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San Rafael River Trail is a 17.6 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Green River, Utah that offers scenic views and is only recommended for very experienced adventurers. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until October. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Length 17.6 mi Elevation gain 3,100 ft Route type Loop

Dog friendly

Backpacking

Camping

Hiking

Nature trips

Bird watching

Views

Rocky

Off trail

Description
Waypoints (0)

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (11)
Photos (14)
Recordings (7)
Completed (18)
Ron Winn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 14, 2020
HikingScramble

Another awesome SWELL day! Started at 5am to take advantage of the cool morning. We took our time and were treated with a day of sunshine and warm temperatures. Didn't see a single soul the entire day. Began with 6 liters of water each and did fine. We found some standing water in lower Spring Canyon and filtered a liter just to see how it tasted. Drank the liter of filtered water and it tasted fine (just a hint of alkalinity). A huge rockfall (very recent--within the last week) blocked the entire wash just above the confluence with Nate's Canyon. We scrambled out of the banks of Spring Canyon to bypass the massive amounts of rock. The only thing that tried to bother us were the gnats, deer flies, and horse flies. Thank you 100% DEET!!!

Zach Davis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMay 9, 2020
HikingNo shadeOff trailRockyScramble

This is a fun trail for anyone who’s an experienced hiker and comfortable scrambling. This can be done in one day but it makes for a long day. I definitely recommend tackling the route in the clockwise direction. This allows you to climb two long scrambling washes and only down climb one section later on in the route. There is no trail but more than half of the route follows washes. Keep AllTrails on while hiking to make sure you’re still on route. Great views, fun, and hot! Completed May 9th and it’s getting hot. No good sources of water either, pack everything you need.

View Zach's Recording
Ron Winn
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 5, 2020
HikingOff trailRockyScramble

First things first. This is NOT a trail. Also, it is NOT along the San Rafael River. There is much confusion in the name and type of this hike. This is a route-find in the Mexican Mountain WSA. It is rough. It is steep. There is some mild exposure with some tricky climbs and downclimbs, and there are penalty points if you fall. I don’t think Alex Honnold will have any problems (If you don’t know who Alex is, Google him). Reviews of this hike by Chas White and Ian Lee are very accurate and most helpful. Read them. I was fortunate to have perfect temperatures on this hike. It took me 9 hours, car to car. Keep in mind, I was alone and I tend to keep moving. YMMV. I did the hike in a clockwise direction. This is an absolutely beautiful hike in an AMAZING setting. It is unlike most hikes you will do anywhere in the world. It will possibly take you out of your comfort zone, make you tired and sweaty, and provides a great opportunity to get in some cardio. It was 36 degrees when I began the hike in the morning, and was 65 degrees when I finished. There was a constant breeze all day. I started with 3 liters of water, and was conserving it until I saw how much water was in Spring Canyon. There was clear, cold, and superb tasting water around every corner (potholes, not flowing) in Upper Spring Canyon. Lower Spring Canyon held some flowing water. My Sawyer Squeeze was probably all I needed for this hike. BEWARE! These conditions could change rapidly. Just below the confluence of Nate’s Canyon, the Delicate Arch comes into view on the right. I don’t like the name given on the map, as it leads to confusion with the “real” Delicate Arch in ANP near Moab. I have heard some call this arch (which is in Spring Canyon) “Spring Canyon Arch”. Makes more sense. Nonetheless, it is one of the most spectacular arches I have seen. From here it is a 5 mile march to the San Rafael River, across the airstrip, to the trailhead. I gave the hike four stars, because, well....they can’t all be fives.

View Ron's Recording
Chas White
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarJune 9, 2019
HikingOff trailRocky

