Two day trip in the eastern area of San Rafael Swell
We arrived Friday morning to the campsite at about 2:45am. We were short on time so we kept to areas close together. Day one we did Little Wild Horse and Goblin Valley. Day two we did Ding and Dang.
No permits are required for these canyons. Goblin Valley has a $6 entrance fee for a car that is good for the day.
Little Wild Horse
The most popular of all the canyons in the swell. We decided to do this Friday morning to avoid any weekend groups. We camped near the trailhead to make things easier.
We took our time getting up and heading out since we arrived at the campsite late. We were on the trail by 9:50am. I had done Little Wild Horse before and it is pretty cool with some tight narrows but this time was different. Due to storms from the past two weeks there was a steady and stream of water that made both little wild horse and Bell canyon a lot more fun. The water didn't get much higher than mid thigh depending on your height. It made it all the more beautiful to see the water run its course and how it flows to shape the rock
. And it was fun to climb up the short waterfalls
. Normally bell canyon isn't too interesting but once again the flowing water made it really interesting. We got out at 1:50pm or 4 hours later and that was with lots of picture taking.
Right after we tried to do the Crack canyon but the road was really bad and we went down the wrong canyon trying to find it by foot (new gps, read it wrong).
So we decided to check out Goblin Valley state park in time for the sunset
. Had some fun hopping around on the "goblins" and checked out a couple of small caves.
Ding and Dang
We got a late start on this one as well. In good weather you're fine with just a passenger car but with all the flowing water the road to the trailhead was ugly. Unfortunately, we got stuck and had to get assistance from a truck to get out. We parked on sturdy ground and decided to go on foot again. By this time we had figured out the gps and punched in the points for the trailhead and the the junction that we got off www.climb-utah.com and we were able to find it fine. We entered Ding canyon at noon.
Once again the flowing water made this canyon a lot of fun. This one had a lot more boulder hopping and scrambling with a few semi-technical spots. Dang was the more technical of the two and had the most water. In a couple of spots we were up to mid-torso
even though these could have been avoided by bridging because the walls were close enough. The was one spot where we had to descend on a slope on the right side. It was exposed but we chose that route rather than trust the single rusted bolt