Do you want to plan a trip to Horseshoe Bend in Arizona? Photos on social media have made this spectacular viewpoint overlooking the Colorado River more popular than ever.
And Horseshoe Bend is an easy stop if your road trip takes you through Page, Arizona. It's just outside the city and you can see it in about an hour.
My family visited Horseshoe Bend on a Spring break road trip from Salt Lake City, Utah to Flagstaff, Arizona. We arrived in the afternoon, and the walk to the viewpoint was the perfect opportunity to stretch our legs and enjoy the beauty of this part of the country.
I had no idea what to expect before we arrived. Here's everything you need to know to plan a successful visit to Horseshoe Bend.
Where is it?
Horseshoe Bend is located just south of Page, Arizona, along Highway 89. It's near the Arizona-Utah border, Lake Powell, and Antelope Canyon. It is day-trip distance from Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, Kanab, or Zion National Park.
Horseshoe Bend is part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. However, the parking and trail are managed by the City of Page.
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Best time to visit?
Horseshoe Bend is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.
Summer is the most popular time to visit, but this season has the worst weather. Desert temperatures often soar above 100 degrees (F). Do not forget to bring a water bottle on the trail.
Spring and fall weather is typically dry and pleasant. We visited in late March and the weather was perfect.
Snow, rain, and cold temperatures are common in the winter. However, this area doesn't get extremely cold and doesn't get a lot of snow. If you're driving through, it'll probably be a nice time to walk the trail and see the view with light crowds. Just dress for the weather.
I've read that morning light is the best for photos of Horseshoe Bend. We took our photos in the afternoon. By sunset, the viewpoint faces the sun.
How much does it cost?
It currently costs $10 per vehicle to visit Horseshoe Bend.
Can you drive right up to Horseshoe Bend?
No. The view is at the end of a 3/4-mile trail. The trail is mostly flat, wide, and easy. It is not paved, but it is ADA and stroller accessible.
It was a pleasant walk when we were there in late March but it will be a very hot walk in the summer.
What is there to do?
For most people, Horseshoe Bend is a quick roadside stop. It took us about an hour to walk the trail, take photos, and enjoy the fantastic scenery at the end of the trail.
From the top, we saw kayaks and rafts in the river below. You can take a water tour or helicopter tour of Horseshoe Bend. Learn more about tour options at horseshoebend.com.
Here are a few more fun things to do nearby:
- Tour Antelope Canyon
- Visit Glen Canyon Dam
- Swim or boat in Lake Powell
- See local dinosaur fossils at Big Water Visitor Center
- See the Grand Canyon
Is the trail difficult?
Most people will not find the Horseshoe Bend trail to be difficult, except in hot weather. It is wide, mostly flat, and ADA accessible.
The trail is about 1.5 miles roundtrip, with gentle slopes. Plan for about 10-20 minutes each way.
There are 2-3 shaded benches along the trail. Otherwise, there is no shade.
Wear sturdy shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses. Bring a full bottle of water for each person – especially in the summer. There is no drinking water available at Horseshoe Bend.
Is it dangerous?
The viewpoint at the end of the Horseshoe Bend is fenced. However, you only have to walk a few feet to find unfenced views and 1,000-foot cliffs. Many people, including my family, spread out into the unfenced areas.
It is tempting to get close to the cliff's edge for an unobstructed view of the river. Just be smart and careful because the sandstone at the edge can be unstable. You should have no problem with the cliffs if you use common sense and keep a close eye on your children.
A few people have fallen to their deaths at Horseshoe Bend in recent years. I personally saw people that I thought were dangerously close to the drop-off. However, we kept our distance from the edge and I never felt unsafe.
Dehydration could be dangerous on a summer day. Bring plenty of drinking water with you on the trail.
What is parking like?
The City of Page opened a large new parking lot and fee station at Horseshoe Bend in 2019. The parking lot was half full when we visited on a Saturday afternoon in late March.
There is RV and bus parking at Horseshoe Bend.
Many people visit Lake Powell and travel through this area in the summer, so Horseshoe Bend can get crowded – especially around holidays. You will not be allowed to enter if the parking lot is full. Visit early or late in the day to avoid peak crowds and summer heat.
You cannot park outside on Highway 89 if parking is full or you want to avoid the fee. It is a busy highway and unattended cars may be towed.
What are the bathrooms like?
Honestly, the bathrooms at Horseshoe Bend are not great. You'll find a row of pit toilets at the far end of the parking lot.
There is no running water at Horseshoe Bend for hand washing. At the time of our visit, there were no hand sanitizer stations. Be sure to bring your own sanitizer.
Can I buy food at Horseshoe Bend?
There was no food or water for sale when we were there. I did see a picnic table or two near the parking lot.
You'll find restaurants in Page, just a few minutes' drive from Horseshoe Bend.
Where can I stay near Horseshoe Bend?
There is no lodging or camping at Horseshoe Bend. You will find hotels and campgrounds a short distance away in Page, Arizona.
Can I take my pet?
Yes. Pets are allowed at Horseshoe Bend as long as they are on a 6-foot or shorter leash.
You are expected to clean up after your pet. It is recommended that you bring water and foot protection for your pet on hot days.
You may be criminally cited if you leave your pet in a hot car at Horseshoe Bend.
Where can I learn more?
Visit the official Horseshoe Bend website, managed by the City of Page at cityofpage.org/hsb
Horseshoebend.com is also a helpful website, with lots of information about tours.
You can also learn more at the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area website at www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/horseshoe-bend.htm
My family loved Horseshoe Bend and thought it was a worthwhile stop. I hope that our experience helps your family plan a great trip!