Little Wild Horse and Bell
Canyons - San Rafael Swell
||An easy and
really nice loop hike through some canyons
with great narrows. Do not attempt these hikes
if the forecast calls for rain.
||You can get
to this canyon from both inside and outside of
the Swell. Most people complete this hike from
the east side (which will put you much closer
to the canyons), but requires driving over
some sandy stretches. Drive along Highway 24
which runs between I-70 to the north and
Hanksville to the south. Near mile post 137
head west on a paved road following the signs
for Goblin Valley State Park. After a few
miles the road continues straight and branches
left towards Goblin Valley. Turn left towards Goblin Valley.
Just before you reach the fee station for the
park, turn right on the unpaved road with the
sign for Little Wild Horse Canyon and Muddy
River. Follow this road (sandy in places)
to the signed trailhead for Little Wild Horse
Canyon, complete with primitive privy (though
it has no roof, so make sure no one is
climbing around on the reef above if you
decide to use it).
||From the parking area walk up the drainage, following the many footprints, towards the reef. At the intersection of the washes from the two canyons, head left into Bell Canyon. Head up the canyon and when you reach the inside of the reef get on Behind the Reef Road and head right. Continue east a ways until you see the prominent break in the sandstone which indicates the mouth of Little Wild Horse Canyon. Walk into this drainage and walk down this very pretty canyon, through some very nice sections of narrows. There are a few scrambles required, but nothing difficult. When the canyon opens up, follow the wash back to the trailhead and your car.
|Rating (1-5 stars):
The author and his wife completed the loop
hike described above in a leisurely 5 hours,
stopping frequently to take photos.
Mountain, Horse Valley, Little Wild Horse Mesa
and Goblin Valley (1:24,000)
Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau -
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