You’ve probably seen photos of Horseshoe Bend, this incredible overlook making its way to your Instagram feed time and time again. Chances are, you bookmarked this spot for a future trip to Arizona or an epic West Coast road trip. I know I did! Visiting Horseshoe Bend was a given when I finally planned an Arizona road trip.
Horseshoe Bend overlook is the most popular bend of the Colorado River. And it is easy to see why. Horseshoe Bend is both visually striking and is easy to get to. Located in Page, Arizona, Horseshoe Bend is an easy addition to any road trip through this region.
How to Get to Horseshoe Bend
Horseshoe Bend is located within the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, which is just south of Page, Arizona. From Page, the drive to Horseshoe Bend is approximately 5 miles south along US-89. It is a straight shot to get there. Within no time, you will see a sign for the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. If you are staying at a hotel in Page, chances are you will be right down the road from Horseshoe Bend.
Once you arrive in the parking lot, there is a 10-minute hike along a 0.6-mile dirt path to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. The walk is quite easy, but do account for this time when planning your visit to Horseshoe Bend.
Unless you are taking a guided tour, you will need a car to get to Horseshoe Bend and to explore this region of the United States.
Visiting Horseshoe Bend
Visiting Horseshoe Bend was such a wonderful experience. This is one of those places where I saw so many photos of before my trip and hopped it wasn’t overhyped. Yet, if anything, those photos did not do this place justice. Approaching Horseshoe Bend, I was overcome with so much anticipation. Finally, the view unfolded before me and I was blown away.
Horseshoe Bend Parking
Parking at Horseshoe Bend costs $10 per car. During the high season, parking can be difficult. If the parking lot is full upon your arrival, you will need to return at a different time. Most visitors don’t spend very long here, so there should be a relatively quick turnover on the lot.
I visited in the morning in early March and there were plenty of spots available in the parking lot.
Horseshoe Bend Entrance Fee
There is no entrance fee per person to visit Horseshoe Bend. The only cost is the parking fee. However, you must park in the official lot.
Horseshoe Bend Hours
There is currently no fixed hours stated on the destinations website or anywhere else I searched. From my experience and what I’ve gathered, Horseshoe Bend is open from sunrise to sunset. I arrived shortly after sunrise (around 7 A.M. in March) and there was a parking attendant present. The busiest times are from 9:00 AM and 6:00 PM, so try to arrive early in the morning to avoid the crowds.
How Much Time do you Need at Horseshoe Bend?
Ideally, you should spend around an hour and a half (90 minutes) at Horseshoe Bend. This includes your time parking, walking to and from the overlook, taking in the views, and taking some photos.
There are some factors to consider when deciding how much time you need to spend at Horseshoe Bend:
Photography: If you enjoy photography and want to get amazing photos at Horseshoe Bend, I would consider spending longer than 90 minutes. This way you can spend time photographing this bend from multiple angles.
High Season: If you’re visiting during high season (mid-March until mid-October), you should allot more time to visit, in case the parking lot is full or you need to wait to get pictures.
Limited Time: If you have a limited window of time to visit Horseshoe Bend, it is still possible. The hike to Horseshoe Bend is only 10 minutes each way. While it wouldn’t be ideal, 45 minutes would be a sufficient amount of time to see Horseshoe Bend. This is a good time frame for anyone with a shorter attention span as well. This allows for approximately 20 minutes to walk and 20 minutes to take in the view.
Horseshoe Bend Hike
The Horseshoe Bend hike is very easy. From the parking lot, there is a 10-minute hike along a 0.6-mile dirt path to the Horseshoe Bend Overlook. The total hike for Horseshoe Bend is 1.2 miles round trip. It is a wide-open path that is accessible to hikers of all levels. However, keep in mind, that during the Summer, temperatures can be extremely high. Be sure to pack water for hydration and give yourself enough time to stop and rest if the heat is unbearable.
Horseshoe Bend Overlook
Once I finally got my first view of Horseshoe Bend, I was absolutely spellbound. The view from the Horseshoe Bend Overlook does not disappoint. While I have seen countless photos of this spot in Arizona, yet no photo could truly do this place any justice.
Horseshoe Bend is the most popular bend of the Colorado River. After visiting, it is easy to see why. Horseshoe Bend is easy to get to and the views are outstanding. While photos are beautiful, a photo can not truly encompass the feeling of overlooking Horseshoe Bend. The magnitude of Horseshoe Bend is apparent when you step up to the overlooking. The Colorado River seems to flow indefinitely into the distance. And the height of Horseshoe Bend is imposing and vertigo-inducing. At 984 feet high, standing at the edge of Horseshoe Bend Overlook can be a bit frightening as there are few hard rails.
There is a guarded area where you can safely view Horseshoe Bend. However, there are other angles and photo spots to view Horseshoe Bend, you just need to be careful. If you’re going to take a photo of Horseshoe Bend from the edge, just don’t get too close to the edge. I sat a few feet away from the edge and was still able to get that “Instagram- Worthy” photo of Horseshoe Bend.
Horseshoe Bend Photography
If you’re looking to take epic photos of Horseshoe Bend, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Best Times to Photograph Horseshoe Bend
The best time to photograph Horseshoe Bend is either dawn or sunset. Not on are these the best times for Horseshoe Bend photography, it is also the best time to visit Horseshoe Bend. The mid-day sun in Arizona can be extremely harsh, so avoid visiting at that time.
Sunrise/ Dawn: Visiting Horseshoe Bend around sunrise is one of the best times to visit. This is the best time to go if you want to avoid the crowds. If you’re looking to get a photo of yourself at Horseshoe Bend, this is the best time. Sunrise is also great is you like soft lighting in your photos and amplifies the reddish hues of the Colorado Plateau.
Sunset: For the most vivid colors of Horseshoe Bend, you will want to visit at sunset. This will also allow you to capture photos of the sun setting over Horseshoe Bend.
Getting the Iconic Shot at Horseshoe Bend
It is no secret that Horseshoe Bend is one of the most Instagrammable spots in Arizona. However, there isn’t a specific ledge you need to be at for an incredible photo at Horseshoe Bend. I scouted out the area until I found a spot that I thought I could safely sit at and get an asymmetric photo of Horseshoe Bend. Play around with different spots and angles until you get a photo you’re happy with.
Things to Do Near Horseshoe Bend
There are plenty of things to do near Horseshoe Bend that you could easily spend an entire trip in this area or keep yourself occupied for a couple of days of your Arizona road trip. Here are the top things to do near Horseshoe Bend:
Antelope Canyon: Don’t miss a visit to Antelope Canyon while in the area! This is a popular and beautiful slot canyon in the area that is well worth a visit.
Lake Powell: Lake Powell is a man-made reservoir on the Colorado River that offers plenty of things to do. You can take in scenic overlooks of Lake Powell, go for a swim or even take a boat tour to incredible spots such as Rainbow Bridge National Monument.
Where to Stay Near Horseshoe Bend
The best place to stay when visiting Horseshoe Bend is in Page, Arizona.
Hampton Inn & Suites Page – Lake Powell
I stayed at the Hampton Inn Page – Lake Powell and found it to be the perfect place to stay for what I needed. I love staying at Hamptons because you know exactly what to expect during your stay. This is a great place to stay if you are planning a jam-packed schedule in Page. You can get up and grab a quick bite to eat before heading out to Horseshoe Bend, which is right down the road!
Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell
I would stay at the Hyatt Place Page Lake Powell simply for its’ stunning patio area and outdoor pool. If you’re visiting during the Summer and are planning to spend some time relaxing at your hotel, Hyatt Place comes highly recommended.