Halloween Weekend | Saturday & Sunday, October 30-31, 2021
This weekend Diane was able to get away from her schoolwork for the second time this month, so we decided to head on over to the San Rafael Swell for a little mountain biking on The Wedge. I’ve known about the Good Water Rim Trail for a long time and have always thought it might be fun to take my mountain bike over there to check it out, but I never got around to it before. However, now that I have a mountain bike that I actually enjoy riding and have ...
Black Dragon Wash to Ernie Canyon
Friday – Sunday, January 29-31, 2021
Over the past couple of years I’ve spent a weekend in January exploring the canyons of the San Rafael Reef at the edge of the San Rafael Swell just west of Green River. I guess I’ve continued to do this each year because it’s an easy drive from home and it doesn’t really matter if there is snow on the ground or not. Plus, it’s just a great place to explore anytime! With this weekend being the last one in January and the weather looking good, I thought ...
Saturday, November 14, 2020
Since our planned trip to the Esplanade with Jerry this week had already been cancelled, Diane and I now had a free weekend to get out hiking together again. We decided to stay closer to home and check out some new canyons in the San Rafael Swell. Earlier in the year I had planned for us to hike into upper Eardley Canyon during our Leap Day weekend trip, but the roads were too wet and muddy in the area at the time, so we ended up skipping it and heading home early. I thought that would ...
Friday – Saturday, November 6-7, 2020
I was originally planning to spend three days alone on Cedar Mesa this weekend, but the weather forecast had other plans for me with rain and snow predicted for much of that time. So instead of driving all the way down to Cedar Mesa and getting shut down by the weather, I planned to stay a little closer to home in the San Rafael Swell so I could try to get a hike in on Saturday morning and then head home before the storm arrived. I decided that hiking down Cane Wash to the ...
Tomsich Butte to Poor Canyon, Road Hollow to Fix-It Pass & Slipper Arch
Friday & Saturday, May 1-2, 2020
I was originally supposed to be in the San Rafael Swell this weekend for an event that was cancelled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, but since most of Utah, including Emery County, was open to camping again I decided to still head into the Swell so I could spend Saturday hiking and exploring more of the Muddy Creek Wilderness. I’ve gone on a couple of great trips along the Muddy Creek over the past few years and have been looking ...
Leap Day | Saturday & Sunday, February 29 – March 1, 2020
This year Leap Day (February 29th) happened to fall on a weekend, so I thought it would be fitting to finally get out to Swasey’s Leap in the San Rafael Swell to celebrate. Swasey’s Leap (sometimes spelled Swazys) is a narrow part of the canyon near the beginning of the Lower Black Box of the San Rafael River that is only about 14 feet wide and 50 feet deep. The lore associated with Swasey’s Leap is that back in the late 1800’s Sid and Charley Swasey made a ...
Uneva Canyon & Three Fingers Canyon Loop
Saturday, January 11, 2020
For the past couple of years it seems like I always end up hiking on the San Rafael Reef at the beginning of the year in early to mid-January, so I guess this year is not going to be an exception! Maybe it’s because it’s an easy drive from home on I-70 and makes for a good day trip when there is snow on the ground in the desert. Anyway, this weekend Diane was supposed to go snowshoeing with a couple of her friends on the Grand Mesa so ...
Veterans Day Weekend | Friday – Monday, November 8-11, 2019
While we have been spending the long Veterans Day Weekend backpacking somewhere along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon these past couple of years, this year I decided to find something a little closer to home since we just hiked down into Havasu Canyon a couple weeks ago and I didn’t really want to drive back to the Grand Canyon twice within a couple of weeks. After hiking through the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek last year and then floating through The Chute of Muddy Creek earlier this year, ...
Fuller Bottom to the Swinging Bridge
Friday – Sunday, June 21-23, 2019
When I decided to float The Chute of Muddy Creek a couple of weeks ago I thought at the time that I was making a decision between doing that or floating the San Rafael River this year. I really didn’t think that the San Rafael River would have enough water left for me to float it later this month and I had already made plans for last weekend’s trip through Slick Rock Canyon. I was very wrong about that and was surprised to see that it was still ...
