Sadly, our Desert Road Trip was coming to an end, but on our last day we went out with a bang. We got to see Horseshoe Bend and take a boat ride through Lake Powell. Arizona really has some of the most beautiful scenery. There is so much more that I need/want/must see.
Horseshoe Bend is the appropriately named horseshoe shaped meander of the Colorado River. Over millions of years the Colorado River has cut through deep layers of sandstone while working it’s way toward to sea and created a 270 degree horseshoe shaped curve. Horseshoe Bend is insane. Not only because of the the magnitude of what you’re looking at, or the intense color changing rocks, but also because of the the 1000 foot drop cliff’s edge.
Our Trip (Our Desert Road Trip Itinerary, here)
We pulled into a dirt parking lot that was packed and full of tourist buses, so I guess we had found our destination. To get to the rim of Horseshoe Bend, we started at the lot and hiked up a short incline and then down a sandy trial. From the trail-head, you can just barely see there is some sort of opening in the ground up ahead. After about a half mile hike, we began to really see what we came to see. Walking up to the rim is crazy. And scary. And amazing. All at the same time.
I had seen pictures of this place many times before, but seeing it in person was something else. This view. It is really unbelievable how visitors here are able to literally hang off the edge of the cliff and pose with this view. No guardrails.
On that note, there were a lot of people here. It wasn’t necessarily crowded because of the large size of the viewing area, but there were a lot of people scattered around. I have a fear of heights, and my husband doesn’t. Somehow, I was the one standing right up to the edge without giving it a second thought, and my husband was the one standing a good ten feet from the edge. He kept asking me to get back from the edge and I was thinking ‘ha! my how the tables have turned’. Well. Come to find out, his fear was brought on by watching me face the bend (next to the 1000′ drop) to take pictures, and he was watching other people behind me tripping and walking around with tunnel vision only looking through the lens of their cameras! All it would take would be one person tripping and grabbing on to the closest person to save them from falling, and then…. well, you know. Scary! So, naturally, we moved down the bend away from all the people and took our pictures alone.
People watching was both amusing and nauseating. I couldn’t believe the bravery of some people. Some were right up on the edge of this 1000 foot cliff doing yoga poses, balancing on one foot! And just the sight of watching a feeble little old man leaning over the edge with the weight of his enormous camera in front of him made both of us sick to our stomachs. We had to look away.
We walked the right side of the rim and grabbed a spot to watch the sun start it’s decent. I highly suggest walking to either sides of the rim, and not only the center (where all the people are). The beauty of this place can easily been seen from any angle. It’s magnificent.
Things to Know
- It’s FREE! No admission or parking fee.
- There is not a visitors center or restrooms.
- The hike from the parking lot to the rim is easy to moderate and mostly soft sand (not paved). About a half mile hike.
- We used iMaps for directions. The directions told us to park in a remote area off highway 89 and to park and walk. Ignore this. Right off of highway 89 is a clearly marked National Park sign and a parking lot for Horseshoe Bend. You can’t miss it.
- Safety first. At the rim of the bend there is NO guardrail.
- Watch your surroundings, and especially keep an eye on the people around you. People have accidentally fallen to their deaths.
- There is no flat footing. The ground is uneven sandstone, slightly rocky and/ or sandy.
- Take a camera with a wide angle lens or a panoramic feature.
- Try to go at an off-peek time of day to avoid large crowds.
- Leashed pets are allowed
- Make a day of it! You can visit Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend and even Lake Powell all in one day! (all locations are SO close to Page, AZ)