San Rafael Swell

San Rafael Swell Region

The San Rafael Swell, 2,000 square miles of public land, is a massive maze of winding canyons, broken fins and buttes in the heart of Utah. It is known for its scenic sandstone formations, deep canyons, desert streams, and expansive panoramas. Offering many of the same sights that can be seen in several of Utah’s national parks, but allowing visitors to enjoy these sights in leisurely solitude, the San Rafael Swell has been considered one of the “undiscovered” natural wonders of the American West. It also provides sights that cannot be found anywhere else, such as Goblin Valley and the San Rafael Reef. Hiking opportunities here range from easy to strenuous, technical canyoneering.

The San Rafael Swell is located between Castle Dale, Green River, Hanksville and the northern end of Capitol Reef National Park. As a part of the Colorado Plateau, the San Rafael Swell is high desert country, which means it is very different from the Sonoran desert of the Southwest. In some areas, it is a vast country with slot canyons, towering mesas, buttes, and pinnacles rising from flat desert floors. In other regions, there are simply rolling pasturelands full of antelope and wild horses.

Adventurous attractions include Goblin Valley State Park, San Rafael Reef, The Wedge and Little Grand Canyon, and Little Wild Horse Canyon.

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