Life after Work

Horseshoe Canyon Hike

Barrier Canyon Style pictographs in Horseshoe Canyon, Utah 

We drove to Mexican Hat, UT, yesterday and made our way to the Horseshoe Canyon section of Canyonlands National Park this morning. This canyon features worldfamous Barrier Canyon Style rock art dating from 1500 – 4000 years ago. The hike is 7 miles round trip, starts at the top of the canyon and the trail gets a little steep in places when you descent into the canyon (and of course that’s the way you return as well). That part wasn’t so bad though, what made this hike tough on me was the sandy river bed at the bottom of the canyon we were walking in. Nonetheless, the canyon is gorgeous, there is plenty of shade to rest in and the rock art is simply amazing. It can be seen at several spots along the canyon trail, the High Gallery, Horseshoe Shelter, and the Alcove. As we reached the last one, the Great Gallery – which was also our turnaround point – we caught up with two Park Rangers who had kindly brought my Junior Ranger kit with them (since this part of Canyonlands National Park is so remote, there is no visitor center and John had called ahead of time to request the kit). I rushed through the booklet and filled out the puzzles, answered the questions and attended the ranger-led ledge tour to get a closer look at the large, stylized human figures hovering above us on the canyon wall. They are practically life size (the tallest one is 8-9 feet tall) and some are very complex with decorative detail. Finally I collected my badge from Ranger Nate and after a last sip of water we tore ourselves away from the pictographs and headed back on the trail. The way up to the canyon top wasn’t bad at all (as so often we made much better time on our way back) and we hopped into the car for the drive to Moab, dinner, and our hotel bed.

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One Response to “Horseshoe Canyon Hike”

  1. Sandy

    What a beautiful photo and how exciting to actually see this in person. Glad ya’ll are having fun!

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