April 2011, Canyonlands National Park, Utah
Horseshoe Canyon is in a VERY remote area of Canyonlands National Park, Utah. Horseshoe Canyon contains some of the finest rock art on earth, but the crown jewel without a doubt is the Great Gallery. Some of the pictographs are believed to be 4000 years old. I have images of these pictographs elsewhere in this gallery.
Horseshoe Canyon is not close to anything. From Moab I had to drive 1-1/2 hours to literally the middle of nowhere. At this point a sign directed me onto a dirt road heading due east for 32 miles to the trailhead at Horseshoe Canyon. This took another hour. Then I began my hike 780 feet down into the canyon. Three and a half miles later I reached the Great Gallery (another 2 hours). All told it took me 4-1/2 hours just to reach the panel, but it was so worth it. The only problem is the hike back out is uphill for 780 feet, and by then I was getting pretty tired.
An interesting side note to Horseshoe Canyon is that it is the canyon which Aaron Ralston hiked out of to safety after his now infamous ordeal in nearby Blue John Canyon. Aaron, who was hiking alone, ended up getting his right arm stuck under an 800 lb boulder. After 5 days he amputated his arm and was found by a family as he was hiking through Horseshoe Canyon. The image here is exactly where Aaron made his escape out of Blue John Canyon.
Canyonlands National ParkHorseshoe CanyonUtahthe great galleryrock artpictographs