While it’s neighboring the highly renowned Grand Canyon, many visitors miss out on heading to Horseshoe Bend. It’s a place you may not have heard of because the Grand Canyon always seems to trump. But if you’re looking to do more while you’re in northern Arizona, you should add this to your trip. It is a place that you can’t quite believe until you see it. The grandiosity of the cliffs and the curving Colorado River is worth the drive.
Located at the northernmost point of Arizona, Horseshoe Bend is roughly an hour and 45 minutes from the Grand Canyon. It is ten minutes outside of Page – population over 7,000 – on Highway 89. Getting to Horseshoe Bend is easy and very accessible. Upon arrival, you will park park in the lot and then walk in order to reach the view. Admission to the landmark is free.
Take a ¾ mile hike on a sand trail with a hilly start, but a slight decline as the trail continues. It is not required to be an expert hiker; most ages are able to complete this hike. It’s advised to wear comfortable shoes because you will be walking on various types of rock. Be careful as you reach the lookout because there are no guardrails of any sort, making it quite dangerous.
Don’t tempt yourself with fate of a thousand foot fall. Make sure that you’re aware of your surroundings at all times. It’s very possible to get right up to the edge, so there’s nothing saving you from an accident. My heart skipped a beat as I neared the edge and watched people daringly dangle themselves over the edge. If you’re scared of heights, I suggest you stay a comfortable distance from the edge.
For more hiking information see the National Park Services.
Horseshoe Bend is breathtaking; therefore, highly desired to capture. However, there are some things that I want you to know before you go – because I wish I would have. First and foremost, if you want to have a landscape photo of Horseshoe Bend, bring a wide-angle lens. This will allow you to fit the full scene into view. There are many different points of view in order to capture different angles.
A second bit of advice is that the sun rises in the east. If you’re not planning to be there before the sun comes up, you will get shadows on the cliffs. In my opinion, the best times to shoot would be from mid-afternoon through sunset. My pictures had a shadow and turned out very bright because the Arizona sun was already beaming down by mid-morning. Check out this article to see what different shots look like throughout the day.
This impressive view of the Colorado River winding through the cliffs is one not to miss. While it’s a popular attraction with many tourists, you do feel separation from the crowd and a calmness within yourself as you take it all in. It’s up to you to spend as much or little time there as you want. If it wasn’t on your bucket list before, I hope it is now.
Have you hung your feet off the edge at Horseshoe Bend?