Horseshoe Bend

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Horseshoe Bend is one of those rare places that is absolutely breathtaking, yet it is accessible to people of all hiking skill levels. A very short hike off a highway takes you to the top of a cliff overlooking Horseshoe Bend and the Colorado River over 1100 feet below.

Horseshoe Bend

Distance – 1.25 miles roundtrip
Approximate hiking time – 30 minutes to an hour
Elevation at Trailhead – 4327 feet
Elevation highpoint on Trail – 4373 feet
Elevation at Overlook – 4214 feet
Difficulty – Easy, however there are steep dropoffs, stay away from cliff edges
Trail – Sand and sandstone.
Amount of water recommended – 1 liter
Bathrooms – None
Season to hike – Year around
Permits – None
Pets: Permitted. Not encouraged. Must be on leash.

How to get there

Horseshoe Bend is just south of Page, Arizona. From the Glen Canyon Dam on US-89 head south for 5.1 miles. You’ll pass along the edge of Page, Arizona. At around 5 miles from the Glen Canyon Dam, you’ll see a sign for Horseshoe Bend Overlook. Turn right into parking area. If coming from the south, take US-89 north to Page, Arizona and before coming into town you’ll see a Horseshoe Bend Overlook sign. Turn left into the parking lot. (See the Google Map for this hike at the end of this post)

What to Bring

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Hiking checklist

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Hitting the Trail

Even though we’ve been here several times, we always have to stop and hike out to the overlook when driving through Page. It’s just that majestic. Since it is so readily accessible, please realize that you probably won’t have the place to yourself. It’s common for tour buses make this a stop along their routes.

Horseshoe Bend is one of those wonders that was carved out over millenia by the waters of the Colorado River as it made its way down through Grand Canyon. It’s not too difficult although summers can be very hot as there is no shade with the exception of a small gazebo structure halfway to the overlook. The hike will start from the parking lot and is extremely easy to follow. The first part of the trail up to the gazebo is all uphill, but it is a gentle climb. As you reach the gazebo, you may choose to take a breather, as there are benches under the gazebo, or you can just continue on, as the rest of the hike is downhill to the overlook.

Horseshoe Bend

This is the beginning of the trail as seen from the parking area

Horseshoe Bend

The gazebo marks the halfway point of the hike

This may be one of the few places where I’ve seen people hike in flip-flops, cowboy boots, high heels, and even someone in a wheelchair. With that being said, I would still recommend wearing proper footwear and bringing adequate water. We found that a lot of people there assumed that since it was such a short hike that they didn’t need to be prepared. The overlook at Horseshoe Bend can be dangerous, as there are no railings on the edge of the cliffs. Exercise extreme caution as it is a drop of over 1000 feet to the Colorado River. I would not recommend getting too close to the edge. You may also be able to see watercraft up and down the river, and some people rafting the river spend the night down at the shores of Horseshoe Bend.

Despite the absence of railings, there has been only one documented fatality at Horseshoe Bend in the last 20 years. Unfortunately that was in July 2010, when a 32 year-old hiker from Greece was standing on a thin sandstone ledge when the rock broke, and he fell to his death This is another good reason to stay away from the edge. You cannot see how thin the ledge you are standing on might be.

Also, while not recommended, if you choose to bring children or pets, be vigilant, as they may not be as aware of themselves nor others, and accidentally bump someone or get spooked. Be mindful of others.

Horseshoe Bend

The view that everyone came to see!

The afternoons and evenings are the best times to take pictures of Horseshoe Bend. Since the bend is so wide, you’ll want to have a fish-eye lens to fit the entire bend in your photograph, although pretty much any picture taken there will be impressive.

Horseshoe Bend

The canyon walls at Horseshoe Bend have an amazing glow at sunset

When you’re ready to head back up, just retrace your steps back to the parking area. As always, be considerate to fellow hikers and protect the beauty of Horseshoe Bend by not leaving behind litter or graffiti.

What to Bring:

Hiking checklist

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Have a great time!
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About Author

Adam is an experienced hiker and canyoneer, who has visited some of the most breathtaking and remote places in the United States. As an instructor for Desert and Wilderness Survival, and for Leave No Trace camping practices, he shares his passion and respect for the outdoors to all. Adam is currently a Scoutmaster in the Boy Scout of America, and is an Eagle Scout. As the founder of www.yourhikeguide.com, his goal is to educate others on the joys of hiking.

17 Comments

  1. Can you do Upper and Lower Antelope AND Horseshoe in one day fro Las Vegas?

    Btw, love you blog.

    • Nancy, if you left Vegas at around 5am or 6am, you could do it. Makes for a LONG day, but totally possible. You’d want to schedule Upper and Lower Antelope back to back, starting at around 10:00am or 11:00am and then you should have time to hit Horseshoe Bend close to sunset.