This is a mixed review so bare with me. First thing is some of the views on this hike were magestic. Huge cliffs of red rock and some pretty cool canyons. Utah is amazing. The downside of this hike unfortunately are several. First the trail in many areas is unmarked and not existent. If we didn’t have the AllTrails app we would have been in trouble and that’s just on the flat parts. Second thing is the high gains in elevation have no trail whatsoever and would be far from moderate. I’d say extreme would be more appropriate as it appeared to be straight up rock climbing. Because of this and there being no trail we never completed the loop. We went to the right where the trail forks and made it about 7 miles to when the climb started and had to turn back. We were overnight backpacking and so the option to climb up the side of the mountain with no trail and and loose rocks solidified our decision to turn back. We came across one solo day hiker who completes the hike and had started the other way and he said there was literally no trail up top and was pretty dangerous. I just have to say I’m way impressed by this guy for doing the loop. Well done man. That being said if you wanted to hike in until you get to the climbs and camp overnight there’s a few good spots in the canyon. There was still some water in the creek beds but I’d say in a week or two that will be all gone and you’ll need to pack everything in. Not a ton of shade either so this would be recommended as a spring or fall hike. Overall we enjoyed the scenery and being pretty much alone. The stars were amazing at night as well. But the hike I’d say should only be moderate till you reach the climbs and then it’s beyond crazy. The loop itself should be hard or probably extreme and only done by advanced hikers and only day hikers with a fairly light pack.

Ian Lee
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 8, 2019
Hiking

TL;DR - This is not a moderate hike. It is not even hard. It is very hard. Experienced hikers with trail navigation skills recommended. I consider myself a pretty experienced hiker. When I use this app I typically understand that a Hard difficulty isn’t always that hard in my opinion. I completely understand these ratings are relative, but the Moderate difficulty rating on this trail is remarkably understated. I did the Upper Muley Twists trail in Capitol Reef last week and it was rated as Hard. I found it to be Moderate, even with the extra 6 miles out and back I had to hike because my vehicle couldn’t make it to the trailhead. That said, I could see why some people could find it to be Hard. If that trail is Hard, this trail would be Very Hard by Alltrails ratings. If you are considering hiking this whole loop, please consider the following. This is not a marked trail. Aside from the clear path in the washes, the rest of the trail is unmarked, and not even an attempt at a trail has been made. If you see a cairn, I think I saw maybe five in total, they are not placed there by trail maintainers. They are just there and do not indicate a path. So it would be crucial to know how to trail navigate without and assistance from the trail itself. That trail navigation, that takes place on class 3 and even class 4 scrambling for at least half the hike. This is rugged terrain. After the two grueling climbs if you take the clockwise route, you get to the top of the mesa which hold big views (and LTE service on AT&T funny enough). From there you are in for some more technical hiking and trail finding. I’m pretty sure, Dallin, who left a review 3 years ago in this app, is probably the last person to set foot up there before me. There is no trail. There is not a single footprint or hint of a path. After that, it is more of the same. Constant scrambling and trail navigation. You will see some pretty dramatic landscapes and constantly cross some sketchy terrain. Then you have to descend what the previous reviewer, Chas (hey Chas!), describes. Basically another vertical rocky slope that is nearing vertical. I was so grateful to reach the wash at the bottom of this slope so I didn’t have to think where to place every footstep and just hike. Chas’ review is accurate. Day hiking and backpacking in the washes (particularly the right side wash) are very pleasant areas with some vegetation and a little water. If you plan to do the whole loop, do it in spring and fall and bring a lot of water. A lot! Oh also, the app says 17 miles, but those straight lines that go up and down the big slopes are not possible. You will zigzag constantly. I ended up doing over 19 miles.

View Ian's Recording
Chad Hecker
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJune 7, 2019
HikingOver grown
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Jamie Conklin
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMay 26, 2019
Hiking

Went memorial day weekend and only saw 1 other couple hiking this trail. It was beautiful 70 degree weather and wasn't too cold camping close by. the hike had amazing views and the river had water for our dogs to stop and take a quick dip.

View Jamie's Recording
Steve Cannon
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 14, 2015
Horseback riding
First to Review

This is a spectacular canyon that I rode on horseback last February. Many fun river crossings, especially bounding up the banks on the other side on horseback! Beautiful red rock walls, pictographs along the way, great variety of beautiful desert scenery. Kane Wash is another great ride in the area where you can do some fun galloping on horseback. We spent three days with a base camp on the river and had great rides and a great time. I would like to float someday in May or June or backpack and stop at Virgin Springs Canyon for some exploring.

Will Lewis
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarOctober 19, 2019
Hiking
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Amar M.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 30, 2019
Hiking
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Dallin Clark
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 16, 2016
Hiking
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