Some unpaved roads are closed
Recent rains have caused extensive damage to some roads in the Needles District and some of the roads into the Maze District. More »
Safety in Bear Country
Black bears have been seen in the Needles, Maze, and along the Colorado River. Be alert and store food and garbage properly: in hard-sided, latched containers (or your vehicle) when not being prepared or consumed. More »
New backcountry requirements in effect
Hard-sided bear containers are required for backpackers in parts of the Needles District. More »
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 vehicles can usually travel the 30-mile graded dirt road from Utah Highway 24 (near Goblin Valley State Park), or the 47-mile dirt road traveling south from Green River. 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. Visitors to this area should be prepared for unpredictable weather (such as rain or sand-shifting wind) that can quickly change road conditions from two-wheel-drive to four-wheel-drive condition. Check road conditions page or call ahead for the current road conditions at (435) 259-2652 between 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.
HikingNotice: Summer conditions in Horseshoe Canyon are HOT with deep sand. Temperatures can easily exceed 100 degrees, making the hike back out very difficult, especially if you do not have enough water to keep yourself hydrated. Rangers do not patrol the canyon regularly in the summer months. Be prepared for thunderstorms creating a flash flood in the canyon! If entering the canyon after a flash flood watch out for quicksand.
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 months. To join, be at the west side Horseshoe Canyon trailhead bulletin board at 9:00 a.m. to meet the ranger. This is a strenuous seven-mile hike lasting 4 to 6 hours and visitors should be prepared with a gallon of water per person, lunch and other hiking essentials.
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?
The highest recently recorded flow in Cataract Canyon is 114,900 cfs in 1984. However, scientists dating driftwood piles estimate that in 1884, the river may have reached 225,000 cfs. More...