When Is the Best Time
Horseshoe Bend is a truly magical place at almost any time. We visited this place many times and analyzed hundreds of visitor reviews to give you the best tips for the perfect photo timing and how to avoid the ridiculous busy times during peak season.
The best time to visit Horseshoe Bend is in the early morning, around 8 AM. This is the perfect time to avoid heavy crowds. For photography, visiting around sunset is best.
Time of Day (Photography)
Sunset is a great time for magical photos at Horseshoe Bend. However, ask ten people about the best time of day to photograph Horseshoe Bend, and you’ll get ten different answers. Sure, at certain times there might be a lot of shadows in your picture, which you might not like: Sunrise to Sunset Photo Series. Especially in the morning, you will have to deal with shadows in your photos. However, it’s never a bad time for photographs, just different.
Good to know: Since it’s jam-packed at sunset, be there about 45-60 minutes before sunset to claim your spot if you want to take sunset photos.
How Much Time Do You Need at Horseshoe Bend?
You need a total of between one and two hours for the hike and the time at the viewing area. Expect to spend about 2 hours overall if you want to take a lot of photos and hang out at the platform or the edges. The walk itself from the parking area to the platform takes only 15 minutes (one way).
Are There Bathrooms at Horseshoe Bend?
There are bathrooms at the Horseshoe Bend parking area. There are no facilities at all near the viewing platform.
Can You See Horseshoe Bend Without a Tour?
You can see Horsehoe bend without booking a tour. You only have to pay the entrance fee when arriving. However, if you are coming from Las Vegas, it can be a good idea to take a tour that covers Antelope Canyon and Horseshoe Bend.
Check the selected tours in the banner above if you’re staying in Las Vegas.
Avoiding Tourist Crowds | Is It Busy?
As a local said: ‘Now, it’s always crowded as hell!’ During the daytime, you’ll face tourist crowds year-round.
The busiest times at Horseshoe Bend are from 9:00 am to 11:00 am in the morning and 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm in the late afternoon. It’s slightly less busy in off-season and shoulder season: From October/November until February. However, it always gets crowded around Christmas and New Year’s.
Regardless of the season, it’s always extremely busy during sunset. Our tips to avoid the crowds:
Be at the Horseshoe Bend parking lot around 8 AM (maybe a little earlier). This is a perfect time before it starts to get busy. More people arrive between 9-10 AM. After 10 AM it starts to get heavily crowded with tour buses and everyone else arriving.
Tip: If you get there before sunrise you will often have the entire place to yourself. Some visitors report to view Horseshoe Bend in complete solitude when being there at 5:30 AM.
Arrive Late or During Bad Weather
Be there around sunset. Of course, it’s still super crowded and sunset is definitely the busiest time. Wait until the sun goes down and the crowds will start to dissipate almost completely at some point. You’ll have the place almost for yourself. Perfect for stargazing. Carry a flashlight for the short hike back up to the parking lot.
Alternative: Go when the weather is rainy and very windy and the sky is full of clouds. You’ll experience fewer crowds during bad weather.
If you head to the extreme left or the extreme right of the viewing point up there, you’ll get away from most others. It’s not the perfect spot in the middle anymore, but you can still take great photos.
During the summer months, the sun gets very intense, and it is extremely hot. Spring and fall offer more pleasant temperatures at Horseshoe Bend.
The monsoon season in Arizona lasts from late June until the end of September. Afternoon thunderstorms may produce buckets of rain in a short period of time. These monsoon rains sometimes last for hours.
Good to know: Since Horsehoe Bend is more exposed than Antelope Canyon, it is a lot windier. Be prepared for that.
Winter Visit: In the winter months, it gets chilly at Horseshoe Bend. Wear layers and bring a warm coat. Sometimes it can even snow in the area.
When you’re lucky, you can take one of the rare Horeshoe Bed snow photos. However, blankets of snow are rare. Even when it snowed overnight, most of the snow at Horseshoe Bend melts once the sun comes up.
More weather details (you can switch between °C and °F): Page, Arizona Climate Details
- Cars or RVs: $10
- Motorcycles: $5
- Commercial Van/Bus: (Capacity up to 14): $35
- Commercial Bus: (Capacity 15-35): $70
- Commercial Bus: (Capacity over 35): $140
The entrance to Horseshoe Bend is not free anymore. Three miles south of Page, Highway U.S. 89 leads directly to the large parking lot which was built in 2019. Around 300 cars can be parked there at the same time.
They charge a fee of ten dollars per vehicle. Motorcyclists pay five dollars. There is a separate lot for larger RVs, which makes parking a lot easier.
- Length: 1.5 miles round trip
- Difficulty: Easy
- Type: Paved
There is a new path since 2019/20 which leads to the overlook. It’s a short 0.6 miles (one way) wide and an easy trail. There are even two shaded resting points along the way. However, still bring water! The hardened path is wheelchair accessible.
There are no railings along the trail. As with any hike, bring lots of water, sturdy boots, sunscreen, and other useful hiking gear. Be aware that the Horseshoe Bend Trail has limited shade (only the two resting points). Hiking should be avoided during the hottest part of the day.
Season Hotel Deals (Saving Money)
Are you also tired of overpaying for hotels and lodges, particularly in peak season? That’s why we provide you with deals for accommodations in Page (close to Horseshoe Bend). Tip: Bookmark your preferred hotel
The views of Horseshoe Bend are just breathtaking. You can stand close to the edges of the cliffs, that drop 1000 ft to the Colorado River. It’s one of the most photographed spots in Arizona and probably every photographer’s dream.
The parking lot is right off Highway 89, close to Page. The walk to the cliffs takes about 15-20 minutes from the parking area.
There are no railings or safety barriers anywhere along the rim. You’ll see visitors just standing inches from the edge or sitting there, dangling their feet over the edge or taking selfies. It seems pretty dangerous, as it’s a 1000 ft (300m) drop.
Update 2018: A fenced overlook area was built for visitors as a safety measure. However, visitors who wish to venture beyond the fenced partition to the left or right can do so (see our tips above to go left/right).
Many visitors stop here on their way (or back) from Antelope Canyon. If you’re not sure when to visit Arizona (besides Horsehoe Bend), check out our guide with details about the best time to visit Arizona and the most fascinating sites in the state.
Location / Map
7 Must-Know Tips / Facts
- There are toilets at the car park
- There are no facilities at the viewpoint
- It’s a very short walk/hike from the parking lot to the viewpoint
- There is a parking fee of 10 USD per vehicle
- Bring a bottle of water for everyone as it’s getting very hot
- Use wide-angle for photos
- Visit very early in the morning or after sunset in the day to avoid crowds
Hotel Tips in Page
- La Quinta Inn & Suites: One of the best hotels there. It’s quite new, clean, neat, and well maintained. The staff is also very friendly, from reception to kitchen.
- Hampton Inn & Suites: Excellent hotel! Slightly higher rates than the La Quinta but brand new and with a room layout like a small apartment. Comfortable bed and very clean. Great free breakfast choices!