View Full Version : Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands N.P

Antonello Mori
27-Aug-2007, 13:19
I'm planning to visit Horseshoe Canyon in Canyonlands N.P.I Would like to shot the Great Gallery,any suggestion?
Thanks for help

Antonello Mori

Alan Rabe
28-Aug-2007, 07:13
I've no suggestions but here is alink that might help

Eric Leppanen
28-Aug-2007, 12:39
There are good photography-oriented write-up's regarding the Great Gallery in both of these publications:


According the Laurent Martres, the gallery is normally cordoned off and, unless a ranger lets you in (typically doing ranger-led hikes, contact the Hans Flat Ranger Station of Canyonlands National Park for details) you'll have to photograph the gallery from 35 feet away.

Kirk Keyes
28-Aug-2007, 13:32
Antonello -

I've been there twice and once had a ranger sitting under a tree making sure you didn't climb up onto the ledge below the pictographs, the other time there was a couple that were volunteer rangers and they escorted you up onto the ledge and let you get right under the pictographs for a good look of them.

I would suggest a longer than normal lens since you will probably want to be down on the ground level for photos. And I also would suggest that you plan on getting there early afternoon, as the sun goes behind the cliff and puts the rock wall into shade. The lower contrast that shade gives will help make the pictographs more visible.

It's a really neat place but don't spend too long taking photos as it is about a 3 mile hike back with 700(?) ft to go back up to get to your car so give yourself time to get back. Other than the hike up to the car, the rest of the way is flat and mostly sandy/stream bed terrain.


George Stewart
28-Aug-2007, 14:14
I did this at the beginning of summer, 2007. It was very hot and required logistical planning. One can camp in the parking lot adjacent to the foot trail that leads into the canyon, which saves time. The Ranger Station at Island in the Sky can give you more specific information and road map.

I was staying in Moab, UT and therefore had a three-hour drive to the trail head, which includes between 30 and 50 miles of dirt/sand road travel, depending upon the chosen route. GPS while driving and hiking is a good idea. I found a website with the GPS coordinates of the turns (the dirt roads won't be on driving-type GPS maps) as well as several galleries in the canyon - it should be easy to find. If the roads are wet, do not attempt the trip! I had an AWD vehicle and had no problem with the few small sand dunes that had blown onto the dirt road.

I arrived at the trailhead just at sunrise, so that I could be out before the hottest part of the day. Rock cairns and a GPS will guide your descent into and through the canyon. I carried a Nikon D2xs with two zoom lenses, a heavy tripod, and a RRS panorama setup to do some mosaic work. The 8x10 was too heavy for this hike. I also carried some snack foods and more than a gallon of water (I used exactly one gallon during the roughly six hours I was in the canyon, which included approximately 6.5 miles of hiking). Regular water is insufficient; make sure you have some method of restoring electrolytes. If you do this in the fall, winter, or spring, logistics will not be as important.

There is a dinosaur footprint circled by rocks that you will find during the descent. There are two galleries found on the way to the Great Gallery. If my memory serves me correctly, the first is the High Gallery that will be marked along the foot trail. This is a good morning photograph without harsh lighting. I just printed a four shot panorama of this in Pt/Pd - nice. The second is the Alcove Gallery, which is different, but nice. Early morning photos without glare will turn out nicely. The Great Gallery is worth the trip, but is probably best photographed in the afternoon, when there is just reflected light. I did not want to hike in an inferno so I was stuck with a morning photo session. Plan on one to two hours of shooting with LF at The Great Gallery. You will want a mix of lenses from short to long and plenty of film. The gallery is over 100 feet long with life-sized figures, you cannot get close and trees block the view if you want to back up, so various focal lengths are important.

The hike out and up is brutal in the heat. I found myself drinking at every stop and searching for even a sliver of shade. A hat and water is important. Did I mention water, and more water in the car!? This is a remote area and you may not see anyone else during the time you are there. The trip is worth it, but go prepared.

This is a 36-shot (two rows of 18) panorama of The Great Gallery.

Pat Kearns
28-Aug-2007, 18:23
Seeing that you will be in the Moab region stop at the local BLM office and they should be able to give you some additional advice. Also, Sego Canyon north of Moab has some nice pictographs. The last time I visited the road had been paved and it doesn't require any lengthy hikes.