  2. Hi, I was wondering if a pregnant woman can do this hike? (5 months pregnant)
    Also, would a stroller for a toddler be a smooth ride up or is it too sandy/ rocky?

    Thanks

    • Sabby,

      If you have been maintaining some type of consistent easy exercise like walking, you shouldn’t have a problem. Be sure not to go mid-day. There is no shade on this trail. As far a stroller is concerned, I would not recommend one. It is very sandy. Have fun on the hike!

  3. Hi Adam,
    I am planning a trip soon which includes The Grand Canyon and the National Park Loop. I was curious if your itinerary plans could cover all these parks? We are coming from Illinois and are trying to determine the best routes and where to start once there! I’ve enjoyed reading your blog and seeing all the amazing photos! Can’t wait to hit the trails!!!!

    • Carol,

      I have sent you an email in response to your comment. If you didn’t get it, let me know!

  4. Hi Adam – We are coming to Arizona from Houston next week. We are going to do this hike, but any other local suggestions on things to do.

    Look forward to the trip!!

    • Nick,

      I would recommend Antelope Canyon, but it will be packed like Horseshoe Bend. I also recommend Water Holes Canyon, which is a couple of miles south of Horseshoe Bend. I haven’t had a chance to write a post on Water Holes Canyon, but it is amazing. Google search it to find more info. Coal Mine Canyon is also one of my favorites. It’s about two hours away from Page, AZ, but totally worth going. Just type in Coal Mine Canyon on my website. Buckskin Gulch is also a great choice, and it’s also on my website. Good luck! If you have any other questions, let me know!

    • Erik,

      Yes, Horseshoe Bend is easy to find and easy to get to. Follow the directions on here to get to the trailhead, and you’ll be in great shape! Have fun and drink plenty of water during the hike!

  5. Hi Adam
    We are driving from Flagstaff to Page and planning to do Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Can you advise us about what time is best for each of these attractions? Can we do both Upper and Lower Antelope and Horseshoe bend ? What time should we leave from Flagstaff? We have a 4 year old with us, any suggestions about hiking time and whether to use stroller or no? Thanks in advance

    • You should be able to do both Horseshoe Bend as well as Upper and Lower Antelope on the same day. Since it is the hottest time of the year, hitting these places in the morning are the best. However, in this case, for the best pictures of each, I’d recommend hitting Upper and Lower Antelope around mid-day to catch the sun’s rays filtering through the slot canyon. It makes for great shots. Horseshoe Bend is very photogenic throughout the day, but I have found it best from 11am to 8pm. A stroller can be used on the Horseshoe Bend trail without a whole lot of problems, so that may be the route to go so you don’t wind up carrying your 4 year old. Best of luck! You’re going to have a great time!

  6. Hi Adam,

    I’m going to Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend in November. Do you know what’s a good time to go for both? I was thinking 10:00am at antelope canyon and then maybe 12 at Horseshoe? I’m not sure how the weather is like in November.
    Also, will 2 hours at antelope canyon be enough? And how long do you think Horseshoe will take?

    TIA!

    • Irene and Erika,

      You’ve picked a good time to go to both of those places! Both places will still have hikers/photographers there, but it will be much less that during the Spring and Summer months. The temperatures at the time of year are in the low 50’s for the high and the upper 30’s for the low. It will be sunny and chilly in the morning, especially in Antelope Canyon, so make sure that you bring layered clothing. Horseshoe Bend can be done in as little as 30 minutes, or as long as an hour. It just depends on your pace and how many photos you take. I would recommend getting there around mid-day as the sun is directly overhead, and removes the shadows in Horseshoe Bend. Sunset is a great time too if you’re looking for rich colors.

      As far as Antelope Canyon is concerned, the time in the canyon all depends on the package you purchased. Different tour companies charge for different lengths of time.

      I find that I prefer hiking in 55-60 degree weather, especially when it is sunny, during the day you should feel comfortable with a light jacket or long sleeve shirt. Have a great trip! Let me know if you have any more questions!

  7. Hi Adam!
    I’m looking to go to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon Nov. 21- 23 2016. How is the weather during that time of the year? We will also be traveling with an infant in a baby carrier (no stroller). Thoughts?

    Thanks!

  8. HI Adam,
    We are planning a visit to White pocket Vermilion cliff from Kanab/ Page. I am travelling with a 7 and a 5 yr old. Do you recommend it ? We are also doing Zion, Bryce Canyon, Page, Sedona and the Grand Canyon. We are short on time but feel that we will be missing out but the trip seems really long to the Vermilion cliffs. Also do you recommend any tours to do so that are informative but not very commercial.
    Thanks ,

    • Preeti,

      Sounds like you have a great trip planned! I have sent you a message to your email that should answer all the questions you have. Thank you for stopping by YourHikeGuide.com!