Image by Peter Olexa

Slot Canyons
Little Wild Horse Canyon

Slot canyons are formed when water erodes the earth through a narrow passage, leaving steep and often tall canyon walls on each side. They can be found all over the world, but some of the most beautiful examples are found right outside Hanksville.

Little Wild Horse Canyon

The most popular slot canyon to visit near Hanksville is Little Wild Horse Canyon. The trail winds and curves through long, thin portions of sandstone in the heart of the San Rafael Swell. This slot canyon is friendly to beginners, and no special equipment or climbing skills are necessary. The trail is 3.3 miles one way, and it can easily be turned into an 8-mile family friendly loop by continuing on into Bell Canyon. Bell Canyon is easier to hike, but is not as scenic. Whether you do the whole loop through both canyons or just hike Little Wild Horse, we promise a memorable experience.

Note: Because of its popularity, this route is best visited early or late in the day for the greatest experience. There may be pools of standing water during the wet weather. Be extremely cautious during spring run-off.

Image by Ashim D’Silva

Ding and Dang Slot Canyons

Ding and Dang slot canyons can be explored in a 5.9 mile loop. These canyons neighbor the more popular Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons mentioned above, but are less traveled due to the increase in difficulty. While climbing gear and serious climbing experience are not required, they may be beneficial. Of the two, Ding is reportedly easier, while Dang has some drops that require climbing abilities. For more in-depth information, visit www.americansouthwest.net.

The trailhead is located here.

Little Bull Slot Canyon

Little Bull Slot Canyon is a much more technical canyon than all of those previously mentioned. There are multiple tight repels and extremely tight squeezes before you reach the open area of Little Bull Slot Canyon. While this is an incredible experience, we recommend experienced climbers for this one. For more in-depth information on this slot canyon, visit www.roadtripryan.com.

Image by Tommy Lisbin

Leprechaun Canyon

Leprechaun Canyon has a little bit for everyone. It is made up of a complex of 3 technical slot canyons that requires technical gear and skills to descend. However, the lower portion of the canyon can be hiked from the bottom up to the confluence without any need for technical skills. At the confluence of the three slot canyons, the  walls narrow and traveling up becomes challenging. We recommend beginner hikers do not continue on into any of the three slot canyons. For more in-depth information on this slot canyon, visit www.roadtripryan.com.

The trailhead is located here.

Image by Justin Roy
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Caution

Hikers should be aware that slot canyons can be dangerous. flash floods are common in these areas and can happen with little to no warning. Make sure to check the weather forecast before embarking on any hikes, and never enter a slot canyon if there is even a chance of rain.

If you're planning on heading out to any of these canyons, be sure to tell someone where you are going and bring enough, water, food, and technical gear. These are extremely remote areas, and while that isolation offers incredible experiences to be had, it also means that emergency services can take a long time to reach you. By being mindful and cautious, you can ensure that your time in the areas surrounding Hanksville is nothing short of incredible.