Ultimate Guide | Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photogenic hot spots of the Colorado River and Grand Canyon. Just 5 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam, this iconic bend is easily accessible from U.S. Route 89.
How to get there
Horseshoe Bend is very easy to get to from either the north or the south.
How to get to Page, AZ
There are a few options that get you to Page, AZ. If you are flying from out of state you are most likely landing in Phoenix or Mesa and driving north. If you are coming Utah you will head southeast into Page on U.S. 89 or from Fredonia on 89a (takes longer). If you are coming from the east you can make it to Page on U.S. Route 98. Check out this area map of Page.
Directions from Page, AZ
From Page, AZ you will head south on Route 89 for about 5 to 6 miles (between mile post marker 544 and 545). Look for the signs that say Horseshoe Bend and a prominent right turn lane headed toward a dirt road. Turn west (right if facing south) and you will see a parking area to your left.
Directions from Phoenix, AZ
Drive north on U.S. Route 89 for about 130 miles until you see the sign on your left (west) prompting you to turn into the Horseshoe Bend scenic area.
The hike itself is a 3/4 mile stroll from the parking lot to the cliff's edge where photographers and tourists come from all over the world. The hike is a combination of sandstone, gravel, and sand. In parts the trail can become very sandy and the trail gains +200 ft. in elevation which may cause a problem for those not suited for mild physical activity. Other than that the hike is a piece of cake.
Your animal companions are welcome to take in the view as long as they are on a leash. Please make sure to watch and control your pet near the edge as they can slip just like humans can!
Keep in mind;
- About once a week someone is sent to the hospital from this trail (mostly because of the heat) so make sure you are able bodied
- There is no railing at the edge of the cliffs so be extra cautious with kids
One of the attractions to Horseshoe Bend is how photogenic this place is. With the right lens, lighting, and equipment you can capture a truly amazing shot.
Here are a few tips;
- Time of day: The time of day you visit the bend will dramatically impact the lighting of your photos. Because you are shooting the inside of a canyon, shadows can become a problem. Check out this awesome article about the perfect times to shoot!
- Camera and equipment: For best results you should bring a camera that has the ability to take wide angle shots. Here is another article that shows the difference between wide angle and an Iphone.
- Time of year: Just as with the time of day you also need to consider the time of year you choose to visit. In the winter you may get great weather but hazy clouds. You may also get a beautiful light dusting of snow which makes for killer shots. The spring brings color, rain, and wind. The summer brings scorching heat but also magnificent monsoon clouds that you may be able to catch even into early fall. Make sure you check the weather before planning your trip!
If you are making the trip to Page, AZ to capture shots of the iconic Horseshoe Bend, you might as well stay a while longer and visit some of the other incredible outdoor activities this area has to offer. Here are a few suggestions;
1. Dam Overlook: Just 4 miles from the Horseshoe Bend parking lot
2. Lake Powell: An amazing lake with endless water activities to enjoy
3. Antelope Canyon: Another unreal geologic wonder
4. Glen Canyon Recreation Area
5. Rainbow Bridge