The Epic overnight kayak camping trip to the bottom of Horseshoe Bend

Today I got to take two bucket list items off with this trip to Horseshoe Bend. Kayak camping and being at the bottom of Horseshoe Bend. Just an awesome trip. To see the canyon from below is just spectacular. But you must also see it from the top it is so worth it.



A buddy of mine and I arrived in Utah the day before and camped at Lone Rock Beach Primitive Camping because we wanted to get an early start. We also needed to pick up our kayaks before we drove to Lee’s Ferry Dock which is where we were going to put the kayaks into the water.

And here comes the one big issue that we had. We were hoping to have luck on our side this day. We had reservations for the kayaks, but we didn’t have reservations for a boat to take us upstream. So we hoped for the best that morning. So we got to the dock and I have to say there weren’t many people around. But we are both very positive people so we started to unload the kayaks. I Ranger stopped by and we asked if she knew anyone that could take us upstream and she gave us a number and when we called the place said they no longer took people upstream and told me of another place which happened to be the place I called before we came on the trip and they were already fully booked. So we just keep getting ready and stayed positive. Then it happened we were about half way unpacked and a small boat pulled up to the dock. It was a family that came from upstream. I figured that they were coming back to their car but I just felt I should ask. So I walked over to the man and I said you wouldn’t be going back upstream and be able to take us. And it was just perfect, he said ya we are going about 6 miles upstream to our campsite and then he said we could pull you. He said we could leave in about 20 minutes. It was just perfect, it was exactly what we needed. So my buddy and I hurried and got everything ready.

Now to the part, I tell you please don’t do what we did. We got the rope and tied it to the back of his boat. We put out about 75-100 feet of rope and tied it to my kayak and then to my buddies behind me. And off we went, it started out good. But then it wasn’t the easiest to ride the 6 miles. Now some parts were fine and no one got hurt. But when the boat would take off or slow down it made it hard to balance. And it was our first time being pulled in a kayak. But I think what was even worse is when we would have to go around turns. We would hit waves and it made it very difficult to stay balanced. We were lucky, neither of us flipped or went over. But again, I will never kayak behind a boat again in my life. And one time I tried to yell to the people on the boat and with me yelling as loud as I could when they were going full speed they couldn’t hear us at all. But we made it and we were glad to get to the 6-mail camp where they were staying. And we wanted to make it to 9-mile camp which is at the bottom of Horseshoe Bend. So after thanking the family and talking for a little while longer we got in the kayaks and started upstream.


And you would think that 3 miles in a kayak isn’t going to be too bad. But going upstream it was a pretty good workout. Now we had a ton of fun. People were passing us and they were waving and we were waving at them. But we were the only ones paddling upstream. But it was cool. Now the first time we came to a part of the Colorado river where the water was running faster downstream. I remember one time it was going so fast we started to go backward even with us paddling as fast as we could. We finally had to get out and walk parts while pulling the kayaks behind us. And that worked great but one rock was too slippery for my buddy and he went down and didn’t get hurt so I had a great laugh and I so had to take a couple of pictures.


After many hours we could finally see Horseshoe Bend. I had been at the top of Horseshoe Bend a couple of times and I always wanted to be on the water below. I was so happy to have made it. The feeling that I was feeling at the moment was magnificent. Just the best or at least it was for me. I could check one of my biggest bucket list items off. I was just so happy. So to get over to the campsite was going to be a lot of work and with how fast the water was coming around the corner all I have to say is O MY. We figured the only way to get over there was to go way past and then come back to the other side.



So we worked our way around the side closest to the shore as we could because that was where the water was moving the slowest. Which still wasn’t that slow. But we were making it upstream and around the corner even if it was kind of slow. So once around the corner, we stopped and got out of the kayaks to rest a little before we tried to go across the fast moving water. So it was time to get to camp. We got in the kayak and paddled for the other side. Which wasn’t so bad after having the little break we had. We reached Horseshoe Bend, it was time to look around. We walked the shore and looked at the campsites. There was one other group there before us. We looked and found a campsite we liked and it ended up being a great spot.


So we set up camp and wandered the area. We made some food and just enjoyed being at the bottom of Horseshoe Bend. It was funny because we could see the people at the top of Horseshoe Bend. And after awhile I don’t remember if we yelled up or someone on top yelled down. But it was cool because I was at the top before and I now knew what it was like to be at the bottom. After it started to get dark there were fire pits and there was a ton of wood around. So we made a fire and had a couple of drinks. What an awesome day.


I had a great night sleep. But we did have 9 miles to kayak. But we would be going with the stream this time so we hoped it would be so much easier. So we packed up our gear but before we could leave I wanted to get some pictures and I really wanted to take a 360 picture. So that people could really feel what it is like to be down by the water at Horseshoe Bend.

This is a 360 picture. Press on the image and move it around.

So after I get my pictures it is time to start downstream. I’m so sad to leave Horseshoe Bend but so excited to kayak down the Colorado River. So we start off and the water is so clear. I know the next time I will be trying fishing. Saw people fishing and it looked like so much fun.


The weather was awesome and the trip was so much easier going downstream which we knew it would be. So we paddled and just enjoyed the day. Sometimes we didn’t even paddle, we just relaxed and floated. After about six miles of kayaking, we saw a group of kayaks parked over to the side and we decided to park our kayaks and do some wandering. We later found out that the place was called Waterholes Canyon and we walked back into the Canyon. Some people were hiking out of the canyon and we talked with them for a little while. They told us that it was pretty and we should go have a look. So we continued wandering and just enjoyed the hike.



After we hiked for awhile we decided it was time to head back downstream. We were now getting close and had just about 3 miles. The kayaking part of the trip was coming to an end fast. But we had so many memories and such a great time.


I have to say this was one of my favorite trips that I have ever been on. It was just one of those trips I hope people get to do. Mark it down on your bucket list and just somehow make it happen.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply