Dinosaurland and Eastern Utah Sights

San Rafael Swell

  • 125 S. 600 W Map It
  • Price
  • Geological Site
  • Fodor's Choice

Published 01/19/2016

Fodor's Review

Tremendous geological upheavals pushed through the Earth's surface eons ago, forming a giant oval-shape dome of rock about 80 miles long and 30 miles wide, giving rise to the name "swell." Over the years, the harsh climate beat down the dome, eroding it into a wild array of multicolor sandstone and creating buttes, pinnacles, mesas, and canyons that spread across more than 600,000 acres—an area slightly smaller than the state of Rhode Island.

Managed by the Bureau of Land Management, the Swell offers visitors spectacular sights similar to those in Utah's national parks but without the crowds. In the northern Swell, the Wedge Overlook peers into the Little Grand Canyon and the San Rafael River below, for one of the most scenic vistas in the state. The strata at the edges of the southern Swell are angled near vertical, creating the San Rafael Reef. Both are known for fantastic hiking, canyoneering, and mountain biking.

Interstate 70 bisects the San Rafael Swell, and is the

only paved road in the region. Although there are many off-road opportunities, the main gravel road and many of the graded dirt roads through the Swell are accessible to two-wheel-drive vehicles. The Swell is about 25 miles south of Price, and the closest towns—Green River, Castle Dale, and Cleveland—are not that close, so bring whatever supplies you might need, including plenty of water, food, and a spare tire.

Proposals have been made to designate the Swell a national monument. Until then, the San Rafael Swell remains one of the little-known natural wonders of the American West.

Read More

Sight Information


125 S. 600 W, Price, Utah, 84501, USA

Map It



Website: www.blm.gov/ut

Published 01/19/2016


Book A Trip



  • CARS

Map View

What's Nearby

  • Restaurants
  • Sights
  • Hotels