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Horseshoe Canyon Trail is a 7 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Hanksville, Utah that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking and bird watching and is best used from March until November.

Length 7.0 mi Elevation gain 1,387 ft Route type Out & Back

Hiking

Bird watching

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Historic site

No dogs

Waypoints (0)
Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (64)
Photos (128)
Recordings (48)
Completed (148)
shez shafiq
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 1, 2020
Hiking

A great trail. Quite difficult with our 8 year old daughter but we made it back in one piece. My gps recorded 9.3 miles over 5 hours. We took a few wrong turns on the descent into the canyon but we easily found our way back on to the trail. Would recommend either a super early start at sunrise or wait until 3pm so that the day gets cooler as you go on.

Douglas Goldfein
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 11, 2020
Hiking

Let's set our scene. Two people. 1 Honda Civic. Left Green River at 2:30pm July 11, 2020. We called the Ranger Station to check the road. ‭(435) 259-2652‬ I want to discuss the directions and the road. We drove a Honda Civic, obviously a 2 wheel vehicle and not a 4 wheel. We drove down highway 24 from Green River and I-70. There is a sign for Goblin State Park and a small sign about 1/4 a mile down for Horseshoe Canyon. It is a small brown sign easy to pass. From that sign it is about 30 miles to the trail head. Now let's talk road. Once you turn off it is immediately unpaved. The road isn't bad in terms of pot holes, but has these evenly spaced divots that can be very bumpy. I'm not sure a 4w would do significantly better. The divots are on/off for about 70% of the ride. In our Honda, we couldn't exceed 15mph, sometimes as low as 10mph when riding over them. So, that 30 mile drive took us almost 2 hrs. Road landmarks: The first landmark is an abandoned ranch which is on the first stretch of road. The road then curves up, keep going. 2nd landmark: Small mesa. You drive through a small mesa with cool rock formations. Keep going. It is a long stretch of road and nothing until you come up on the 3rd landmark. Don't worry, keep going. 3rd: Small sign. Turn right. it is a long and winding road with pretty much nothing. But eventually you hit this sign. 4th: Sand Dunes. YOU ARE 1/2 WAY to the trail from the last sign. YOU'RE THERE!! Thank you. I wanted to discuss directions as it is long and often times the thought of "oh shit, did I miss a turn" comes up. The hike is beautiful. Take a picture of the sign and trail so you know where the petroglyphs are. We took a picture but forgot to look at it and missed some. Also, we go on the trail from 4-8pm. Each of us had 2-100oz camelbaks, 1 Gatorade and protein bars.

David Platt
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 17, 2020
Hiking

The final Great Gallery is hands-down the best pictographs I've seen. They have intrigue, variety, detail, size, and are relatively well preserved. The other sites along the way were interesting too in their own right and a nice way to break up the hike. If you're cool with hiking on sand, this trail is pretty easy. The sand is relatively compact and feels like it's sitting on rock in many places, though there are still plenty of soft sand stretches. Noticeably MUCH easier than dune hiking. On the way up you realize the switchbacks around the sandstone are a bit excessive, and you can take shortcuts scrambling up and across the sandstone for some extra fun (staying off the cryptobiotic soil of course!). Cairns are well placed throughout the hike and easily guide you to all 4 pictograph sites.

dustin s.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 10, 2020
Hiking

Lovely hike. The pictographs, of course, are amazing. I was expecting worse conditions based on some of the reviews here. The road from the west was fine - just one short soft spot and a little washboarding. The sand in the canyon was not deep at all. The hike out is steep, but not too bad - stop and enjoy the view occasionally on the way up and it will go by quickly. Stash water on the way down so you don't have to carry it the whole time (definitely bring lots of water). Of course, conditions vary over time - this is how it was in early June 2020. I agree with others that the stated mileage is a little short - I racked up 9.5 miles round-trip (GPS measured) with just a moderate amount of puttering and exploring. Camping at the top for a night is highly recommended - the stars are incredible, and starting the hike in the cool of the early morning is the best strategy.

Doug Steele
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 3, 2020
Hiking

This is a beautiful hike that drops you down into the canyon for a nice walk through a dry wash. The pictograph panels are impressive. The entire canyon is full of colors and lots of plant life as well. The sand wasn't a problem for us, we just changed our stride like you do when walking on thin ice. We drove in on lower san rafael road from Utah 24 and the sand dunes were only across 1/3 of the road. I'm sure this varies by the day. Vault toilet was clean and felt like it was air conditioned after we finished our hike. Enjoyable hike all around.

Crystal Schultz
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarApril 20, 2020
Hiking

This hike was fantastic. It is sand pretty much the whole way so my legs were really sore coming back out. Watch the weather before you go. It would be miserable in the mud, both hiking through it and driving to get there.

Kentster W
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 9, 2019
Hiking

Spectacular scenery amazing views. Hard to get location long drive. Quiet wilderness location. Excellent ancient native art. . Beware this is really an 8.5 mile out and back hike according to our GPS and verified by the volunteer docent at the Great Gallery. Trail in canyon is very sandy so it feels more like a 10+ mile hike Still glad we did it.

Brian O'Bannon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2019
Hiking

A great 4ish hour hike. Not very strenuous even on the way back up to the parking lot at the end. The rock art, especially at the great gallery, is awesome. If you start early in the morning the canyon walls will provide shade for most of the the hike.

