Horseshoe Canyon contains some of the most significant rock art in North America. The Great Gallery, the best known panel in Horseshoe Canyon, includes well-preserved, life-sized figures with intricate designs. Other impressive sights include spring wildflowers, sheer sandstone walls and mature cottonwood groves along the intermittent stream in the canyon bottom. Horseshoe Canyon was added to Canyonlands in 1971.
Most visitors access Horseshoe from the west. Two-wheel-drive access to the west rim of Horseshoe Canyon is from Utah Highway 24 via 30 miles of graded dirt road, or from Green River on 47 miles of dirt road. Driving time is roughly 2.5 hours from Moab or 1.5 hours from Green River. A four-wheel-drive road leads to the east rim of Horseshoe Canyon from the Hans Flat Ranger Station. All access roads may become impassable during storms.
Visitors may camp at the west rim trailhead on public land managed by the BLM. A vault toilet is provided but there is no water. Overnight camping is not allowed in Horseshoe Canyon within the Park boundary.
When staff are available, guided walks into Horseshoe Canyon are offered during spring and fall (see dates below).Plan on a three to four hour hike (seven miles round trip), with a strenuous climb back out of the canyon. Bring food, water and gear appropriate for the current weather conditions.
Spring 2013 Schedule
From the west rim trailhead, the hike to the Great Gallery is seven miles round-trip, descending 750 feet and requiring up to five hours or more. Pets are prohibited below the rim of Horseshoe Canyon. Group size is limited to 20 people. Bring your own drinking water. There is no water above the canyon rim and water sources are unreliable within the canyon.
The trail into Horseshoe Canyon from the west rim trailhead is an old 4WD road that is suitable for horses. Group size limit is ten animals and ten people. Permits are free and may be obtained at the Hans Flat Ranger Station or by phone at (435)259-2652. The following regulations govern the stock in Canyonlands:
Did You Know?
Much of canyon country's annual precipitation falls during summer monsoons. These dramatic storms often last less than twenty minutes but can cause powerful flash floods despite their brevity.