SUBSCRIBE | NEWSLETTERS | MAPS | VIDEOS | BLOGS | MARKETPLACE | CONTESTS
TRY BACKPACKER FREE!
SUBSCRIBE NOW and get
2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Also on Backpacker.com


Enter Zip Code

Backpacker Magazine – BACKPACKER.com Online Exclusive

Horseshoe Canyon, Canyonlands National Park

Where the shadows on the sandstone offer lessons from the past and there's not a soul to be found.

by: Tim Browning

PAGE 1 2

Little-Known Fact: Native American rock art found in Horseshoe Canyon is believed to date to the Late Archaic period (1700 B.C. to A.D. 500).

A hiker. It was just after sunrise when I spotted him moving over the slickrock along Deadman's Trail, one of the three established routes into Horseshoe Canyon. I'd spent three days exploring the canyon's length and this was the first person I encountered. After a brief greeting we continued on our separate courses. Hikers you run across in this area haven't come seeking the company of others. They're after the solitude found in this pristine desert canyon.

Horseshoe Canyon winds through an isolated region of central Utah. The canyon is bounded by the Green River to the north and extends south to Hans Flat. In 1971 Congress designated a six-mile stretch of the canyon as a detached portion of Canyonlands National Park.

Horseshoe Canyon houses some of the most impressive examples of prehistoric rock art found anywhere in North America. There are both petroglyphs, designs etched into rock, as well as pictographs, designs painted on the rock face. The Great Gallery, with its imposing figures stretching 100 feet across the canyon walls, is arguably the premier rock art panel of the entire Canyonlands region. There are human-size pictographs as well, broad-shouldered figures with large hollow eyes, numerous animal shapes, and an excellent example of Kokopelli, a humpbacked, flute-playing character from Pueblo lore.

Archaeologists are unsure which prehistoric culture created the rock art. For centuries, the canyon was an area of cultural overlap for both the Fremont and Anasazi tribes. While the Anasazi, which translates from the Navajo as "enemy ancestors," and the Fremont left extensive ruins and rock-art sites scattered throughout the Canyonlands, these pictographs are unique in appearance.

History aside, the canyon offers striking natural beauty. Barrier Creek is an intermittent ribbon of life that flows through the canyon. The shimmering green canopies of cottonwood trees provide a striking contrast against the towering sandstone walls. At times, the canyon seems like an open-air sanctuary of sandstone, where the all-encompassing quiet is broken only by the occasional cry of a Kestrel overhead or the petulant squawking of ravens in a cottonwood.


PAGE 1 2


Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
City:
State:
Zip:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -

ADD A COMMENT

Your rating:
Your Name:

Comment:

My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

Gear
What brand boots?
Posted On: Aug 29, 2014
Submitted By: HuntersHikes
Gear
Hiking on rocks
Posted On: Aug 29, 2014
Submitted By: Silock
Go
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site MyRockyMountainPark.com.

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
City:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
State:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions