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In our last post, we discussed Antelope Canyon and what it's known for. In this article, we'll discuss another location that you must visit when in Vegas. It's called Horseshoe Bend, and it’s less than five miles away from Antelope Canyon. So, how busy does it get, and when is the best time to visit? Let’s dive in!

What Is Horseshoe Bend?

Horseshoe Bend is a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River located near the town of Page, Arizona. It is accessible via a short drive (about seven and a half hours) from the U.S. Route 89, but the best way to visit it is to book an Antelope Canyon tour from Las Vegas.

Horseshoe Bend can be found five miles downstream from Glen Canyon Dam and just north of the Arizona-Utah state line.

Does Horseshoe Bend Get Busy?

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed spots in the American Southwest. On a typical day, there will be hundreds of people at the site–this is especially true at sunset, which is always busy, no matter the season.

The busiest times tend to be between 9:00 AM and 12:00 PM and between 4:00 PM and 7:00 PM. If you want to avoid the crowds, we recommend visiting early in the morning or later in the evening.

When Is the Best Time to Visit?

The best time to visit Horseshoe Bend is typically in the late afternoon, around 4:00 PM. This will give you enough time to hike to the site and enjoy the sunset. The place may be crowded, but by arriving later in the afternoon, you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy the sunset.

If you're visiting during the summer when crowds are larger, we recommend getting there by around 3:00 PM.

If viewing the sunset is not a priority for you, we recommend planning your trip in the morning. If you can reach the parking by 5:00 AM, you'll have the entire place to yourself. However, later in the morning will also work and should still help you avoid the crowds.

No matter when you visit, make sure to bring your camera! Horseshoe Bend is one of the most beautiful places in the world and you'll want something to remember it by.

How to Avoid Crowds at Horseshoe Bend

The best way to avoid the crowd is to be there at the right time. In addition to the times mentioned above, try visiting during the week instead of the weekend. You can also visit during the off season, which is from October to February, though Horseshoe Bend is always a popular destination year round.

Another tip is to arrive during bad weather–most people don't want to hike in the rain, so if you don't mind getting wet or cold, then this is a great way to avoid the crowd.

If you arrive and find yourself trapped in a massive crowd, don't worry. Try getting to the far left or right of the viewing point–you might not find the perfect viewing spot, but you'll still be able to take great photos and enjoy the location peacefully!

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most beautiful places on earth and definitely worth a visit, but make sure to plan your trip either early morning, at night, or during the off season. Make sure to check out our recent post on whether or not Horseshoe Bend is open for tours for more information! 

The best Antelope Canyon tour from Las Vegas is incomplete without a trip to Horseshoe Bend. In this post, we’ll share some Horseshoe Bend basics, talk about its tours, and give you some tips on what to keep in mind while visiting.

What Is Horseshoe Bend, and Why Should You Visit?

Horseshoe Bend is a U-shaped meander in the Colorado River. It is located near the town of Page, Arizona, about five miles downstream from Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. It’s accessible via a 494 mile drive from U.S. Route 89.

The place got its name because its shape resembles a horseshoe, and it's one of the most photographed places in Arizona. If you're visiting the Grand Canyon, then you shouldn't miss out on this destination.

Is Horseshoe Bend Open?

Yes, Horseshoe Bend is open for tours. There are many tour operators that tourists can hire, but it's best to book your tour in advance because the park can get crowded during peak season. If you can, plan your tour during the off season, between October and February.

How Much Does It Cost to Visit?

The national park charges visitors no fees to visit Horseshoe Bend; however, you'll need to pay for parking, which is $10 per vehicle and $5 per motorcycle. In addition, you'll have to pay any tour companies you hire for your trip.

What to Keep In Mind When Visiting

When visiting Horseshoe Bend, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

Final Thoughts

Horseshoe Bend is a must-visit place when you're in Arizona–it's a place of natural beauty that will leave you speechless. Just make sure to follow the safety guidelines and enjoy your time.

Exploring the area and wondering how far Vegas is from Antelope Canyon? Check out our recent article for more travel tips!

