Hiking Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
by Bill Schneider (Falcon Guides)
© 2017 Bill Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We did this hike during winter, which is an touchy situation if the weather is bad. Road can be impassable. We lucked out. Although we left Salt Lake in fog, rain and snow, when we got to the trailhead, the weather was perfect. The hike to the Great Gallery is not bad. You drop down into the amazing canyon that is Horseshoe Canyon and hike up canyon about 3 miles or so to the Great Gallery. There are several pictographs panels along the way. They are on your right as you hike up. One set is in a massive alcove. You can't miss it. The canyon narrows as you hike up. The Great Gallery is one of the top archeological sites in the southwest. We had no one else in the canyon and so were able to spend as much time as we liked.
The hike out is not bad at all. At least in the winter. Summer is a different matter. Take plenty of water summer or winter.
For anyone interested in Native American studies, this is a wonderful hike. The pictographs in Horseshoe Canyon are amazing and I was surprised at the size of them. The hike is extremely hot in the summer, especially the last mile when you have to hike back up out of the canyon to the parking lot above. I began hiking at sunrise and was back to the parking lot at 10:30 a.m. and it was already extremely hot, so I think it would be nicer in the spring or fall. Even so, once down in the canyon, it is a beautiful walk through the sandy bottom with a lot of cottonwood trees for shade. Aside from the heat, the hike itself is fairly easy with the exception of the last mile hiking back up out of the canyon. Even with the heat, however, I found it to be well worth it to see this incredible art.
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