San Rafael Swell

San Rafael Swell   |  Marc Piscotty
  • Weather: Sunny, 97F

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 an incredible assembly of sandstone buttresses, canyons and plateaus. The northern Swell, located north of Interstate 70, offers fantastic hiking, backpacking, biking and camping at all intensity levels. The area offers a less crowded alternative for those who journey to the more remote spots on the map.

Where to Start

The Wedge Overlook is an excellent place to begin exploring the northern Swell.  It’s an often overlooked viewpoint and campground that 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 1,000-foot-deep gorge reveals towering sandstone cliffs that overlook the canyon’s bottom, 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

The Swell is a very isolated area, so come prepared. Be sure to pack plenty of water and fill your gas tanks. There are no fees to enter the San Rafael Swell. Since the roads are gravel, storms can often result in muddy roads, making travel difficult. Access roads to the San Rafael Swell from S.R. 10 are near Huntington and Castle Dale. Visit Utah's Castle Country for mile-by-mile directions to the Wedge Overlook, Little Horse Canyon and other regional San Rafael attractions.

What's Nearby

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