We explore beam-bending properties of graded index (GRIN) waveguide with hyperbolic secant profile. The transmission efficiency and bandwidth features are extracted for GRIN photonic crystal (PC) media composed of dielectric rods. Light guiding performance of the GRIN PC medium is analyzed for 90° and 180° waveguide bends. The finite-difference time-domain method is deployed to investigate the performance of the designed GRIN waveguides. By the help of proposed photonic configuration, bending of light is achieved with a high efficiency within a broad bandwidth, which promotes the use of GRIN PC structures for efficient light-bending purposes. © 2013 Optical Society of America.