Much of southern Utah is crisscrossed with canyons, and canyoneering is very popular in the state. Many of these canyons require specialized skills and equipment and are located in remote areas requiring long drives on poor roads. A notable exception to all this is Little Wild Horse Canyon, just a short drive from the popular Goblin Valley State Park. Passable by anyone of moderate agility and fitness, Little Wild Horse Canyon is a wonderful introduction to canyoneering and a must-see trip for hikers of most abilities.
From the parking area the trail follows a wide wash for about a half mile. As the wash enters the canyon there is a rock fall that is easily passed by climbing the left rock bank. A few minutes later the canyon forks with Bell Canyon to the left and Little Wild Horse to the right. The 8-mile loop up one canyon and back down the other is a wonderful route, but allow four to six hours to complete it; navigating through the canyons is difficult to do quickly! This adventure describes a shorter route, an out-and-back trip through the best part of Little Wild Horse Canyon.
There are two main narrows on the canyon with a short wide spot in the middle. There are several places that require a bit of rock scrambling and many places that are so narrow at the bottom that a hiking boot won’t fit. The rock walls of the canyon are at times about 200 feet high, and the rock colors vary from pinks to grays to tans. At times the path through the canyon is wildly undulating with turns every 6 feet or so. At the end of the second narrows a little over 2 miles in, the canyon opens up into a beautiful tree-filled arena that is a great place to relax before turning around to head back down the canyon or continuing on a longer hike.