5 Reasons I Wouldn't Visit Horseshoe Bend Again

There were a few stops along our Ultimate Southwest Road Trip that I was most excited about, and sunset at Horseshoe Bend was one of them! I started seeing photos of this amazingly beautiful location on Instagram a few years ago and added it to my list if I was ever in the area. We actually planned our trips to include a stop in Page, Arizona with a hike to Horseshoe Bend at the top of my list. After visiting, I was disappointed. Here are 5 reasons why I wouldn't visit Horseshoe Bend again.


5 Reasons I Wouldn't Visit Horseshoe Bend Again


What is Horseshoe Bend

Formed over time through water erosion, the Colorado River pushed through sandstone to create this horseshoe bend that we see today. From the edge, you'll find a nearly 1000-foot drop to the water below! 

Horseshoe Bend is about 140 miles from the Southern and Northern Rim entrances of Grand Canyon National Park. It's located about 5 miles south of Page, Arizona off of US Highway 89 between mile post 544 and 545.

There is a convenient parking lot just off the highway with restrooms. The trail is less of a hiking trail and more of a walking path, making it easy for most people to access it. It's about 1.5 miles round trip and will take you about 20 minutes to walk to the bend.

The city of Page charges a flat fee for admission of $10 per vehicle or RV. You cannot use a park pass for admission.

1. It's Crowded


The Power of Instagram

Horseshoe Bend attracts nearly 2 million visitors a year making it one of the most photographed sites in Northern Arizona. The rise in popularity of Instagram took this spot from seeing 4,000 visitors in a year to easily seeing that many visitors in a DAY! The power of social media my friends. 


2. It's Dangerous!

This also means that people are vying for the perfect IG photo to post, oftentimes standing dangerously close to the brittle sandstone edges. Admittedly, I am a bit more cautious than most, but after visiting several different park locations with sheer cliff drop-offs, in this particular area, I saw people making some really poor choices. {read more here}

There is a fenced-in viewing area, but it's small and on both sides, has open drop-off areas. Most reviews you read will tell you to walk the trail and head to the right or left of these viewing areas, both of which have dangerous cliff edges. 

The rock is made of soft sandstone that is brittle and can crumble underfoot. Sandstone can also get slick so take caution. There is a 1000-foot cliff surrounding the viewing areas and there shouldn't be any attempts to try to climb into the canyon from above.

3. Bugs!

We were not anticipating the number of bugs we encountered. We visited in early April, so maybe this was a product of the season. It definitely made our visit much less pleasant. 

The bugs even photobombed our selfie. How rude. But seriously, look at all of them!

bugs at horseshoe canyon

I told my family that the trick was to not swat at them, but instead to sit still. Sadly, the sit still method resulted in them finding a nice place to "honeymoon" on my leggings if you get what I mean. 

4. It's a Scenic Overlook, not a Destination

This area is more of a scenic lookout rather than an actual destination, so if you do choose to visit, make sure you enjoy some of the other things Page, AZ has to offer like renting a boat on Lake Powell, or touring Upper or Lower Antelope Canyon with a Navajo guide

This is definitely not a location you will need to spend more than an hour or two at. It's an easy walk on a mostly flat trail and after snapping a few photos, you can easily feel like you did all the things. 

I saw several tour groups leaving out of Vegas to visit, and if I booked that tour {a 9-hour round trip bus ride}, I'd be disappointed if this was the only stop we made that day.


5. It's Hot!

There are two shaded seating areas on the walking path, but the viewing area is fully exposed with no shade. Depending on what time of day and what part of the year you visit, this area can be extremely hot. There are no restrooms or water stations so plan accordingly. It is a short walk, but even a short walk in direct sunlight can be incredibly draining.

All that to say, Horseshoe Bend did provide some unbelievable views. It's a beautiful canyon, and the fact that it's been formed the way it has is a real sight to behold. 


I'm glad that I got to see this in real life, but I really felt like this was a dangerous area with people taking unnecessary risks in order to get a good photo or video to share on social media. There are more and more accidents happening as the volume of visitors increases to this location.  

If you visit, please take caution. Enjoy the views, just don't get too close to the edge!

Read more about our Southwest Road Trip here:

The Best 7 Day Grand Circle Road Trip
Visiting Antelope Canyon: Is it Really Worth the Hype
The Best Place to Watch Sunrise on Grand Canyon's South Rim

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