Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
The Horseshoe Bend hike leads you to this superb viewpoint from where you can watch the Colorado River meander its way through the red rock canyon, 300 metres (1000 feet) below
Horseshoe Bend Trail
During our 2022 road trip, we stayed at Page between our visits to Monument Valley and Bryce Canyon. Due to our very tight schedule, we only had time to fit in one of the many spectacular attractions this area boasts – the iconic Horseshoe Bend.
Horseshoe Bend is an excellent example of what is known as an entrenched meander. Over millions of years, this landmark has formed as the Colorado River slowly eroded into the underlying bedrock.
This geological activity has created the perfect ‘horseshoe’ that sits here today, with the Colorado River now flowing approximately 300 metres (1000 feet) below the towering red rock canyon sides.
Horseshoe Bend has grown into a top-rated tourist attraction, and for a good reason, with around 2 million visitors now enjoying this spectacle every year. I guess it’s of little surprise that it has become one of the most photographed sites in northern Arizona and an Instagrammer’s dream!
Where is Horseshoe Bend?
Horseshoe Bend is situated within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, a short distance southwest of the town of Page in Arizona. This map highlights its exact location.
Where to park for Horseshoe Bend?
A dedicated Horseshoe Bend parking lot is just off US 89, approximately 5 miles (8.05 km) from Page, Arizona. What’s more, this is also the location of the Horseshoe Bend trailhead for the 1.43 miles (2.3 km) round trip hike to the viewpoint.
If the parking lot is full, return another time. Do not attempt to park along US 89 as this is strictly prohibited, and vehicles caught parking there will be fined and towed.
Although the viewpoint sits within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, the car park is on city land. As such, visitors must pay a Horseshoe Bend parking fee of $10 (May 2022).
Visit the City of Page website for the complete list of up-to-date parking charges.
How to get to Horseshoe Bend?
Whatever your starting location, ultimately, you will join the north/south-orientated US 89. Approximately 5 miles (8 km) southwest of Page, near mile marker 544, you will see the parking lot just to the west of the highway.
Horseshoe Bend Location Details
The following location-specific details should assist with your Horseshoe Bend directions:
Horseshoe Bend Trail Description
The Horseshoe Bend hike starts from the northwestern end of the parking lot, along a hardened path, gently descending 31 metres over the 0.68 miles (1.1 km) from the parking area to the Horseshoe Bend viewpoint.
The short Horseshoe Bend trail leads you along a well-constructed path that complies with the Architectural Barriers Act (ABA) standards for accessibility, blending seamlessly with the natural surroundings.
There are also two substantial shelters along the trail with benches for those wishing to take a rest while escaping the searing Arizona sun. Additionally, the overlook viewpoint has an ABA-accessible area complete with a safety railing, from where to enjoy the splendid vistas.
The Horseshoe Bend hike is the only trail within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area that fulfils accessibility criteria, ensuring that those with disabilities can enjoy this magical location.
If you want to enjoy the incredible views with fewer people and safety railings to hinder your photos, venture onto the rocks on either side of the main viewing area.
*Keep your distance from the edge! *
Just remember to stay back from the edge, as accidents can and have occurred here! Taking that perfect shot for your social media account is not worth risking your life.
You will undoubtedly want to spend some time soaking this one in, and you will quickly see why it is one of the most photographed sections of the Colorado River.
Spend any length of time, and you will see how the colour shade of the red rock is forever changing, as shadows dance in and out of the canyon, whilst the Colorado River glistens in varying shades of greens and blues far below.
Once you have had your fill of the awe-inspiring panorama, retrace your steps on the return portion of the Horseshoe Bend hike.
What you will need for the hike to Horseshoe Bend
If you are planning to do the Horseshoe Bend hike, you will certainly require the following:
- Plenty of water (minimum 1 litre). Find out how to calculate how much water you should carry on a hike.
- Sturdy footwear – flip-flops or sandals are not advisable.
- Sunscreen – you are fully exposed to the elements on this hike, so apply sunscreen before leaving the car. Furthermore, it’s probably also a good idea to avoid the Horseshoe Bend trail during the hottest part of the day.
- Camera – this is something you don’t want to forget!
Horseshoe Bend Hike – Our Thoughts
This hike is more of a short, gentle stroll than a hike, but the destination is stunning. Therefore, if you are passing through northern Arizona, adding Horseshoe Bend to your list is an absolute must!
