Entry Points:

About San Rafael Swell

The San Rafael Swell is a fascinating area of central Utah formed by the uplifting of the earth's crust. Along the eastern edge of the swell, the layers of rock can be seen sticking hundreds of feet up into the air at a forth-five degree angle. This is called the San Rafael Reef. Narrow, cliff-lined canyons pass through the reef in numerous places. The area behind the reef is carved up by deep canyons.

The San Rafael Swell is simply a geological area and has not political designation. It has been proposed to turn it into a National Monument at times. It is a popular destination for adventuring, four-wheeling and camping. The climate is dry, vegetation scarse, leaving rock and earth exposed. Junipers and cedars can be found in area shaded from the sun. Interstate 70 crosses the swell, making a dramatic climb through the reef, and then crossing the highlands at the center of the swell.

What to See at the San Rafael Swell

Temple Mountain Road is a paved road that leads up through the reef near Temple Mountain. The is the access to the parking area where four-wheelers unload their equipment. Cliffs along the road reach several hundred feet high, formed in yellow standstone. The road continues northeast into the swell and eventually reaches Interstate 70.

Cottonwood Wash Road access the northern part of the swell, where the San Rafael River and other minor creeks (some now dry) have cut deep canyons into the swell. This area is characterized by flat-topped mesas broken up by canyons with cliffs as much as a 1000 feet high.

Street Index

a dirt road
a road
a trail
a turnout
Behind the Reef Road
BLM Route 643
BLM Route 7183
Bottleneck Peak
Buckhorn Wash Road
Cottonwood Wash Road
Four Corners Mine Road
Hatt's Ranch Road
Heart of Sinbad Road
Hyde Draw Road
Interstate 70
North Temple Wash Road
Old Highway 24
San Rafael Bridge Campground
San Rafael River
State Highway 24
Temple Mountain Road

In San Rafael Swell:

1,871 Photographs

San Rafael Swell is in: