Friday – Sunday, March 12-14, 2021
This weekend I thought I would stick a little bit closer to home in hopes that I would be able to explore a pair of canyons in the Robbers Roost area that I had not been in before. While I knew there was a chance I would have to change my plans because a storm system was supposed to be moving through the area overnight and into Saturday, I was hoping it would miss this area and I would be able to carry on with my plans as normal. But unfortunately the storm did not miss the Roost and the weather would have other plans for me after all! I left straight from work on Friday afternoon and drove west to Green River so I could top off my fuel tank and then make my way into the Roost to find a spot to spend the night. As I zipped by the Book Cliffs on I-70 the light and clouds were looking pretty nice, but I didn’t bother to stop for any photos this time.
I liked the look of the light and these clouds as I followed the Hans Flat Road at sunset.
When my alarm went off on Saturday morning I looked outside and saw that the ground was covered in snow and it was still coming down pretty good, so I got back into my sleeping bag and slept in a little later. I knew that I wasn’t going to be hiking into any of the canyons I had planned to today, so I had to come up with an alternate plan. Since I wasn’t too far away from the Horseshoe Canyon trailhead I figured that I could hike down into Horseshoe Canyon no matter what the weather was doing, so I decided that’s just what I would do today.
Welcome to the Horseshoe Canyon Unit of Canyonlands National Park! It’s been quite a while since I hiked into Horseshoe Canyon from this trailhead!
I’ve never hiked this trail in the snow before, though…
Not Even Once!
The High Gallery
Horseshoe Shelter Pictographs
Down at the bottom of the canyon the snow was rain and it was raining on and off for most of the morning. At this point the rain started coming down harder, so I took shelter in that alcove straight ahead and waited it out.
The Alcove Wall
Lovely designs on this canyon wall.
Faded Barrier Canyon Style pictographs and some very hard-to-see petroglyphs.
Now this is an unusual pictograph!
I wasn’t sure if these were actually petroglyphs until I climbed up closer to them.
No matter home many times I’ve been here before, I always enjoy revisiting the impressive pictographs of the Great Gallery!
During my hike I had noticed a lot more donkey trails and scat in the canyon than I recalled seeing on my previous visits. To be honest, the canyon seemed pretty torn up! This ‘Invasive Species Alert’ found near the Great Gallery answered my questions about that.
Walking through the canyon on this overcast afternoon.
As I was hiking back out of the canyon in the early afternoon the sun actually started to come out just a little bit.
Leaving Horseshoe Canyon as I returned to the trailhead.
I wasn’t sure what the weather had in store for Sunday morning, but it seemed like the storm system was moving out of the area so I figured I would try to continue my original plan of hiking into White Roost Canyon and headed that direction to find a spot to camp for the night. After driving many miles across a sandy wash-boarded two-track road to the rim of White Roost Canyon I found a place to camp and ate my dinner. Then I relaxed and read for the rest of the evening until I went to bed early. The sky was still too cloudy for a nice sunset, so I didn’t end up taking any more photos this evening.
I woke up to dreary, overcast and very windy conditions on Sunday morning and really didn’t feel like hiking down into White Roost Canyon, so I decided to drive out to the end of the point for a view over Robbers Roost Canyon and the Dirty Devil River. When I arrived at the point I thought it would be fun to try finding a route down into Robbers Roost Canyon, so I made my way down the steep sandstone. Unfortunately, even though I found a few cairns along the way I was never able to find the way down the last big ledge into the bottom of the canyon and returned back up to the point. I’m actually thankful that I ended up skipping the longer hike into White Roost Canyon this morning, because my shoes started falling apart and filling up with sand on this hike, which started to hurt my feet. I guess that was good luck…
As I returned to the point the overcast sky started to clear and the sun started to come out a little.
Sandstone & Clouds
Exploring the white sandstone below the rim.
Sunlight and blue sky, finally!
The view across the Dirty Devil River to the Henry Mountains was looking good just before I left and headed home.