San Rafael Swell

San Rafael Swell   |  Marc Piscotty
  • Weather: Mostly Sunny, 31F

The San Rafael Swell, a 70 by 40-mile geologic upheaval located in southeastern Utah, has been cut, shaped and formed over thousands of years into a crazy assembly of sandstone buttresses, canyons and plateaus. The northern Swell, located north of Interstate 70, offers fantastic hiking, backpacking, biking, and camping at all levels of fun. The area offers a less crowded alternative for those who are willing to make the journey to the more remote spots on the map.

Where to Start

The Wedge Overlook is a good place to begin exploring the northern Swell. The view from here offers a bird’s eye perspective of the Little Grand Canyon, a 14-mile path cut from the Earth’s crust by the San Rafael River. This 1000-foot deep gorge reveals towering sandstone cliffs that overlook the canyon’s bottom which is lined with cottonwoods, rabbit brush, and greasewood. The overlook also offers great views of Sids Mountain, Assembly Hall Peak, and the highest point in the Swell, Window Blind Peak.

Things to Do

More to Do

Getting There + Logistics

This is a very isolated area so come prepared. Be sure to drink plenty of water and fill up your gas tanks before heading in. There are no fees to enter the San Rafael Swell. Since the roads are gravel, travel can sometimes be difficult after a storm. There are access roads to the San Rafael Swell from S.R. 10 near Huntington and Castle Dale. Visit Utah's Castle Country for mile-by-mile directions to the Wedge Overlook, Little Horse Canyon and a number of other regional San Rafael attractions.

What's Nearby

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