A Wow Moment at Horseshoe Bend
Ten years ago I went on my first trip overseas, just me and my friend Danielle, to New Zealand. We used a guidebook to decide where to go, payphones to call ahead and book our next night of accommodation, paid $3 to use the hostel computer for 15 minutes or went to an internet cafe, and I had a brand new (expensive in today’s terms) point and shoot digital camera that only had a 5 megapixel sensor.
Travel has changed a lot since then. People are travelling more, and thanks to affordable digital photography and social media, travels are shared more. I’ll save my thoughts on that whole matter for another time but for now I’ll point out that thanks to all that photography and sharing, sometimes when you actually travel to the spots that look amazing in photographs, you end up underwhelmed.
It happened to me at the Grand Canyon. The GRAND CANYON of all places left me feeling meh, and that really ticked me off. Definitely one of the downsides of everyone sharing everything.
So when a place takes my breath away, it really takes my breath away.
Hiking to Horseshoe Bend
To get to Horseshoe Bend, we pulled into a carpark just outside of Page, Arizona. It was nearly sunset so we had to fight against the buses full of tourists to get a parking spot. Once we did, a sign informed us there was a 1.21km hike to get to the site. We totally weren’t expecting that but it actually added to the experience.
We didn’t get even a glimpse of Horseshoe Bend until we made it to the very edge of the cliff.
Walking the trail with other excited tourists amped up the anticipation. I started to feel excited and not like I was just ticking another item off the to do list like we’re sometimes prone to do. I wasn’t able to see the bend until I got to the edge and then all I could say was ‘Wow’.
We didn’t realise that it was going to be as big as it was. Turns out it’s a 1000 foot drop to the bottom which, as you can see from our video, I couldn’t quite handle. After my initial look over the edge, I had to spend most of the time standing a ways back worrying that I was going to see one of the more brave selfie taking tourists fall over the edge because they were getting so close!
For scale, here’s a photo of one of those
crazy brave people sitting on the ledge over the drop.
Photos don’t do Horseshoe Bend justice. It was so much bigger and better in person. Even sharing the view with a few hundred tourists didn’t take away from it and that doesn’t happen often.
So if you want to go places that still take your breath away even though you’ve seen a hundred photos of the place, make sure Horseshoe Bend is one of them.
More information on Horseshoe Bend
How long is the drive from Monument Valley to Horseshoe Bend?
128 miles or about 2 hours drive which is overall pretty easy but does lack passing lanes. This gets annoying because with all the little hills and blind corners, it takes a while before you can pass safely.
Tips on Horseshoe Bend
Sunset is a really popular time to go so I would recommend going a bit earlier unless you don’t mind fighting the crowd to get to the edge. There is a little bit of a walk to the viewpoint but it only takes about 10 mins and only the first section is slightly uphill.
Where to stay in Page, Arizona?
We stayed at Best Western View Of Lake Powell Hotel which was reasonably priced at £47 per night. The location and facilities were great – we used the workout room a few times and had it completely to ourselves – and included free buffet breakfast. The “high speed” internet was AWFUL but when I asked, I was told it was the case for the whole town.