Tomsich Butte to Hidden Splendor
Friday – Saturday, June 7-8, 2019
With the big snowpack we’ve had this year and the cooler spring temperatures that delayed the snowmelt, now that it’s finally started to warm up I decided that I would try to take advantage of the higher flows this month and get out on some sections of rivers and creeks around me that have been on my to-do list for far too long. High up on that list is The Chute of Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell, so for the past couple of weeks I’ve been keeping ...
Backcountry Fest 2019 | Friday – Saturday, April 5-6, 2019
I was originally supposed to spend this entire weekend with Diane in the San Rafael Swell at the very first Backcountry Fest, but then Underoath announced a concert in Grand Junction on Saturday night that we wanted to go to which kind of messed up our plans. Instead of cancelling the weekend trip completely, I decided that I would still head down on Friday evening to meet up and hang out with the group at a campsite near Temple Mountain, and then I would go for a shorter hike by ...
The San Rafael Reef
Saturday, January 12, 2019
Since Diane took an extra shift at work today I decided to drive over into Utah so I could do a little hiking on the northern San Rafael Reef since I hadn’t been back out that way since last January. I just hoped I wouldn’t lose a wheel on my Jeep this time since I’d be driving down that same road again! When I woke up this morning there was a fresh layer of snow on the ground at my house, so I checked the weather forecast and it looked like the ...
The Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek & Skyline Rim
Friday – Sunday, May 11-13, 2018
This weekend I left after work on Friday and headed down into Muddy Creek Country at the southern end of the San Rafael Swell. I have wanted to hike into the Grand Gorge of Muddy Creek for many years now and decided it was finally time to go do it! As I was driving west into Utah there was a pretty strong headwind which killed my fuel mileage, but since the weather forecast was predicting strong winds all weekend, I was expecting it. I just ...
Friday – Sunday, March 23-25, 2018
This weekend I decided to take a break from exploring Canyonlands National Park and Bears Ears National Monument, so I headed over to the San Rafael Swell instead. This allowed me to avoid driving through the area surrounding Moab during the popular and very busy Easter Jeep Safari. I had decided earlier this year as I was making my plans for the spring that it was finally time to hike to the Kofford Cabin on Sids Mountain since it had been on my to-do list for a pretty long time. Originally, I was planning ...
The Edge of The Swell II
Sunday, January 14, 2018
After spending Saturday exploring northern canyons of the San Rafael Reef, we headed further south on Sunday morning near Temple Mountain and Goblin Valley to hike another canyon that cuts through the Reef. A few years back Diane and I had hiked Crack Canyon and really enjoyed it, so I thought it would be a good day to come back and hike it’s neighbor, Chute Canyon. Typically, these two canyons are linked together to make a nice long loop, but I’m actually glad we hiked them separately so we could ...
Northern San Rafael Reef
Saturday, January 13, 2018
After having to cancel my hiking plans the previous weekend, Diane headed back with me this weekend to spend some time exploring a few canyons of the San Rafael Reef based out of Green River. We spent Saturday in the northern section of the San Rafael Reef and started the day by revisiting Cottonwood Wash....
Saturday & Sunday, April 29-30, 2017
After staying up late the last four nights in a row to attend concerts and then getting up for work early the following mornings, it was finally time for me to sleep in on Saturday! I woke up around 9:00am (I really cannot recall the last time I slept in that late), packed my camping gear into the Jeep and started driving west to the San Rafael Swell where I would spend the rest of the day hiking in canyons and searching for rock art. It was very windy out all day, which is ...
San Rafael River Gorge | Friday & Saturday, March 31 – April 1, 2017
Visiting the Little Grand Canyon in the heart of the northern San Rafael Swell has been something I have wanted to do for a long time. I’ve looked down into the gorge from the edge of The Wedge may times before and thought to myself that I needed to get down there. I had always dismissed going there on a day-hike because of it’s length and figured I would be able to catch the San Rafael River at the right time so I could take my ...
