Part 3 of Explore UT/AZ
continues with Horseshoe Bend. Horseshoe Bend is about a four and a half hour drive from Arches National Park, and sits just outside of the town Page.
Want to know the best part about Horseshoe Bend (besides the fact that it’s awesome)? It’s FREE. Want to know the second best part? It’s only a 3/4 mile walk to get from the parking lot to the edge! This is a huge plus, especially if you’re coming from Arches National Park and Bryce Canyon, which both require much more physical exertion.
Horseshoe Bend is absolutely massive, standing 1,000 feet over the Colorado River and is 4,200 feet above sea level (or Florida-level, as I like to call it). While the meander itself doesn’t require a tour or any payment, there are options to explore the canyon below. Helicopter tours of Horseshoe Bend and boat tours of the Colorado River are available if you’re wanting something more exploratory. You can see those options here
Two important things to remember
The first is to keep in mind what time of day you’ll be visiting. This will vastly affect how your photos will look. We went towards the middle of the afternoon, about 5:30PM, and it was perfect for color / details, but much of the canyon was in shadow. I was able to fix this in Lightroom / Photoshop, but for those who aren’t familiar with photo editing, that might not be an option. Also, if you’re not going very early or very late, there’s going to be a LOT of people there. You might end up waiting for a while to get access to your preferred spot. Just remember to be courteous; Horseshoe isn’t going anywhere.
The second thing to keep in mind, obviously, is your safety. There isn’t aren’t any regulations, guard rails, security guards, or cushions to break your fall. There have been rare cases of people falling off and dying. If you decide to hang off the edge or take photos near the cliff, you’re taking your life into your own hands. Now, with that being said, Michele and I totally dangled our feet over the edge. It makes for some incredible photos and really puts into perspective how huge Horseshoe Bend really is. I actually had to lean back into Michele to be able to get some of the shots. Get yourself a significant other/travel partner, they make great tripods.
There’s a larger outcropping along the right side of the ridge that you can climb and get a better/different viewpoint of Horseshoe, but it is pretty steep and is primarily slickrock, so be sure to take your necessary precautions. There was a Russian guy shadow-boxing at the top of the rocks when we were there. There’s a decent chance he’s still there, so if you see him back away slowly and don’t make eye contact. I think he’s training for the next Rocky movie.
Horseshoe Bend is an easy hike to make for such an incredible payoff. It’s one of the most popular must-sees in the Utah / Arizona area, and for good reason. Make it a point to see Horseshoe, you won’t be disappointed.
This post and the next Explore UT / AZ post will be a bit shorter and more digestible, mainly because I want to dedicate a single post to each. It wouldn’t do either location justice. How are you liking the shorter format? Have you been to Horseshoe Bend before? Comment below and let me know!