You will almost certainly be sharing this experience with plenty of other visitors, so if you want to avoid the crowds, you might want to arrive bright and early.
Alternatively, save your visit until the winter months, and you will guarantee a quieter time.
Horseshoe Bend Hike – Q & As
How long is the hike to Horseshoe Bend?
The total roundtrip hike length is 1.36 miles (2.2 km)
What is the Horseshoe Bend hike time?
The entire hike should take about 30-45 minutes (out and back) plus however long you spend enjoying the views.
Is Horseshoe Bend a difficult hike?
No. It is an easy hike.
When is the best time to visit Horseshoe Bend?
Best time of year to visit
In all honesty, it will be hard not to be mesmerised by Horseshoe Bend, regardless of the time of year you visit.
Each season offers unique viewing characteristics, so it’s purely personal preference as to which of these makes it the best viewing experience.
However, if you want to avoid the crowds, you may wish to visit the Horseshoe Bend trail between October and February.
Best time of day to visit
The best time to visit depends on what you want. For instance, if you are looking for a quieter experience minus the crowds, you may wish to consider arriving before 0800 or even that bit earlier to enjoy sunrise at Horseshoe Bend.
However, the Horseshoe Bend sunset could be ideal if you are more interested in witnessing and photographing the sun bidding farewell to the day.
Sunset is also the busiest time of the day, so this is also worth bearing in mind if crowds are not your thing.
Some say the best time to view Horseshoe Bend is between late morning and midday, as this is the only time the tall canyon walls are not casting a shadow across the deep meandering Colorado River.
Of course, the flip side to this option is that you are now exposing yourself to the powerful rays of the Arizona sun, especially if you are visiting during the hotter months.
So, I think there is no correct answer to this question, which ultimately comes down to personal preference. That said, I am not sure it’s possible to have a bad experience at Horseshoe Bend, as each visit will offer its piece of unique magic!
Check out Horseshoe Bend’s TripAdvisor page and read the various opinions of other visitors.
Is Horseshoe Bend dog friendly?
Pets are welcome at Horseshoe Bend, but owners must abide by the following guidelines:
- Pets must be on a lead no longer than 6 feet in length.
- Pet owners must clear up their pet’s solid waste.
- Carry plenty of water for your pet.
- Safeguard your pet’s feet, as the ground becomes very hot during summer.
- Do not leave your pets in your vehicle – animal cruelty is taken very seriously by the City of Page Police Department, and owners of pets in vehicles will be arrested and criminally cited.
How many Horseshoe Bend deaths have there been?
I don’t know the exact figure, but many people have accidentally fallen to their deaths while visiting Horseshoe Bend. Here are just a few of the deaths at Horseshoe Bend that I discovered during my research:
Is it free to visit Horseshoe Bend?
No. As of 2022, it costs $10 for a car or RV to use the parking lot. Check out the City of Page website for more information.
Is Horseshoe Bend a national park?
No. There are 63 National Parks in the USA, but Horseshoe Bend is not one of them. There are 18 National Recreation Areas in the USA, and Horseshoe Bend is just one location within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Is Horseshoe Bend part of the Grand Canyon?
No. Horseshoe Bend is not a part of the Grand Canyon National Park.
What is the closest city to Horseshoe Bend, Arizona?
Page. Located just 5 miles (8 km) to the northeast.
Road distances from popular locations
- Antelope Canyon to Horseshoe Bend – 8.7 miles (14 km)
- Bryce Canyon to Horseshoe Bend – 153 miles (246.2 km)
- Flagstaff to Horseshoe Bend – 130 miles (209.2 km)
- Grand Canyon (South Rim) to Horseshoe Bend – 134 miles (215.7 km)
- Grand Canyon (North Rim) to Horseshoe Bend – 120 miles (193.1 km)
- Las Vegas to Horseshoe Bend – 275 miles (442.6 km)
- Monument Valley to Horseshoe Bend – 123 miles (197.9 km)
- Phoenix to Horseshoe Bend – 274 miles (441 km)
- Scottsdale to Horseshoe Bend – 282 miles (453.8 km)
- Sedona to Horseshoe Bend – 159 miles (255.9 km)
- Zion National Park to Horseshoe Bend – 118 miles (189.9 km)
Have you experienced this trail?
If you have, please share your experience with our readers and us. If you have questions we have not answered here, please let us know, and we will get back to you as quickly as possible.
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