Saturday & Sunday, February 11-12, 2017
Since Saturday was my birthday, we decided to spend the weekend in the San Rafael Swell based out of Green River to celebrate. We ended up visiting a bunch of rock art sites that I hadn’t been to in a while and that Diane had never been to (much like our day trip to Moab a few weeks ago), but we also found a couple of new sites. I had hoped to visit more new sites on this trip, but the roads in those areas were still pretty muddy, so we stuck to the ...
Saturday, January 30, 2016
Years ago I tried hiking into Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon, which are slot canyons that cut through the San Rafael Reef near Goblin Valley State Park, but I was chased away by thunderstorms that day and have never returned to try again. Since that time the popularity of these slot canyons have exploded, which is part of the reason I had never bothered to return. I finally decided that it was time to head back this weekend to hike these San Rafael Swell classics. I was hoping that we wouldn’t run into the ...
Saturday, November 7, 2015
On Saturday morning Diane and I left home early and drove west into Utah to go hiking in the desert. Our destination was Crack Canyon in the San Rafael Reef which is not too far away from the much more popular Little Wild Horse Canyon and Goblin Valley State Park. After getting off the highway and following Temple Mountain Road through the reef, we took the Behind the Reef Road to Crack Canyon and drove down the wash to the Wilderness Study Area boundary. We parked here and started hiking down the canyon. It was a ...
Saturday, February 7, 2015
Yes, I am aware that the title of this trip report doesn’t make much sense, but that’s OK since I liked the sound of it. Way back in June of 2011 I was hiking with my friend Philippe at the edge of the San Rafael Swell when we discovered a new Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel that no one seemed to have seen before. When I wrote up the trip report for that day I decided to call it the Unexpected Panel since we were looking for something else and the find was very unexpected. That ...
Sunday, January 25, 2015
A few years ago Marty and I had spent our New Year’s Eve along the San Rafael Reef in search of rock art. That day we found some new panels but were unable to find a few others. We decided to head back there today so we could try again. I met Marty in Green River at 7:00am this morning and we took off for a day of hiking and exploring along the San Rafael Reef....
Saturday & Sunday, March 29-30, 2014
I recently realized that I hadn’t been out to the San Rafael Swell in quite some time and felt it was time to get back again. Diane had never been to the Swell before so I thought it would be nice to give her an overview tour of the northern Swell this weekend. She would get to see some new sights and I would get to revisit and rephotograph some sites I have been to in the past. We left Grand Junction early on Saturday morning and made our way west through Green River ...
San Rafael Swell Rock Art X
Black Friday & Saturday, November 23-24, 2012
After spending most of Thanksgiving Day at home it was time to get back out exploring again. Normally I take at least a few trips throughout the year to the San Rafael Swell, but I guess I was too preoccupied with the Paria Plateau this year since I still hadn’t made it out there. I decided it was time to at least make one trip out to the Swell this year, so that’s where I headed. I left well before sunrise on on Black Friday and was ...
San Rafael Swell Rock Art IX
New Year’s Eve | Saturday, December 31, 2011
We finally made it…the last trip of the year 2011! On New Years Eve morning I met up with Marty in Green River so that we could head over to the San Rafael Reef and Desert to search for some new rock art sites....
San Rafael Swell Rock Art VIII
Saturday, November 26, 2011
After spending Black Friday in Nine Mile Canyon I spent Saturday searching for and visiting some new rock art sites in the San Rafael Swell. After a quick breakfast in Green River I made my way over to visit the Prickly Pear Flat pictograph panel....
San Rafael Swell Rock Art VII
Sunday, October 30, 2011
After spending Saturday hiking to the Dragonfly Panel, I decided to head over to the San Rafael Swell to visit some new rock art sites. The first site I visited is actually just a little bit west of the Swell along Ivie Creek at the edge of the Wasatch Plateau. It was a little tricky finding the way up to this panel, but I did manage to make it up there....
San Rafael Swell Rock Art VI
Saturday, July 30, 2011
On Saturday I met up with my friend Kevin for the first time so that we could do a little hiking in the San Rafael Swell and hopefully find a few new rock art panels. Luckily, we did end up finding the panels we were looking for…so here’s a few photos from our day....
