Sunday, October 26, 2014

Little Wild Horse Canyon (San Rafael Reef, Utah) - 10/14/14

Little Wild Horse - (with a little imagination)

Little Wild Horse Canyon

Road to Trailhead
 Little Wild Horse Canyon is a Utah treasure. Tucked away in the San Rafael Reef near the Goblin Valley State Park 45 minutes south of Green River, Utah, the trail is a little out of the way! Nevertheless, there were several hikers in the canyon on the Monday that four club members were there. We passed the state park entrance on the paved road and continued out to the signed trailhead parking for the Bell Canyon / Little Wild Horse Canyon Loop.

Cottonwoods near Trailhead Parking
 The old cottonwood trees in the canyon wash were beautiful with their fall colors. We began the trail by hiking up the wash.

Starting Up the Canyon Wash

Sign at Canyon Fork
 The first obstacle came quickly. It was like a test! The 6 foot step up had a precarious up and around on the right side on the wash. After one more 3 foot step up, we came to the signed fork in the canyon. The left fork led to Bell Canyon and the right to Little Wild Horse Canyon. We had decided to forfeit the long loop up Bell and do an out and back in Little Wild Horse. It would still be an eight mile day and, by all accounts, Little Wild Horse Canyon was the more impressive of the two.

The Slots Begin
 Little Wild Hores Canyon did not disappoint. We were pleasantly surprised at the seemingly endless slots!

Slots Narrowing

Slot Hiking
 Overall, there were probably three sections of slots over the next two miles. These slots were only separated by two small open spaces in the canyon. We characterized Little Wild Horse as being Peekaboo, Spooky and Zebra Slots (Escalante NM) all rolled into one! There were not any large obstacles within the slots and it was simply a lot of fun.

Entrance to Next Section of Slot
 When we traveled through the first open section, we came to the slot entrance shown in the photo above. Looking around we exclaimed, "Guess this is the trail!"

Some places were too narrow to step in.

 The walls of the slots changed texture from one section to another. Photos were endless! Finally, the slots gave way to a more open setting. It was here that recent rainwater had created obstacle pools in the wash. Therefore, several "up and arounds" were marked with cairns. Each up and around became more and more precarious as climbs were built up with teetering rock piles. We could see that we were nearing the top of the reef canyon so we decided to call it done!

The walls changed texture from section to section.
 We made sure that the couple in front of us made it up the next up and around so that they could finish their loop in Bell Canyon then we turned around ... satisfied with our exploration.

The slots widened toward the top of the canyon.

Top of Slots Opening
 We returned through the slots and took even more photos since the light was a little better then. We saw a few things that we didn't see on the way up including the Little Wild Horse in one of the slot canyons' walls. (See first photo.) On our way back through the slots, we tightly squeezed by other hikers.

8 miles; 800 feet elevation gain; 4 hours

Erosion High Water Mark

Back to the Cottonwoods

The Full 9 Mile Loop

Wild Horse Canyon Only

Wild Horse Canyon Only

Route to Wild Horse Canyon Trailhead

1 comment:

Larry Dunn said...

Very interesting...and beautiful! I'd never heard of this area. It looks as though it was worth the longish trip to get there. Thanks for sharing!