October 25, 2014

Southern Utah Tour: Horseshoe Canyon

The first week of October, our son joined us in a tour of ancient Native American ruins in southern Utah.
Hiking in Horseshoe Canyon
Horseshoe Canyon was our first stop. This is a part of Canyonlands National Park that most visitors to Canyonlands do not see, because it's on the other side of the Green River, separated from the main section by about 50 air miles, and 4 hours of driving time. We've been there on horseback, but the leisurely pace of hiking allowed for a closer look at the canyon art.
petroglyph panel-
mountain sheep or deer
snake petroglyph
We had not noticed the above petroglyphs before. Petroglyphs are pecked into the rock, while pictographs are painted on.
Pictograph panel
How did they get up there?!
The hike to The Great Gallery is about 6.5 miles round trip.
Great Gallery
Archeologists are unsure of the exact age of the rock art, known as Barrier Style, which is found in this canyon.  Some say the art could be 6000 to 8000 years old, based on artifacts found in the area that can be more easily carbon dated than the pictographs.
Binoculars provided by Park Service at site
The binoculars are antique, but are still effective
Holy Ghost figures in the Great Gallery
The canyon has a certain haunting beauty, and perhaps the Ancient Ones recognized this as well.


  1. So good to see you again,Janie. I have never even heard of a Petroglyh. Our bushmen paintings are all painted onto the rocks. And yes, how DID the ancient people get "up there"? What an interesting post. Thanks for sharing and have a happy weekend. Greetings, Jo

  2. Wow - what a hike into beautiful territory. I'm glad the Great Gallery is up so high - it will hopefully never be vandalized as some other specimens of petroglyphs and pictographs have been. It must have been awe-inspiring to see them.

  3. Very good question as to how the petrographs were painted way up there, But I guess the land could have changed a LOT over six to eight millennia. How good that the Park Service provides binoculars!

  4. How fascinating to see artwork made so long ago. It looks well preserved for being outdoors. Nice that the Park Service provides binoculars!

  5. These are marvelous examples of rock art. The pictographs remind me a lot of Shamans Gallery located north of Toroweap.

  6. What a wonderful experience to be able to see and enjoy these ancient artifacts. The fact that you could enjoy them in such a beautiful setting (and with family) is an added bonus.

  7. That area holds such beautiful treasures. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventures, Janie.

  8. Yes, hauntingly beautiful! well, how DID they get UP there? :0
    Love that your able to use antique binoculars for a closer look too.

  9. Great post, the Great Gallery is on my bucket list. I'm amazed somebody hasn't taken off with the binoculars!

  10. It is a site to see. I've seen it once when I was much younger. Thanks for the pics. It was good to see it again. I've always wondered how they got up so high too and why they build on the edge of the cliffs.

  11. My family went to Canyonlands when I was a kid, but we didn't make it very far in the station wagon on those roads, at least not as they were then, back in the '70s. lol The ancient art looks very elegant. How DID they get up there to paint those figures?

  12. I spent almost a week hiking in the south part of Canyonlands, but I will be back here one day! thanks for sharing!
    - The Equestrian Vagabond



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