Thursday, August 23, 2012

Little Wildhorse Canyon in Southeastern Utah

         For a sensational side trip while camped in Goblin Valley State Park, travel five miles to Little Wildhorse Canyon.  This slot canyon is an ideal destination for a canyoneering novice or for those seeking an unconventional experience in red rock country.  Classified as "non-technical", the canyon requires no ropes or other specialized climbing gear.

       The following description of the hike through Little Wildhorse piqued my interest during a 2003 exploratory trip to places “off-the-beaten-path” in southeastern Utah: 
 “Little Wildhorse Canyon is a high-walled, tight-narrows canyon, spectacular at every twist, turn and corner.  Colors and textures run rampant here—a photographer’s delight.”  
        After reading the above portrayal I knew I had to experience the canyon for myself.  I did —and I’ve returned three times over the past 9 years.

       Little Wildhorse Canyon may be hiked out and back or combined with nearby Bell Canyon for an 8 mile long loop trek.  When introducing first-timers to the canyon I prefer retracing our steps; it’s great fun traversing the same obstacles and serpentine canyon walls in both directions, and less strenuous than the longer hike.

The photos below were taken on two separate occasions.   The popular slot canyon was filled with other hikers in October of 2003; however in July of 2012 we encountered only a few other brave souls.  Could it be the 101 degree temperatures kept the tourists away?
Create your own memories in Little Wildhorse Canyon.  Start by visiting this website for a description of this hike, and of other slot canyons in the American southwest:

There I am (in white), peaking out from between the labyrinthine
canyon walls of Little Wildhorse.

This faded midget rattlesnake slithers up the canyon wall.
The faded midget has a highly toxic venom but
is typically non-aggressive.
(More southern Utah wildlife photos coming in
my next post.)

Bob "chimneys" over a small boulder on the trail.

"Let's see if we can remove this giant boulder that fell
over the trail."  (Our attempt was unsuccessful.)

Not for the claustrophobic: the walls of the canyon narrow
as they reach toward the sky.

The undulating, water-sculpted rocks of Little Wildhorse Canyon.


  1. Hi Rita,

    Your photos of Little Wildhorse are spectacular - the walls of those slot canyons look like giant works of art. And as otherworldly in its own way as Goblin Valley! (Glad the midget rattlesnake left you alone. Have to say, I'm not a fan of snakes that can climb walls! That will give me nightmares!)

    Looking forward to more wildlife in your next post.

    1. Slot canyons are amazing places—marvelous examples of nature's artistry. The sport of canyoneering takes its participants to spectacular canyons all over the southwest.

      Luckily the snake shown above went on its merry way without causing any trouble. You need to watch where you put your hands and feet when in the canyon because you definitely don't want to surprise one of those rattlers!

      Thanks for your comments, Vickie!

  2. Hi Rita,

    You take us to so many fascinating places. And this time, from my perspective, you've outdone yourself! NEVER have I ever seen landscape features that even remotely resemble those shown in your report about Little Wildhorse Canyon. They are beyond awesome!

    Regarding your conjecture about the 101 degree temperature possibly keeping the tourists away. Yup! Speaking solely for this heat-intolerant person, that would do it for me! :-)

    Thank you for another excellent Blog report!


    1. Thanks for your accolades, John!

      Little Wildhorse is one of my favorite places to take visitors, especially because it's considered a beginner's slot canyon. I've been in a few other slot canyons in southern Utah and they're each spectacular in their own way.

      I agree with you about the heat. I'm looking forward to the cooler months to come!

  3. Oh my gosh we did that one too! It came highly recommended by my Uncle who lives in Boulder, CO and vacations out in Utah with all of his buddies for 2 weeks every spring. We have pics similar to yours!! I loved it there!! Thanks for bringing back fond memories!!! I cannot wait to someday head back out west!!

    Hiking Lady from NH!!

  4. Happy to have been able to take you on another trip down memory lane, Hiking Lady!
    I hope you're able to return to the west someday soon for another memorable vacation.
    Thanks for your comments—much appreciated!