"One of the wonders of the West" Horseshoe Canyon Unit- Canyonlands National Park by Segolily

In an isolated, dry desert wash one can find one of the most amazing ancient relics. The Great Gallery of Horseshoe Canyon is unique. The pictograph figures are painted in what has become known as the Barrier Style of the Archaic people. The most well known is the eerie ghost like Holy Man figure.
It takes considered effort to reach this hidden, isolated desert spot. And once I got there I felt like I was on sacred ground.
How many years ago did the people who painted these images come. Were they on their own sacred pilgrimage? Did they learn here the ways of their people and gods? Would they come alone on a vision quest? Or did they come as a group?
So many unanswered questions.

It felt like my own pilgrimage

To fully appreciate this panel of pictographs it helps to have seen other panels elsewhere. The more you see the more you are able to understand the differences between them. This is indeed a unique panel. Styles and figures that are not found elsewhere. And they are big. And there are lots. It really was amazing to experience. These are some of the earliest writings left in the four corners area. Later people - the Fremont and the Anasazi -- also made pictographs and petroglyphs. One of the identifying features that mark these people and their homeland are the differences in the rock art left behind.
This is a detached unit of Canyonlands National Park and as such is subject to all park regulations. Rangers do patrol and visit, but it is remote and you should not expect ready help should anything happen.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:One of a kind
  • Cons:A long and hot, dusty, desert drive and hike to get there
  • In a nutshell:Read up about it first, see other examples, so you understand what you see
  • Last visit to Horseshoe Canyon Unit- Canyonlands National Park: Apr 2006
  • Intro Updated Dec 22, 2009
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Comments (1)

  • goodfish's Profile Photo
    Dec 22, 2009 at 4:19 AM

    Thanks for sending me here, Sego - great pages and wonderful photos! Wish I could pack up and leave today...


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