Little Wild Horse tips for this weekend? Deep cold water in canyon?


Mar 1, 2015
I will be camping at Goblin Valley with my family this upcoming weekend and was really hoping to hike Little Wild Horse Canyon (along with Bell Canyon, probably). This would be just my 2nd slot canyon, so I'm very excited. I have some novice questions about water in the canyon:

1. Should I expect water in these canyons? If so, how deep? And will the deep parts just be occasional, or will they maybe be consistent? Normally I don't think I'd mind some occasional chest-deep water sections if it were during the heat of the day. But on this trip, if there is water at all, I would probably leave the wife/kids behind, in which case I would need to do it early in the morning. So if there's a lot of deep water I would worry about it being miserable/dangerous. Anyway, if anyone has a feel for the current conditions, please let me know.

2. Also please let me know if you have any input regarding what to wear/bring; I was just planning on wearing an old pair of sneakers and bringing some dry clothes (including several pairs of wool socks) to change into if/when I get too cold. But let me know if I'm an idiot and if a wetsuit or other such gear is needed.

3. Flash floods? I'll keep my eye on the weather forecasts for the general area... if it continues to be sunny with no rain, does that mean I'm good to go? I'll also ask the Goblin Valley folks. Please let me know if there are other precautions I should take. For some reason I am more worried about the freezing pools of water than I am about flash flood danger on this particular trip.

4. Or if anyone has any recommendations for any other non-technical slot canyons in the area that may be more dry, please let me know! If it's really close to Goblin Valley, it doesn't have to be kid-friendly, as I could go solo (but it still needs to be non-technical); or, if there's a family-friendly option on the way back to Denver, that would also be great---that way we could all stop and do it on our way home.

Thanks in advance for any help!
Little Wild Horse is not really known for holding a lot of water. If it's rained recently then you can expect some puddles and very small pools but not like swimming or wading type pools. You don't need a wetsuit or anything special, but at the same time, if you encounter unusual conditions, react accordingly.

Don't go in there if there's a chance of rain. Blue skies can turn into stormy skies quickly. Watch the forecast and check with Goblin Valley park rangers if there's any doubt.
Thanks Nick! Sounds like I'll plan on it, weather permitting
This is about the worst we saw the day after a pretty good rain. I agree with @Nick current weather conditions should be your guide. Have fun you and children will love it.

I've done Little Wild Horse many times now.

I don't know what kind of precipitation they've had down there
but in Utah County, we've got a fair amount of rain the last few weeks.

Here's what I ran into Thanksgiving of '16 after some significant rain.
This came up to above my knees so we decided to turn around here, only because I didn't want to be cold and wet.
This is the deepest I've ever experienced it.

This one's from Bell Canyon.

Here the standing water provided a chance to do some stemming.

As stated earlier, unless there is an active storm upstream no worries.

Have fun it's a great little hike.If you end up doing Bell Canyon
know that it has a longer approach hike, something like 1 - 1.5 miles
that can feel like 5 miles.
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