Wild Horse Canyon (not to be confused with Little Wild Horse Canyon) is a pleasant little non-technical canyon hike in the southern end of the San Rafael Swell near Goblin Valley State Park.
The trail is accessed from the Chute Canyon Road (38.65545,-110.71038), just west of the Temple Mountain camping area and north of Goblin Valley in the San Rafael Swell.
From Hanksville, go north on Highway 24 to the turn to Goblin Valley State Park on the left. Turn here, continuing on this road, passing the next major left signed for Goblin Valley. Continue straight, passing the first camping area on the left and then passing the next camping area on the right. Just past the second camping area, make a left onto the signed road for Chute Canyon. Continue on this road until Horse Canyon crosses the road at the coordinates listed above. Park here and head south down the canyon.
There are no fees to park at this trailhead.
I hiked this canyon in January, and it was a really nice time of the year for this hike. We didn’t see any other people, and it was just the right length for a pleasant day hike. There is nothing difficult or technical about this canyon, but it’s pretty and easy to get to. It might be pretty hot in the summer.
Just head down canyon and enjoy the hike. It’s about 3.5 miles from the car to the mouth of the canyon. Once out of the Reef, we climbed up on the slickrock and walked back towards Temple Mountain Road. We hit the road at the big camping area near the intersection of Temple Mountain Road and the road to Goblin Valley, and then just walked the road back to the car. The round trip distance was about 7.5 miles, and took us about 4.5 hours of relaxed walking. We also saw a desert bighorn sheep near the mouth of the canyon.
For a nice side trip, there is a very pretty window arch near the canyon. The coordinates for Wildhorse Window are 38.65333,-110.67639, and it’s labeled as a cave on the USGS topo maps. The window is outside of the canyon itself and requires a little bit of route finding to find, but there are cairns to help.
Permits & Regulations
No permits or fees are required.