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Photographer's Note

Horseshoe Bend Overlook - Colorado River
The land along the Arizona-Utah line is a geologic fantasia, a place where ancient sandstone has been swirled and twisted into bizarre and mesmerizing shapes by wind and water and time.

Scattered throughout the landscape are some truly amazing vistas. Some are hard to get to, requiring long drives, challenging treks or backpacking permits. Others, though, are easy to reach.

Consider the Horseshoe Bend Overlook, just a few miles south of Page.

Tamed by the Glen Canyon Dam, the emerald-green Colorado River makes a gigantic bend more than a thousand feet below the overlook, swinging first to the east, then curving back to the west. It's a spectacular place, where shadows shift by the minute and new details drift constantly into your awareness.

The hike begins from a large parking area just off U.S. 89. The wide, easy-to-follow trail leads quickly up a low, sandy hill. It's not far, but even a short hike up loose sand leaves you winded pretty quickly.

As you reach the crest of the hill, look for the distinctively jagged profile of the Echo Peaks to the west, near the confluence of the Paria River with the Colorado. The dark line of the Vermilion Cliffs lies farther west, while Navajo Mountain stands behind you, to the east.

As you approach the overlook, sand gives way to bare rock - Navajo sandstone laid down by wind over 15 million years in the early part of the Jurassic Period, some 180 million years ago. Time and pressure have morphed the former sand dunes into intricately striated sandstone, cocked at crazy angles and eroded into weird, otherworldly shapes. It's a strange and primeval landscape, where you half expect to see a pack of dilophosaurs stalking their prey.

Soon you're at the overlook, atop sheer orange cliffs stained with long curtains of dark desert varnish. The colors - green river, orange cliffs and blue sky - dazzle the senses, and the Colorado itself, shimmering in the sunlight 1,100 feet below the overlook is hypnotic - you can see a little boat on the left side of the river how small it is....

Although the hike is in the northern part of the state, it can be surprisingly warm on the rock. Wear a hat, use sunscreen and carry water.

Be sure to carry a wide-angle lens and a polarizing filter.

Allow about an hour for the 1.5-mile round-trip hike, and another hour or so for taking in the breathtaking views.

There are no guardrails at the overlook, so watch your step. I still remember my beads of perspirations when I was on the cliffs... and not for the hot temperature, but due to the 1,100 feet below me and my tripod!

Scanned fro DIA Fuji Superi Reala

bruce_wayne, jurgen, MiguelP, mporta, sabyasachi1212, jrj, eza1701, Dillinger has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by ANDREA FEDERICI (presidente) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 74 W: 0 N: 160] (1122)
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