Little Wild Horse Canyon
We were really looking forward to hiking the slot canyon, so we made this our first priority as soon as we got to Hanksville and set up home base. We came off of Molly's Castle, and it was still fairly early in the morning when we were on the paved road at the start of Little Wild Horse Canyon. We enjoyed the scenery and perfect weather as we made our way to the start of the slot canyon hike.
The parking lot was already filling up when we got there. We parked and got ready for the hike. It was 8.25 miles so we planned on a few hours of walking, taking pictures, and enjoying ourselves.
The trail was easy until we got to the Waterfall. There is a portion where the walls start getting taller on both sides, and then you see a steep portion because of a large rock in the trail. We saw someone else go up one of the walls instead of staying on the canyon floor, so half of our group went that way while the other half stayed down to climb up the waterfall. Both ways worked, and we met at the top of the obstacle.
At the intersection, we did Little Wild Horse Canyon first. That turned out to be the best direction, counterclockwise along the loop. We soon found our way into the slot canyon and we were grinning for the next couple of hours.
We stopped every couple of miles whenever there was a wide spot, to eat some snacks and hang out. It made the hike very enjoyable. The slot canyons were very cool.
Though they lasted for quite a while, we found our way heading out of them eventually. The trail turned northwest and relatively straight, and then we intersected with the 4x4 trail and turned left to follow it.
It was hot. Temperatures reached 101 degrees and we were out, exposed in the sun. The slot canyons were a nice temperature in the shade, but here we found ourselves walking up and down hills in full sunshine. We took a break nearly every time we found shade off to the side of the trail.
We could see a cabin and where the 4x4 trail turned up to it while our trail headed into Bell Canyon for a while before we got there. We checked out the kiosk there, and then headed into Bell Canyon.
We had hoped for more shade like Little Wild Horse Canyon, but Bell Canyon isn't quite as narrow and there wasn't much shade. Still it was fun working our way through it. This canyon was nice, too.
We worked our way back to the intersection and then out to parking area where we cranked up the air conditioning and drank lots of water. It was hot, but totally worth it.
Once we'd collected everything, we headed out to the trail to drive the rest of it. The pavement ended, and we were on dirt. Around the bend, we saw a few cars parked at the trailhead for the Ding Dang Dome hike. We'd save that one for another time.
Driving in the canyon was pretty cool. We weaved our way through it, in and out of the wash. We soon popped up out of it, and then found ourselves next to the Muddy Creek. There was a spot where the trail got very close to the eroded edge, so we stopped there to stretch our legs and look at the creek. It was very scenic.
We got back in our vehicles and kept going, but it wasn't long before we realized that we were heading away from the creek and in the wrong direction. We turned around and headed back to where we had stopped, got out again, and discussed options. We could see trail across the creek but couldn't figure out how to get there. Then, we saw a possible way in back the way we came. We got back in our Jeeps and headed over there.
There was another trail that we completely missed earlier, but this time it worked for us. It brought us down to the water where we could cross the creek. The water wasn't too deep, but it was still a fun crossing. This creek crossing is the most difficult part of the trail.
After the creek, route finding was easy again. We soon got to the intersection with Factory Bench Road where the trail got very easy. Little Wild Horse Canyon is a very scenic and fun trail -- especially the hike!