Blue John and Horseshoe Canyons

To get to those canyons we took highway 24 east of Hanksville. In a local market we bought food and water and we filled up the gas tank at the nearby gas station.
The dirt road to the canyons is good enough to drive in 2 WD however it will be much faster and more comfortable to get there in 4 WD, high clearance vehicle. We drove in Toyota Matrix 2 WD and the road seemed endless.

The area is desolate and dry. We even saw pretty sand dunes.

sand dunes on the way to Blue John Canyon

After miles of driving you get to the intersection with a warning board. You can read there about the Blue John Canyon and the movie ” 127 hours”.  It is in Blue John Canyon where Aron Rolston was trapped in 2003 and managed to survive only through amputating one of his arms.  After the movie based on Rolston’s book “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” hit the big screen, the canyon became more popular than ever.

the information board at the crossroads

At the board turn right to get to Blue John Canyon. After passing Burr Pass take a road toward Hans Flat Ranger Station and soon you will see a little parking on the left side of the road. Park there and with your compass walk east.

We went down  the Main Fork. If you are very experienced in canyoneering you probably can do it without a rope. But if you are not, better take one for your safety. Before you get to the first rappel you can actually climb over rocks and look at the slot from the top.

Blue John Canyon slot from above

Then you can do the rappelling and continue your hike.

Blue John Canyon

Blue John Canyon

Apart from rappelling this area has other “attractions”: mainly corpses of dead cows.

Wild West

After hiking Blue John Canyon we drove to the trailhead for Horseshoe Canyon. It was the 4th of July weekend and we had all the camping for ourselves.

camping at the trailhead to Horseshoe Canyon

Next morning we went down the Horseshoe Canyon. The hike is long but worth it. Take a bug spray and plenty of water.

Horseshoe Canyon

petroglyphs at Horseshoe Canyon

According to Wikipedia the petroglyphs above are “one of the largest and best preserved collections of Barrier Canyon Style rock art in the United States”.


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