Muddy River and Wild Horse Canyon

Ben Egbert

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Staff member
Muddy River and Wild Horse Canyon

Last summer Jeffrey and I tried to drive this road from Factory Butte to Goblin Valley, but we got stopped at the Muddy River ford. I am sure it can be done some years if you find the right branch of the road. This road splits into several branches just as you reach the river. The branches are fairly long and in a sort of Cain break which means you can’t see one from the other. The main road stops at the river with a 3 foot sheer drop off into the river.

This is not really a problem because its easy to get to the other side via Goblin Valley and the north side is the side of interest.


Just drive to the Goblin Valley turn off from highway 24. This is Temple Valley Jct. Then drive to the Goblin Valley Road turn off and turn left.

When you are just about at the entrance you will see a road junction named Muddy River Road. A on the map. Follow this road until you reach the Bell Canyon and Wild horse Canyon trailhead. B on the map.

These two canyons form an 8 mile 4 hour hiking loop. I am not into slot canyons but I did hike about the first mile of Bell Canyon.

So far the road has been easy, but now it becomes a bit rougher, but it was pretty easy in my 4WD Tundra. There are some rocks and maybe some sand that I would not attempt in a passenger car.

This is the scenic part of the trip. You can see parts of the San Rafael Swell along this road. I also found a neat field of wild flowers.

Scenes along the road.
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You can see Factory Butte in the distance as you near the river.
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The River. This is the end of the road unless you find a ford C on the map.
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This next scene features some bentonite hills. I thought this my favorite part of the trip which I took on my way back.
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Here are a couple pictures taken about 1 mile into Bell Canyon. This is the wrong time of day for here so just to give a feel for what this slot looks like

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Last edited:


Well-Known Member
A day or two ago, I drove the trail from the other end (starting from Factory Butte) and the time was well spent scenic-wise. I came upon the crossing noted above from the other side but couldn't determine the depth of the water because 1.) the river is muddy and couldn't see the bottom and 2.) I didn't want to wade in. From your picture it doesn't look all that deep. I was met with a steep embankment also which means that the river curved around from your spot and we would have had to climb down the embankment and then climb back up to completely cross. This is pure speculation of course.

Ben Egbert

Forum Helper
Staff member
Rick, there are many branches of the road, and one of them does not have that steep bank. That country is amazing for great scenery.
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