Tom’s Experience hiking Little Wild Horse Canyon:
Little Wild Horse is one of the most popular slot canyons in Utah, and is often very crowded. It is located in the San Rafael Swell. It is just outside of Goblin Valley State Park but it is often considered one of the best hikes in Goblin Valley.
No technical gear is required but the canyon can change after every flash flood so come prepared. Little Wild Horse Canyon is a great slot canyon that people of all ages will enjoy.
We say people of all ages- from babies in packs/toddlers to elderly- and we saw the wide variety of people all on this trail as we hiked. There were a lot of dogs on the trail too which was great for our dog.
Dogs are allowed on this trail but may need help getting over obstacles. The most difficult obstacle we encountered is shown in the photo above. This was after the most beautiful parts of the canyon so you could always turn around here and head back down Little Wild Horse to the car.
There could also be standing water in the canyons depending on recent rains. You can go up and then back down Little Wild Horse if you would like, the canyon seems to change as you change directions, or it can be done as a loop hike completed with Bell Canyon, for a 8.7 mile hike.
The more popular route to take when completing the loop is to go up Little Wild Horse and then down Bell. 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 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. Little Wild Horse Canyon has a rock at the entrance of the canyon where people have made a giant cairn. If you see the giant cairn you know you are in the right canyon.
The canyon will narrow down until it is about arms length wide. After the narrows, the canyon opens back up to a wash that you make your way through. The most difficult obstacles our family encountered when we hiked this loop were in this wash.
There were a few spots where we had to lift our dog up and over some small dry falls but nothing too difficult. Eventually the wash will lead to a sign that is hard to read but points to the direction of Bell Canyon along a road. Follow that road to the next large canyon and head down Bell. Make sure you bring plenty of water because it can get very hot.
Since Little Wild Horse is so narrow you may want to bring a light jacket to wear in the narrows, depending on the temperature and season, because the rock in the canyon will not get much sunlight.
If you start in the morning it may make most sense to hike up Bell when the temperature is cooler and then down Little Wild Horse when it starts to get hot. We thought the obstacles in Bell would have been more difficult to get our dog up than the obstacles at the end of Little Wild Horse.
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 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.
Little Wild Horse 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 = 38.6031,-110.818003
- Lower Calf Creek Falls
- Chesler Park Joint Trail Loop
- Donut Falls
- Kanarra Creek Canyon
- Snow Canyon Petroglyphs
Please comment below to share your experience hiking through Little Wild Horse Canyon. Don’t forget to register to receive the Travel Tom’s Newsletter by submitting your email in the bar above.