Heading to Horseshoe Bend? Because of Instagram popularity, now it's going to cost you

Scott Craven
As Horseshoe Bend continues to draw visitors who see it on Instagram, fees now will be charged to fund future improvements.

For the first time in its relatively short history as a tourist destination, Horseshoe Bend now has an entry fee.

Visitors must pay $10 per vehicle to park in the newly improved and expanded lot. Motorcyclists will pay $5, and fees for buses range from $35-$140, based on the number of passengers. Though Horseshoe Bend is part of the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, National Park Service passes will not be accepted.

The fees are part of a long-range improvement plan implemented by officials from Page (in charge of the parking lot) and the National Park Service (which oversees Horseshoe Bend). Money raised will fund future improvements.

No parking spots? Come back later

Fees will be collected at the newly built entrance station, and parking will not be allowed on Highway 89, which fronts Horseshoe Bend. If there are no spots available — which may occur during the busy summer travel season — visitors will be asked to return later.

The sun sets over the Colorado River at Horseshoe Bend in the Glen Canyon National Recreational Area near Page.

In addition to the expanded parking lot, work recently was completed on an ADA-compatible path leading from the rim to a viewing platform. Progress on extending the path to the parking lot continues, though NPS officials aren't sure when it might open to the public.

For years, Horseshoe Bend was popular only with nearby residents who would make the short drive from Page and have a picnic along the rim. Below, the Colorado River makes a sharp turn, almost bending in on itself, making for an unusual and stunning view.

The Instagram effect

Social media played a prominent role in its ascent to tourism fame. Horseshoe Bend became one of the country's most Instagrammed destinations. More than 1.5 million tourists visited in 2017, approaching 2 million last year.

With facilities woefully inadequate to support those numbers, officials from Page and the National Park Service devised a plan to cope with the tourism crush, which included a fee schedule.

Work on the parking-lot expansion continues and is expected to be completed by May. 

More: Is Arizona's Horseshoe Bend too popular for its own good?

More: The most popular national parks, from the Grand Canyon to Acadia

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Heading to Horseshoe Bend? Because of Instagram popularity, now it's going to cost you