For the longest time we had been wanting to capture the sight of this majestic little place we kept seeing on Instagram. Horseshoe Bend kept coming up on our feed and although it’s located in our home state of Arizona, we never made a visit when we lived there.
Finally, while doing a Utah & Arizona road trip for our anniversary, we made it to this incredible place. Not just once, but twice in one trip. That’s just how beautiful it is.
About Horseshoe Bend
You guessed it, Horseshoe Bend is this beautiful view-point shaped like a horseshoe. It is part of Glen Canyon that runs through Arizona. At the bottom of the Bend, one of the longest rivers in the USA runs through it leaving some amazing views of the emerald colors down below, the Colorado River. The view-point is part of the Navajo Reservation but overseen by the National Park Services.
The colors of the rock walls you see at Horseshoe Bend are from the minerals found in the rocks. These minerals include garnet, platinum, and hematite.
This place is highly photographed because of its 270 degree curve of the river and the 1,000 ft deep view. Below, there is greenery that contrasts well with the surrounding rock colors. Sometimes you will see rafts and boats making a journey through the stream.
This incredible place is only 140 miles from the Grand Canyon but only 5 miles from the beginning of Grand Canyon National Park. It as wondrous as the Grand Canyon if you ask us!
Similar to the Grand Canyon, Horseshoe Bend became the river bend it is now millions of years ago when the fast-moving water eroded the banks.
How to get to Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe bend is located about 5 miles from the small but busy town of Page, Arizona. Many visitors come because of its close proximity to the Grand Canyon and other National Parks in Utah and Arizona. Once in Page, it is between mile post 544 & 545 on the west side. The highway has an exit to a dirt road leading to a parking lot. During busy days and times, you can park along the side of the highway.
It is about a 4.5 hour drive from either Phoenix, Arizona or Las Vegas, Nevada. Once you are on the road and land on highway 89, you are on the path to the view-point. Just be on the lookout for the small sign that can be easily missed. However, if you go during busy times you will see many cars parked along the highway. That’s a clue to where the bend is if you happen to miss the sign.
Once you get to the parking lot, you will be walking a dirt pathway 3/4 of a mile to the rim. The hike could take anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on your fitness level. We wouldn’t say the hike is necessarily difficult, but it did have a slightly steep hill that raised our heart beats and had us sweating.
The dirt road isn’t difficult to walk on, so even sandals are fine. Just be aware that no mater what you wear, you will get dusty feet.
Photographing Horseshoe Bend
We went at two different times to Horseshoe Bend. First we went at sunset and absolutely loved the view. Before the sun set, it was difficult to take pictures because you are photographing directly facing the sun. We waited for the sun to go down and we got some great shots. Though the rim is completely packed with people at this time, there is enough space for everyone.
We also tried to make it before sunrise but got there a few minutes late at 5:30 A.M. on Memorial weekend. We were hoping to enjoy this place with no tourists and capture some shots with our drone without disturbing people. Morning light makes for some great pictures but since the sun had already risen, there was a shadow on part of the canyon that we did not like in our pictures.
However, we truly enjoyed having this place almost to ourselves and only sharing it with a few people. We think the best time to go to Horseshoe Bend is before sunrise and at sunset. Other wise, you are left with an awkward shadow or pictures that have too much exposure during midday. Cloudy days would also be perfect for capturing this place. We recommend bringing a wide-angle lens to capture the entire bend.
Other Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend
If you visit during summer, it is hot! If you will be there a long time or will wait around for sunset, wear sunscreen and glasses. There is no shade. It’s also a good idea to bring water and go to the restroom before because there are only porter potties at the parking lot. Wear layers because sunrise and sunset can get cold sometimes. Also, bring water in case you get thirsty!
There are no railings! I’m surprised deaths aren’t common since almost everyone approaches the edge of the rim for pictures. Most people however, are cautious. No one wants to fall of the edge of a 1,000 foot drop into the Colorado River!
There is no fee to see Horseshoe Bend and parking is free. How awesome is that!? Dogs are allowed but not many people bring them along. It’s best to keep them safe from the edge.
Our experience visiting Horseshoe Bend
We were taken away by Horseshoe Bend and would definitely go back. We are so glad to have added it to our road trip itinerary because this place is truly magical. Our visit took place on Memorial Weekend, so it was packed! We usually prefer less crowds which is why we returned bright and early. The town of Page was a fun place to explore and camp. One day allowed us enough time to explore Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon.
Things To Do when Visiting Horseshoe Bend
There are quite a few things to do near Horseshoe Bend. Only 10 minutes away is Antelope Canyon and about 20 minutes away is Lone Rock Beach Campground. Lone Beach Campground is perfect for outdoor fun, beach like atmosphere, and perfect for camping. Lake Powell is also nearby and offers many outdoor activities. Further away you have the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park, and Bryce Canyon.
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