Little Wild Horse Canyon/Bell Canyon

Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon are two of the most stunning and easily accessible slot canyons. The trailhead to both is located a few miles west of Goblin Valley State Park, which is north of Hanksville, Utah.

Little Wild Horse after a flood.
Little Wild Horse after a flood. The trail usually goes down not over.

These canyons must be experienced to understand their majesty and smallness. The canyon doesn’t look like much when you pull into the parking lot, just another sandy wash, but less than a mile up the trail your jaw will drop as the canyon walls rise. Much of the next few miles are through slots so tight, you’ll suck in your gut to squeeze through sideways.

In some places the passageways are so tight, hikers pass via scrambling up the sides to make space. We had hikers going above us and below us in the world’s oddest traffic jam.

 

We had hikers going above us and below us in the world’s oddest traffic jam.

You access both canyons from the same trailhead. About a half mile down the path, the trail splits with Little Wild Horse to the right and Bell to the left. Both canyons can be accessed in one long hiking route (8 miles) via a loop trail. Once you leave one canyon, the path turns into a jeep trail for a few miles before descending into the other one. The trail between the two isn’t the most scenic and goes on for a while. It’s fun to do once but, if I do it again, I would hike up Little Wild Horse and back down, then go up Bell. Little Wild Horse is by far the more scenic route if you only have the inclination to do one canyon.

The hike doesn’t require ropes but you do have to do some scrambling. Since these hikes are so accessible, they can get crowded during the spring and fall. Plan to hike early to avoid the worst of the people. The canyons flood often when it rains so check the weather before going.

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