Lake Powell’s #1 Attraction: Horseshoe Bend

Good morning travelers ~ Isn’t it ironic? And I’m not talking about “like rain on your wedding day” but like how the Lake Powell area’s #1 attraction is not located on Lake Powell at all! According to TripAdvisor.com, the #1 thing to do in the Page Arizona area is Horseshoe Bend. Not hard to see why – this vista is absolutely stunning, and if you’re into geology, it’s incredible that it even came to be.

Funny thing is that Horseshoe Bend, though considered to be the #1 attraction in the Lake Powell area, isn’t part of Lake Powell itself. It’s part of Glen Canyon of the Colorado River, an example of a formation called an “entrenched meander.” If you’re visiting the Lake Powell area, you have to try and see Horseshoe Bend. It’s free, how great can that be, and it’s considered to be one of the Lake Powell Arizona area’s easier hikes – or is it?

You should consider the following tours that include Horseshoe Bend on your Vacation:

As this thread on TripAdvisor seems to imply, it might be a case of “easy to be hard.”

‘TampaJules’ writes:

We are from Florida, so even a 100 foot incline is unusual for us, and we are used to sand and the beach, but man Horseshoe Bend was hard on us. I cannot imagine trekking out there in the mid day during the summer! The 3/4 mile figure I read somewhere has to be accurate. Which doesn’t sound too much but the inclines and sand are where it’s difficult. Coming in, there is a steep (20 degrees perhaps) incline, all sandy. Then a long walk down a sandy path, perhaps 100 feet elevation change, to the overlook which is all rocky. Going out you now have that long incline back up which is especially hard in the sand.

Yes we are out of shape, but I’ve seen reviews on here about Horseshoe Bend  not being that bad. But for the average overweight TV watching American it’s not going to be easy. I’m not saying to not do it – its completely worth it and do-able unless you can’t manage the walk or heat, just be prepared. Bring plenty of water and wear sneakers of course. I think I would freak out if I had kids out here. Absolutely no railings or safeguard and a 1200 foot drop straight down (editor’s note: it’s more like 1,000′ but still…).  You get dirty and tired and it took up a good two hours between the walks and hanging out at the rim.

Some respondents found ‘TampaJules’ account to be a bit off the mark, such as ‘pudgygroundhog:’

I didn’t have problems at all. Nor did my four year old. I agree though that mid summer would not be ideal!

‘Tet14’ (who I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in person) concurs:

I (senior) easily could do it and I’m not in great shape. Watch the kids indeed, no fence. Always bring water and slap on a hat (and slop on sunscreen).

I had this to add:

I’ve always found Horseshoe Bend to be one of those “borderline” hikes that most healthy people can handle, but the altitude, dry climate and summer heat can sometimes throw folks for a loop. Sounds like that happened to TampaJules’ family. My mom, who had 2 knee surgeries in as many years, took one look at the trail and said “absolutely  not.” Another friend of mine who also had a knee surgery and claimed to be “out of shape” had no problem hiking to Horseshoe Bend. Guess it just depends.

So ‘TampaJules,’ there are people out there who feel your pain, believe me!

If you know for a fact that you would like to see Horseshoe Bend but doing the walk won’t be an option, there are a couple of alternative ways you can still experience it:

1. Fly over it: Grand Canyon Airlines and Westwind Air Service offer fixed wing airplane flights daily from the Page Municipal Airport. For a few dollars more than the regular asking price, you upgrade a 30-minute Lake Powell Rainbow Bridge flight to include Horseshoe Bend.

2. The Colorado River Discovery Float Trip: on this beautiful half-day smooth water rafting trip, you won’t experience Horseshoe Bend from the world-famous “top down” perspective. Instead, you will see Horseshoe Bend from the “bottom up.” If you bring binoculars, you might even see the folks at the overlook waving to you – shoot, they’re probably jealous! 😉 This wonderful trip is another of the Lake Powell area’s top attractions, and with no rapids, it’s appropriate for children as young as 4. Visit www.raftthecanyon.com for more information on the Colorado River Discovery Float Trip.

For a complete list of Page and Lake Powell’s best activities, visit TripAdvisor.com. And be sure to visit the Travel Forum for more great tips and suggestions from their knowledgeable panel of Destination Experts.

‘Til next time, make it a “grand” day!

2 thoughts on “Lake Powell’s #1 Attraction: Horseshoe Bend”

  1. Hi,
    We have scheduled our trip from LA to Las Vegas by renting a car from LA. We are going to arrive in Vegas on the 6th of September and check in to one of Vegas Hotel. On the 7th we have planed to drive to Page, AZ and stay a night in Page. And return to Vegas on the 8th.
    My questions are:
    1. Is that possible to stop in Bryce Canyon on the way to Page?
    2. I plan to book a day tour that include Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe bend day tour on the 8th (the tour start 8.30am with 9 duration hours) and after that directly driving back to Vegas. What I learned the day tour will be done by late afternoon, meaning I will be leaving for Vegas from Page in the evening. Is it ok?
    3. Have you got better solution of how to maximize my trips? I am going to travel with friends, there are 7 of us include one 11 yo and 16 yo kids.
    4. I don’t mind missing the Bryce Canyon if it is not possible.

    Thank you so much indeed for your help.

    1. Hi Dida,

      Thank you for your questions. It is possible to stop in Bryce Canyon on the way to Page but you would have to just choose one or possibly two view areas to see the Canyon from and then get back on the road to Page. The tour that includes Lower Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend is a tour that departs from Flagstaff. You can just drive out to Lower Antelope Canyon and take the tour there and then drive to Horseshoe Bend for the hike. That way you could leave Page in the early afternoon and be back to Las Vegas by dinner time. I recommend that you make reservations for Lower Antelope Canyon because it is likely to be a very busy day there.

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