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Sunset at Horseshoe Bend Reminds Me Why I Love The Outdoors

Horseshoe Bend is both a staple of the American Southwest and a marvel of geography everyone should go see for themselves.

By: Mayson + Save to a List


Horseshoe Bend is one of the most photographed spots on the Colorado River. It lies about 120 miles north of Grand Canyon National Park's North Rim and approximately 5 miles from Page, Arizona and nearby Lake Powell. It is a must see staple of the outdoors and geography that illustrates the beauty of the desert and the greater American Southwest. I recently had the opportunity to visit this grand place (pun intended.)

After driving nearly 5 hours from Las Vegas, with a brief break in Page, my father and I arrived at the canyon's edge about 90 minutes before sunset and it looked like it would be a great one. The western sky was a brilliant baby blue with intermittent clouds off near the horizon that looked like they would create fantastic light play for the highly anticipated golden sunset to come. As I looked out over the canyon's edge, I was overcome by the sheer magnitude of the bend before my eyes.

The awe of how massive Horseshoe Bend is can be hard to describe. The natural bend in the canyon simply dominates the landscape in such a massive manner that it engulfs all of your attention. You find yourself mesmerized by the magnitude of this place, not wanting to turn your eyes away from it as you take it in. This sensation is only made stronger by the natural horseshoe shape of the bend, which moves the eye in an almost circular motion. This constant motion leaves enthralled onlookers, like myself, constantly looking at this geographical marvel in continuous circles, unable to turn away as one looks around and around. Where one stops, nobody knows.  

Because of these gripping characteristics of the landscape, I have yet to see a picture that truly does it justice - though I have seen some stunning images. It is arguably the single greatest feature of natural geography I have laid my eyes on. Horseshoe bend is truly an unbelievable sight to take in, but back to my story...

After taking in this iconic masterpiece for some time, I set up my camera and began taking pictures as I waited for the sun to set. I found myself capturing image after image of this stunning landscape, pausing every so often to take my eye away from the camera to revel in the astonishing magnificence of such a place with my naked eyes. I kept shooting right through the spectacular golden sunset as the sun shone through the spotted clouds level with the horizon and lit the bend of the canyon up in a soft yellow and orange glow for what felt like only a few fleeting moments. Not long after the sun proceeded to dip below my line of sight, the landscape began to change from its golden glow. It began to fade ever so slightly as the seconds ticked by creating a display I will always treasure having the privilege to witness. This experience reminded me why sunrise and sunset are two of my favorite colors. And yes, if you are a photographer or lover of the outdoors sunrise and sunset are actual colors. Am I right?

Later I found myself still photographing as the canyon's glow seemingly melted away before my eyes, giving way to pristine tones of deep and royal blue that filled the sky. For the entire time I stood at the canyon's edge I was never once disappointed in the grand view laid out before me (pun intended again haha). 

Overall, being able to take in this monument to our natural world and a sunset I will always treasure reminded me every second of why I love the outdoors and all the beauty that can be found within it. I would recommend visiting this sublime place to anyone and everyone who has a passion for nature. Here are a few images of my experience at Horseshoe Bend and the surrounding area to share with you and inspire you to visit this magnificent place:

Horseshoe Bend - Page, AZ

Sunset as seen from the canyon's edge at Horseshoe Bend - Page, AZ

Horseshoe Bend - Page, AZ

Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell - North of Page, AZ

Colorado River as seen south of Glen Canyon Dam and north of Horseshoe Bend - Page, AZ

Navajo Bridge, the only bridge across The Grand Canyon - South of Page, AZ

Photographing Horseshoe Bend - Page, AZ

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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