Wildhorse Window is a bushwhacking trail to a beautiful skylight arch near Goblin Valley State Park. This hike requires some cross-country hiking, so it may not be right for young families, but our 5 year-old really enjoyed it.
- Rating: Moderate because of uphill climb and no official trail.
- Distance: 2.0 miles roundtrip
- Elevation Gain: 500 feet
- Fees: None
- Tips: Hike in morning or evening to avoid the heat.
Wildhorse Window is very unique. It is a large hollowed out grotto in the mountainside. When you stand in the grotto and look up, a perfect skylight is carved out of the rock. It is an amazing feature, and is sometimes called the Eye of Sinbad because it looks like an eye.
There is no maintained trail to Wildhorse Window, but we didn’t have any problem getting there. That’s because you can see it from the road, and all you have to do is head straight for it. The trailhead is located on the road to Goblin Valley. Below are very specific directions.
Take the trail that leads downhill to the wash. You can follow this trail until it hits the slickrock. There is one tricky section as you climb down, but nothing too difficult. There is about a three foot drop where we helped each other down. When the trail ends, you’ll have to pick your way across the slickrock. There are no cairns to follow, but the cave was in sight most of the way, and we climbed straight toward it.
Eventually, we came to a sandy draw that we were able to follow right to the mouth of the grotto. Hike in the sand toward the cave. We wanted to avoid walking in the sand, but either side on the slick rock proved more difficult, so we recommend hiking in the sand toward the saddle below the cave.
It is hot and there is no shade on this hike, but don’t worry about getting lost. You can see your car nearly the whole time. Also, if you watch the rock wall right near the mouth of the grotto (maybe 100 yards down the sandy draw), you’ll see some beautiful petroglyphs. There was a hand, four sheep, a man, and a small dog. These petroglyphs looked authentic.
As we climbed into the grotto, we were in awe. The massive arch above took our breath away. We noticed some more petroglyphs on the right hand wall, but upon closer examination, most, if not all, of them seemed fake. There are also carvings in the rock. Some dated back to the 1950s.
One thing we worry about here at Utah’s Adventure Family is leading people to wonderful places like this, only to see them destroyed. If you make this hike, please, please, please, leave the sandstone alone. More scars on it don’t improve it, and you’re just leaving your name for us to pass judgement on. When dealing with nature, it is best to leave things as you find them. (Sorry about the soapbox).
Try Wildhorse Window if you’re ready for something different and a little bit more solitary than the crowd at Little Wildhorse Canyon!
Turn off Highway 24 as if you were going to Goblin Valley. Continue west following the signs to Goblin Valley. After a few miles, there is a left hand turn to Goblin Valley. Make the turn, but don’t go fast. Just a third of a mile down this road, there is a turnoff onto a dirt road (it is actually the third turnoff to the right). As you turn, look up at the slickrock face and you should see the large gaping grotto. It looks like a cave. Follow this smooth dirt road for a very short way (less than half a mile) until it widens with pullouts on either side. There is an obvious trail leading steeply down the hill.
Tips for Families
- Wear sunscreen and hats.
- Take lots of water. You will be hot as you hike on the open slick rock.
- Hike in the morning or evening to avoid the hottest parts of the day. Or visit in Spring or Fall when it’s not as warm.
- Take your time. Let your kids take breaks. This is a steep climb. And the downhill hike will go quickly.