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Travel

All About Visiting Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona

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Horseshoe Bend has exploded with popularity over the last several years, mostly thanks to Instagram.

The number of people visiting this beautiful horseshoe-shaped curve in the Colorado River has risen from a few thousand per year to a few thousand per day.

That aside, walking the short hike to Horseshoe Bend is still worthy of being on anyone’s bucket list, as it one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.

Keep reading for more info on this unique site that was carved by Mother Nature herself.

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visiting horseshoe bend

Learn everything you need to know about visiting Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona!

Horseshoe Bend overlook boasts more than 2.2 million visitors per year. Is it worth visiting a place that has an average of 4,000 visitors a day, no railings in some areas and a 1,000 foot drop off with millennials waving around self-sticks doing it for the ‘gram?

Yes.

I promise you it is worth it. Especially if it’s a beautiful day out. I’ve been a total of 3 times, and even in the rain it was still worth it.

So where is Horseshoe Bend located anyway?

This fantastic piece of scenery is located just south of Page, Arizona.

When heading south on State Route 89 from Page, it’s located around 5 miles down on the right. Don’t worry, it’s well-marked!

Note: Parking along Route 89 is prohibited. If the lot is full, you must wait in line or come back at another time. During my 3 times visiting, I have never had an issue with parking. And the Horseshoe Bend parking lot has recently been expanded, so hopefully you won’t run into that issue!

Horseshoe Bend location on map below:

Directions to Horseshoe Bend

If you hover over the map above then click “Directions” a tab will open where you can enter your starting point and it will give you directions to Horseshoe Bend.

For some reason when the new tab opens, it says “Grand Canyon National Park.” I have no idea why the name changes but don’t worry, the location on the map is still the correct location!

Here is a list of travel distances and travel times from popular starting points:

Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas: 4.5 hours, 275 miles

Phoenix to Horseshoe Bend: 4hr 15 min, 275 miles

Flagstaff to Horseshoe Bend: 2 hours, 130 miles

Horseshoe Bend to Grand Canyon, North Rim: 2.5hrs, 120 miles

Horseshoe Bend to Grand Canyon, South Rim: 3.5hrs, 208 miles

horseshoe bend on the colorado river

What is the best time to visit?

Keep in mind that the overlook faces west. So if you visit in the afternoon, you will be staring at the sun. The more the sun sets, the more the river will be in the shadows. This makes taking pictures difficult because of the high contrast. 

My person suggestion is any time between mid-morning to early afternoon. Sunset pictures of Horseshoe Bend are beautiful, but personally I found them difficult to shoot.

Tip: If you are using your cell phone for pics, see if you have an HDR setting. This setting can work well in high contrast scenarios, depending on the phone.


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visiting horseshoe bend in page arizona
info for visiting horseshoe bend

How much does Horseshoe Bend cost? Is there an entrance fee?

Although technically part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, National Park Service passes will not get you into this site. The Horseshoe Bend entrance fee goes to the city of Page. At least that’s what they tell us at the ticket booth at the entrance.

$5 per motorcycle

$10 per car, truck, SUV, RV, or motorhome

$35 for commercial vans with less than 14 passengers

Click here for more info on prices: https://horseshoebend.com/parking-lot-reopens/

There are special parking spots for RVs, motorhomes, and buses.

storm over colorado river
The trail to suddenly opens up to a huge 1000-foot drop with stunning views.

The Trail

This is a very sandy trail. If it’s very windy out, be prepared to be pelted by sand.

It’s somewhat steep at the beginning but then its slightly downhill to the overlook.. While you don’t necessarily need hiking boots, I would definitely suggest wearing tennis shoes.

These have been my go-to tennis shoes for several years now.

How long does it take to walk to Horseshoe Bend?

The trail to the overlook is 1.5 miles round-trip. The walk should take about 10-15 minutes each way (there are 2 covered stops with benches if you need a rest).

Expect for the whole experience to take around an hour.

If this is your first time hiking to the overlook, the view sneaks up on you. The trail literally ends at a 1,000-foot drop-off overlooking one of the most beautiful sites you will ever see.

The middle of the overlook has railings, but there are no railings on either side of it. My favorite spot is just to the left of the overlook.

colorado river
To the left of the railed viewing area is my favorite spot. You can get away from the crowds & just sit there enjoying the amazing scenery.

Now seems like a great time to insert something about safety.

Don’t let your children run free, don’t get too close to the edge, don’t turn your back to edge and “back up for a photo” like that lady did at the Grand Canyon. Yes, people have died from falling off the edge of Horseshoe Bend. Please don’t let that be you or your child!!

Alright, moving on…

Are there bathrooms?

Yes! There is a row of bathrooms along the back of the parking lot. Nothing fancy, they are pit toilets. But if you gotta go, beggars can’t be choosers.

horseshoe bend arizona weather
Cloudy & stormy weather can make beautiful photographs!

Photographing Horseshoe Bend

  • Horseshoe Bend is very sandy, dusty, and can occasionally be extremely windy. I would recommend against switching lenses in this type of setting.
  • In order to capture the entire horseshoe, you MUST have a wide-angle lens. The first time I went, my lens was not wide enough & I had to use my cell phone. When I went back I was sure to bring my 10-18mm lens. It’s not the most fancy lens, but it served its purpose!
  • This is great spot to take a panoramic!
  • Note that during early morning/sunrise and late afternoon/sunset, the river will be in the shadows. On sunny days, this makes for a very harsh contrast.
  • You may want to invest in a lens hood, depending on where the sun is when you visit.

Things to do near Horseshoe Bend

Visiting Horseshoe Bend will not take up your entire day, so you will probably want to enjoy other things in Page, Az while you are in the area.

A lot of people like to pair Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. While Upper and Lower Antelope Canyon are the most popular options, here are some other things to enjoy:

  • Glen Canyon Dam and the Carl Hayden Visitor Center
  • Lake Powell (boating, fishing, the marina, etc)
  • Local hikes such as Hanging Garden
  • Local restaurants (we ate at Dam Bar & Grille, a Glen Canyon Dam inspired bar, and it was really good!)
  • Grand Canyon National Park (2.5-3.5 hrs away)
  • Monument Valley is about 2 hrs away
  • Zion National Park (1hr 45 min away)
  • Bryce Canyon National Park (2hr 40 min)

Where to Stay Near Horseshoe Bend

Since I have only stayed one night in the area, I’m not able to give you reviews on lots of the hotels in Page, Arizona. However, here is a link to the top places to stay in Page, Arizona according to Booking.com!

Available Tours

If you’re wanting something more than the traditional view of Horseshoe Bend, try flying over it or floating through it on the Colorado River! I would love to do the fly-over next time I visit.

This narrated 30-minute flying tour will provide you with aerial views of Horseshoe Bend and Lake Powell.

This half-day boat tour gives you an up-close look at Glen Canyon Dam, ancient petroglyphs, and Horseshoe Bend.

Hope you enjoyed this post and I hope it helps prepare you for visiting the beautiful Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona.

melissa of dogwoods & driftwood travel blog

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Visiting Horseshoe Bend? Use this guide to help plan your visit!

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