register help

Deadman's Trail Horseshoe Canyon, UT

Guide 1 Triplog  0 Topics
  0 of 5 
7 1 0
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
clicktap icons for details
Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 3 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,387 feet
Elevation Gain 685 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 2-3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.43
Interest Ruins, Historic & Seasonal Creek
Backpack Yes & Possibly Connect
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
7  2019-04-27 Steph_and_Blake
Author Steph_and_Blake
author avatar Guides 100
Routes 61
Photos 2,522
Trips 176 map ( 751 miles )
Age 72 Male Gender
Location Grand Junction, CO
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Apr, May, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Early Spring to Late Autumn
Sun  5:24am - 7:30pm
0 Alternative

brand spankin' 1948 new
by Steph_and_Blake

remove free decal offer
A short, but steep hike to the Great Gallery.

The original Deadman's Trail, located south of the "official" trail, is a crack in the Navajo sandstone that allowed access to the bottom of Horseshoe Canyon (previously named Barrier Canyon). The original route was employed by Native Americans, cowboys, ranchers, outlaws and sheepherders. Supposedly a rider's horse reared up and fell back on him...Hence the name of the trail.

The new trail was built in 1948 by Basque sheepherders to get their sheep to the perennial spring below. Extensive blasting and rock construction went into building the trail.

The hike begins just outside the park boundary at an information kiosk. The first 0.6 or so of a mile is along a well-beaten path across a relatively flat field. At the edge of the field you come to the first series of switchbacks, but nothing too difficult or strenuous. Past the switchbacks you come to bare sandstone and the route-finding becomes a little more challenging, so pay attention for cairns. You may find yourself dropping down onto your behind to scootch down some of the more steeply sloped rock. Do whatever makes you feel safe!

Once off the slickrock, you'll come to a set of stairs that leads to the second (shorter) set of switchbacks that will take you to the canyon floor. From there it's easy cruising down-canyon (to your right) to the Great Gallery. Expect to spend at least a good half or or more at the Great Gallery to take in all the details.

This hike only describes getting to the Great Gallery, but there's plenty more to see further down canyon. You might even want to wander up-canyon to see if there are any surprises to behold.

Return the way you came.

Water Sources
While there is often water in the canyon, a herd of mules now occupy the area and their "presence" is seen everywhere. Take all the water you need (and more). There is no shade on the steep section.

Camping is not allowed in the canyon within the park boundary. There are several camping spots on the BLM land just southeast of the trailhead.

Check out the Triplog.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2019-05-18 Steph_and_Blake
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike
    From Hanksville drive north on UT-24. Just before the turnoff for Goblin Valley State Park, turn right onto a signed dirt road. Follow the signs for Hans Flat Ranger Station. Once at Hans Flat, take the signed dirt road past the private residences headed north. Follow the signs for High Spur. Drive past High Spur for 2.4 miles to a "Y" in the road. Take the left arm to the parking area at the trailhead. Note: A high-clearance, 4x4 vehicle is required for this drive past High Spur. Additionally, there is deep sand in spots and, to spice things up, there are a couple (very) slanted sandy spots that might make an inexperienced driver (and passenger!) uncomfortable.
    page created by Steph_and_Blake on May 18 2019 1:04 pm
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills
    Avoid Heat Illness - stay cool
    help comment issue

    end of page marker