Explore the beautiful family friendly Bell Canyon

Tom’s Experience hiking Bell Canyon:

Bell Canyon is a popular slot canyon in the San Rafael Swell just outside of Goblin Valley State Park. The trailhead is usually packed with people since it is such a great, family friendly, adventure. It isn’t nearly as awesome as its close neighbor, Little Wild Horse Canyon, but it is still a pretty fun slot canyon.

Hiking in the San Rafael Swell

This is a great canyon to experience canyoneering, because there are really no technical parts requiring ropes, swims or keepers, and if you get to a point you can’t go up any further you can turn around and head back to the trailhead. You can hike up Bell Canyon and back down if you would like but the more popular route is to combine Bell Canyon with Little Wild Horse and go up one canyon and then down the other for an 8.7 mile loop.

Hiking Through Bell Canyon

From the trailhead, follow the wash up and eventually you will come to a small dry fall that is easy to get around. After that, the junction of Bell Canyon and Little Wild Horse is pretty close. There was a sign when we were there pointing out the different canyons. Bell Canyon is the left fork and Little Wild Horse is the right. If you decide to do the loop starting with Bell Canyon, when you exit Bell Canyon there will be a road you walk along.

Bell Canyon Loop

Follow that road to the right and eventually there will be a sign for Little Wild Horse Canyon. Bell Canyon was not nearly as narrow as Little Wild Horse and I felt that Bell had a few more obstacles in the narrow section than Little Wild Horse. Neither canyon was very difficult, even with a dog and a baby, but slot canyons can change drastically after every flash flood.

Family Friendly Slot Canyons Bell Canyon

Dogs are allowed on this trail but might need some help getting up and over obstacles. We brought a backpack for our dog and left it empty. This allowed us to grab the backpack to lift her up and over obstacles rather than trying to grab her when she is already scared to climb something.

Bell Canyon Cairns

The narrow section had a few dry falls when we went that were fairly easy to get down but would have been more difficult to get up. There was also a little bit of water but we were able to stem over it and not get wet.


Doesn’t my wife look great carrying our baby in the Osprey Poco backpack! You can check out our review of the Osprey Poco Child Carrier Backpack or purchase it on Amazon

Near the top exit there is an abandoned house if you follow the road to the left as you exit. It is the remains of a miner’s house.

Tom’s Rating:

Trail Info: Head towards Goblin Valley and just before the park entrance, but after the park boundaries, turn right (west) on a side road called Wild Horse Road. Follow this road 3 miles and the trailhead will be on the right. There is plenty of parking although in multiple lots, as well as an outhouse and some trail information. The roads are paved all the way to the trailhead. There are numerous free places to camp in the area as well as paid places in Goblin Valley.


Trailhead = 38.582782,-110.802956

Bottom of Little Wild Horse = 38.589596,-110.807097

Top of Little Wild Horse = 38.611698,-110.795011

Top of Bell Canyon = 38.6031,-110.818003

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