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How to Visit Horseshoe Bend (+ Rafting Review)

horseshoe bend page az

Horseshoe Bend is a large bend in the Colorado River near Page, AZ. It is part of the Grand Canyon, though not technically part of Grand Canyon National ParkGlen Canyon National Recreation Area gets to claim Horseshoe Bend.

Popularity 

Horseshoe Bend exploded in popularity thanks to social media. What most social media posts don’t show you are the many people fighting for a spot for that perfect photo!

Getting There 

It’s a 10-minute drive from Page and a 2-hour drive from the South or North Rims of the Grand Canyon.

Parking

horseshoe bend page az parking lot

Due to its increasing popularity, a parking lot was constructed. They charge a small fee to help pay for the parking lot.

There is no fee to enter Horseshoe Bend, and having a national park pass will not cover your parking fee. 

Hiking to Horseshoe Bend 

The short hike to get to Horseshoe Bend is .75 miles, making it 1.5 miles out and back. The path is mostly flat and graded, making it very accessible. 

horseshoe bend page az walking path
The walking path is wide and graded

horseshoe bend page az walking path at sunset
It’s about 0.75 miles long

horseshoe bend page az
You can’t miss the overlook…or the people!

Overlook 

horseshoe bend page az

Once you arrive at the overlook, you’ll be looking down on the Colorado River.

Some sections are developed, with safety railings and cement pads for standing and viewing. 

But most of the rim of the canyon is exposed, and you can climb around to whichever part of the ledge you desire. 

horseshoe bend page az
Be careful!

Not sure which area of the Grand Canyon to Visit?

Download our Free Quick and Easy Guide to the Grand Canyon’s 4 Areas!

Safety

Some people get dangerously close to the sheer ledges. Multiple people have fallen from the 1,000-foot ledge and perished. There isn’t a ranger on site to warn you – your safety is your responsibility. 

When to Visit 

horseshoe bend page az

You can visit anytime, as Horseshoe Bend is open year-round. The weather in Page is stifling hot in the summer and cold, but less crowded in the winter. 

Sunset is a particularly popular time to visit. I only visited at sunset, but since the canyon is deep and the sun sets in front of you, you don’t see light splashing off the red rock walls. Even a sunrise wouldn’t bring out the beauty of the canyon (I don’t think) because it can’t shine into the canyon until mid-day. Throughout the morning the rays would rise on the canyon wall opposite the river, so I’m guessing morning to afternoon would be the best time of day. 

Rafting Through Horseshoe Bend 

It’s also possible to raft through Horseshoe Bend! We did this and it was one of our favorite activities at the Grand Canyon.

What We Liked What We Didn’t Like
It was nice and cool on the waterA bit pricey
Very calm. Anyone can do this float.We went back the same way we came
Beautiful views of the canyon
Petroglyphs at the end
The rafts were smooth and comfortable

After staring at the Colorado River from the Grand Canyon for years, we decided it was time to finally get on the water! We went with Wilderness Adventure Company, but there are others to choose from. We paid for our experience, and are not affiliated.

The total tour time was 5 hours. 3 hours on the river and a 1 hour bus ride each way.

When we arrived, we used the restroom and hopped on our raft. Each raft was hard-bottomed, had a motor, and was able to hold 20 people.

Even though temperatures at the bottom of the canyon can be 20-30 degrees warmer than they are at the rim of the Grand Canyon, the Colorado River is 47 degrees Fahrenheit creating a cooler temperature once you get on the water. You’ll also notice that the water is much more clear than the muddy Colorado River you see from the Rim. This is because the water is filtered through the Glen Canyon Dam.

As you raft through Glen Canyon, your favorite part will probably be the 1000-foot red rock walls. People often see wildlife as they raft including mountain sheep and California Condors. You’ll also see plenty of people kayaking.

For the same price as a raft ride, you can rent a kayak and get a ride to the end of Horseshoe Bend so you can kayak back. This is what we are doing next time we visit Horseshoe Bend!

Midway through the raft ride, you get to some petroglyphs. As a westerner who has seen plenty of petroglyphs, there wasn’t anything special about these particular ones. But, petroglyphs are always cool and it was nice be able to use the restroom (pit toilets) and stretch our legs. I particularly liked looking at the desert flowers that were in bloom (we visited in April). Our guide hooked us up with some Gatorade which was great because it gets hot when you get off the water.

From there, we just turned around and went back the same way we came.

Tours 

You do not need a tour to visit Horseshoe Bend – it’s a quick and easy visit for anyone to park and walk to the viewpoint. 

There are tours that will take you to Horseshoe Bend and other places nearby. One I’m familiar with is the Antelope Secret Canyon tour. 

Visiting Horseshoe Bend Overlook near Page, Arizona

What Else Do I Need to Know?

A lot of people visit Page and Horseshoe Bend during their trip to the Grand Canyon. We have included Page and Horseshoe Bend and what to do there in our Ultimate Grand Canyon Bundle Itinerary which also includes an audio guide with over 4 1/2 hours of stories and information about the area. Let us help you plan your vacation to Page and the Grand Canyon!

MORE INFORMATION FOR YOUR TRIP TO THE GRAND CANYON

GRAND CANYON GUIDE: To read or watch all of our content about the Grand Canyon, Check out our Grand Canyon Homepage

AREAS: The Grand Canyon is divided into 4 areas: The South Rim, North Rim, Grand Canyon West, and the East Side of the Grand Canyon (Page, AZ). Learn about the 4 areas of the Grand Canyon with our Free Printable.

THINGS TO DO: There is much more to do than hike and look at viewpoints.  Explore Antelope Canyon or ride a mule.

WHERE TO STAY: Learn all about where to camp or stay when visiting the Grand Canyon.

WHERE TO EAT: Check out the best places to eat and get groceries at the South Rim

WATCH: Enjoy videos of the beautiful Grand Canyon while learning our best tips by watching our Grand Canyon YouTube Playlist

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