The Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon loop within Utah’s Crack Canyon Wilderness Study Area, near Goblin Valley State Park, is one of our all-time favorite slot canyon hikes. At 8.0 miles round-trip, this loop hike rewards visitors with amazing canyon scenery. In addition, the hike’s non-technical accessibility enables hikers of most skill-levels to enjoy the incredible splendor of these slot canyons.
Of the two canyons, Little Wild Horse Canyon is by far the more interesting given long stretches of extremely narrow slots. Thus, some visitors choose to hike Little Wild Horse Canyon out-and-back, rather than extending the hike. But we think including Bell Canyon and making the hike into a loop provides a fuller perspective and experience of the San Rafael Swell. Our hike review covers the entirety of the loop in a counter-clockwise direction, heading though Little Wild Horse Canyon first. You’re sure to have company on this hike, as this area is very popular, but these canyons are absolute gems that shouldn’t be missed!
Hike Review Series: Little Wild Horse Canyon / Bell Canyon
Exit the pothole area and continue to follow the wash. At about .5 miles into the hike, reach the intersection of Bell Canyon and Little Wild Horse Canyon. A right here, which can be missed if not paying close attention, will take you in a counterclockwise direction through Little Wild Horse Canyon.
This first slot section is just a glimpse of what you’ll see in a short distance, within the longer slot section. Note that these slots are very narrow, mostly requiring single file travel. You may encounter hikers heading in the opposite direction and will need to alternate parties in certain areas.
After the narrow section, you’ll hike through the wider canyon until you reach the junction of the northern trailhead for Little Wild Horse Canyon. This is Behind the Reef Trail, which is also a 4×4 road. Bear left at this intersection onto Behind the Reef Trail. This intersection is about 3.6 miles into the hike.
Recommended Hiking Apparel and Gear
If you plan to visit more of the San Rafael Swell area, which we highly recommend, consider picking up “Non-Technical Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau” for more non-technical slot canyon hike ideas. In addition, we recommend picking up a few naturalist guides related to the area’s geologic history for general awareness of how the San Rafael Swell came to be. Below are a few of our recommended readings. Happy hiking!
Disclosure: Please note that this post contains affiliate links. We may receive a small commission if you buy a product or service through an affiliate link. This revenue helps us provide readers with helpful content to plan amazing adventures.