A Hiking Guide to Arizona’s Horseshoe Bend
One of the most dramatic, and easily accessible canyon views found in Arizona is the Horseshoe Bend located just south of Page, Arizona. Here, you’ll find the mighty Colorado River making a dramatic 270-degree bend on the canyon floor, 1,000 feet below.
When I stood before this dramatic scene to capture this photograph, I was completely overwhelmed with the beauty of this place.
Getting to Horseshoe Bend
Approximately 5 miles south of Page, Arizona, just south of highway marker 545 on U.S. HWY 89, you will find a marked parking area on the west side of the highway. Click on the Google Map below for more details:
Hiking to Horseshoe Bend
The trail to Horseshoe Bend is 1.5 miles round trip. Walking time: 1 hour will give you plenty of gawking time at the canyon’s edge.
You will first climb a fairly steep, sandy hill and then traverse a more moderate decline to the canyon’s edge.
As this is a desert hike, it is imperative that you come prepared. Bring plenty of water, sunglasses, sunscreen, adequate hiking shoes, and a hat. Even though this is a fairly short hike, without adequate water, you will find that the arid climate will take a lot out of you. Please, be prepared!
Also, there are no guard rails at the viewpoint. Watch your footing, and keep a very close eye on children and pets.
Photographing Horseshoe Bend
When you stand at the edge of the cliff, you will be looking predominantly west. Therefore, if you reach Horseshoe Bend in the afternoon, you will have the sun to contend with in your photograph. We reached the edge of the cliff at 3:44 p.m. to capture our photograph.
While not ideal, the sun was still high enough to light most of the canyon with over exposures occurring in the top of my photographs. If you can, plan to arrive at the canyon mid-to-late morning. This way, you will have the sun at your back and filling the canyon with light.
Having said that, shadows can certainly add drama to your photograph, and I’ve also seen a few beautiful photographs of the canyon at sunset. Just know that if the sun gets too low (either east or west), you will be dealing with a lot of shadows in the canyon.
As a travel photographer, I’m very pleased to have this photograph in my collection, and we are very certain that you will be glad that you added this stunning destination to your travel itinerary.
Enjoy, and breathe in a deep breath of creation’s beauty!
Link: Horseshoe Bend Trail Guide – National Park Service
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