Little Wild Horse Canyon, My Favorite Slot Canyon Hike


Okay, this is it!

In 2003, I was enchanted by my first slot canyon hike. slot online

A Slot Canyon is a narrow canyon formed by water running through rocks.

A slot canyon is much deeper than its width. Slot canyons may only measure one to three feet wide at the top, but can drop over 100 feet to the canyon’s floor.

As a vacation planner, I search for places that we haven’t visited. Through my research, I came across many fascinating photos of slot canyons.

After much consideration, I decided on Little Wild Horse Canyon north of Hanksville in Utah.

Why would you want to do this?

* Very easy hike

* A new experience

* Water’s action creates amazing formations

* Unlimitless photo opportunities

* Brag rights (“Look at what I did!”

* Uncrowded

* Nature’s therapeutic benefits

Little Wild Horse Canyon is accessible to everyone, even if you aren’t a frequent hiker.

If you are claustrophobic, the only problem is your ability to breathe. Little Wild Horse measures only 18 inches at its slimmest. It is only 2- to 3-feet long.

It starts with a typical high desert landscape and vegetation. The best part about the first section of the trail is that it’s outside and away from the busy schedules that most people live. You’re also anticipating the joy that you’re about experience.

Even if you are not yet in the slot canyon, don’t rush through the first section. Ground squirrels are likely to be seen scampering around. Ground squirrels are adorable and a little bit of a beggar. Please do not feed them. While it may be enjoyable to feed wildlife, if they are fed enough, they will become dependent on humans for help. Animals that are fed by humans have a half-life expectancy than animals that are not.

You might see a deer if you are in the early morning or the late afternoon.

You’ll come to a very inviting slot after about 10 minutes. If you’re like us you’ll be heading straight in there, as if it were the slot canyon. It is not. It’s only a small slot, but it’s not very long. You’ll need to follow the trail that skirts that narrow section of the Little Wild Horse.

Continue around the bend to the left until you reach a ledge that is approximately 15-20 feet above the canyon floor below. There are many ways to descend from the ledge. You should choose the most appealing route.

Little Wild Horse Canyon (LWHC), is located to the northeast. Bell Canyon is a smaller canyon than Little Wild Horse Canyon. If you head to the northwest you will find it. You can also make an 8-mile loop around LWHC if you continue in this direction. A topographical map is a great tool to use in this area. It’s easy to miss the connection between Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons.

This description assumes that you are going to LWHC’s end, then turning around, and returning the same way. It will take you just over four miles roundtrip.

The first section of LWHC is narrow but not too narrow. You will be able see some of the natural carvings that water has made to the rock.

You’ll come to an intersection in an open area after about a mile. You’ll find a narrow section continuing just ahead. This next section of LWHC was about two feet wide when we were there.

We weren’t going to let even a drop of water stop us. We continued to swim in. We continued to swim in the water, which was not too cold but still not freezing. After a few minutes, we got used to the cold water.

Wear waterproof boots or shoes that have good grip so they don’t get muddy or wet. These water-filled sections can be very muddy so make sure to take your time and carefully place your feet.

It took us two days to dry our boots after we had cleaned them. If you plan to hike more the next day, make sure you have an extra pair or two of boots.

The initial water-filled section measured approximately 60 feet in length. Next, you will climb over a boulder and reach a dry section. You shouldn’t rush, even though you are on dry ground. Take your time and take in the beauty of Nature’s sculptures.

You will need to negotiate a dryfall, which I believe is six-seven feet high. I hope you have a hiking buddy to help you!

We soon reached a section of the canyon that is wider after negotiating three more muddy/watery sections. It is quite conspicuous at 75-100 feet.

After walking around the open area for a while, we turned back due to time. We would have continued on to Bell Canyon if we had started earlier.

You can retrace your steps but please don’t rush back. On the return trip, we saw structures and designs that we hadn’t noticed on the way in.

We hiked this hike for about four hours. However, we don’t walk as fast as others. We enjoy taking our time, taking in the sights, and taking lots of photos.

You can find Little Wild Horse Canyon five miles down a gravel road that you can access at the Goblin Valley State park entrance.

You should allow at least two hours for Goblin Valley if you plan on going to Little Wild Horse. It is like another planet. It was actually the location of a large portion of Galaxy Quest, a Tim Allen movie. Goblin Valley is the perfect place to bring your kids if they are older.

You will need to bring water and snacks as this is high desert. Flash floods are dangerous, especially in slot canyons. Plan your hike to take place when it is raining.

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