We just got back from a trip to Arizona, where one of the real highlights was the "Canyon X Photo Tour" with Charlie from Overland Canyon Tours. We had a great time, and it was quite the adventure!
First - I will warn you that the Canyon X Photo Tour is expensive, but we splurged and we thought it was worth it. Most canyon tours in Page (Antelope Canyon in particular) tend to be crowded because they are so popular. The trips to Canyon X are a completely different experience. The canyon is on private Navajo land and they only allow 6 people to visit each day. So the tour size is limited to 6 people, but we got lucky and had the tour (and the canyon) all to ourselves.
One of the first things you will notice about the place is the silence. With the exception of an occasional raven sweeping overhead, you hear absolutely nothing. Our tour guide, Charlie, says he always asks his visitors to spend a few minutes not talking, but simply appreciating the silence. Which proves to be hard for those of us who are used to the constant sounds of "civilization"!
The canyon is not as pretty as Antelope Canyon but still offers a lot of very striking photo opportunities. Having all the time we want, and having complete private access to the canyon, allowed time for creative photography. We did this tour, and the Antelope Canyon tour the next day, and I am so very glad we did BOTH.
Charlie is a great tour guide and an interesting fellow. He's originally from Germany (he joked that the was from the West Berlin chaper of the Navajo Nation) and looks like an old hippie. So he definitely has some stories to tell, if he's in the mood to share. He's also very helpful. He loaned my husband a nice tripod, and even let us keep it for an extra day to take on another tour with another company.
I will warn you that this is not a physically easy hike if you (like me) are middle-aged, overweight, and out of shape, or you're not used to the 7000-ft elevation. Unlike Antelope Canyon, which is completely flat and where you can drive right up to the entrance, this one requires some hiking. It's not a long walk, but requires climbing down a fairly steep canyon wall / sand dune before entering the canyon. The canyon itself is flat and is no problem. But then on the way out, you have to climb back up the steep hill to get out. It's not a long climb - my husband guessed the vertical climb was maybe a little over 100 feet. But by the time we left, I was already tired, so the uphill trip was a real challenge for me. Poor Charlie had to pretty huch haul me up the hill. I was emabarassed but he said it didn't bother him - he said it wasn't the first time it had happened, and wouldn't be the last!
If I had known how hard it would be, I might have chickened out, so I'm glad I didn't know what I was getting into. It was a great adventure and I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I highly recommend it, and highly recommend Overland Canyon tours.