Bright Blue Sky in Little Wild Horse CanyonThis classic slot canyon located near Goblin Valley, Little Wild Horse Canyon is a popular hiking spot for all travelers. The main attractions are the narrow paths where you have to walk sideways to get through. Many hikers travel a short distance, then return the way they came in, or for the more adventurous types, follow the trails to Bell Canyon; a hike of about 8 miles. Visiting is best in the Spring and Fall, since rain can become a problem during the Summer months.

Little Wild Horse Canyon is named for the herds of wild mustangs that have roamed the San Rafael Swell since the early 1800s. These wild herds originally descended from horses that escaped from travelers along the Old Spanish Trail trade route between New Mexico and California. To the south of Green River is the Robbers Roost Herd Area, home to wild mustangs and burros. The 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act declared these animals to be “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West.” The Bureau of Land Management works to maintain a healthy balance between these wild herds and the other wildlife and livestock on public lands.

The Rochester Rock Art Panel is a half mile and takes about an hour to hike. It features ancient petroglyphs dating back at least 2500 years ago. The panel is at the end of a well marked, easy hike along a branch of Muddy Creek. The popular hiking trail to the Rochester Panel is great for all ages and abilities. Though a little rocky and primitive, the trail to the petroglyphs is only a half mile with 80 feet of elevation gain. The trail ends upon joining the main branch of Muddy Creek, an ancient river course that predates the rise of the San Rafael uplift 40 to 60 million years ago.

Joes Valley Reservoir is 7000 feet above sea level and offers good fishing for cutthroat trout, rainbow trout, tiger muskie and trophy lake. Boating, water skiing and canoeing are popular on the lake. A boat ramp is located nearby on the eastern shoreline. Horseback riding, bouldering, hiking and mountain biking are popular in the area as well. The boat ramp area has a large parking lot for day-use and overflow parking. Day use picnic areas near the boat ramp and there are staging areas for the Arapeen ATV trails near the north and west sides of the lake.

For a short, easy hike (3 miles roundtrip) over slickrock, the Eye of Sinbad (also known as Wild Horse Window) offers a unique and surprising destination—a hollowed slickrock chamber complete with natural oculus that frames the sky above.

More than 12,000 bones from at least 74 individual prehistoric animals have been excavated from the Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry. See replicas of a dinosaur skeleton and dinosaur skulls, explore hands-on exhibits, and visit an excavation pit where you’ll see dinosaur bones preserved in the mudstone just below your feet. Visitors can also examine the rib of a large sauropod along the “Rock Walk” interpretive footpath, or hike the Raptor Point Trail for a bird’s-eye view of the quarry.

The San Rafael Bridge, locally known as the swinging bridge, was built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in 1938. The swinging bridge was the only bridge over the San Rafael River until the 1990s. Though you can no longer drive on the bridge, it is perfectly safe to walk on. Water height of the river varies by season, but this bridge always makes for a great photo opportunity. This area is also a popular starting point for biking the Buckhorn Wash Road system, horseback trails, and OHV/ATV rides. Park in the nearby parking area, and strike off on whichever adventure suits you.

At Fossil Point, you can view dinosaur bones dating back to the Jurassic Era, 145 million years ago. Visitors who climb to the top of the point are rewarded with a closeup look at the huge bones of a Sauropod. Don’t forget to check out the view while you are there: from the top of the point you can see both the La Sal Mountains to the southeast and Henry Mountains to the southwest. The trails, though unofficial, are well used and easy to spot from the parking area. Important: it’s illegal to remove dinosaur fossils (even small fragments) from this site. Please feel free to photograph and touch, but do not remove any fossil evidence.

There is so much to do and see in Little Wild Horse Slot Canyon, you will need a few days to see and do it all. Book your stay with River Rock Inn and plan your vacation. For more information about the different activities available, visit The Swell Utah.