"Horseshoe Canyon: the hike" Top 5 Page for this destination Canyonlands National Park Things to Do Tip by goodfish

Canyonlands National Park Things to Do: 152 reviews and 316 photos

by goodfish
  • - Canyonlands National Park
  • Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands - Canyonlands National Park
      Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands
    by goodfish
  • Crossing the wash, Horseshoe Canyon - Canyonlands National Park
      Crossing the wash, Horseshoe Canyon
    by goodfish
  • Alcove, Horseshoe Canyon - Canyonlands National Park
      Alcove, Horseshoe Canyon
    by goodfish

Besides the pictographs, one of the big paybacks of Horseshoe is the canyon itself. You descend 750 feet of winding dirt and slickrock to the floor, and follow a wash: between towering sandstone cliffs, past interesting alcoves, and among rabbitbrush and wildflowers. Ancient peoples inhabited this place many thousands of years ago, and in the quiet between echoing canyon walls you can imagine them hunting for game, collecting water, and taking refuge against the weather in the nooks and crannies. They also painted mysterious, ghostly figures which puzzle and captivate hikers and archeologists alike.

If it's dry, you'll be walking in the wash of Barrier Creek or on a cairned path beside it if there has been a recent, heavy rain. You will have to cross it several places so be prepared to get wet, muddy feet if water in the wash is running but it shouldn't be any deeper than that. If rain has been REALLY heavy, the road to the trailhead would have probably have been impassable to begin with.

It's easy to just ramble along enjoying the scenery but don't forget what you came here for! There are 4 sections of pictographs on the route, and you need to keep your eyes open to find some of them (see next tip).


This will be a hot one in the summer months, and that 750 feet DOWN must go UP again at the end of the day: a hat, sunscreen and lots of water are gotta-haves. The hike is about 7 miles RT and it's recommended to allot 4-6 hours.


Address: Horseshoe Canyon Unit, Canyonlands NP
Website: http://www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/horseshoecanyon.htm

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Updated Dec 16, 2014
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