December 9, 2019
The drive to Horseshoe Bend took us through Oak Creek Canyon this morning. As always, the 14 mile drive through the canyon is stunning, and today was no exception. It rained most of yesterday, so Oak Creek was flowing strong – we could hear it several hundred feet above.
The first time we took this drive, about 7 years ago, we noticed what looked like a knot on the GPS. It was intimidating that first time, especially since it was close to sunset. After driving it a few times, though, we were handling it like the locals. The road has been freshly paved, so it’s a dream now.
It’s hard to take this drive without stopping a few times to enjoy the views. We also pull over to let followers pass so we can dawdle and gawk at will. Oak Creek Vista hosts a Native American vendor project, providing a welcome shopping opportunity.
As we drove north through the Colorado Plateau, east of the Grand Canyon, the shrubbery almost disappeared, replaced by colorful buttes and mesas, formed of Navajo Sandstone, the largest sandstone layer in the United States.
Horseshoe Bend is a 270° entrenched meander, of the Colorado River as it flows through Glen Canyon and around a sandstone escarpment. Although this is off season, there were still quite a few people making the 1.5 mile round trip trek from the parking lot to the viewing area. We heard East Indian, Chinese, and Northern European languages, and even saw what appeared to be a Buddhist priest visiting the site.
We enjoyed the view from several hundred feet above (the canyon is about 1,000 feet deep). This was at mid-afternoon, it’s probably even more amazing when the sun is overhead.