San Rafael River Gorge Trail

Price, Utah

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2 Reviews
5 out of 5
This hike provides an opportunity to follow a small desert river along a meandering course that cuts directly through one of Utah’s most interesting geologic formations: the San Rafael Swell. The San Rafael Swell is a huge elliptical-shaped bubble in the Colorado Plateau that formed some 65 million years ago during a time of great mountain building activity in the American West (known to geologists as the Laramide Orogeny event). The uplift, or anticline, is some 70 miles long and 35 miles wide, with the San Rafael River flowing through its northern half. About half way between Fuller Bottom and Buckhorn Wash the river flows through a particularly scenic section of the gorge known as the Little Grand Canyon. Here the canyon walls rise abruptly over a thousand feet above the river as it meanders around a finlike obstacle below the Wedge Plateau. In addition to the hike through the San Rafael River Gorge there are several other points of interest in this area that you may want to see before or after your hike.
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

DESCRIPTION FROM:

Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails

by David Day (Rincon Publishing)

This hike provides an opportunity to follow a small desert river along a meandering course that cuts directly through one of Utah’s most interesting geologic formations: the San Rafael Swell. The San Rafael Swell is a huge elliptical-shaped bubble in the Colorado Plateau that formed some 65 million years ago during a time of great mountain building activity in the American West (known to geologists as the Laramide Orogeny event). The uplift, or anticline, is some 70 miles long and 35 miles wide, with the San Rafael River flowing through its northern half.

About half way between Fuller Bottom and Buckhorn Wash the river flows through a particularly scenic section of the gorge known as the Little Grand Canyon. Here the canyon walls rise abruptly over a thousand feet above the river as it meanders around a finlike obstacle below the Wedge Plateau. In addition to the hike through the San Rafael River Gorge there are several other points of interest in this area that you may want to see before or after your hike.

©  David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.

Activity Type: Hiking
Nearby City: Price
Distance: 16.6
Elevation Gain: 160 feet
Trail Type: Shuttle
Duration: 9 hours
Season: Summer, fall
Trailhead Elevation: 5,250 feet
Top Elevation: 5,250 feet
Local Contacts: San Rafael Resource Area, Bureau of Land Management, in Price
Local Maps: Sids Mountain (USGS), Bottleneck Peak (USGS)
Driving Directions: Directions to San Rafael River Gorge Trail

Recent Trail Reviews

10/10/2009
1

Amazing trip. Awesome beauty in this trip. We started at fuller bottom and hiked out to the San Rafael Bridge Campground. The trail was difficult to follow the first day as it is mostly cattle trails that wind in several different directions and it is easy to lose them when you cross the river. Virgin Spring Canyon was a great location for camp. We never did find the spring however, so we had to ration the rest of our water. From camp, the trail was easy to follow for the remaining hike back to the campground. Beautiful weather, colors, and scenery. Couldnt have asked for a better end of the year trip!


9/1/2009
1

Started at Fuller Bottom, hiked downstream to Virgin Box Canyon and return. We crossed stream 36 times, none more than waist deep, walking stick helpful. Towering red rock walls, amazing spring pool and water at Virgin Box (and perfect sandy camping). Midweek, had _entire_ canyon to ourselves (no tracks in the sand). it was special. Can camp at new BLM campsite atop Wedge the night before..catch it on a full moon night for a treat.



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