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Horseshoe Bend Travel Guide: Tips for Visiting This Incredible Landmark

Horseshoe Bend in the Colorado River is truly breathtaking. Its unique geological formation creates a 90-degree turn that has puzzled man since we first saw it.

But if you decide to head out to see this unique natural formation, there are a few tips you should keep in mind before leaving.

Horse Shoe Bend and Sunset

Exciting Facts About Horseshoe Bend

The Horseshoe Bend is about 4,200 feet (1,280 meters) wide. The Bend is about 1,000 feet (305 meters) deep. The Horseshoe Bend is made up of three rock layers: the bottom is a layer of Kaibab Limestone, the middle is a layer of Coconino Sandstone, and the top is a layer of Hermit Shale. 

Colorado River and Colorado River Signage

The Colorado River flows through the Horseshoe Bend from east to west. A meander creates the colorado bend in the river. The river bends back on itself, making the characteristic horseshoe shape.

The water in the Colorado River below is emerald green in summer and is cool enough to enjoy a refreshing swim if you can reach the bottom. This location is known as the suicide capital of Arizona because people often go here to jump into a ‘beautiful death.’’ Dogs are not allowed on the trail.

The hike and travel to this location are well worth the effort. Most tourists do not even know about this beautiful location and instead gather around more well-known sites throughout the Grand Canyon National Park.

On most days you can drive to the parking lot and easily find a spot to park your vehicle. A half-mile hike down the trail leads you directly to the be, and as the course gives way to nothingness bel, you will understand why Horseshoe Bend is a must-see place.

Travel Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Take plenty of water.

Hiking Travel Backpack

The Bend is located in Arizona and is most frequently visited during the hot summer months of May-August. If you choose to visit then make sure you are prepared for the extreme heat and bring plenty of bottled water with you.

Wear the right shoes.

The terrain around the Bend is rocky and hard to navigate if you wear improper footwear. Opt for a solid pair of hiking boots that will keep your feet moving forward as you move around to the best site seeing locations on the river.

Plan ahead if you’d like to take pictures.

Man Looking at the Horse Shoe Bend

If you’re looking to snap some pictures, the best time of day is early morning or late evening. During the middle of the day, the sun will be right in your face, and it will be challenging to get a good shot. However, if you go during sunrise or sunset you’ll get beautiful golden light shining on the Bend.

See Related: Most Breathtaking Hiking Trails in the World

Best Time to visit Horseshoe Bend

Rock Formation and River at  Horse Shoe Bend

There can never really be a better time to visit Horseshoe Bend than if your preference is more excellent; Autumn is also ideal. Summertime seems like a more suitable alternative to the summer months; however, be prepared that these are peak tourism seasons.

See Related: Fun & Best Things to do in Page, Arizona

How to get there

Overview of the Grand Canyon Land

Horseshoe Bend is located in Arizona, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) downstream of the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell.

It is located outside of the Glen Canyon National Recreation area. If you’re visiting the Grand Canyon National Park, seeing the Horseshoe Bend I well worth the trip.

The best way to get there is to drive to Lees Ferry, the official launch point for river trips through the Grand Canyon National Park. This is a 10-mile (16 kilometers) shuttle ride to the Bend. Tours are also available, but they can be pretty expensive.

If you’re not visiting the Grand Canyon, driving alone is the best way to see the Bend. Then park at Horseshoe Bend trailhead. There are several other parking areas near the lookout points. You can easily walk to Horseshoe and explore its wonders.

Parking at Horseshoe Bend

There is no designated parking area for Horseshoe Bend, so that visitors can park anywhere along the side of the road. However, it’s essential to be aware that this is a narrow road and limited parking is available. It’s best to arrive early or late evening to find a spot.

Be aware that National Park Service passes do not apply in Horseshoe Bend. This is because it is not located in a national park. At Horseshoe Bend, the National Park Service operates a visitor center located at Coconino Sandstone, and at the top of the layer is Hermit Shale.

Things to do at Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

Horseshoe Bend Overlook

The Horseshoe Bend overlook is a great spot to take in the natural beauty of the Bend. There are several lookout points where you can get a good view of the Bend, and it’s a great place to take photos. The overlook is also an excellent spot to watch the river flow by.

Horseshoe Bend Hike Trail

Tourist On the Top of Grand Canyon

If you want a more adventurous experience, you can hike on the Horseshoe Bend trail. This is a strenuous hike and should only be attempted by experienced hikers. It’s also important to be aware of the dangers of flash floods. The river can rise quickly during heavy rains, making the trail impassable. 

See Related: Best Holiday Destinations for Couples

Where to stay near Horseshoe Bend

If you plan on visiting Horseshoe Bend, there are a few options for where to stay. Marble Canyon is the closest town to the Bend, about 10 miles (16 kilometers) away.

There are a few different motels and campgrounds in Marble Canyon, and it’s also a great place to stock up on supplies before you visit the Horseshoe Bend.

If you’re looking for a more scenic place to stay, many camping and lodging options are nearby the Glen Canyon Dam. This is about a 30-minute drive from the Bend. Whether you visit in the summer or fall, add Horseshoe Bend to your list of must-see destinations in Arizona.

Horseshoe Bend is a popular tourist destination in Colorado due to its natural beauty and proximity to the Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. This makes it a great place to visit and witness the marvelous wonders of nature.


How was Horseshoe Bend formed?

The Bend was formed over the course of millions of years as the Colorado River carved its way through the rock. The Horseshoe Bend is a product of erosion, which has created this spectacular sight.

Where does the water come from in Horseshoe Bend?

The water comes from the Colorado River.

The river was formed about 10 million years ago when the Rocky Mountains started to rise. The river flows more than 1,450 miles from its headwaters in the Colorado Rockies to the Gulf of California.

It passes through some of America’s most breathtaking scenery, including the Grand Canyon.

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