horseshoe bend hike

The last 10 years have been a whirlwind of technological upgrades like Instagram and smartphones. I personally dedicate a picture I saw to the reason I wanted to start traveling. There are some good things and bad things about social media. Once you see the photo, you will make it a priority to go on the Horseshoe Bend hike.

This area is one of the most picturesque places in Arizona and it’s a quick pit stop on any Southwestern road trip in the United States.

After reading this guide, you will know everything about the Horseshoe bend Hike in Arizona.

horseshoe bend hike

Where is Horseshoe Bend Hike Located?

The closest town to Horseshoe Bend is Page in Arizona. This hike is just 15 minutes from the Utah border. Page is also famous for being the town where Antelope Canyon is at.

Both of these attractions bring in many tourists from around the country and for good reason. If time permits, you will not want to miss these activities.

Horseshoe Bend Parking

With the Horseshoe Bend hike being located directly off Highway 89 (65 MPH), you cannot park on the side of the road. Instead, you must pay $10 per vehicle or $5 per motorcycle.

The parking lot wasn’t full for us but it may be different during the peak season.

If you want more information on different vehicle prices then click here.

How to Get to Horseshoe Bend Hike

As I mentioned earlier, Horseshoe bend is very close to the Utah border. It makes for a great stopping point when going south from Zion National Park or coming up from the Grand Canyon.

Zion to Horseshoe Bend

When visiting Zion, it is very popular to stay in the town of Springdale. Here you can find many shops, restaurants, and, hotels of your choice to stay at.

It takes around 2 hours to get from Springdale to Horseshoe bend. The fastest route takes you back through Zion National Park. You will want to stay on Highway 89 South until you cross the border to Arizona and Page will be on your left.

Shortly after this, you will see the parking lot on your right.

Phoenix to Horseshoe Bend

It is also a popular option to fly into Phoenix and drive north. There are many great hikes in the Phoenix area as well such as Camelback Mountain and Piewesta Peak.

The drive is twice as long, sitting at around a little over 4 hours from Phoenix. You will want to take I-17 N until you get to Flagstaff. When driving through here you will then want to take the exit for US-89 North.

Best Time to Visit Horseshoe Bend

If you want the best pictures of the Horseshoe bend, then it is recommended to visit during mid-morning or afternoon. This time frame helps to prevent the shadow on the actual bend and for there to be minimal sunlight in your eyes.

As far as what time of year, I would suggest early Spring or middle of Fall. The summer can get extremely hot in some of these parts. If you do go during the summer, then it is best to go around 8 am.

My Suggested Hiking Gear

Below is a list of some of my favorite hiking/travel gear I bring everywhere. Everything below is something I currently use and never leave my house without.

  • KEEN Durand II Mid Waterproof Hiking Boots: I finally upgraded my hiking boots in 2022 and these are fantastic. They have top-notch ankle support and are super durable.
  • Petzl Tikka Headlamp: A headlamp for hiking is a must if you’re like me and love sunrise hikes. This is a great price for a quality headlamp and also has a good red light to not disturb others in the morning.
  • Darn Tough Hiker Micro Crew Cushion Socks: I originally got these as a present but I had to buy more because these are the most comfortable hiking socks I’ve ever tried on.
  • Grayl GeoPress Water Filter Bottle: You will never have to rebuy plastic water bottles. This is the best water filtering device on the market. It is excellent for hikers and travelers alike.

Other Hikes Near Horseshoe Bend:

Horseshoe Bend Hike Details

  • Distance: This hike is 1.5 miles out & back trail. This varies slightly depending on if you do the entire hike or not.
  • Duration: On average it will take people 30 minutes to finish. This depends on your fitness level and the time of the year as well.
  • Difficulty: I’d rank this hike as easy because of the almost zero elevation gain.
  • Incline: The elevation for this hike is around 137 feet.
  • Hiking Guide: A guide is not needed for this hike and is easily accessible by the public.

My Experience on the Horseshoe Bend Hike

I had heard many things about this Horseshoe Bend hike. “It’s overcrowded. Not worth it.” Maybe it helped that I went in early November but it was the perfect stop on our way back to Scottsdale.

This hike is for all ages and fitness levels. That’s the beauty of it. It’s crazy to think sometimes that this amazing attraction can be just feet from a highway road.

Arriving at the Parking Lot

When we arrived at the entrance of Horseshoe Bend, I wasn’t sure if it was going to be super crowded or not. The payment was per vehicle and not per person, which was fantastic.

There seemed to be plenty of room, even for campers. I can see how it could be possible for this place to fill up during peak season. It is advisable to not park on the side of the road as it is illegal.

Once out of the car, we followed the crowd of people to the trailhead.

Walking the Trail

We were probably a little over-prepared with our hiking boots and backpack. You can do this hike in sneakers realistically. I knew there wasn’t much to this hike but I had forgotten the exact details.

We walked for around 15 to 20 minutes along a gravel path. There were some slight hills but nothing too strenuous.

When we were doing our hike to Horseshoe Bend, it was the perfect temperature out. The sun was keeping us toasty and the cold air refreshed.

There were however some benches on the side of the trail and those with a large cover overtop for some shade.

As I said before, it can get extremely hot in these areas so I’m sure they can come in handy.

Arriving at Horseshoe Bend

When we arrived at the viewpoint, we were blown away. It was a lot larger than I personally had expected. There isn’t much space between you and the Colorado River.

As you walk up, if you keep going straight you will hit a sturdy steel fence. This is the only fence in the entire area.

A lot of the photos are taken on the rocks surrounding the bend. It is recommended to go at your own risk.

We took many photos and were very careful of our surroundings.

Inside Antelope Canyon

Other Activities to do Nearby

Horseshoe bend is located within a driveable distance of many other popular hiking locations such as Zion National Park, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon, and Sedona. Page is also popular because of the famous Antelope Canyon. There are 2 levels to these canyons and they must be done with a tour group. Below I posted some of the best tour guides to do this activity with.

My Final Thoughts on the Horseshoe Bend Hike

For being one of the most popular attractions in the region, Horseshoe Bend was a lot better than I thought it would be. I’m not a huge fan of huge crowds, especially for nature activities. If you go at the right time, you won’t be around a massive amount of people. Overall, I highly suggest you make this a pitstop on your road trip in this region of the United States. The price is well worth the hike.

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