horseshoe bend grand canyon

Guide To Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Horseshoe Bend, located near Page, Arizona  is a part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. This is the location of perhaps the most iconic bend in the entire 1,450 mile route of the Colorado River – quite a statement considering the West’s great river flows through seven states and 11 national parks and monuments.

Here, the nation’s sixth largest river, which has eaten through the West’s rocky topography for the past 5 million years, curves at a perfect three quarters of a circle around a sandstone escarpment, creating a 270º horseshoe-shaped bend that is 1,000 feet deep and visible from a steep cliff that is accessed via a short .6 mile hiking trail. 

The views of this beautiful curve from the 4,200 foot overlook are now legendary on social media.

You can hike to the top, see it on Horseshoe Bend flightseeing trips, or float below it on a Horseshoe Bend Rafting Trip.

Peering over the edge and taking in the sweeping panoramas of Horseshoe Bend is truly spectacular.

It is now one of the most photographed spots in all the American Southwest, a wonderful introduction to the wonders of the Southwest’s geology,  and a small-scale experience of what visitors can expect when encountering the Grand Canyon itself.

horseshoe bend grand canyon

Where Is Horseshoe Bend Arizona?

Horseshoe Bend Arizona is located just five miles from the town of Page, Arizona. A parking lot is located off Highway 89, southwest of the city. that can accommodate RVs, busses and passenger vehicles. Fees are charged for admission.

Is Horseshoe Bend, Arizona part of Grand Canyon National Park?

No. The location of Horseshoe Bend itself is within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. It is located five miles downstream from Glen Canyon Dam and is just five miles from the city of Page, Arizona. 

Approximately nine miles downstream from Horseshoe Bend is where Grand Canyon National Park begins. 

To put in perspective how large the Grand Canyon is, Horseshoe Bend is about 140 miles from both the South Rim and the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

The Grand Canyon, one of the eight natural wonders of the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is about 277 river miles long, but requires about 650 miles to walk.

horseshoe bend arizona

How To Get to Horseshoe Bend, Arizona

The closest airport to Horseshoe Bend is Page, Arizona.

Downtown Page, Arizona is only about 5 miles from Horseshoe Bend. Page is a great basecamp to explore the eastern section of Grand Canyon country, Lake Powell, and other beautiful outdoor destinations.

Many tours from Page, Arizona are offered, including Lake Powell tours and/or Antelope Canyon Tours.

You can also travel to Horseshoe Bend via Las Vegas airport on a number of day trips, such as the Las Vegas To Antelope Canyon Airplane Tour which also includes a stop at Horseshoe Bend.

Most visitors drive to Horseshoe Bend from the Grand Canyon South Rim. It takes about 2.5 hours to drive from Grand Canyon South, just over 4 hours to drive from Phoenix, nearly three hours to drive from Sedona, and about 5 hours from Las Vegas.

horseshoe bend to antelope canyon

Driving Directions To Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas

It takes approximately 5 hours (275 miles) to drive to Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas

The drive is very straightforward. Here are specific directions:

  • Follow I-15 N to UT-9 E/W State St in Washington. Take exit 16 from I-15 N.
  • Merge onto UT-9 E/W State St for 9.4 miles then turn right following UT-59 signs.
  • Turn left onto UT-59 S/E 100 S.
  • Continue onto AZ-389 EFollow US-89 S to your destination in Page, AZ.

Driving Directions To Horseshoe Bend from Grand Canyon South

It takes approximately 2.5 hours (133 miles) to drive to Horseshoe Bend from the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 

The drive is very scenic, follows the eastern Grand Canyon, and involves only two roads. Here are specific directions:

  • Leave Grand Canyon Village, AZ and head take Z-64 E/Desert View Dr for about 52 miles.
  • Turn onto US-89 N for an additional 79 miles.
kayak horseshoe bend

Horseshoe Bend Hours

Horseshoe Bend is open year-round from sunrise to sunset.

