Visit Horseshoe Bend: discovering a miracle of nature

Who I am
Martí Micolau
@martímicolau
SOURCES CONSULTED:

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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There is no doubt: around Page there is such a large number of natural treasures that a week would not be enough to see them all. If you are planning your Arizona tour, make a nice red circle on the map: in these parts there are some of the most fascinating Arizona slot canyons (from the two Antelope Canyon a Water Holes Canyon, passing through the Canyon X), the hypnotic Lake Powell with its sprawling meanders, the Lone Rock and the Rainbow Bridge National Monument, then the Marble Canyon (which is the very beginning of the Grand Canyon) and the thousand other wonders of the Glen Canyon.



In addition to all these points of interest, there is a natural work of art that until a few years ago was ignored by most travelers: theHorseshoe Bend, certainly one of the most spectacular scenery in Arizona, which has quickly become so popular that it has become an absolute must among the things to see in Page and throughout the South West.

Index

  • How to reach us
    • Dalla Monument Valley a Horseshoe Bend
    • Dal Grand Canyon a Horseshoe Bend
    • Da Las Vegas all’Horseshoe Bend
  • Horseshoe Bend: tour guide
    • The excursion
    • What do you see?
    • Best time to photograph it
  • Prices
  • Alternative tours
  • A less crowded alternative?
  • Accomodation
  • Photo gallery

How to reach us

Parking for theHorseshoe Bend is located 7 km south of Page in Bitter Springs direction, deviating from US-89 to the right at the signs.

Dalla Monument Valley a Horseshoe Bend

If you are going to Page after visiting Monument Valley, you must take the AZ-98 W at Shonto and follow it to Page, passing Antelope Canyon. At the junction with US-89, turn left and drive 2,5 km to the Horseshoe Bend parking lot.



Dal Grand Canyon a Horseshoe Bend

If, on the other hand, you arrive in Page from the south (for example after visiting the Grand Canyon) you will clearly find Horseshoe Bend on the left: driving along the Highway 89 you will see the indicatives for Horseshoe Bend (Overlook Trail): take the indicated exit and you will immediately see the parking lot.

Da Las Vegas all’Horseshoe Bend

Obviously, if your previous stop was further west (for example Las Vegas or simply Kanab), you will already be on Hwy 89: when you have passed the dam Glen Canyon Dam, continue south for 8km staying on the main road without entering Page.

Horseshoe Bend: tour guide


When you have parked your car, you will understand from the explanatory signs that the spectacle of Horseshoe Bend will have to sweat it a bit.

The excursion

From the parking lot, a 2.4 km round-trip path winds its way up to the overhang where this is essential. magnificent natural glimpse. The excursion is short but in the summer months the heat is oppressive and the uphill parts can be difficult, so it is good to bring sufficient supplies of water.

After 300 meters of a fairly gentle climb, you will find yourself in an area with a small rest area with a shady gazebo, where you can take a breath and read the panels that will tell you the geological history of Horseshoe Bend, briefly indicating what you will see.


From this point the second part of the short excursion resumes, all downhill on an easier path: the effort is only postponed, but at least your return - uphill and with the sun beating down, which is why you can consider choosing the cooler hours for the excursion - will be facilitated by the emotion of the panorama just enjoyed.


What do you see?

The panorama you will see will appear to you just like a horseshoe-shaped bend shaped by the Colorado River. You will see it from above, and you will feel a shiver run on your back, caused by the beauty of the sight and, above all by thedizzying height of the viewpoint. Along the central part of the edge of the precipice, starting from 2018, some railings, because many people went a little too far to the edge to take the perfect selfie, often challenging the rules of common sense, so much so that in some cases the unscrupulousness proved fatal.

If you want to observe and photograph the panorama in total safety, stay leaning against the railing: this is the best point to see and immortalize the Horseshoe Bend in the "classic pose". However, when you are there, you will not resist the temptation to see the natural spectacle from multiple perspectives: keep in mind that the protections are present only in the central point, and that the rest of the ridge is not protected. We do not know if in the next few years the authorities will decide to put the whole edge in protection, but at the moment what we can suggest is to pay close attention.


Best time to photograph it

The best time to photograph Horseshoe Bend goes from late morning to early afternoon, because the sun is high and illuminates both the river and the rock, even if it is very hot at that time, not only in summer. If this scares you a bit, go there at dawn or before 9 or in the evening at sunset: at that time the sun is behind the Horseshoe Bend, so you will have it in your eyes and it will "burn" you a little. 'the photos, but just a few minutes after sunset you can see some beautiful colors.


Prices

Until a few years ago, Horseshoe Bend it was a practically untouched place. You didn't pay anything, neither the parking nor the entrance ticket. From 2014 onwards the popularity of the place has grown so much that - due to the huge crowding and the consequent risks I mentioned above - it was necessary to make the natural site safe, in addition to the extension of the parking lot, the construction of a Visitor Center and a paved path that connects the parking lot to the edge of the canyon.

Entrance to the park remained free, but you pay for the parking (run by the town of Page), which is pretty much a must, unless you have the crowds idea to walk about ten kilometers from Page up the road! 🙂

Here are the entrance fees in effect since April 2019:

  • Car and RV: $ 10
  • Motorcycle: $ 5

Alternative tours

There are very adventurous ways to visit Horseshoe Bend. When you are on the lookout point, looking down, you will see small boats along the curve of the Colorado River: if you want to imitate them, just jump in your car and head back to the aforementioned Glen Canyon Dam, a few miles away. From there, after visiting the dam, you will descend to the water level and you can embark on rafts: a guide will take you along the river, telling you about the geological evolution of these wonderful places.

If, on the other hand, you love looking at things from above and the overhang was not enough, you can dominate the view of theHorseshoe Bend aboard a helicopter or of an small plane. At the link below you will find my overview of all tours of this type available departing from Page.

All Horseshoe Bend flight tours

There is also an interesting cumulative package that includes a visit to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in one day. We talked about it in this article.

A less crowded alternative?

Given the increased notoriety, seeing Horseshoe Bend in solitude or almost is now practically impossible. But is there really an alternative? Difficult to find such a panorama, with such a perfectly shaped rock formation. Between Utah and Arizona we find somewhat different but equally breathtaking observation points: Dead Horse Point State Park, Gooseneck State Park and other “bends” or “goosenecks” (there is also one at Capitol Reef).

But believe me when I tell you that there is one a few miles from Horseshoe Bend quite similar, not so beautiful perhaps, but totally unspoiled and unknown? Where it meets the mouth of Waterholes Canyon, the Colorado River follows a curve quite similar to Horseshoe Bend, but with a less "rounded" shape. He's called Waterholes Bend, you can locate it here. How to reach it? It is by no means easy, because there is no commonly beaten path and the hike is much longer and more strenuous than that of Horseshoe Bend. This is where the hike begins, and the trail should wind all along the south side of Waterholes Canyon to the precipice.

Since I have not personally tried this excursion, I recommend that you only do it if you have adequate preparation and a great sense of direction. In any case, inquire with the agency that manages the tours in Waterholes Canyon before embarking on this excursion.

Accomodation

If you want to sleep near Horseshoe Bend, the closest place is without a doubt Page, which is full of quality motels and hotels, but we remind you that, not far away, you will find the Lake Powell Resort (100 Lake Shore Drive), located on the shores of charming Lake Powell.

Photo gallery

Horseshoe Bend
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