"The Swell"

San Rafael Swell

6,909 Feet
The San Rafael Swell in Green River, Utah is a stunning landscape located in southeastern Utah. It is an area of uplift, filled with mesas, canyons, and other unique geographic features. The San Rafael Swell started forming millions of years ago when the Earth's crust warped upward along a fault line. This process created ridges and valleys that are now known as the San Rafael Swell.

The swell is an area of scenic beauty and also a rich resource for archaeological exploration. It is home to many Native American tribes who have lived in the region for centuries, leaving behind petroglyphs, pictographs, and other artifacts from their time living here. Many of these priceless artifacts can still be found around the San Rafael Swell today, providing insight into the culture and history of this region.

The area is also home to a variety of wildlife, including mountain lions, coyotes, foxes, deer, and raptors. There are also plenty of opportunities for bird watching and other outdoor activities in the San Rafael Swell. Hiking trails and backcountry roads are a great way to explore the region, offering unparalleled views of its unique geology as well as glimpses into its rich cultural history.

The San Rafael Swell is also an important area for conservation efforts, with several protected areas set aside by the United States government. These areas are home to a variety of plant and animal species, making the San Rafael Swell an important hub for biodiversity in the area.

The San Rafael Swell near Green River, Utah is a beautiful and unique landscape that has long captivated visitors from around the world. Whether you’re looking for adventure or simply want to take in its breathtaking views, the swell is sure to provide an unforgettable experience. From its fascinating geology to its rich cultural history, the San Rafael Swell is a place of beauty and wonder that everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime.


The San Rafael Swell in Green River, Utah is an area of upturned earth created millions of years ago when the Earth's crust moved along a fault line. The resulting ridges and valleys form a unique landscape filled with mesas, buttes, canyons, creeks, and rivers. The swell is made up of sedimentary rock, including sandstone, limestone, and shale. This rock creates breathtaking formations, such as the striking hoodoos found throughout the area. Geologists come from all over to study this fascinating landscape and explore its varied geology. With its unique topography and diverse range of geological features, the San Rafael Swell is a great destination for anyone interested in Earth sciences.


The San Rafael Swell has a long and interesting history, dating back to the time of prehistoric peoples who left behind petroglyphs, pictographs, and other artifacts. The area is home to several Native American tribes who have lived in the region for centuries. In the mid-1800s, settlers began to move into the San Rafael Swell, establishing ranches and rough homes in the region. The area has since become more developed, with modern-day towns and tourist attractions popping up throughout the region. Today, the San Rafael Swell is enjoyed by locals and visitors alike for its stunning landscapes, rich culture, and abundant wildlife.
Photo gallery


The San Rafael Swell in Green River, Utah is home to a variety of wildlife, from mountain lions to foxes and deer. Birdwatchers can spot eagles, hawks, and other raptors in the area as well. The swell is also an important habitat for many endangered species like the desert tortoise, bald eagle, and peregrine falcon. There are also several species of wildflowers that grow in the region, making it a great spot for nature lovers.

Things to do

Access to Utah's San Rafael Swell is via car, truck, ATV/UTV, hiking, mountain biking, backpacking, and rafting during seasons where water levels are adequate to do so.

Many roads are very well maintained for passage even by passenger car, during good weather, but many require four-wheel drive, or vehicles that can handle the terrain such as ATV's, UTV's, motorcycles, or mountain bikes.

Below is a list of trails, or points of interest to that will encourage your further research.

  • Arapeen Trail System
  • Black Dragon Pictograph
  • Buckhorn Pictograph Panel
  • Chute and Crack Canyon
  • Cleveland Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry
  • Crystal Geyser
  • Ding and Dang Slotcanyons
  • Eagle Arch
  • Eagle Canyon
  • Eardley Canyon to the Amazing Pool
  • Ernie Canyon
  • Eye of Sinbad
  • Five Hole Arch
  • Fossil Point
  • Fullers Bottom Trailhead
  • Iron Wash
  • Little Grand Canyon (Good Water Rim)
  • Little Wildhorse Canyon
  • Mexican Mountain Airstrip
  • Museum of San Rafael Swell
  • Old Woman Wash
  • Swaysey's Cabin
  • Rochester Panel

Planning your trip to the san rafael swell

The San Rafael Swell is an amazing place to visit, offering a unique landscape and plenty of outdoor activities. The area is filled with hiking trails and backcountry roads that offer unparalleled views of its geology, cultural history, and wildlife. Before planning your trip, make sure to check the local weather conditions so you can be prepared for any changes in terrain or temperature. It’s also important to be aware of the regulations that are in place for certain activities, such as camping, fishing, and off-roading.

When visiting the San Rafael Swell, bring plenty of food and water so you can stay hydrated and energized during your exploration. Also, wear clothing that is comfortable and appropriate for the area’s climate. Last but not least, make sure to enjoy your time in this amazing place and take lots of photos so you can remember the beauty of the San Rafael Swell forever.


The San Rafael Swell and Green River, Utah is a popular destination for campers and RVers alike. There are several campsites in the area, ranging from primitive sites to more developed ones with amenities such as electricity, showers, and grills. For those looking for a more comfortable experience, there are also plenty of hotels and motels in nearby Green River, Utah and Hanksville, Utah.


There are several restaurants in the area offering a variety of cuisine, from Mexican food to classic American fare. There are also several local cafes and convenience stores for a quick bite to eat.


There are no fees for visiting the San Rafael Swell.


Pets are allowed in the San Rafael Swell but must be kept on a leash at all times and supervised by their owner. It’s important to clean up after your pet and keep them away from wildlife.

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