Slot Canyons


Little Wild Horse Canyon


South of Goblin Valley, Little Wild Horse and Bell canyons cut narrow slots through the San Rafael Reef.  A popular hiking loop starts in Little Wild Horse Canyon and returns to the Little Wild Horse Canyon Trailhead via Bell Canyon.  The hike requires some scrambling over large boulders and squeezing through narrow spots.  Do not attempt this hike if there is a possibility of flash flooding.  The trailhead, with its bulletin board, parking area and toilet is 5.3 miles south of the Goblin Valley entrance station.  The dirt road south of Goblin Valley is rough, sandy, and subject to washouts.

  Crack Canyon
  Crack Canyon has a nice variety of narrows sprinkled within a wider, dramatic canyon which provides excellent entertainment. Occasional boulder problems add a little spice to the trail. The canyon cuts due south through the reef, and is only about 50% shaded, so high summer exploration is probably best in the early morning or late afternoon. Like Little Wild Horse, walking through Crack Canyon and returning the same way makes a good half-day trip.

From Temple Junction, drive north through the Reef on Temple Mountain Road 2.2 miles to the unmarked Behind the Reef Road. Turn left and drive 4.2 miles to the road/wash at Crack Canyon. Turn left again and park.

  Ding & Dang Canyons
  Ding and Dang make a great half-day circle trip up and down narrow and interesting canyons, with enough climbing obstacles to keep the riff raff at bay. If the group is a little daintier, a jaunt up Ding and back makes a splendid foray. This is the southern-most set of canyons accessed from the southeast side of the reef and the Goblin Valley Road.

From Temple Junction, take the Goblin Valley Road southwest along the face of the reef, to the junction just short of the entrance to Goblin Valley State Park. Take the good dirt road to the right for five miles to the prominent parking lot at Bell and Little Wild Horse Canyons. Continue another 1 and 1/4 miles to where a large wash comes in on the right and the road turns due south and heads toward Wild Horse Mesa. There is a short side road here leading to a few parking spots under some cottonwoods.

  Photos courtesy of