The area around Page, Arizona and Lake Powell is packed with incredible desert views, and Horseshoe Bend is definitely one of the most iconic. Hiking there is easy, it sits right near town, and it is posted all over social media– all factors that probably contribute to its extreme popularity. While we tend to avoid hikes with crowds, we have to say that a quick stop at this famous landmark is worth your time if you’re in the area. Here are some things to know before you visit Horseshoe Bend!
Getting to Horseshoe Bend
The Horseshoe Bend parking area lies only about 10 minutes from the center of Page on Highway 89. It sits on the west side of the highway where there is a turn lane guiding you towards the turnoff. It is well-marked and the parking area is pretty big and visible from the road, so it’s hard to miss.
There are some tours that schedule in a stop at Horseshoe Bend, in which case transportation to the parking area is usually included. If you don’t have a car or don’t want to take a tour, there is Uber in Page.
During the day, especially on weekends, the parking area can fill up and you may have to come back later. Though the parking area has recently expanded to lessen this issue, we recommend going early or later in the evening. Once in the parking area, there are restrooms and some parking spots for trailers and buses.
Upon pulling into the lot, you must pay the $10 entrance fee per vehicle before parking. It is $5 for a motorcycle and $30+ for commercial buses or vans. Horseshoe Bend is managed by the city, so your National Park Pass won’t cover the entrance fee here. The booth is open from sunrise to sunset and both cash and card are accepted.
What to Bring
The hike to Horseshoe Bend is short and easy. Most of the trail is well maintained and packed down with the exception of a slightly sandy section and the rocky areas near the rim of the canyon. The biggest challenge you may face on the hike is the heat in the summer. There are limited shaded rest stops along the trail, but otherwise, you are completely exposed. Bring sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses.
The trail to the overlook isn’t steep, but you’ll definitely want plenty of water on the hot walk back up to the parking lot! The summers here are extremely hot, but the winters can get pretty cold, so dress accordingly and bring layers as needed. We were there in March and it was hot when the sun came out, but we needed a light jacket when it went behind the clouds. If you bring your pets in the summer, be aware that the surfaces may be hot on their paws.
Horseshoe bend is a popular photo spot… ‘Instagrammable’ as some may say. Definitely bring your camera and other desired gear (drones are not permitted)! While the view is stunning at any time of day, many visitors love to catch sunset there. You may want to bring a headlamp if you choose to explore the area before or after daylight hours.
Hiking to Horseshoe Bend
Distance: About 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers) round trip. Plus a little more if you walk around the rim
Duration: 1-2 hours, depending on how long you stay at the rim
Type: Easy out-and-back trail
Restrictions: Drones are not permitted. The edge is not secured by a railing, so take extra precautions when walking the ledge or if you have kids. Pets are permitted, but must be leashed.
Our Hike to Horseshoe Bend
Our decision to visit Horseshoe Bend was kind of last minute. We had woken up in Escalante, walked to the Toadstools, and had to drive back to Phoenix. But Horseshoe Bend’s short approach and location on our route back home made it perfect for a quick and easy stop.
We were there midday during the week in March and the parking lot was pretty busy. We parked and walked through the string of people making their way down the trail. It was well-maintained and pretty much all downhill to the overlook.
After only about 20 minutes, we made it down to the ledge. Wow, it was beautiful! Pictures didn’t prepare us for how large this landmark is. While we much preferred our recent more secluded spot at the mouth of Cathedral Wash way down below on the Colorado River, we were still thrilled to see this famous view. And we totally get why it has become an icon of the southwest!
Despite the crowds, it was fairly easy to walk the rim to find some spots to take photos and enjoy the view. Many hikers found spots to set up little picnics and lay out blankets. The views were stunning from pretty much every angle! As you walk the ledge, note that there is nothing between you and the cliff and that there are many cracks and crevices along the edge.
After admiring the view for a while, we made our way back up to the lot. Horseshoe Bend is a great activity for most all hiking levels and it is worth the stop of you are near Page, Arizona.