The Horseshoe Bend, located only 6.4km from Page and 8km from Lake Powell, can be easily reached with a car on your US travels through Arizona. The beautiful curve of the Colorado River can be seen after you hike from the carpark through the recycled sand, which is protecting the Navajo Sandstone. You will see the incredible Horseshoe Bend from above. At the top of this hike, you are basically standing in the crossroads of Page, Lake Powell, Glen Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs. By car is the best option to travel here, but there has been an increase in tours too.
We first visited Horseshoe Bend in the late afternoon when we were travelling the Scenic State Route 89A from Cedar City to Page. Pulling into the dusty carpark that was full of tourists and workmen just finishing their day. It’s a 25 minute walk (which is only 2.4km roundtrip) so we didn’t think of bringing water, which we regretted and definitely recommended. You have to make the steep climb followed by a steep decent to enjoy the fascinating view of the colorado river down below.
From photos online you expect it to be so peaceful to view, but the coaches in the car park already gave us a warning that this was very touristic. At the bottom of the steep decent people crowded around each other to get the perfect shot of the bend, but we instantly took a walk west to get away from other tourists to really take it all in.
Since it was still a few hours from sunset, we headed back to the car to go check into our motel and grab something to eat for dinner. We took our time and visited a pizzeria restaurant called the Canyon King, which at first we had doubts and there was a bit of a wait but the food was delicious.
Heading back to the Horseshoe Bend by 18:35pm we were more prepared with some warmer clothes, our camera with tripod, hiking shoes (not necessary but more comfy than our sneakers!) and water.
Sunset was just as busy as during the late afternoon, but at least no coach parties full of tourists. For sunset there were only couples and friends enjoying each other’s company and a wedding couple for those sunset wedding photos. We climbed up onto some of the higher rock to the east this time and relaxed after our long day with the view. As a British-expat-turning-Dutchie I found this setting was very ‘gezellig‘ together!
There is construction currently in place to improve the car park, toilets and create an overlook with safety railings, so we are happy to have already visited before it becomes a possible paying touristic location. It would be a real shame but we realise this is becoming a very busy touristic location. P.s spot all the tourists in the photo above!
In the future (few million years) it’s possible that the river will erode through the narrow neck of rock, creating a natural bridge and abandoning the circular channel around the rock. But for now its still a beautiful curve of the Colorado River!
- Take water with you
- Sensible walking shoes
- Warm clothing for sunset
- Take all rubbish with you
- Respect others visiting (take your time / no pushing)
- Be careful not to fall
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Have you visited the Horseshoe Bend before? We’d love to hear your stories!
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