Horseshoe Bend

Distance1.56 ft
Elevation Gain151 ft
My Time40 min
DifficultyEasy
Nearest TownPage
Food NearbyBig John’s

Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe bend is the social media star of the National Monument system. I feel like all of the “Influencers” on social media go there just to take a picture. As an aspiring influencer I had to follow along! Also make sure to check out my Partners page and make a purchase from these wonderful companies that I work with. See…I said aspiring.

The Hike

I didn’t do any slot canyon hikes on this trip and instead focused on just seeing this very cool national monument for the first time. The 1000 foot cliffs to the emerald green river were a sight to see for sure. The walk from the parking lot is on a manicured dirt path and is very easy so all should be able to enjoy. It was also very crowded. There are some cool hikes and boat trips that you can take around the are as well. For me, it was just seeing it that was the most important part on this trip. Here is some more info on what you can do on a longer trip.

My Thoughts on Horseshoe Bend

As this was my first time to Horseshoe bend I have to say that it is absolutely magnificent. This is exactly what I thought the Grand Canyon was going to look like. Sheer Rock walls that have been carved by the will of a river and leaving a distinct pattern of erosion to form something of complete beauty and disbelief.

A selfie of myself standing on the edge of Horseshoe Bend.

The one surprising thing for me was how close you actually had to get to the canyon to actually see it. It looks kind of like a flat desert landscape until you are about 100 yards away. I just imagined the old settlers coming across the boring desert on a horse and then the shock they must have had to see this just appear.

The view of the desert scrub brush leading up to the horseshoe bend where the giant hole is barely visible.

Be Safe

The last thing that really surprised me about Horseshoe Bend was the complete lack of fear some of these aspiring “models” have. At the main viewing area there is a fence up so you can’t get right to the edge but around the rim there are some exposed areas. There was a group of 4 “models” laying on the edge and dangling their feet over for the perfect picture. The Fatman has a pretty established respect for gravity and fear of heights so I hung back from the edge a bit.

There is also a small rocky hill near the edge that people were climbing on because apparently they brought parachutes. I did not do that either because I am old. One more shot of the drop if you get too close to the edge for the perfect Instagram shot.

The cliff walls of the north bend at Horseshoe Bend.  It shoes a near vertical drop to the river below.

I did feel very safe at Horseshoe Bend but there have been deaths from falls down the 1000 foot cliffs so be careful if you go.

Elevation and Distance

If you don’t have the AllTrails app you might want to check it out, I really love mine. It records your progress and is a great way to search for hikes that are nearby and gives you difficulty measurements. According to AllTrails today’s hike was around 1.56 miles and had a total elevation gain of about 151 feet including undulations. That put the high point at around 4,326 feet. I was also moving for a total of 40 minutes.

Effort

This is a pretty easy hike with a small elevation gain from the parking lot down to the viewing platform. Just a nice easy walk on a flat dirt and stone path that you can take at your own pace.

Terrain

This is about as easy as it gets as far as terrain. If you stay on the path it is a simple path that is about 8 feet wide. When you get down towards the viewing platform, there are areas that people walk that get a bit sandy or rocky. Some people were climbing on the rocks themselves but I am not sure that is supposed to happen so I won’t comment on that.

Access

The Horseshoe Bend observation area is located on Highway 89 near Page, Arizona. One thing that is important to know is that there is a parking fee and a National Parks pass will NOT work here as the parking area is not technically on the park land. There is a $10 fee for cars and RV’s that you will have to pay. More access on the fee’s here.

Wrapping up Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe is a very cool place. It was one of those places in the world that are hard to explain or even comprehend how wonderful it is. Sheer cliffs dropping to the peaceful looking Colorado River was a must see on my Great Southwestern Road Trip.

It is so popular these days because of all of the social media posts of the canyon and it was crowded. The fenced-in viewing area is pretty small so people clustered there and then walked around to the cliff edges. There were full on photo shoots going on which made it a fascinating place to visit. Overall I am glad that I saw it and spent about an hour here but I am not sure if I would make another trip. I think the next trip will be to hike some of the slot canyon trails in the surrounding areas. Definitely something to cross off the bucket list though.

I have added this hike and all of my hikes to the interactive map page you can find here. If you have any suggestions for hikes or comments feel free to email me at fatmanlittletrails@gmail.com or you can follow me on any of the below social media platforms. Happy Hiking!

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