Travels with Tucker

Travels with Tucker

Sunday, November 8, 2015

San Rafael Swell--the Next National Park?

Along I-70 between Green River and Salida in Utah lies some of the most interesting and beautiful landscape in Utah, the San Rafael Swell. On our six-week trek through Utah in the spring, we explored the edges of this area at Capitol Reef NP, but we never got into the heart of it.  Getting into the heart is not easy, since this area is crossed by few roads and those are mostly rough dirt tracks. We were able to spend almost a week in Green River and venture into the San Rafael Swell for some cool exploring. We visited the popular Goblin Valley State Park and the less-well-know Little Wildhorse Canyon nearby.  We almost avoided the trek out to Horseshoe Canyon, a very remote part of Canyonlands National Park, but decided to brave the 45-mile dirt road round trip and 8+ mile hike and were really glad we did. This area contains some of the best rock art in all of North America--over 2,000 years old!

This  wild and mostly-uninhabited area is very worth exploring for those who like solitude and vast landscapes that are not very hospitable to us humans.

Please check out my  Outdoor Project pages for these adventures!

Little Wildhorse Canyon
Horseshoe Canyon

Hiking up the wash towards Little Wildhorse Canyon

A classic Utah slot canyon

Even Tucker liked this hike!

The  rock walls were so interesting and beautiful

Very narrow in places

Overlooking Goblin Valley

The "goblins" are highly-weathered sandstone formations that cover a 1/2-mile-long valley

These goblins greeted us on our drive in

The long and lonely road to Horseshoe Canyon

Dinosaur footprint on the trail down to Horseshoe Canyon

This was a remote and beautiful place

One of the rock art panels in the canyon, thought to  be 2,000 to 3,000 years old

Rock art from the Fremont people 

Aliens or gods?  Who knows?

Uninhabited as far as the eye can see

A very clear day looking east to the LaSal Mountains

After the long hike, we still had to drive 23 miles back to the highway

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