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Little Wild Horse Canyon

Exploring Little Wild Horse Canyon allows hikers to experience a slot canyon without the need for any technical gear

Little Wild Horse Canyon walls rising up high on both sides of the wash
Little Wild Horse Canyon, is a beautiful slot canyon with two long, extremely narrow passages with walls up to 400 feet high. The Canyon does not require any technical equipment. After extensive rainfall, water holes can remain within the canyon for some time, but they never exceed knee height.
Getting there
  • 1.5 hours from Moab, the road is paved the entire distance and is accessible year round to all vehicles.
  • West of the town of Green River: Follow I-70 west for 11 miles to Exit #149 and take Highway 24 south 24 miles to mile maker 136 and the signed turn-off to Goblin Valley State Park (Temple Mt Rd) located on the west side of the road.
  • Turn left onto Goblin Valley Road, Turn right onto Wild Horse Road.
38.582820, -110.802910
  • Dogs allowed – There are a couple of obstacles where you will have to lift your dog up 
  • The best times of year to hike through Little Wild Horse Canyon are spring and fall. Wild Horse Canyon is extremely endangered by flash flood, especially in the rainy season from July to September. Flash floods are generated by rain falling on the Reef far above the entrance of the canyon and you won’t necessarily see the weather causing it. The latest fatalities in the canyon were in May 2020 when 21 hikers were caught in the canyon during a flash flood a 3 & 7 year girl were killed. Read how to be safe in slot canyons.
  • Current weather forecasts for the next 2 to 3 days are available from the rangers in Goblin Valley.
Photo notes
  • Bring a tripod
  • Mid-morning and mid-afternoon are best for reflected light, but it’s generally quite dark in the narrower portions of the canyon. 
  • 4-6.5 miles total out and back. (It depends on where you turn around, the most interesting parts are over once you get to the big wide open bend almost at the end of the canyon at ( 38.607855, -110.793469 ). The only reason to continue farther from here is if you plan on doing the loop hike back through Bell Canyon)
  • 8 mile loop (if go up through Little Wild Horse Canyon and loop back south through Bell Canyon)


Little Wild Horse Canyon Map

  • The canyon can be done as an out and back taking about 2-3 hours
  • You can also do the canyon as an 8 mile loop through Little Wild Horse Canyon to a narrow 4WD road and back through neighboring Bell Canyon, taking about 4-5 hours.
From the parking lot follow the wash upstream.

follow the wash upstream

The route will become more interesting as you go

Interesting canyon walls in Little Wild Horse

At about 1/2 mile from the parking lot, you will come to the confluence of Bell Canyon (to the left) and Little Wild Horse Canyon (to the right).

The fork of Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon

Heading up Little Wild Horse Canyon, it briefly widens before you come to Swiss Cheese Valley as the canyon begins narrowing and getting more fun as you start through the first narrow slot section. The pathway of the canyon is mostly gravel with a few larger rocks here and there to step over. It will narrow and widen a few times, there a variety of tight corkscrew sections and slots to hike through.

Threading the way through Little Wild Horse Canyon

The narrows

Swiss Cheese Gallery

There are a few rock obstacles to climb up, none too dramatic, if you have a dog you will have to lift them up

Traversing a small dryfall

Eventually, after about 3 miles the canyon will widen out dramatically in a large bend. It’s quite dramatic, but also probably a good place to turn around if you aren’t going to continue on to Bell Canyon.

The canyon widens out

Heading to Bell canyon

If you continue, there are still some relatively interesting sections to come and some more obstacles, all manageable.

Navigating a large dryfall

You will come to a marked turn toward Bell Canyon.

The way to Bell Canyon

You will you come to Behind-the-Reef Road, a narrow dirt track that extends for miles above the Canyons. You will follow this west as it tracks below the cliffs to your right through some hilly terrain and then finally down to the entrance of Bell Canyon.

Bell Canyon

Most of the upper part of Bell Canyon is not that narrow, toward the junction with Little Wild Horse Canyon it narrows somewhat with a series of 2-3 foot drops along the way until you return to the junction and walk back to the parking lot.

toward the junction with Little Wild Horse Canyon

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