Friday, October 11, 2013

Horseshoe Canyon on the Down Low

After four days of digital detox in the desert I am back in the land of Internet.  For the last several years I've been planning to take a camping trip to the Mojave National Preserve in California and Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.  This week it all came together, timing-wise, except that our illustrious congress decided to play political games and shut them both down, along with the rest of the federal government.  I decided not to let that stop me and headed out anyway.

At Mojave Preserve, roadblocks kept me from getting to Kelso Dunes, which I'd wanted to see, but I was still able to make my way around the desert to some nice spots on smaller dirt roads.  Here was my camping site on the first night:

And the same spot in the morning:

There was some beautiful desert scenery with nobody else around:

And then I headed off to Utah:

And Horseshoe Canyon.  To get to the trailhead I drove 30 miles down rough dirt roads and past four signs just like this one:

Well, no turning back at this point.  I hiked on into the canyon to check it out.

The place is known as a hideout for Butch Cassidy and for a side canyon where that guy a few years back had his arm trapped and had to cut it off with a pocket knife to survive.  What it is most famous for is the native American rock art:

The end of the hike is the biggest panel of them all, known as the Great Gallery:

After I'd spend half an hour checking it out and taking some photos, a ranger caught up to me.  He'd spotted my truck through binoculars from the opposite rim of the canyon and then hiked all the way in to tell me I couldn't be there!  Well, he was fairly polite and didn't cite me, so no harm no foul!  It was a very nice trip overall.  Now I hope they open it up soon so people can check it out without breaking the law...


  1. What an exciting trip and fabulous photos. Thanks for sharing your adventure Kenneth!

    1. Thanks for popping over to check it out!