Horseshoe Bend Without the Crowds

Horseshoe Bend is one of the most iconic images of the American Southwest, but it often takes a back seat to it's neighbor to the east, Antelope Canyon. If you have a chance, venture a few miles south of Page, Arizona to the Horseshoe Bend overlook. The trail may be a sandy slog uphill both ways, but it's worth every step. After three quarters of a mile, you'll find yourself 1000 feet about above the Colorado River as it snakes it's way through Glen Canyon. Please go, you will love it and so will your Instagram followers.

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Another way to view Horseshoe Bend is from the Colorado River itself. One outfit runs tours from the Glen Canyon Dam down to Lees Ferry. We prefer the solitude of a kayak, paddling, floating, stopping whenever you want, with incredible scenery around every bend of the canyon. This prevents a logistical challenge. The fine folks at the dam give great tours, but stop short of letting you ride the elevator down with your kayak. And if they did allow such things, you'd still be stuck trying to arrange a shuttle to drive the 46 miles back to Page.

There are two ways to paddle this 17 mile section of the Colorado river. #1 Be a super tough gal/guy and paddle up the river from Lees Ferry, finding eddies along the bank to help battle the current (We saw one of these people on our last trip, he was six miles up). #2 Hire a backhaul service to take you and your gear up the river. The beauty of option #2 is you can determine the exact length of your trip. If you don't have the time or energy for the entire 17 miles, have your boat drop you off at the beach just above Horseshoe Bend and trim a few miles off your paddle. The Colorado River runs very flat through the last remaining free flowing stretch of Glen Canyon, with a riffle here and small wave there.

We thought Joe from KayaktheColorado was great, he met us at the boat ramp at Lees Ferry, helped us load our boats and zipped us up to the beach below the dam in about 35 minutes. We stopped a few times and floated many sections, and still made it back to the car about 5.5 hours after leaving.

BaseCamp37° is 92 Miles from the Lees Ferry Boat Ramp. Ignore Google Maps and any other app that tells you to take the dirt road south from BaseCamp37°, you do not want to take that road. Go back to 89 and then go south on 89A in Kanab for a great drive over the Kaibab Plateau and under the Vermillion Cliffs.

The Horseshoe Bend overlook is 74 Miles from BaseCamp37°. It's well signed, just a few miles south of Page, Arizona on 89.

One last thing, Lees Ferry and all tours out of Page, Arizona operate on Mountain Standard Time all year long, which is one hour later than Utah during the summer.