Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Horseshoe Canyon

Holy Ghost Group at the Great Gallery
Horseshoe Canyon has been called "Louvre of the Southwest."  And for good reason; the Great Gallery there is perhaps the most impressive collection of rock art in the western United States.  Certainly it is the premier site in Utah.

Horseshoe Canyon was originally known as Barrier Canyon, and has given its name to the style of rock art found there.  Barrier Canyon Style (or simply BCS) rock art is found primarily in Utah and is centered in and around the San Rafael Swell and Canyonlands National Park.  However, examples are found in widely scattered locations throughout the state and in western Colorado. As the National Park Service website says, BCS artwork,  "is believed to date to the Late Archaic period, from 2000 BC to AD 500".


There are four main BCS panels that are easily accessible in Horseshoe Canyon.

The Horseshoe Gallery and High Gallery
These two galleries are located close to each other about a half mile upstream from the point where the trail from the rim of the canyon meets Horseshoe Creek.  The Horseshoe Gallery is on the north side of the canyon at ground level, while the High Gallery is on the south side of the canyon and (as the name would suggest) is high up on the cliff face.  Some experts speculate that there was once a sand dune there which allowed the artists to place the gallery so high about the canyon floor.

Panorama of the Horseshoe Gallery
Detail from the Horseshoe Gallery
Detail from the High Gallery
Link to Photosynth of the Horseshoe Gallery
Link to Photosynth of the High Gallery
Photobucket repository for my photos of the Horseshoe Gallery
Photobucket repository for my photos of the High Gallery
Approximate coordinates for the Horseshoe Gallery are 38°27'44.32"N 110°11'58.25"W.
Approximate coordinates for the Horseshoe Gallery are 38°27'41.26"N 110°11'50.50"W.


The Alcove Gallery
This gallery is located in a bend in the canyon where the canyon wall overhangs creating an alcove.  It is another half mile upstream from the Horseshoe and High Galleries.
Panorama of the Alcove Gallery


Link to Photosynth of the Alcove Gallery
Photobucket repository for my photos of the Alcove Gallery
Approximate coordinates for the Alcove Gallery are 38°27'7.97"N 110°12'27.33"W.

The Great Gallery
This is the major attraction.  The panel is several hundred feet long with dozens of detailed life-size BCS figures.

Panorama of the Great Gallery

















Link to Photosynth of the Great Gallery
Photobucket repository for my photos of the Great Gallery 
Approximate coordinates for the Great Gallery are 38°26'48.77"N 110°12'45.95"W.

Additional Links

Wikipedia Article
Canyonlands National Park Information

© 2013  Kerk L. Phillips

1 comment:

  1. It is wonderful to see this and so great of you to post and share it with us. Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete