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Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail is one of the most spectacular hikes that you need to put on your bucket list if you are traveling between Moab and Capitol Reel on Scenic Byway UT-24. Here is everything you need to know to have a great experience!

Did you know that right next to Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail is Goblin Valley State Park? Don’t miss it and add it to your itinerary. You will be amazed by this place! Perfect One Day in Goblin Valley State Park (3 Things You Can’t-Miss).

Are you planning a Utah road trip? Are Arches and Canyonlands National Parks on your list? Check out some of my posts to help you with the planning process.

Also, right in-between Arches and Canyonlands, you will find Dead Horse Point State Park with incredible views of Green and Colorado Rivers 2,000 feet below the cliffs (don’t miss it!)

Check out some of my posts to help you decide what to do and see in Utah:

16 Best Stops on Scenic Drive in Arches National Park (Maps+Practical Tips)

However, if you are short on time in Arches and can only spend a day, then make sure to read 8 Things You Can’t Miss on First Visit to Arches National Park.

Are you visiting Canyonlands National Park as well? If you only have one day, then head to Island in the Sky District at Canyonlands One Day in Island in the Sky at Canyonlands National Park. With more time check out The Needles District One Day in The Needles at Canyonlands National Park (8 Things You Can’t-Miss)

Right in-between Arches and Canyonlands, you will find Dead Horse State Park. The views at this place are simply off the charts with Colorado and Green Rivers 2,000 feet below! How to Spend One Day at Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

How to Get to Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail is located in the San Rafael Swell of Utah. Specifically, it is located 24.3 miles (about 45 minutes drive) from UT-24.

To get to the trailhead turn from UT-24 turn onto W Temple Jct/Temple Mt Rd and continue for 11.9 miles until you reach a junction with Goblin Valley Road.

Once you reach Goblin Valley Road, turn left and drive for about 11.5 miles all the way to the Little Wild Horse Canyon parking area.

The trailhead to Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail is on the right side of the parking lot.

Intrepid Scout’s Tip:

If you are using Google Maps to get to Little Wild Horse Canyon, then make sure to search for: Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon Trailhead

What You Need to Know About Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

The trail is a loop that is 8.1 miles long and takes about 4-6 hours to complete (depending on your fitness level and how many stops you will have along the way):

  • Distance – 8.1 miles round trip (loop)
  • Difficulty – moderate
  • Total ascent – 800 feet
  • Starting elevation – 4,950 feet
  • Highest elevation – 5,650 feet
  • Time- 4-6 hours

The trail consists of four sections. And, in this post, I will give you an idea of what to expect at each section of the trail:

  • The First 0.5 Miles of the Trail
  • Little Wild Horse Canyon
  • Behind the Reef Road
  • Bell Canyon

Map of Little Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

Map fo Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

Map of Little Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail. Image Credit: BLM

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail - Step-By- Step Guide

The First 0.5 Miles of the Trail

The first part of the hike is about 0.5 miles. It is flat with almost no elevation change and it should take you no more than 15-20 minutes before you reach the junction. First, you will hike on the well-defined wash. Eventually, the trail narrows and turns to slickrock.

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

The first part of Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon Loop Trail is a well-defined wash. 

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon 

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

Eventually, the trail narrows and turns to slickrock.

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon 

This short slickrock section has one 4-feet high rock wall to climb up and over. If it is too difficult for you, then retrace your steps to the start of the slickrock section (about 50 feet), and follow the trail on the left that bypasses the rock.

Shortly after the slickrock section of the trail, you will reach a junction between Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail.

You can hike the loop in either direction. My recommendation is to turn right at the junction and start hiking through Little Wild Horse Canyon.

Little Wild Horse Canyon Section of the Trail

The Little Wild Horse Canyon section of the loop trail is about 3.6 miles (starting at the junction with Bell Canyon Trail and ending at Behind the Reef Road.

The canyon is absolutely stunning! And, you will be amazed by the patterns on the walls of the canyon.

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

Little Wild Horse Canyon is absolutely amazing!

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon 

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

You will be mesmerized by different patterns on the walls.

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

Hiking through Little Wild Horse Canyon is a top-notch experience. 

The canyon is fairly wide at the beginning of the hike, however as you continue the walls of the canyon get taller and the passages grow narrower.

It will take you about 1.5-2 hours to hike this section of the canyon, depending on how often you stop for photographs.

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

The Little Wild Horse Canyon section of the loop is about 3.6 miles and it should take you about 2 hours to complete this section. 

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

It will take you about 1.5-2 hours to hike this section of the canyon, depending on how often you stop for photographs.

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

And, if you like taking photos, then you will end up with at least a couple hundred pictures of this spectacular canyon. 

Eventually, the canyon opens and begins exiting the reef.

To your left will be a junction with Behind the Reef Road.

Behind the Reef Road Section of the Trail

Behind the Reef Road section of the trail connects Little Wild Horse Canyon Trail with Bell Canyon Trail.

This section is 1.6 miles long. It starts off with a small incline and then descends to the bottom of Bell Canyon.

As you are hiking this section, look to the right. In the distance, you will see Chute Buttress.

Bell Canyon Trail

Bell Canyon is much different than Little Wild Horse Canyon. It is more open with just a few sections of shallow narrows. As a result, it is easier to photograph and the colors are more vibrant.

It is a great experience to hike through Bell Canyon.

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

More light enters Bell Canyon and as a result, it is easier to photograph. 

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

Depending on the time of the day, when you are hiking, the more light enters the canyon, the more vibrant the colors of the walls become. 

Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

It is a great experience to hike through Bell Canyon!

On the way, you will encounter a couple of boulders that you can hike around them.

Eventually, you will reach the junction with Little Wild Horse Canyon. Follow the trail back to the parking lot where you started.

Intrepid Scout's Tips for Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyon Loop Trail

  • Important – always check the weather forecast and never enter the canyon if there is a significant chance of rain anywhere in the canyon’s drainage area. Flash floods (especially in August can be very dangerous).
  • If you are hiking during the summer months, then be prepared for temperatures that are way above 100’s F. Make sure you have plenty of water for everyone in your group and proper sun protection (hat, long sleeve sun shirt, sunblock).
  • Spring and fall are the best for hiking in Utah! The weather is dry and the temperatures are mild. Summers are hot, but hiking in the canyons is nice especially early in the morning because the slots are narrow and there is plenty of shade.
  • Your cell phone will probably not work, so it is a good idea to download google offline maps before heading to Little Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon Loop Trail.
  • Unfortunately, do not expect much solitude on this trail. You will have plenty of company.

Now, It Is Your Turn, I Would Like to Hear Back from You!

Are you planning a Utah road trip?

Please let me know! Drop me a quick comment right below!

Click on any of the images below to get inspired and to help you with the planning process for your trip to Utah!

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