Continuing our week-long visit to Arizona. Read the last write-up here.
The town of Page, Arizona may be small. But there are some beautiful sights to see and experience there. Rafting Glen Canyon that morning was one we were able to check off the list. The next was Horseshoe Bend.
After our rafting tour ended, we drove back to our hotel room at the Courtyard Marriott to fuel up on water and reapply sunscreen before hitting the road for Horseshoe Bend. And when I say “hit the road”, I mean it was only a four-mile drive to get there. Short, sweet and conveniently located off Highway 89 — only minutes away from our hotel. That’s my kind of drive.
I didn’t know much about Horseshoe Bend until I started researching for this trip. If you haven’t heard much about it, Horseshoe Bend is a scenic overlook that draws visitors from all over the world. It offers incredible views of the Colorado River as it wraps itself around a massive sandstone boulder in Glen Canyon below. In fact, we had just rounded that sandstone boulder only a couple hours before while on our rafting tour. It’s a half-mile hike from the parking lot to the 1,000-foot drop. And on most days (as it was the day we were there), the walk is blistering hot. There’s nothing between you and the sun.
Once you get to the drop though, there’s nothing between you and the rocks and river below. No handle bars or barriers to keep you from falling. So watch your step.
If you can overcome any nerves or hesitation, you’ll agree it’s stunning. So stunning, that we took approximately 1 gazillion pictures.
Photographing Horseshoe Bend was one of the easiest, hassle-free activities we did on the trip. There’s no admission fee or parking fee. You just walk to the edge, take in the beauty and make the trek back. (Which by the way is quite a trek in the scorching sun — and slightly uphill, at that. Make sure you bring plenty of water and sunscreen.)
But there are a few things to note if you plan to leave Horseshoe Bend with amazing photos.
- You’ll need a wide-angle lens to get everything in your shot. Either that, or the panoramic photo feature on your iPhone. 🙂
- Give some thought to the time of day you want to photograph. According to a number of websites I read, the best times to photograph Horseshoe Bend are between 1pm and 3pm. The sunlight illuminates even the deepest parts of the canyon at that time. To see photographs of the bend at all hours of the day, reference this site.
- If the thought of teetering over the edge of a 1,000-foot drop-off scares the daylights out of you, consider taking the shot while laying on your stomach. That’s what I did until I was comfortable enough to tiptoe around. It’s a lot less scary when you don’t feel like a brisk wind could send you flying.
And now I can say I’m one of many who have photographed this wondrous thing. I’m still contemplating how to frame or display the photos at home, but until then, I hope the image of Horseshoe Bend will forever stay fresh in our minds. (Which Mikey should have no problem doing, given the amount of times he uses that “mind like a steel trap” commentary on me.)