Seeing Horseshoe Bend with your own eyes is a breathtaking travel experience. But there's nothing worse than having no option but to pile in a 50-person tour bus and nudge hundreds of strangers to see one of your personal bucket list destinations. So, is it possible to avoid that and see Horseshoe bend by yourself? 

Short Answer: Yes! It is possible to visit Horseshoe Bend without a tour or guide

Many visitors to Horseshoe Bend make a point to see the neighboring Antelope Canyon, which requires you to book a tour through a certified Navajo tour company. This creates confusion when going to visit Horseshoe Bend, with many visitors thinking you also need a guided tour, when in fact, Horseshoe Bend can be a self-guided tour.

Travelling to Horseshoe Bend Solo

Upon arrival at Horseshoe Bend, you will first pass a booth to enter the large, newly expanded parking lot at the Horseshoe Bend trailhead. The cost for parking (the only associated cost for Horseshoe Bend) is $10 per vehicle. Note that it is not possible to walk to Horseshoe Bend from Page, as it’s off a busy highway a few miles from town. At the top of the parking lot is the trailhead for the path to get to Horseshoe Bend. 

The trail from the parking lot to the bend has recently been altered to go around a large hill instead of over it, so you no longer have to worry about the long uphill portion many past travelers have had to endure. Instead, the new trail is a roughly 1.5KM long well-groomed trail that will take you about 15-20 minutes to walk there and back. There are several signs telling you to stay on the path, but there is no need to feel trapped, once you get to the bend you are free to roam around however you want. 

Related Reading: Lower vs Upper Antelope Canyon-2021 Update

Once you reach the bend, you will probably see many people crowded around the railing at the main lookout point. As a solo traveler, this is where we’d advise you to immediately go to the right side of the bend. Not only is it less crowded, the photography opportunities are better, and you get to do as much hiking and exploring of the rim as you’d like! 

Horseshoe Bend is technically open 24 hours, but they won’t let cars in the parking lot past sunset. Once you’re in, you can spend as much time exploring the rims as you’d like! We suggest allotting at least an hour and a half at Horseshoe Bend. 

There are benefits to taking a tour to Horseshoe Bend 

Even if you have an aversion to traveling with groups, there are definitely some benefits to traveling with a small group to Horseshoe Bend.

The first is timing. Planning your day in Page can be tricky when it comes to choosing the right time for Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend. Local tours set up your timing so you get to see these natural wonders in their best light, literally! 

Related Reading: Is Horseshoe Bend Part of the Grand Canyon (It's Complicated)

Second, small-group tour guides know everything you need to prepare for summer (or winter) in the area. Whether it's knowing which areas to avoid, carrying extra water or umbrellas for the intense summer sun, you know when you’re traveling with a group and guide, somebody will always have your back in emergencies. 

Last, when visiting natural wonders, nothing enhances experience more than local knowledge. Why is Horseshoe Bend so famous? Has it always had this many visitors? What local lore is there about the surrounding area? Has anyone ever fallen off the edge? The answers to these questions given by tour guides will heighten your experience from just seeing Horseshoe Bend, to understanding and appreciating. 

Page, Arizona is the gateway to some of the biggest destinations in the Southwest, including Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend, and Lake Powell. Unfortunately, it is far from all major urban cities and airports. If you are looking to fly to Page, here are the closest airports:

Page Municipal Airport (Inside the City of Page)

The most convenient airport is also the least served. 

Contour Airlines offers direct flights to Las Vegas and Phoenix from Page and connecting flights from around 20 cities. 

Flagstaff Pullium Airport (134 Miles from Page)

After Page Municipal Airport, Flagstaff Pullium Airport is the closest to Page.  With direct flights to Phoenix, Dallas, and Denver, and connections to hundreds of other airports worldwide, Flagstaff Pullium Airport is a convenient option for travelers to Page. 

St. George Regional Airport (158 Miles from Page)

St. George Regional Airport in the City of St. George is a possible landing spot for visitors to Page, Arizona. With major carriers like United and American serving regional destinations like Salt Lake City, Denver, and Phoenix.

Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (276 Miles)

The biggest airport in the state of Arizona, Phoenix Sky Harbor is a great option for cheap flights when your final destination is Page. With direct flights to dozens of cities and many low-cost carriers like Frontier and Spirit serving the airport, this option is one of the best for getting to Page on a budget. 

Las Vegas McCarran International Airport (280 Miles)

Another great option for getting cheap flights and continuing to Page, Las Vegas has connections to all major US cities and dozens of cities around the world. 

If flying into Las Vegas, we have a great selection of tours to Page, including an Antelope Canyon Day Tour and an Antelope Canyon 2 Day Tour.

Horseshoe Bend is quickly becoming one of the most iconic destinations in Arizona and the entire Southwest. Wondering if you should be one of the millions every year that gets to see this famous turn in the Colorado River? Here are 7 reason why you need to:

1. It is literally breathtaking

The full scale and height of Horseshoe Bend cannot be fully appreciated until the last moment when you look over the edge for the first time and you uncontrollably let out a “whooaa!” from somewhere deep in your stomach. It is hard not to audibly gasp as you take in the view for the first time. These are the feelings and experiences that we travel for, making a trip to Horseshoe Bend a must stop for any traveler to Northern Arizona.

2. Your Photos Will Pop

The reason you know about Horseshoe Bend is most likely because you saw a photo first! Photos come out great there, and it is pretty easy for even the most amateur photographers to get great photos. To get the ultimate social media post though, you will have to summon some courage to inch towards the edge….

3. Get the Edge Shot (Safely)

We don’t think it is the best idea to sit on the edge at Horseshoe Bend, but we know many people will do it anyway. Knowing that, we are here to tell you how to do it safely.

This is the method we recommend to all of our guests when visiting both the Grand Canyon and Horseshoe Bend so that they can get that iconic photo on the edge, we call it the “sit-and-scoot” method.

Sit down a good 5 feet or so away from the edge and slowly scoot up to the edge until your legs are precariously dangling 1000 feet above the river below. When your photoshoot is done, scoot back to your original spot and stand up.

I like to tell my guests on our Grand Canyon Tours, “You will not fall while sitting down.” By not standing and walking near the edge, you are not giving yourself the chance to trip and fall at what would be the absolute wrong time. Want to get a photo on the edge? Try to sit and scoot. 

Related Reading: Is Horseshoe Bend Part of the Grand Canyon? (It’s Complicated)

4. See it from above, way above, or below

Horseshoe Bend Boating
Rafts inside Horseshoe Bend

There are many ways to explore Horseshoe Bend. Most people will take the short hike out to the overlook, this is a must see. The more adventurous among us may also choose a river rafting tour to experience the bend from the bottom, or a helicopter tour to get a bird's-eye view. Each method has its own unique view, and all travelers to the Bend should consider seeing more than one! 

5. It’s the number one attraction in the Page area

There is plenty to do in the region of Page, AZ, but Horseshoe Bend is the number one most popular sight in the region. Why? The fantastic scenery, not needing to purchase tickets in advance, and the ability to explore around the bend to get away from the crowds all make it an absolute must-stop on any trip to Page.

6. Visit Antelope Canyon too

Batman and Robin, Chicken and Waffles….Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon? Yep, that’s right, these two southwest gems are located 10 minutes apart and are often combined on the same tour or the same trip. Antelope Canyon tours are our number recommendation for any visitor to the southwest. If you are planning to visit Horseshoe Bend, make sure you book tickets in advance for Antelope Canyon, it will blow your mind.

Related Reading: Lower vs. Upper Antelope Canyon

7. Sunrise/Sunset

Sunrise and Sunsets in the desert are special. Add in the beauty of Horseshoe Bend, and you have all the makings of a memorable desert experience. Sunrise is better for photos, the sun will be at your back.

Sunsets are better for viewing, the sun will set over the bend if you position yourself correctly. Either way, you are bound to have a sensational experience.

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