Horseshoe Bend, a unique view of the Colorado River

Arizona's arid lands are home to a geologic masterpiece sculpted by the Colorado River. Welcome to Horseshoe Bend.

This is one of the most iconic views in the United States

It has been sculpted over the centuries by the Colorado River. Before winding through the Grand Canyon, its waters weave their way across the arid lands north of Arizona. The view it offers here has become hugely popular these last few years, especially on Instagram. In 2017, this site attracted between 1.4 and 1.5 million visitors.

To discover this landscape, you must walk just over 1 km across an arid plateau. Then the cliffs of Glen Canyon appear and this famous viewpoint. The river forms a tight loop around a block of red-toned rock. Its origins date back to 5 million years ago: when the Colorado Plateau rose up, trapping the rivers that ran across it. Over time, these ones managed to make their way to the Pacific, by burrowing through the softest layers of sandstone. The result: this iconic bend, a 305-meter cliff and a huge variety of colors.

In 2018, barriers were erected at the main lookout point after several fatal falls. It is still possible to walk freely along the edges of the canyon, but the National Park Service advises being careful and keeping an eye on children. There are also boat tours to observe the landscape from the river. The site draws its name from its shape: Horseshoe Bend.