How To Camp at the Base of Grand Canyon National Park's Horseshoe Bend

How To Camp at the Base of Grand Canyon National Park's Horseshoe Bend

Ever checked out our picturesque line up of Glen Canyon t-shirts? They feature a stunning shot of the famous Horseshoe Bend. It’s located approximately 140 miles from the South and North Rim of the Grand Canyon, but only about five miles from the start of Grand Canyon National Park. The best view can be seen off Highway 89 at the Mile 545 marker.

Glen Canyon

Horseshoe Bend

A fun fact about Horseshoe Bend is that it’s a beautiful geological example of when a river bend meets a canyon. A “meander” was formed from fast moving waters that eroded wider parts of the river, and over time bent its path to form the horseshoe. Having trouble picturing it? Yeah, you kind of had to be there.

Horseshoe Bend is a popular site for panoramic views and photographs, and its captivating clear blue waters make you wish you could just dive right into the Colorado River. Considered one of the many natural wonders of the Grand Canyon, did you know you can actually camp at the base of the bend? 

Horse Shoe Bend

Getting There

What may come as a surprise to some is that you can actually take a boat from Lee’s Ferry to the Glen Canyon Dam Base. From there it’s a 15 mile cruise via kayak back to Lee’s Ferry, doable in 1 day or a few days and a couple nights, since there are plenty of campsites along the way. 

To stock up on kayaks and supplies to tow your gear, hit up Kayak Horseshoe Bend to facilitate rentals, and even lodging if need be. You can ask your captain to drop you off at any point along the way if you’re looking to slowly take in every turn of the scenic canyon walls. A mild current even pulls you along, making for a near-effortless coasting on the clear waters.


A solid play is to take as many nights as you can afford to hit up the various campsites along the way. Ferry Swale, Ropes Trail and Horseshoe Bend itself, are just a few. 


If you’re privy to the humid Arizona climate, you’ll find comfort in the crisp, cool Colorado river which is rumored to be a brisk 48 degrees year round. If you’re a fisherman, be sure to bring some gear, as the water is chock full of rainbow trout. 

Each site provides a restroom and fire pits for convenience, making for an easy weekend getaway if you’re in range of the National Park. 

Heading Out

You’ll trace your steps (or in this case, paddles) back up along the river to Lee’s Ferry where you’ll turn in your rental gear and check in with the boat captain. 

Let’s be honest - when’s the last time you got back to the car, and weren’t starving? On your drive out, make sure to hit up Big John’s Texas BBQ in Page, AZ for some prime takeout. Opening back up on March 1st! 

Once you’ve got the whole trip under your belt, you can cop one of our Glen Canyon or Grand Canyon Tees, point to your back and go “Yeah, I camped there.” 

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