Horseshoe Bend

Useful Information

Horseshoe Bend. Public Domain.
Location: Horseshoe Bend Overlook. Hwy 89 3.3km south of Page. 8km south of Lake Powell dam. 900m/15min walk to the outlook.
Open: no restrictions.
Fee: free.
Parking: Car USD 10, Motorcycle USD 5, Bus (1-14) USD 35, Bus (15-35) USD 70, Bus (36-) USD 140.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Guided tours: n/a
Photography: allowed
Accessibility: no
Address: Horseshoe Bend, Page, AZ 86040
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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Horseshoe Bend. Public Domain.

Horseshoe Bend is a single meander in the gorge of the river Colorado, south of Powell Dam. The incised meander, also called entrenched meander, is originally a result of the slow flow of the river through a plain with very small inclination. The river changed its bed frequently and formed huge meanders. Then the Colorado Plateau started its uplift 5 Million years ago. The Colorado cut deeper into the sedimentary rock to compensate, and was thus locked in its former bed. Now the river has more energy, but it stays more or less in the 270° bend of the meander.

The river continues to work on the outside of each curve. So the next step in erosion will be the thinning of the ridge between the two arms of the bend, and finally a breakthrough and the formation of a natural bridge. But this might take a few million years.

Its quite easy to visit Horseshoe Bend, there is a parking lot off highway 89 and a comfortable trail to the outlook at the edge of the canyon. The place is not only spectacular, it is also an interesting geotope. You can see erosion at work, and find fossils in the rocks around the trail. There are even some dinosaur footprints near the outlook. Since 2018 the number of visitor increased dramatically due to pictures published on social media, As a result the parking lot was refurbished [2020] and after the completion of the update a parking fee was introduced. We recommend not to park outside the parking lot as this is not allowed and cars are towed. The parking fee is much cheaper.