Little Wild Horse Canyon is a geological wonder. You must see it in person.
For 3.6 miles one way, hikers can navigate through the southern Utah canyon with three distinct narrow sections.
All of the canyon is considered narrow based on common definitions,
but the slots will have people shouting, "Holy cow! THIS IS REALLY NARROW!" In those sections,
only one or two people at most can pass through at the same time.
Enjoy my photos and do watch the six videos below. You can examine much of this scenic area on
the National Geographic topographical map named San Rafael Swell #172. From Grand Junction, Colorado,
the drive is approximately 2.5 hours to arrive at the trailhead near Hanksville, Utah.
This would also make a good day trip for those stationed in Moab, Utah.
NOTES: The danger of flash floods is significant in this region. Be alert, especially if there have been rainstorms. A flash flood in a slot canyon
can be deadly for obvious reasons. (Don't believe me? Here's a flash flood in Little Wild Horse Canyon a few months later on YouTube:
here. Also, here's three other Utah flash floods:
here and here.
Now imagine that water flow in a slot canyon!) Also, Little Wild Horse Canyon is in a remote region known as the
San Rafael Swell.
The nearest towns, Hanksville and Green River, are about a one-hour drive away. Gas up and get all your supplies there.
Wind, water and erosion have sculpted the towering walls to perfection in Little Wild Horse Canyon.
Me standing in a narrow section. It required much effort to balance my tripod for this photo!
On my way back out, I made this video of my hike through much of the second slot canyon.
This will give you a good idea of what it's like. Also, note
how narrow things get around the four minute mark! :)
Click any image to view it at a larger size.
FYI - At the trailhead are portable toilets. The trail leads into the canyon, and then splits into Bell Canyon (left) and Little Wild Horse Canyon (right).
From what I've read, the common opinion is that Bell Canyon isn't as pretty as Little Wild Horse, but some do a full hiking loop through both in a day.
April 15, 2013 - My hike began on an overcast Monday morning.
TOP: The canyon narrowed from the width of a car lane to a sidewalk. Soft-shaded orange sandstone graced the canyon walls,
and I had the feeling like I was indoors. In fact, I kind of was with the exception of the gap above.
SECOND: Two friendly hikers and their two dogs wiggled past me as I stood in the slot canyon.
THIRD: There are two sections where it's narrow and you need to lean diagonally to avoid scraping against the walls.
I've watched this video so many times. Sweet memories!
The Second Slot Canyon
After the first slot canyon, there is an opening for a few tenths of a mile.
Then I approached what you see in the adjacent photo. That can't possibly be the trail! Or is it? Yes, it is. :)
The beginning of the second slot canyon is the narrowest. For about 50 yards, two skinny people could probably
wiggle past each other, but that's it. :)
I captured two photos, and then made this video.
I began my hike around the same time as the two women at 2:00.
A rock sits beautifully on the hips of the lower walls.
You will need to hike under that to continue.
Nature's sculpted artwork.
A few times I thought to myself, "This is one of those times where it's advantageous to be thin!"
In some sections, the walls are patterned back and forth in small "S" curves.
Hiking out of the second slot canyon.
The canyon widened enough that it felt spacious compared to the slots.
TOP: Looking back at the mouth of the second slot canyon.
SECOND: The view facing ahead. Does Little Wild Horse Canyon continue through that narrow crack on the left or the larger opening on the right?
This time, have mercy, the trail continues to the right. :)
The Third Slot Canyon
I'm not sure if this next section is considered the third slot canyon, but it doesn't matter. It went for a long distance and was so pretty.
After the third section, the canyon widens. It's nothing like the slots, but it's scenic nonetheless.
The Wider Section
The Wonders of Utah's Canyon Country
Beyond the wide section, my hike continued in the creek bed.
There are plenty more rock structures and obstacles to overcome,
including the spots in these two photos.
TOP: You need to hop up on the potentially wet rock and move ahead.
SECOND: Under a large rock and then a sharp turn to the left.
After manuevering past these two spots, I turned back. I am certain I was near the end of the trail
where it hits a road, but I had all the jollies I needed for the day.
I hiked back and went back through all of those amazing slot canyons once more.
It was an enjoyable three-day getaway to Green River, Utah. Little Wild Horse Canyon was unquestionably the biggest highlight, and
my visits to Goblin Valley State Park and
Dutchman Arch weren't bad either.