If you’ve been to Glen Canyon Dam, you’re already familiar with the sparkling little community of Page, Arizona. What you might not know, though, is that about four miles south of town is an unexpected viewpoint that will take your breath away. You might as well start thinking of superlatives now, because once you’re standing on the edge looking down, all you can think is WOW —and somehow that little word doesn’t capture the enormity of the view!
Horseshoe Bend is aptly named for a horseshoe-shaped meander of the Colorado River, located slightly downstream from Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Accessible via a sandy 1.5 mile round trip hiking trail, it can be viewed from atop a steep cliff — a 1,000+ foot drop with no guard rails! According to Google terrain maps, the overlook is 4,200 feet above sea level and the Colorado River is at 3,200 feet above sea level. But it’s more than just the perilous drop to the blue-green river below that makes the scene. It’s also the orange Navajo sandstone, carved by wind and water over millions of years, both below your feet and on the horizon, which creates the amazing vista.
The hike begins from a large parking area just off U.S. 89. The wide, easy-to-follow trail leads quickly up a low, sandy hill. The blue sky here seems to go on forever, and if you’re not used to hiking in sand, it might seem like slow going, but the viewpoint really isn’t far. Take water and wear sunscreen, as there’s no cover or facilities. As you approach the overlook, sand gives way to bare rock that has been eroded into crazy shapes and angles. If you’re visiting toward the end of the day, notice how shadows can make for interesting photos, too. Watch your footing as you near the edge to peer at Horseshoe Bend below—and keep those descriptive metaphors and similes in mind because you’re going to need them!
DIRECTIONS: Off U.S. 89, just south of mile marker 545, turn west on the dirt road and drive a couple of hundred yards to the parking area.Research Campgrounds, Plan RV Safe Routes & Turn your phone into an RV GPS.
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In addition to writing about her travels, Denise Seith is also a treasure hunter and loves a good latté. She and her husband own an online gold prospecting and metal detecting equipment store found at GoldRushTradingPost.com