Utah has many popular tourist destinations but few of these are as near to the Wasatch front and as open for enjoyment as the San Rafael Swell. Two thousand square miles of narrow, circuitous canyons, scenic cliffs and towering buttes make up one of Utah’s best outdoor playgrounds. The “Swell” is particularly suited for many activities such as camping, hiking, biking, rock climbing, sightseeing, ORVs and even canoeing.
This large geologic anticline is located between Castle Dale, Green River, Price and Hanksville. It began its formation 50 million years ago. Over time the sandstone has slowly been lifted and through erosion many cliffs and canyons have been carved. Enormous pressures from a deep basement fault have pushed Wingate and Navajo sandstone on the Eastern edge, the “San Rafael Reef,” near vertical.
Although some areas of the “Swell” are very remote, many wonderful sites are as available as stopping at a freeway rest stop. I-70 divides the “Swell” in half a Northern and a Southern section. There are good graveled roads that lead to Reds Canyon, Temple Mountain and Hidden Splendor in the South. In the North graded roads lead to Buckhorn Wash, Little Grand Canyon and Mexican Mountain. For the more adventurous sight seers there are much more difficult roads which take you even more stunning locations.