Horseshoe Bend is a single scenic overlook of a 270° turn of the Colorado River. It is not part of the Grand Canyon National Park, but he Colorado River continues on to go through the Grand Canyon and on to Hoover Dam and the Pacific.
The National Park Service has put in improved parking for Horseshoe Bend as its popularity continues to grow. If you visit during busy time, there is likely to be 100 cars or so parked here. The trail from parking is 1.5 miles round trip to the river overlook and rises slowly up a hill and then back down as it heads toward the overlook. The trail is not paved but is sandy and rocky.
What a View
The view will have dozens of people there most of the time, but you’ll be able to find your own little spot for some pictures. A wide angle lens will be required to take in the whole picture at once. The river is 1000 feet below the overlook. The entrenched meandering has created a ‘gooseneck’ here in a manner similar to those at Goosenecks State Park in nearby Utah, but the river here and the extreme height makes the view here far superior. The attractive blue-green water with the verdant life along the river below orange-red cliffs creates a view that is very memorable and makes for great photography.
For the Photographer
For photography, the gooseneck faces almost exactly to the east, so you may want to consider the time of day of your picture. I did mine in this post in the afternoon so that the subject would be backlit, but it does create a few more shadows on the bluffs below. If the bluffs are your primary subject, a mid-to-late morning shot may be more to your taste. Remember that the canyon is 1000 feet deep, so if you arrive too early in the morning, the canyon below will still be in deep shadow.
There are no guard rails or protection for anyone here. The drops are sheer so take care not to get too close to the edge. Take your pictures from a safe vantage back. There are a few taller rocks available along the edge that can be scrambled up if you need a better angle to the canyon. You can also lay on your belly to feel a little safer as you edge up to the cliff. Please take particular care if you are taking selfies – don’t back up for a better angle without looking behind you!
Horseshoe Bend is about 5 miles south of Page, Ariziona right off of Hwy 89. When going south, parking is on your right and there is no cost to see at this time. A couple of miles further south is the excellent Waterholes Slot Canyon. A Navajo hiking pass is required to see this, but it is well worth your time. Read my article about Waterholes Slot Canyon to get all of the details.
I have a few hi-res pictures from my visit here.