Horseshoe Bend Overlook Hike

The trail to the Horseshoe Bend overlook is .6  miles long, one-way – just over a mile round trip. The trail is accessible under the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. There are two shade structures along the length of the trail, but not at the overlook. There are railings at the edge of the overlook's viewing platform, but not along the trail.

Horseshoe Bend Parking Lot Location and Cost

There is a sizable visitor parking area at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook South of Page, AZ, where you are required to park if you plan to take the hike to the overlook.

Entrance fees at set by the City of Page and are:

  • Motorcycle: $5
  • Passenger vehicles (car, truck, SUV, RV, motorhome): $10
  • Commercial vans with passenger capacity of 14 or less: $35
horseshoe bend sunset

Horseshoe Bend Tours

While the hike to the Horseshoe Bend overlook is a self guided tour, there are a few options available at this destination to enhance your experience.

Air tours of Horseshoe Bend, Horseshoe Bend flightseeing, and Horseshoe Bend Air Tour are perfect opportunities to see the stunning desert scenery just beyond the city. These tours fly over Lake Powell, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and Glen Canyon Dam.

You can also see this famous landmark from below – on an adventurous Colorado River Horseshoe Bend Rafting Trip or you can kayak Horseshoe Bend. The daylong rafting tour consists of a ​​15.5-mile smooth water float trip onboard a motorized raft and takes you from the Glen Canyon Dam, through Horseshoe Bend, and into Grand Canyon National Park.

If you are already in the region, Horseshoe Bend to Antelope Canyon is a must. The two attractions are near one another and both are world class. In addition,  Papillon offers many excellent Grand Canyon tours or Grand Canyon tours from Las Vegas. Grand Canyon Bus and River Trips are also available.

Tips for Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Since Horseshoe Bend is very popular for photography, consider the time of day you visit in order to obtain the most optimal shots.

Since the overlook faces west, the deep canyon views of the Colorado River will be shrouded in shadows early morning and near sunset.

For the best lighting, visit Horseshoe Bend at times that avoid these shadows; during the day. Mornings are best in spring summer and later afternoons in the cooler fall and winter.

Horseshoe Bend at sunset, however, is spectacular and a great time to get award winning photos.

Also, don’t try to cheap out by parking on the side of Highway 89. Cars that do will be ticketed and towed. In addition, the highway is busy, with heavy RV and truck traffic. It’s not only illegal, but also dangerous.

is horseshoe bend open

Frequently Asked Questions About Visiting Horseshoe Bend

Where is Horseshoe Bend?

Horseshoe Bend is located just five miles from the town of Page, Arizona, in northern Arizona.

How long is the trail to Horseshoe Bend?

The trail to reach the Horseshoe Bend overlook is a short 0.6 miles each way. The trail is accessible under the regulations of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Do you have to pay for Horseshoe Bend?

Yes, an entrance fee is required to park and access the Horseshoe Bend hiking trail to the Colorado River overlook. Passenger vehicles are charged $10 each.

Is Horseshoe Bend part of the Grand Canyon?

No, Horseshoe Bend is not part of Grand Canyon National Park. It is located just 5 miles downstream from Glen Canyon Dam. The Park begins nine miles downstream from Horseshoe Bend’s location.

How far is Horseshoe Bend from the Grand Canyon?

Horseshoe Bend is about 130 miles from the South Rim and 140 miles from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.

How far is Horseshoe Bend from Las Vegas?

Horseshoe Bend is approximately 5 hours (275 miles) from Las Vegas. Direct flights to Page AZ from Las Vegas are also available.

Can you see Horseshoe Bend without hiking?

Yes, you can see Horseshoe Bend without walking the round trip hiking trail by taking a Horseshoe Bend Air tour.

Do you need a guide to see Horseshoe Bend?

No, a guide is not required to visit Horseshoe Bend. For nearby Antelope Canyon, however, it is required to sign up with a tour guide.