San Rafael Swell Rock Art V
Saturday, July 23, 2011
I spent Saturday in the San Rafael Swell visiting some new and old rock art sites. It was pretty hot out and the bugs were out in force during my first hike, but it was still a great day! I found many cool new panels while I was out exploring. I’ll let the photos do the talking…...
San Rafael Swell Rock Art IV | Discovering the Unexpected Panel
Sunday, June 19, 2011
Originally this hiking trip in the San Rafael Swell was put together to so that I could meet up with my friend Philippe while he was out on a long trip to the Southwest, but it ended up being a very memorable and unique experience for me. I usually try to do a little research and planning when I am going to be exploring a new area, but other than knowing the general area we would be in, I left all the planning up to ...
San Rafael Swell Rock Art III
Saturday, June 18, 2011
This Saturday I was going to meet my friend Philippe from France at Goblin Valley in the evening. That gave me all day to do some exploring on my own along the San Rafael Reef. I started out driving south from I-70 along the Reef to Three Fingers Canyon. I hadn’t been there in a year or two and I wanted to get some better photos of the petroglyphs....
San Rafael Swell Rock Art II
Sunday, May 1, 2011
After spending a long weekend in Salt Lake City for Amanda’s birthday, we headed home through the San Rafael Swell so that I could stop at a few easily accessible rock art panels at the base of Cedar Mountain that I had not been to before. Here’s a few photos I took....
San Rafael Swell Rock Art I
Saturday, April 23, 2011
The weekend following my long week in The Maze and on Cedar Mesa I was ready to head back out and search for some rock art. This time Amanda and I headed back to the San Rafael Swell so that we could attempt to visit the Ascending Sheep Panel and the Ferron Box panels. Back in March Dave and I had attempted to get to the Ascending Sheep Panel, but the snow we got that day slowed us down and we ran out of time after spending most of the ...
Saturday, February 19, 2011
Bright and early Saturday morning, Amanda and I got up and headed west to the San Rafael Swell. We knew it was probably going to snow on us, but we didn’t realize just how much it was going to snow and for how long. We were meeting our friend Dave at the Rochester Creek Panel at 8:30am, and I gave us what I thought was plenty of time to get there. Unfortunately, once we reached the San Rafael Reef, we hit the snow. The interstate was covered, so driving was slower than I had planned. We ...
Saturday, November 27, 2010
On Saturday, Amanda and I headed west to the San Rafael Swell so we could go for a hike in Wild Horse Canyon. Before reaching our destination, we stopped by the pictographs along Temple Mountain Wash....
Saturday, November 6, 2010
If you haven’t noticed, I’ve sort of been in a rock art mood lately. I figured I would keep in the rock art mood by heading over to the San Rafael Swell to check out a few of the rock art sites I have missed in the past....
Sunday, April 18, 2010
After packing up camp on Sunday morning, I revisited the San Rafael Bridge in the light before we took off....
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I’ve spent plenty of time in the San Rafael Swell in the past, however it always seems that whenever I go, Amanda is not able to go with. This time Amanda was able to go with me, so we ended up hitting up a lot of sites that I’ve been to before that she hadn’t. Don’t worry, I also checked out some new trails and sites along the way, too....
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Since Amanda is in Illinois for the next week, I decided that I would head out to the San Rafael Swell for Halloween this year. I was originally planning on camping and making it a weekend trip, but since a cold front came through earlier this week, I changed my mind and didn’t feel like camping anymore, so I made it a day trip instead....
Friday – Sunday, April 25-27, 2008
Last weekend I spent some time with my friends Ryan and Clint exploring the San Rafael Swell. They arrived early Friday, but I was stuck working until 5:30pm that day, so I arrived after the cover of night, after taking a wrong turn and getting down a narrow bumpy road with my truck and trailer. After finding a place to turn around, I arrived at our campsite under Cedar Mountain sometime after 9:00pm....
IntrepidXpedition 2007 | Day 13
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
This morning I started out by heading west on I-70 through the San Rafael Reef and up onto the San Rafael Swell....