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What is Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is exactly that a horseshoe shaped bend in the Colorado River.

It is often thought to be part of the Grand Canyon. However, it is actually part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is exactly that a horseshoe shaped bend in the Colorado River.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is often thought to be part of the Grand Canyon.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend is actually part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.

Where Is Horseshoe Bend Located

Map of Horseshoe Bend

Map of Horseshoe Bend and surrounding area near Paige, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 

Horseshoe Bend is located about 4.6 miles (8 minutes) from Paige, Arizona on Hwy 89.

Make sure to combine Horseshoe Bend with a stop at Glen Canyon Dam and a visit to Antelope Canyon (Upper vs Lower Antelope Canyon, Which is Voted the Best).

How to Get to Horseshoe Bend

If you are planning on visiting Horseshoe Band, you can fly into one of nearby larger airports, then rent a car and drive (there is no public transportation or a bus).

  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport (PHX) – 279 miles (4 hr and 19 min) drive from Phoenix, AZ
  • Flagstaff Pullium Airport (FLG) – 137 miles (2 hr and 15 min) from Flagstaff, AZ
  • Las Vegas McCarran Airport (LAS) – 286 miles (4 hr 39 min) from Las Vegas, NV
  • Salt Lake City, Utah (SLC) – 398 miles (6 hr 13 min) from Salt Lake City, UT

What you need to know is that there is an airport in Page, AZ. It is a small Municipal Airport, however there are direct flights going to Page from Las Vegas, San Francisco, Santa Barbara and Phoenix. My recommendation is to look into flying to Paige, it will definitely cut down on your travel time.

12 Useful Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

NUMBER 1

Get to Horseshoe Bend Way Before Sunset

Hands down, sunset is the most popular time at Horseshoe Bend. Be prepared for huge crowds!

If you are planning on visiting Horseshoe Bend Arizona at sunset, then, I have to honestly say that finding a parking spot at that time is a nightmare!

Horseshoe Bend has become a very popular spot in recent years, As a result of this popularity, it is extremely overcrowded. The parking lot is big, just not big enough. Needless to say, to find a parking spot during peak times can be very challenging.

In 2018, the local police department allocated several officers to monitor the parking area during the peak visitation hours to ensure that visitors do not park on the shoulder of Hwy 89 illegally, or attempt to squeeze into the lot when it is already full.

Furthermore, if the parking lot is full at the time of your visit, you will be asked to come back later. If a space does not free up when it is your turn to get into the parking lot, then you will be asked to leave and try again.

People park illegally on both shoulders of Hwy 89 which are not designed for parking and get stuck in sand or mud. On top of that they get a ticket for illegal parking.

So, one of my most important tips for visiting Horseshoe Bend is to make sure you get to Horseshoe Bend Page Arizona way before the sunset so that you have time to find a parking spot.

Parking at Horseshoe Bend

If the parking lot at Horseshoe Bend is full at the time of your visit, you will be asked to come back later. If a space does not free up when it is your turn to get into the parking lot, then you will be asked to leave and try again.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 

NUMBER 2

Be Prepared to Pay for Parking

Parking used to be free at Horseshoe Bend. Not any more!

In 2019 a new parking lot was built. It can accommodate about 300 cars, which is still not enough during peak times. All in all, you have to pay now when you mange to get a parking spot.

  • Cars or RVs – $10
  • Motorcycles – $5
  • Commercial Vans/Buses (depending on the capacity) – from $35 to $140

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Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend
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NUMBER 3

Take a Shuttle to Horseshoe Bend

Because parking is so tough at Horseshoe Band, I am recommending that you take a shuttle.

Horseshoe and Slot Canyon Tours now offers basic shuttle service to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook from their office in Page, AZ. Shuttles depart once an hour between 8:00 AM and 4:00 PM, and travel to the overlook via Navajo Indian Tribal Lands.

The cost is $59, plus $8 Navajo Permit. If you decide to take the shuttle, make sure to make your reservations way in advance.

NUMBER 4

Be Prepared to Hike

Once you manage to secure your parking spot or decide to take the shuttle to get there, you will be faced with about 20-minute hike.

The distance from Hwy 89 to Horseshoe Bend Overlook is about .75 miles one-way (1.5 miles round trip). To start with, the trail climbs over a hill and then gradually descends to the canyon’s edge.

