Horseshoe Bend is one of the true photographic icons of the American Southwest.
I’ve photographed there many a time (even written a guide with tips on how to best photograph there…see this link). But no matter how many times I visit, my heart always starts beating harder…not just because it is impressive, but because, to be honest, it scares me a bit.
I’m not particularly afraid of heights, but when I stand at Horseshoe’s sheer 1000′ cliff edge, well..it can create a few butterflies in my nether-regions. I’ve actually watched visibly shaken tourists walk toward the edge only to repeatedly turn around. Some of those folks, no joke, actually crawl up to the edge on their belly to take their pictures.
That’s why I was glad to see today that the government is going to add a railing along part of the cliff where the trail currently ends. They are also going to upgrade the trail to make it ADA compliant, which will be a lot easier than walking in the parts of it that were soft sand.
Will this affect photography? Judging by the illustration the NPS released (see below), the fence will be short enough that you will be able to easily shoot over it with a tripod. Plus if you want to avoid the fence completely, you will just need to walk a couple dozen yards to the left or right past the end of the fence and you can still shoot right on the cliff’s edge.
Seeing youngsters run around at the cliff’s edge has always made me nervous and there have been fatalities recorded here. The new fence will make the area much safer as well as keep heart-rates down for some of us as well.
Construction is scheduled for November and construction should be completed before January of 2018. You can read more about the details here.
With all the recent cut-backs you read about affecting our Federal lands and parks, it was nice to hear about this modest investment!