ancient cedar forest, an area undisturbed for thousands of years with cedars over 1000 years old.
The best time to visit Antelope Canyon is either in peak season or low season: The light beams only occur around midday in high season from mid-March until mid-October. However, it gets extremely busy during that time. It’s quieter in low season from November to February but with no light beams.
For more useful details and tons of Antelope Canyon tips, read this complete guide. Use the quick navigation / table of contents for your orientation. If you'd like to know who we are, check out our About Us page.
- Light Beams (Sun Beams) Tips & Facts
- Avoiding Busy Times & Crowds
- Monthly Weather for Antelope Canyon
- Stay 1-2 Nights (Recommended by Experts)
- Tour Tips & Photography Tours
- Upper Canyon vs. Lower Canyon
- 9 Antelope Canyon Must-Know Tips
- Prices and Fees for Antelope Canyon
Scroll down to the end of this article for even more tips. We cover every aspect of an Antelope Canyon visit. Feedback from our users: 'You got the best Antelope Canyon guide on the internet!' Tip: Are you planning to do more than Antelope Canyon in Arizona? Then get the latest edition of 'Fodor's Arizona & Grand Canyon (click the link to view it on Amazon). It has amazing insights and is definitely the best guidebook for the area. It has so much great and helfpul information you should use!
Must-See Nearby Places
Click or touch the image below (opens in new tab for easy viewing later) to check out our updated articles for must-visit nearby places: The Wave — Zion National Park — Bryce Canyon National Park — Monument Valley. And if you're staying in Las Vegas, definitely check out our complete Death Valley National Park Guide with amazing tips
From Las Vegas to Antelope Canyon | Tour Tips
In case you are staying in Las Vegas, this is such a great tour if you like it hassle-free: Antelope Canyon & Horseshoe Bend Tour (Particularly great in winter!) Why this one? The tour guides are extremely friendly and have so much insider knowledge. Also, you save time, energy, and the whole tour is very comfortable in a small group! Pick up from your Las Vegas Hotel! And if you're not scared of flying: Grand Canyon Helicopter Tour (from Las Vegas with hotel pick-up - via Viator-TripAdvisor Experience)
Places you should visit nearby: Our recently updated articles with many must-know tips and insider knowledge we wrote for you:
- The Wave - Arizona: A once in a lifetime hike! 1,5 hours drive from Antelope Canyon. Our free guide with insider tips!
- Monument Valley: A complete guide & the best tips you should know. 2 hours drive from Antelope Canyon.
Light Beams (Highlight)
Light Beam Facts:
- No light beams from mid-October until end mid-March
- No light beams before 11 AM and after 1:30 PM
- No light beams on a cloudy day, even during ‘light beam season’
- Book the 10:30 AM / 11:00 AM / 12:00 AM tours to see the beams
The light beams in Antelope Canyon start around March 20 and last until early October. Best months for the beams are June, July, and August. The higher sun brings more light into the canyon. Each day the light beams are visible in the midday between 11 AM and 1:30 PM on a sunny day only. There are no light beams when it's cloudy. The most beams can be seen in Upper Antelope Canyon. They occur in Lower Antelope Canyon as well, but light beams are few and far between. You might be wondering if it's still worth visiting Antelope Canyon during off-season, without the light beams? Yes, definitely! Read on for more details:
Avoiding Busy Times and Tourist Crowds
Antelope Canyon by Ron Holder, CC BY
Upper Antelope Canyon became a mass tourism spot, especially during high season as well as during shoulder seasons. Even Lower Antelope got a lot busier in the recent years. Our tips for 2018 and beyond:
High Season - Shoulder Season | Spring - Summer - Fall
Expect a crowded place and fully booked midday tours from April until September. It's worse during peak months (June, July, and August) when the light is just perfect. Midday tours are jammed throughout the season. You have to choose between a crowded place with the magical beams during the season (end of March - early October) or fewer tourists without the beams in the off-season (mid-October - mid-March). You may also book a less busy tour in the early morning without the beams in 'light beams season'. You can still take great photos regardless of the time of day. Another option is Lower Antelope Canyon: Larger area, ladder climbing, fewer beams but also fewer crowds. However, Lower Canyon became much busier as it used to be. Book mid-week and try to go in the shoulder months (April/September), when there are already/still light beams but without the massive summer tourist crowds.
Low Season | Winter Visit
In the off-season (mid-October - mid-March) there are no light beams, but both places are still magical. It's less busy from November to February. However, even in winter, avoid weekends if you visit Upper Antelope Canyon. It's more quiet mid-week. For even more solitude: Visit Lower Antelope Canyon in the winter. It's much quieter during the off-season, and although there are no light beams at all, the colors are gorgeous. Check the weather forecast and try to go between 10 and 11 AM because of better light conditions.
Antelope Canyon Weather
Temperature wise, you can visit any time of the year. In the winter it's much quieter (see above) but also cold sometimes. Snow is very rare. Canyon closures due to winter conditions did happen in the past but they are very unlikely. In the warm summer months, thunderstorms can occur during 'Arizona's Monsoon Season': From roughly mid-June until mid-September. Thunderstorms are usually afternoon thundershowers and more wind and lightning than rain. But still, dangerous flash floods are possible.
More weather details (you can switch between °C and °F): Page, Arizona Climate Details
Tourists / Sunbeams (Highlight) Calendar
Mid-September through Mid-December as the museum celebrates Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with vivid and soulful art.