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Sarah Stewart
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 18, 2019
Hiking

Loved this hike! Did it in mid-May which was perfect, not too hot and cloudy towards the end of the hike. Not to mention the abundance of wildflowers providing lots of bursts of color along the trail. For myself, the most difficult part was walking through the deep sandy parts in the wash, which is most of the hike. The initial climb down into the canyon is also a lot more difficult at the end of the hike when you have to ascend back up to the parking lot. However just the Grand Gallery itself is worth the time and effort; it’s the most incredible example of southwest rock art I have seen yet.

Aaron Smith
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 8, 2019
Hiking

Incredible rock art. Easier than expected... some loose sand but a lot of hard pack. Walked down and jogged back.

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Sean Miyamoto
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 25, 2018
Hiking
Walt Fromm
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 11, 2018
Hiking

By far, one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. The drive to the trailhead was about 3 hours from Moab, with the last 30 miles on dirt road. Due to heavy rains the previous 3 days, spots were very muddy but passable with an AWD crossover vehicle. I would highly recommend contacting the Hans Flat ranger station for road conditions. If wet, you will not make the trailhead in a two wheel drive, low clearance vehicle. It took us well over an hour to cover the 30 miles, but in a decent 4WD, you should be able to cut that time a bit. Also note, there were about 3 spots where the sand blows across the road and dunes build up and get deep. So again, check with the ranger for road conditions. Once we made the trailhead, we lucked out when we met a NPS Volunteer who had been holed up in his camp for the previous few days due to rain. He was eager to hike in with us, and we ended up with a guided tour through the canyon to the Great Gallery. He was had a wealth of knowledge of the history of the panels, canyon, and geography. The hike itself is not very difficult, and even with the river running it was still fairly easy to find you way. There are a few spots where there are additional smaller pictographs, petroglyphs, and dinosaur tracks to spot. We didn't follow our notes since we had an impromptu guide, but reviewing them later they are pretty accurate. The pictograph panels along the way were almost a teaser to what laid waiting at the Great Gallery. What you will see there is beyond words for me. We only saw two other folks out there that day enjoying the great weather just below the trailhead. This is definitely a hike and an experience I will never forget!

Miles Travis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 24, 2018
Hiking

The pictographs were amazing and worth every step!

Rebecca Glucklich
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 19, 2018

This trail was incredible. I braved the unpaved road before sunrise to beat the heat (and watch the sunrise over Canyonlands...stunning!!) Getting in and really, out, is a bit challenging especially in August so bring plenty of water and seriously go early in the day. The trail along the wash is nice and shady, there are amazing views of the rock art and if you’re lucky, some visits from the local deer and wild burros (and speaking of the burros...beware the excessive amounts of dung that these invasive species are leaving along the trail!) It’s definitely a schlep from Moab but 100% worth it and totally doable as a day trip if you’re in the area.

Damian McDougal
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 28, 2018

Remote and gorgeous! I would say intermediate rather than difficult/hard. Although the last mile back out was steep! I would definitely hike this again!

Kristin Dahl
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 26, 2018

I am giving this 4 stars, but only to create this post. Be forewarned, the gravel access road is susceptible to sand dunes on windy days. You should assume you need a high clearance four-wheel drive or you may not get through. We were driving an AWD Honda CRV and had to turn around after 20 miles. There are signs warning of this, just know it could be true! The dunes are cleared with a road grader, so it can be a matter of timing.

Melissa E.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 10, 2017
Hiking

Every time I come through Utah I make a point of doing this trail; it's one of my favourites in the world!

James Ratzloff
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 12, 2017
Hiking

Dogs are not allowed on this trail. It is managed by the National Park Service.

Malinda Tackman
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 13, 2016

This was a cool little trail with awesome, historic pictographs! I'd say total this hike was about 8 miles, not 6. The trailhead says 7, but someone scratched in 8-8.5 which I found to be more accurate. The bottom of the canyon is all sand which can get pretty tiresome to walk through so be ready for that. 4 panels of pictographs total and you have to go to the great gallery at the end because it's amazing! Cute little antelope squirrel at the end too trying to steal your food so beware! The climb out of the canyon is about 800 feet and it's not too awful if you just bust it out! Get out there early to beat the heat!

Vedran Mati
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 22, 2015
Hiking

Off the beaten path and you might be the only one out in the canyon but the trek is well worth it. Plan for no cell phone reception and a 29 mile dirt road trek to the trailhead. Once there the trail drops down into the canyon. Once at the bottom of the canyon, about a 800 foot descent, hang a right and follow the cairns on the path. There are 4 different rock wall paintings not to be missed. The payoff comes after about 3 miles when you reach The Great Gallery. Sit, enjoy, and soak in the peaceful, quiet setting with spectacular rock art. The Great Gallery art has been featured on many Nat Geo shows, movies, etc. great hike, not technical but prepare accordingly as you might be the only one out there!

Kenneth Lund
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 14, 2005
Hiking
First to Review

One of the best hikes in all of Canyonlands. The trail is well developed with some soft sand. Carry lots of water, especially in heat. Rock art throughout the trail. I love this trail!

Ben Sieber
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJuly 10, 2020
Hiking
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Sam Kasten
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 26, 2020
Hiking
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David Platt
Gray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 16, 2020
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Norm Sash
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 6, 2020
Hiking
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Craig Myrick
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 20, 2020
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G H
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMarch 7, 2020
Hiking
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Matt C.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 20, 2020
Hiking
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Ivan Nikolov
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 1, 2019
Hiking
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Benjamin Schaefer
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2019
Hiking
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