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Birthday Arch & Horseshoe Bend

New Year’s Eve | Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Yesterday was supposed to have been an easy day of hiking to Cobra Arch, but after adding another hike down the Paria River we ended up hiking another 11 mile day. I always seem have problems keeping my easy days short! Since we were planning on hiking back to The Wave tomorrow, I promised Diane that today could really be an easy day. We decided to visit Birthday Arch in Buck Tank Draw a few miles west of Big Water, Utah which was only supposed to be about 4-5 miles round trip. We woke up a little bit later this morning and found that it was snowing pretty good outside, but the weather wouldn’t deter us.

Hiking up Buck Tank Draw in the snowstorm was fun, and we didn’t see anyone else the whole time.

Snowy Hike by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Our footprints up the wash.

Footprints by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

We eventually reached a dry-fall that we couldn’t get up, so we had to climb out of the canyon to get around. Since we would have to exit the canyon a little further upstream to reach the arch anyway, we just followed the rim of the canyon the rest of the way.

Buck Tank Draw by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A always enjoy seeing snow highlight the striations of the sandstone.

Snow Lines by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A winter landscape surrounds us as Diane follows me up to the arch.

Climbing to the Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Soon we reached Birthday Arch. We really couldn’t see it in this weather until we were pretty close.

Birthday Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

A closer look.

Under Birthday Arch by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

This cool spire was nearby, too.

Spire by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Boulders and snow on the sandstone.

Rocks & Snow by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Hiking back down the snow-covered ledges.

Snow-Covered Landscape by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After the hike I thought it would be a good idea to visit Horseshoe Bend just outside of Page. It was still snowing out and I couldn’t recall ever seeing a photo of Horseshoe Bend in the snow, so I wanted to take one.

It was pretty cool seeing Horseshoe Bend in these conditions. You just had to be extra careful along the edge since it was pretty slippery out!

Horseshoe Bend by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

River Bend by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

My favorite shot of Horseshoe Bend in the snowstorm.

Horseshoe Bend Snowstorm by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

After some lunch in town, I decided to visit the Glen Canyon Dam Overlook to see if I could get a photo of the dam in the snow. Unfortunately, by the time I arrived there it was snowing too hard to see the dam at all.

Here’s a view into Glen Canyon from the Dam Overlook. The snow would not let up for the rest of the night.

Glen Canyon by IntrepidXJ, on Flickr

Keeping my promise to Diane, we didn’t do any more hiking today. Instead we went back to our hotel room and relaxed for a while and then went bowling to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We were actually in bed before 10:00pm since we would be getting up early in the morning to visit The Wave one last time before driving back home.

This is my last trip report from 2014. It was a great year and I’m looking forwards to many more adventures in 2015!

>> Birthday Arch & Horseshoe Bend Photo Gallery


  1. Doug Schumacher
    Doug Schumacher January 13, 2015

    Great year of adventures, incredible shots, cant wait for 2015

    Happy New Year to you and Diane

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat January 13, 2015

      Thank you Doug!

  2. Joanne
    Joanne November 3, 2016

    Hi! May I know when did you visit these areas? I am thinking of traveling to Horseshoe Bend and Antelope Canyon in end December. However, I wish to avoid the snow! Would appreciate your advice 🙂

  3. Randy Langstraat
    Randy Langstraat November 4, 2016

    This trip was on New Years Eve (December 31st). Typically they don’t get this much snow, but you can never be certain…

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