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Visiting Horseshoe Bend (Arizona)

You know those places that you recognize from pictures but don’t know the name of? I was like that for the longest time with both Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that I connected the dots and realized that both of those glorious places are within my home state and even better; within 10 minutes of each other!

Horseshoe Bend

For anyone not familiar with Horseshoe Bend it’s the (you guessed it!) horseshoe shaped bend of the Colorado River in Arizona. It’s a popular photo op spot and a quick glance at the #horseshoebend hashtag on Instagram will show you an endless stream of selfies taken there. It’s also a popular spot for professional photographers to grab a spectacular shot and put their wide angle lenses to use.

Most people visit Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend during the same trip and I’d recommend doing both in the same day if you’re going to make the visit to Page, AZ. If you’re traveling from Phoenix it will take about 4 hours to make the drive up north. Another popular option for those traveling from other states is to fly into Las Vegas and make the 4.5 hour drive from there – usually including making other stops (Grand Canyon anyone?) along the way. I’m going to be writing an entire post about Antelope Canyon so stay tuned for that soon!

Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Getting to Horseshoe Bend is painless and pointing Google Maps to it will lead you to the parking lot directly off the highway. The trailhead is easy to spot as there’s nothing else around and from there it’s a relatively easy 3/4 mile hike to the bend. I say relatively easy because after the little initial hill there’s a slight decline as you head down to Horseshoe Bend. Coming back up can feel a bit more strenuous especially as most of the trail is on sand. It’s easy enough for almost any traveler to handle but be prepared for it to take a little bit more time for someone who moves slow.

Horseshoe Bend

Tip: If traveling in the middle of summer be prepared for the sun as there is NO shade in the area. Wear sunscreen/hats and drink plenty of water.

Horseshoe Bend

From the trail it’s hard to tell what you’re about to see which I thought was kind of fun. This is the view of the hill by the parking lot once you’re down at Horseshoe Bend:

Horseshoe Bend

Once you make it to the bend you’re rewarded with an absolutely stunning sight to behold. Depending on what time of day you’re there the light will be different, the colors of the walls will look different, you’ll get different shadows, etc.

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend Horseshoe Bend Horseshoe Bend

 

I visited the bend twice during my trip, once mid-morning and once at sunset. The sunset offers an amazing opportunity to take sunset pictures but I ended up preferring having the canyon more lit up. Oddly enough one of our visits had almost no wind and our other visit included some crazy strong wings. Be prepared for that possibility. It’s also expected that you will be joined by a lot of other people for the sunset pictures (the above picture was during the morning when there were very few people around).

Horseshoe Bend

Both of our visits ended up being a little less than an hour so it’s a fantastic addition to a day spent exploring Antelope Canyon or doing any of the other things that Page, AZ has to offer! I’d highly recommend adding it to your bucket list if it isn’t there already.

Visiting Horseshoe Bend

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  • Gorgeous! I never knew Arizona had so much to see and do before I started reading your blog. :)

    • You need to come out for a visit! =)

  • Mar

    What a cool looking place. The water is such an interesting colour.

    • The color of the water is pretty strange. From what I understand it can change color quite a bit depending on the condition of the river!

  • Oh my gosh!! I love this. We went to southern Utah in March and it was beyond gorgeous– we didn’t make it to Arizona but it’s on the list!

    • Southern Utah is on my list of places to explore! So much natural beauty up there

  • Nathan

    great write-up!

    • Thanks Nathan! Always good to see you here on the blog. Thanks for keeping up with it

  • We were planning to do Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon on our trip east this summer but our plans have changed… this is the one thing I’m most disappointed about missing now! I think everything to see in this part of the state is definitely worth a trip of it’s own, especially if you throw a little Southern Utah in there as well!

    • Aw, that’s a bummer! I’m sure your trip will be pretty exciting either way though. =)
      Southern Utah has unexpectedly made a move towards the top of my must-see list. There’s so much natural beauty up there that I can hardly wait to go explore.

  • Marilyn

    Beautiful Pictures; I never been. I will have to add this to my bucket list.

  • I have never been or even heard of it. I will make sure to visit next time in AZ.

    • Definitely do! It’s a great part of the state to enjoy. =)

  • Absolutely stunning!!! Arizona is totally on our must travel list! You know I will be hitting you up for all your recommendations if/when we go!

    • Please do! I love my home state and would be happy to pass on any advice I can. =)

  • What a beautiful place!

  • That is so, so seriously cool! I’ve never even been to Arizona, but it sure seems like there are some gorgeous things to see there!

    • I’m a bit biased but I think Arizona is the most beautiful state in the country! ;)

  • This is a dream!! I can’t wait to visit Arizona, it is top on my list for the U.S. Thanks so much for sharing these photos! :)

    • Hey Gina! I just realized I missed this comment, sorry about that! I’m so excited to hear that AZ is on the top of your list as it’s my favorite state. I suppose I’m a bit biased though. ;)

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