Getting Lucky at Horseshoe Bend
How does one get lucky at Horseshoe Bend exactly? It’s all about timing…
The Big Bend
One of Arizona’s most iconic and easily accessible canyon views is Horseshoe Bend. It’s located just south of Page (partial home of Lake Powell). The breath-taking view of the 270-degree bend in the Colorado River 1,000 feet below is what will greet you once you reach the canyon’s edge.
What Should I Know?
They recently put up a pay station to help fund future improvements, the fee varies depending on your vehicle, with a car costing $10. Once you find a parking spot, there is a small trek ahead of you - beauty doesn’t come without a price! It’s one of the easier hikes considering the trail is well established and only 1.5 miles round trip. There’s a decent incline at first and it’s quite sandy, it levels out at a lookout point where there’s a shade ramada, and then more sand as you descend towards the canyon’s edge. The view is absolutely breath-taking. People have complained about the railing they put up for safety but I don’t feel like it took away the experience at all. There are still plenty of places to get an unobstructed view.
What Should I Bring?
Your camera, of course! There’s no shortage of photographic views, just make sure you don’t get too close to the edge to pose or take a photo.
I don’t go very far without my Hydroflask but on hikes like these, it’s easier to carry my camelback so I don’t have to fuss with carrying it. Don’t go without water, even if you think it’s a short hike. The desert climate is very dehydrating even if you don’t feel like you’re sweating.
My blue eyes are very sensitive so I’m never without a pair of sunglasses either. Sunscreen is important to think about since you’ll be out there at least an hour, but I didn’t put any on because we were heading there for sunset - after 4pm the sun is much less strong. A hat is a nice accessory for keeping the sun out of your eyes too. Hiking boots aren’t necessary, any close-toed shoes will do just fine. I did the hike once in flip flops and it was a bit sandy but not a problem. I ended up taking them off to earthed a bit on the rocks - I’m sure people thought I was crazy but it was easier than dealing with all the sand in my flip flops.
Definitely be sure to watch your children and pets as most of the canyon is still lacking guard rails - let’s please keep it that way.
Time to Get Lucky?
I’ve visited twice: once at sunrise and once at sunset. Sunrise was a special experience because it was my birthday and a guide friend of ours let us in the private entrance so we didn’t have to do the hike. Felt super spoiled, especially after I heard that Victoria’s Secret models were standing in the same spot I was - having been there a week prior for a shoot. The stillness of the early morning was magical. There were shadows in the canyon until the sun had the chance to rise a little. Mid to late morning gives you the sun at your back - which means minimal shadows in the canyon.
Sunset was a different experience, we did the hike twice because we went out before sunset to scout it and came back more prepared. There’s definitely more tourists to contend with towards the end of the day but it wasn’t any less magicial. Golden hour was an absolute dream. Once the sun dips too low (in either direction) you’re met with shadows in the canyon. Before sunset the sun will be glaring in all of your photos, potential for some rad sun flare. Sunset is really the sweet spot though because you get the glow in the canyon.
All in all, it’s a photographic spot no matter what, but timing does play a part in how your photos will turn out. Good luck!