Utah, Pictographs, Horseshoe Shelter Detail, Horsehoe Canyon, Canyon lands National Park. (Photo by: Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

UIG via Getty Images

Horseshoe Canyon

Way far west of Island in the Sky, Horseshoe Canyon shelters one of the most impressive collections of millennia-old rock art in the Southwest. The centerpiece is the Great Gallery and its haunting Barrier Canyon–style pictographs from between 2000 BC and AD 500. The heroic, bigger-than-life-size figures are magnificent. Artifacts recovered here date back as far as 9000 BC.

That said, it's not easy to get to. The gallery lies at the end of a 6.5-mile round-trip hiking trail descending 750ft from a dirt road. Plan on six hours. Rangers lead hikes here on Saturday and Sunday from April through October; contact the Hans Flat Ranger Station for times. You can camp on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land at the trailhead, though it's really a parking lot. There is a single vault toilet, but no water.

From Moab the trip is about 120 miles (2¾ hours). Take Hwy 191 north to I-70 west, then Hwy 24 south. About 25 miles south of I-70, past the turnoff for Goblin Valley State Park, turn east and follow the gravel road 30 miles. From Hanksville it's 45 miles (1½ hours).

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