OK, you gotta do this – at least once!
I hiked through my first slot canyon in 2003 and became enamored by them.
A slot canyon is a narrow canyon, formed by the wear of water rushing through rock.
A slot canyon is significantly deeper than it is wide. Some slot canyons can measure only a foot to three feet across at the top but drop more than one hundred feet to the floor of the canyon.
As the vacation planner, I look for places we haven’t been. Through my research, I saw several fascinating pictures from slot canyons.
After much deliberation, I settled on Little Wild Horse Canyon, north of Hanksville, Utah.
Why should you do this?
· Fairly easy hike
· New experience
· Amazing formations due to water’s action
· Countless photo opportunities
· Bragging rights (“Look what I did!”)
· The therapeutic value of spending time in Nature
Even if you’re not a regular hiker, Little Wild Horse Canyon has just a slight elevation change, so most people would be able to enjoy this wonderful piece of Creation.
The only problem you might have is if you’re claustrophobic. At it’s slimmest, Little Wild Horse narrows down to about 18 inches. Several lengths of it are only two-three feet wide.
The hike starts out innocuous enough, typical high desert vegetation and landscape. What makes the first part of the trail exciting is the fact that you’re outside, away from the hectic schedules that consume most people’s lives these days. Also, you’re anticipating the joy you’re about to experience.
Don’t rush through the first part even though you’re not in the slot canyon yet. It’s likely that you’ll see ground squirrels scampering about. They’re little beggars for sure and they’re so darn cute, but please refrain from feeding them. Feeding wildlife may be fun for the moment, but if it happens enough, it conditions them to depend on people for handouts as they quit their normal foraging habits. Human-fed animals usually have half the life span of non-fed animals.
If it’s early in the morning or late in the afternoon, you might even see a deer.
After about 10 minutes, you’ll round a corner and come to a slot that’s very inviting. If you’re like us, you’ll head right in there, assuming it’s the slot canyon. It’s not. Well, it’s a slot alright, but only a few yards long. To get to the narrow part of the Little Wild Horse, you’ll go on the trail that skirts the left side of that first deceptive little slot.
You’ll make your way around a bend to the left and find yourself on a ledge about 15 – 20 feet above the canyon floor below. There are several possible routes down off the ledge, so just make your way down the best-looking way.
The entrance to Little Wild Horse Canyon (LWHC) is toward the northeast. If you take off to the northwest, you’ll enter Bell Canyon, which isn’t as spectacular as Little Wild Horse. If you do head off in that direction, you can make an eight-mile loop and come back through LWHC. If you do this, I highly recommend a topographical map of the area, because it is fairly easy to miss the connector between Bell and Little Wild Horse canyons.