Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons: Hiking by Headlamp

6/1/16 turned out to be a full day. To recap, we spent the morning driving 170 miles from Richfield to Moab. Then we spent the afternoon mountain biking, and had dinner. Then we drove another 100 miles to Goblin Valley State Park. Then we drove another 7 or 8 miles to the trailhead for Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons, arriving shortly after sunset.

Hiking toward the canyons

Hiking toward the canyons

Together, the two canyons can be connected via an 8-mile loop. Since it was already getting dark, we left the car with the intention of checking out part of Little Wild Horse (a popular slot canyon) and coming straight back. Maybe 1 or 2 miles round trip. Somewhere along the way, though, we decided to just do the whole thing. Why not.

We didn’t have a map, and Trent had a badly sprained ankle…but we did have headlamps, water, and ibuprofen.

The route (we went counter-clockwise)

The route (we went counter-clockwise)

By the time we reached the slot portion of the canyon, it was almost completely dark.

Little Wild Horse slot canyon

Little Wild Horse slot canyon

It would have been pretty cool to see during the day. In the dark, it almost felt like we were back in Indiana spelunking. Except with a really impressive night sky.

Entering the slot canyon

Entering the slot canyon

In the slot

More slot canyon

The slot portion of the canyon was impressively long. Maybe 1.0-1.5 miles I would guess.

Ducking under a chockstone

Ducking under a chockstone

After a while the canyon widened out, and we were walking through a dry stream bed. I knew we’d eventually need to make a left turn in order to meet back up with Bell Canyon, but without a map we had no idea when/where that turnoff would be. We hoped it would be obvious enough when we saw it.

I could also make out plenty of footprints in the sand with my headlamp. I figured if the footprints disappeared, we’d know that we’d gone too far up the canyon.

And we got lucky. We nearly walked right past the turnoff in the dark. As you can see, it would have been impossible to miss in broad daylight.

TURN LEFT

TURN LEFT

The return trip wasn’t quite as impressive. Bell canyon had a few narrow sections and short downclimbs, but by this point we were both kind of sleepy. We made it back to the car around midnight, found a spot to pull off the road, and slept in the next morning.

Bell Canyon

Bell Canyon

Recap: 2018 start, 0003 finish

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Published in: on June 9, 2016 at 8:06 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I am really impressed with the beauty of nature … and the great times you are having!
    Love, G-Paw R.


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