Hot Spot: San Rafael Swell, UT


The San Rafael River region in Utah north of I-70 is just northwest of the town of Green River, and about two hours west of Grand Junction, CO. Salt Lake City is just over three hours away.


Central Utah’s San Rafael Swell is a magnificent 80 by 30-mile adventure area packed with mountain peaks, a river, amazing geology, rock art, hiking, climbing, biking, snow shoeing and much more. The canyon was carved out by the San Rafael River millions of years ago.

The river is great for kayaking, rafting, floating, fish and of course swimming.

The big visual draw here is the Wedge Overlook, regarded as one of the best scenic vistas in the state. It overlooks the San Rafael River as it flows through the “Little Grand Canyon.” From here you can see Window Blind Peak and the southern Buckhorn Wash area.

Most of this area is under the supervision of the Bureau of Land Management, with much of it also open to four-wheelers and off-road motorcyclists.

There are toilet facilities at the Wedge, handicap access, and camping in designated areas.

Camping in the area is first come first serve so plan accordingly. Except during a full moon, campers are regularly treated to very dark night skies which are great for astro-photography and quiet nights.

Despite its great beauty The Wedge area remains relatively unknown and overlooked because of its rather close proximity to several other national parks, including Arches, Zion and Canyonlands.

Horses are welcome on the trails, to go along with those on two feet and two or four wheels.

As is the case in many canyons in the area, beware of flash floods in the region.

The views are great from the top, or the bottom of the canyon.

The views are great from the top, or the bottom of the canyon.

You can find more details at

Photos courtesy of Emery County.