Horseshoe Bend, AZ

We headed away from Grosvenor Arch at about 2pm and so still had 6+ hours of daylight left to go find something pretty and interesting. We had seen pictures before of the stunning and iconic Horseshoe Bend on the Colorado River just South of Lake Powell, saw that it was not that far away from us and so headed in that direction. Two hours and 10 minutes later at 4:20 on the dot we arrived at the Horseshoe Bend parking lot. It shouldn’t have taken all that long but, as usual, we had seen a brown sign with white lettering while heading down Hwy 89 and had impulsively turned of to go see what Lone Rock Beach was all about.

Willow Cooling Off Her Hot Feet In Lake Powell, Lone Rock behind her
Willow Was Happy To Cool Off Her Hot Feet In Lake Powell
Willow taking a short swim to fetch a small stick in Lake Powell
A Small Stick Was All It Took To Get Her Swimming

After 10 minutes or so of dog swimming bliss we got her out of the water and walked back up the beach to the Tacoma. We knew camping was allowed there and, had we wanted to stay overnight, all we would have had to do was drive back up to the kiosk and buy the $14 pass ($7 with our Access Pass). There were already several groups set up in the general area and one of the groups were drinking heavily and had small, noisy children with them running around. Nope. Thanks. We’ll pass on this golden opportunity and instead continue on towards Horseshoe Bend. But first a quick drive in 4-wheel low up the face of the sandy hill that enters the OHV area to take in a broad overlook.

Willow at the top of the hill overlooking Lone Rock Beach
Last Picture We’ll Take Today…From Here

So now we know about Lone Rock Beach and we head back out on Hwy 89 towards Horseshoe Bend. It’s all of 5 miles down the road and we arrive quickly and find an incredibly full parking area. Easily half a dozen full-sized tour buses are parked to one end near the vault toilets and the rest is 99% full with cars with suicidal pedestrians stepping out from between them and wandering every which way with nary a thought to self-preservation. We managed to not put any bloody dents in the Tacoma and proceeded to create a parking spot by driving a bit up on the small sandy dune area that surrounded the parking area. There was a Glen Canyon National Recreation Area Ranger standing right next to the traffic sign advising people to carry LOTS of water and he saw me and didn’t say a word so my parking job must have passed official muster.

Willow was thrilled (okay, not thrilled) once again to have her harness and saddlebag installed on her dainty Princess back. We walked up the hill to the shelter at the top of the 1/8 mile rise. It was filled to capacity with middle-aged and older Asian tourists who had taken on a task beyond their physical abilities. Many were thrilled to see Willow all geared up and a few were fearful. For a few blessed minutes in the shade she once again became the center of a whirlwind of selfie-with-dog taking activity. Just like before the majority just wanted to be near this strange dog phenomena but not close enough to actually touch or be touched by her. Willow took it all in stride (I really think she is getting pretty used to strangers wanting to take her picture and meet her) and when the hubbub calmed we started down the sandy hill towards the Horseshoe Bend overlook itself.

A bit further to the right was apparently the Best place to take selfies and so there was, literally, a line of people waiting to step close to the edge and have someone take their picture or snap several selfies, some with selfie sticks, some just in hand. When we got down to the edge we stepped to the side just to take in the panorama by ourselves. I tucked Willow’s leash under her saddlebag and she immediately went over to the edge and peered over the 1,000-foot (300 m) drop. For a brief moment I thought my dog might be following through with some insane cinematic canine death ritual and took a step towards her. She turned, gave me a solid “Relaaaax already” look and proceeded to scamper between rocky outcrops for a series of Daredevil Dog pictures to the delight of some onlookers and the horror of others.

Willow on the edge of the Horseshoe Bend overlook
Momentarily Taking Her Human’s Breath Away

Though you cannot see it under Willow’s shoulders there was a group of people picnicking or camping down at the water’s edge on the other side of the river. We could see a Permanent shade ramada down there which looked like to standard type you can see at many Federal Recreation areas. We’ll need to look that up next time and see if we can’t get another perspective of the area.

Willow at the edge of the Horseshoe Bend overlook
Turning Her Back On The Unimpressive Vista And Drop
Willow on a rock "diveboard" overlooking the Colorado River at the Horseshoe Bend overlook
No, You Cannot Go Swimming From Here Sweetie

Our brief visit over with pictures taken we trudged the 1/2 mile back up and over the sandy hill to the parking area. Since we were there and they had toilets we decided to make use of them. The less of my own human waste I can collect and carry around in our little Dometic toilet the better. Pulling over to the vault toilets we could see the area was just overflowing with trash probably being overwhelmed by the tour bus crowd. We could see two obvious Res dog types relaxing in the shade provided by the toilets and pawing through the garbage for something to eat all the while competing with several large, savvy crows.

Large Crow looking over the same garbage offering that the two res dogs are surviving off of.
A Smart Corvid Is A Worthy Competitor To A Half Blind Dog
Res dog trying to survive off garbage overflow at the Horseshoe Bend Overlook parking lot
Doing Whatever It Takes To Survive. Willow Started Out Life Like This.

The male cattle dog looked pretty good except that he was well on his way to total blindness due to extensive cataract coverage over each cornea. He had his testicles. The other dog was a longer haired, buff-colored female who had obviously had a litter of puppies not that long ago. I gave them both a couple of biscuit treats and some water. The female would take it from my hand. The male couldn’t see well enough to do so and shied away from shadows so I tossed them in his general direction and he followed his nose to the snack.

Res dog stray eating a dog treat in the shade next to my Tacoma tire
Enjoying Her Rare Bit Of Actual Dog Food

The male took his fill of water and wandered back over to the side of a vault toilet.

Stray res dog drinking his fill out of Willow's water bowl
Half A Bowl Gone In No Time To A Good Cause
Stray res dog relaxing in the shade next to our Tacoma
Enjoying Her Post-Treat Afterglow In The Shade Of The Tacoma

We did what little we could to make the tough lives of these two cast off dogs a little better, at least for part of one day. We swung back through the area about a month later and found that the garbage had been cleaned up and there were no dogs to be found in the area. Hopefully, when the garbage smorgasbord dried up here they were able to find another spot to set up shop in. We can only hope.

So, an easy drive and a bit more difficult hike just South of Page, AZ. The price is free and you will experience some of the more majestic sights imaginable in the Southwest desert. There are numerous camping opportunities (both paid and free) all over and just outside this specific area as well as restaurants and shops in Page itself. A good stop off point on any roadtrip or a destination in its own right.

Pet Your Puppies.


2 thoughts on “Horseshoe Bend, AZ

  1. Zach Dominguez

    I was just at Horseshoe Bend on 6/4/17 and saw the same stray female dog near the restrooms. How long ago did you see her there?

    1. E

      May 5th.

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