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San Rafael Swell Trip Reports

The Wedge: West Side of the Good Water Rim Trail

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 ...
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Upper Eardley Canyon from Cliff Dweller Flat

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 ...
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Cane Wash: Locomotive Point to the San Rafael River

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 ...
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Hondu Country: Upper Muddy Creek Gorge

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 ...
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Leap Day at Swasey’s Leap

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 ...
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Muddy Creek Wilderness: Chimney Canyon

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, ...
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Little Grand Canyon: Floating the San Rafael River

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 ...
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The Chute of Muddy Creek

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 ...
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Muddy Creek Country

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 ...
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Sids Mountain

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 ...
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Windy Weekend in The Swell

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 ...
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Little Grand Canyon

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 ...
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A Swell Birthday Weekend

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 ...
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Tour de Swell

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 ...
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After Thanksgiving Swell Trip

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 ...
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Northern San Rafael Swell Rock Art

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.

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Ivie Creek and the Molen Seep

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.

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A Hot Day in the Swell Searching for Rock Art

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…

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Buckhorn Flat & Wash Rock Art

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.

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The Ascending Sheep & Ferron Box

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 ...
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Snow Day in the Swell

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 ...
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‘Swell’ Rock Art & Arches

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.

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A Swell Tour | Sunday

Sunday, April 18, 2010

After packing up camp on Sunday morning, I revisited the San Rafael Bridge in the light before we took off.

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A Swell Tour | Saturday

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.

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Halloween in the Swell

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.

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A ‘Swell’ Weekend & more…

Saturday & Sunday, May 2-3, 2009

Last Wednesday was Amanda’s birthday, and for her birthday she wanted to go to Goblin Valley. She picked this weekend, so I planned a little trip around it. We left right after work on Friday and headed straight for Hanksville to setup camp. It was a very nice evening and we got a great night of sleep.

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A Weekend in the San Rafael Swell

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.

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Green River to Price

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.

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