It used to be a pretty dusty, sandy trail, however, a new path was constructed in 2019/2020. It is wheelchair accessible now and to top it off, there are two shaded resting points along the way.

Even though it is a pretty even path, it is a good idea to wear close toed shoes.

Trail leading to Horseshoe Bend Overlook

The distance from Hwy 89 to Horseshoe Bend Overlook is about .75 mi one-way. To start with, the trail climbs over a fairly steep hill and then gradually descends to the canyon’s edge.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 

NUMBER 5

Visit Horseshoe Bend in the Middle of the Day

First of all, the good news is that Horseshoe bend is accessible all year round.

Honestly, I do not think there is ever a “bad” time to visit Horseshoe Bend. It is an iconic, incredibly dramatic section of the Colorado River, and no matter when you go, you will enjoy the stunning views.

However, keep in mind that Horseshoe Bend faces west. Therefore, during the pre-sunrise and post-sunset hours, the view of the Colorado River tends to be in the shadow.

At all over times during the day, Horseshoe Bend view is fully visible.

However, you be the judge!

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend at sunset.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 

NUMBER 6

Cover Your Face and Bring Water

I am not exaggerating, but it is very dusty along the trail leading to Horseshoe Bend Overlook. On top of that, it gets very windy at the overlook. So, make sure to cover your face, nose, and maybe even bring sunglasses.

If you are hiking to Horseshoe Bend Overlook in summertime, then be aware that the temperatures can reach way above 100 degrees F. Make sure to wear a hat and put some sunscreen and above all bring water with you.

NUMBER 7

Plan to Spend About Two Hours at Horseshoe Bend

All in all, I think you should plan to spend about 2 hours at Horseshoe Bend.

It takes about 15-20 minutes to hike each way, which leaves you with about 1 hour and 20 minutes at Horseshoe Bend Overlook, which is perfect to take lots of pictures.

NUMBER 8

Use the Bathroom Before Heading to Horseshoe Bend

Plan ahead and use the bathroom before heading to Horseshoe Bend.

There is a row of bathrooms at the very end of the parking lot. However, these are just basic pit toilets. The lines are long! So, do not waste your precious time and use the bathroom before you travel to Horseshoe Bend.

NUMBER 9

Use Caution and Be Safe at Horseshoe Bend Overlook

This is another one of my top tips for visiting Horseshoe Bend!

Be cautious and safe at the overlook.

In 2018, a fenced overlook was built as a safety measure. But, other than that. are no railings or safety barriers along the rim.

I am sure you will see plenty of visitors standing just inches from the edge, or dangling their feet over the rim.

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Be safe and use caution when you are visiting Horseshoe Bend Overlook. 

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 

NUMBER 10

Head to Horseshoe Bend When the Sky Is Overcast

If you are visiting Horseshoe Bend during inclement weather conditions, you might be able to capture some of the most incredible images. The entire area looks very dramatic when the sky is overcast.

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Head to Horseshoe Bend when the sky is overcast. You will capture the most stunning images.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 

NUMBER 11

Bring a Wide-Angle Lens to Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend was made for wide-angle shots!

I really like wide-angle lenses and use them a lot for landscapes. However, make sure to include an element of the foreground in your capture to make it more visually appealing.

Horseshoe Bend at sunset

Use a wide-angle lens when taking pictures of Horseshoe Band.

Horseshoe Bend, Arizona 

NUMBER 12

Include Foreground in Your Photos of Horseshoe Bend

When taking pictures of Horseshoe Bend, do not forget to include foreground. It adds more dimension to your image and makes it more interesting.

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Make sure to include foreground in your pictures of Horseshoe Bend.

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Foreground adds more dimension to pictures.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

  • Arrive before sunrise, or stay after sunset to catch some great pictures of Horseshoe Bend. The light is softer and warmer during the famous golden hour, which is time before sunrise and after sunset.
  • If you get to Horseshoe Bend before sunrise, or stay after sunset, you might be lucky enough to get some peace and find some solitude. The crowds are rarely there for sunrises, and disperse right after sunsets.
  • Parking is really very challenging, so allow some extra time to get a parking spot.
  • Make sure to combine Horseshoe Bend with a visit to Lower or Upper Antelope Canyon.

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Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning your trip to Horseshoe Bend? Are you going to visit Antelope Canyon as well?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

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