Little Wild Horse/Bell Canyon Loop

Jon Carbaugh

Member
.
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
206
Since moving to Utah a few months ago we have seen and done a lot, however something big was missing for me. I have been day dreaming of getting into some narrows after reading a lot the trip reports on BCP. So when my wife said she wanted to take a weekend off from traveling I jumped at the chance to do a solo trip down to the San Rafael Swell and get in some. I also knew it was just about perfect timing as it had not rained in over a week, possibly 2, and there was really not much of a chance this weekend. The weather had also cooled a bit so it wasn’t going to be crazy hot. I woke up early on Saturday Sept 17th and rolled out about 5 a.m. After stopping numerous times to get some shots of the Harvest moon setting and stopping to see the Temple Mt. pictographs, I arrived at the Little Wild Horse/Bell Canyon trail head about 9:30. There were only 10 to 12 cars in the main lot upon arrival so I wasn’t too worried about much of a crowd. I was on the trail by 10:15 and very shortly thereafter, in my fist slots! I was stoked! I only saw a couple of groups along the way which was great. I went back a couple of weeks later with my wife on Columbus Day weekend and it was slam packed full of families.

The Harvest Moon setting over the Swell.
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Temple Mt. Pictographs
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Little Wild Horse Butte.
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Most of LWHC was completely dry.
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Really cool Tafoni. I've seen almost the exact shot on another report or two.
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I climbed up on a shelf and found a couple of pools, the most water I saw in LWHC.
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Walking the road to the back of Bell Canyon.
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The backside of Bell Canyon sign.
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The beginning, or rather the end, of Bell Canyon.
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Really cool wood grained rock.
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I caught up to a young couple from Oregon close to the more narrower parts of Bell Canyon, during this section, where we also encountered a little water, I was too busy chatting with them and forgot to take any pictures.
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When done, I grabbed one of the cool campsites nearby and had diner with a fire and a few brews.
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After all I have seen and read, the Swell did not disappoint! This was a great place, with some great weather for an introduction to some narrows.

Thanks and Cheers!
 

SteveR

Member
Joined
Sep 22, 2016
Messages
484
We found different conditions on October 3. Unbeknownst to us, a "once in a hundred year" level of flash flooding had swept through those canyons 2 days prior, leaving trim lines plainly visible 2-3 feet up the sides of the wide wash, sweeping right through the parking area, and depositing 4 inches of mud in the outhouse, which a grunting worker was struggling to remove. The trailhead register had a report from October 2 of 2 deep pools in LWHC, the upper one long, and chest deep. We headed up thinking "we can do this" but when faced with the first thigh deep pool about a half mile into the canyon, with the worst yet to come- we wimped out as strong winds were reaching right down into the canyon and the air temperature was only 48 degrees in there. Backing up, we went up Bell, bridged over the first pool easily enough but were then faced with climbing up or around a deeply filled pothole, where attempts at a bypass were thwarted by wet silty rock, and muddy shoes. Foiled again! We will have to return in drier conditions.
Plus 1 on those camping spots- we stayed in a similar one as well.

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Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,934
We found different conditions on October 3. Unbeknownst to us, a "once in a hundred year" level of flash flooding had swept through those canyons 2 days prior, leaving trim lines plainly visible 2-3 feet up the sides of the wide wash, sweeping right through the parking area, and depositing 4 inches of mud in the outhouse, which a grunting worker was struggling to remove. The trailhead register had a report from October 2 of 2 deep pools in LWHC, the upper one long, and chest deep. We headed up thinking "we can do this" but when faced with the first thigh deep pool about a half mile into the canyon, with the worst yet to come- we wimped out as strong winds were reaching right down into the canyon and the air temperature was only 48 degrees in there. Backing up, we went up Bell, bridged over the first pool easily enough but were then faced with climbing up or around a deeply filled pothole, where attempts at a bypass were thwarted by wet silty rock, and muddy shoes. Foiled again! We will have to return in drier conditions.
Plus 1 on those camping spots- we stayed in a similar one as well.

View attachment 49584

It definitely flooded good, but whoever told you it was a 100 year flood was exaggerating just a bit. Cool pic of the aftermath.
 
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