Hiking to Horseshoe Bend is an amazing experience in Page, Arizona. The hike is short, sweet, and includes jaw-dropping and magnificent views. It is an easily accessible hike and there are no additional hiking skill requirements to hike this trail. Here, you’ll find a 270 degree U-shaped meander in the mighty Colorado River, with a whopping 1000 ft drop.
Why it is popular?
Horseshoe Bend is popularly known for its magnificent views. Horseshoe Bend is a 270 degree U-shaped meander in the mighty Colorado River, close to the Northern Arizona border and located Glen Canyon National Recreation Area just 5 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam, this iconic bend is easily accessible from U.S. Route 89.
Horseshoe Bend shows an astronomical geological feature and was built when the Colorado River hid a dead end and forged the path through Navajo Sandstone.
Horseshoe Bend was one of the hidden gems of Page, Arizona and only locals were aware of it. Previously the place can be accessed only through an unmarked dirt road and after walking down few miles, the hiker could enjoy the spectacular and stunning views of the monument.
It gained popularity, through social media platforms mainly Instagram. Well, now the hidden gem is not so hidden and Horseshoe Bend is now one of the biggest attractions in the South-West. It attracts nearly 2 million visitors per year and due to a huge number of crowds, the City of Page and the National Parks Service have stepped and installed railings at the main point to prevent hikers and tourists from injuring themselves.
Hike to horseshoe bend
Hike to horseshoe bend is a 1.4 miles roundtrip and it takes about 40 to 50 minutes to complete this hike. The hike is one of the shortest day hikes in Arizona and that’s why you see lots of people of every age conquering this hike every year. This may sound like the easiest day hike but is it really is? Well, if you are thinking so then you are underestimating the hike like a lot of people who visits here every year. The hike to the horseshoe bend may be short and doesn’t require any skill but still, you need to prepare yourself for the extreme sun exposure and pack yourself with enough drinking water. The heat from the sun is too hard that every year a lot of people get dehydrated and exhausted due to this, only because of lack of preparation. So, where to start the hike?
Hike to horseshoe bend start from the parking lot, the parking lot is located off the US highway 89. The hike is simple and easy to navigate and divided into two parts. The first half of the hike is inclined, and you have to walk uphill until you make your way to the gazebo. As you reach the gazebo you can take a rest and catch your breath, there are benches for rest. But also keep in mind that there is no shade throughout the hike, except two structural pieces. You can take a rest or choose to continue your journey to the next half which is downhill. While hiking the trail you will see a lot of people hiking in normal attire without any hiking boots, you will see a lot of people in flip flops which is not a good idea for any hike. You will also see people in wheelchairs hiking the trail. Hike to horse bend is not a difficult hike it can be accessed through a wheelchair also, but the only difficulty is extreme heat on summer days.
As you continue you will reach the horseshoe bend and witness one of the breathtaking views in front of your eyes. If you love photography then you will not be able to stop yourself from clicking the perfect Scenematic view of the place. On crowded days you will see a lot of people stand in line for their turn to click the perfect picture. You can utilize that time in exploring the place and take pictures until the crowd becomes less. While exploring the place be alert and careful because there is no protection at the edges of the cliff and one step ahead to the edge lands down into the 1000 feet Colorado river. A famous death story that is an example for all the hikers who visit horseshoe bend, that never underestimate the nature and overestimate your skill. In 2010 a hiker from Greece visited a horseshoe bend and while exploring the place he stands on the sandstone and fell to his death when the stone broke. So, I request you to be more careful and alert when near cliff edges.
The best time to take a picture of horse bend is during full day time when the sun is high in the afternoon, and you will get the perfect picture. The evening is also a great time as the shadow of red right when the sun sets, makes a picture more Scenematic. After exploring the place and taking pictures, you can start your back journey to the parking lot by following the same trail.
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How to prepare for the hike
It’s always a good idea to prepare before than regret after. Though the hike is small and not that difficult still I will suggest you to hike in hiking shoes, flip-flops are not for any hiking. The second thing is to take 2 water bottles with you if you are alone (2 bottles for one person). Water is very important, a lot of people make this mistake by not bringing enough water and later regret it, as it leads to exhaustion and dehydration. The average time you will be exposed to the sun during this hike is 50 minutes, so it becomes important for you to protect your skin from UV rays by applying sunscreen (sunscreen is important because the heat is too much during summer days). Bring sunglasses and a hat for the extra shadow on your eyes and head.
Before Instagram took this hidden gem to one of the crowded destinations in Southwest, the government introduced a brand new parking lot featuring restrooms and pay stations. Entry charges to the Horseshoe Bend parking lot are currently US$ 10.
Note: National Park Service passes do not apply for the parking lot.
Best time to Visit horseshoe bend
Spring and Fall
Spring and Fall are some of the comfortable seasons to visit Horseshoe Bend, as the Winter is Chilly and Summer is too hot. Although, sudden gain popularity, there is a large gathering of crowds in these seasons. According to Reports November is the favorite time of the hikers and tourists to visit this place. So if you avoid crowds it’s better to visit this place in April, May, September, and October.
Best time of Day
It depends on person-to-person choice, some people are morning person and some love the view of the sunset. It’s up to your travel plans and which tike is comfortable with you. If you don’t mind large crowds, Sunset is the perfect time for you as you can experience the orange clouds matching the sandstones that bring out one of the stunning cinematic scenes.
To avoid crowds visit early in the morning and in the morning you’ll have the advantage of watching the entire Horsheoe bend area with any shadow. Mostly at sunset, the bottom of the river is usually in shadow.
More Highlights in Page, Arizona
After watching the amazing Horseshoe bend and clicking some iconic pictures, there are many more things you’ll be missing out on if you leave Page, Arizona. If you stay longer on your trip, you can enjoy some more amazing outdoor activities and jaw-dropping hikes. Here are some of the things Page, Rizo has to offer
- Dam Overlook: Just 4 miles from the Horseshoe Bend parking lot
- Lake Powell: An amazing lake with endless water activities to enjoy
- Antelope Canyon or Canyon X which has a lot fewer crowds
- Glen Canyon Recreation Area
- Rainbow Bridge
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How good is horseshoe bend hike
Honestly, this hike is average but the final destination is worth it. For a skill-level hiker who loves to hike more than the final destination, this hike is average. For normal occasional hikers, the hike is good and breathtaking at the end. If you make your plan to hike horse bend I would suggest you, not to underestimate the hike, pack enough water, apply sunscreen, take a hat and sunglasses with you to keep your hike more smooth and less difficult.