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National park tips: See the Colorado River turn on itself like a coiling snake

Horseshoe Bend on U.S. Route 89 is part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
(Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times)

Horseshoe Bend, four miles southwest of Page, Ariz., on U.S. Route 89, will mess with your head.

You look straight down, 1,000 feet, at a 270-degree bend in the Colorado River. It looks like the river is swallowing itself.

Officially it’s part of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. Yet there are few signs, no safety fence, no ranger station, just a three-quarter-mile walk from the parking lot to the rim.

The sun’s in your face at dawn, at your back at sunset.

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Be sure to give the kids a safety talk first. For the best view and maximum safety, I lie on my belly at the very edge and peek over. More info here.

In honor of this year’s National Park Service centennial, the Travel section is posting 100 park travel ideas and tips based on trips staff travel writer Christopher Reynolds has taken, along with photo-op advice from Times photographer Mark Boster. We’ll post one per day through Dec. 31.

Follow Reynolds on Twitter: @MrCSReynolds

See travel videos by Reynolds from around the world.

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