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!