Explore the most popular trails near Huntington with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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Fantastic view with very few people. Not much shade, but easy access by car, with plenty of hiking options off the road.

This isn't a trail; it's a road. That said it's one of my favorite places ever, but there are cool actual trails in the area. I'm not walking on a freaking dirt road and sucking 4x4 dust all day.

off road driving
5 months ago

Absolutely stunning. Wow. National park beauty with absolutely no one around. Definitely worth the drive although let’s not make it too crowded!!

scenic driving
5 months ago

Absolutely amazing. National park quality view with absolutely no one else. Just stunning.

hiking
Saturday, July 22, 2017

This is a long scenic drive worth every minute! Scenery changes as you travel with many different colors. Tan and grey, Bright green and purple reds. Follow the sign to wedge overlook and then stay left. We took a wrong turn and ended up at a way station which has several well-done posters. Even got to see some cowboys herding the cattle scattered about on the plain. Just awesome! The ground finally gave way to a spectacular canyon that is indeed Grand and earns its name as the "little Grand Canyon".

Closed- website said open

So beautiful. Always will be one of my favorite places in my childhood! Worth to go see!

mountain biking
Sunday, October 23, 2016

Great intermediate bike trail! No climbing, not too steep and not too technical!

hiking
Friday, August 05, 2016

First time in the Swell. Loved the views and loved the hike. I will be exploring this area.

hiking
Friday, July 29, 2016

gorgeous, huge canyon nicknamed "Little Grand Canyon". trail is flat and is right along the edge of the canyon rim. no shade. photographers dream canvas! went 3 times in 2 weeks with differeng people. had to share. very few know about it so you'll have it to yourself most likely.

hiking
Friday, July 29, 2016

Kinf of off the beaten path, but once you'tr here, you might as well slow down and make an afternoon of it. Interesting, but hot

horseback riding
Saturday, November 14, 2015

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.

Amazing experience! Happy I went. I hiked around Mexican Mountain and some of the washes out there.

hiking
Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The San Rafael River Gorge is a desert river that winds through the northern section of the San Rafael Swell in southern Utah. The river runs through the gorge from west to east, and so most people follow the current by entering from Fuller Bottom in the west, and exiting at Buckhorn Wash in the east. This requires bringing an extra car and leaving it at one end or the other.

We decided to drive together and do an out-and-back, with the Virgin Spring as our destination. This is right about half way through the gorge and is arguably the most scenic area of the canyon.

At the beginning of the hike, from Fuller Bottom, theres no clear trail - just a series of cow paths. As long as youre generally following the river, youre going the right direction. Its not until a couple of miles in that the cow trails start to converge into a single clear trail.

It starts in a wide valley floor covered in Tamarisk trees. This was a really slow painstaking part of the trek, as most of the way you have to just kind of bulldoze through the low branches. Theres an alternative way to get past this, which we took on the way back. More on this later.

After a while, the trail becomes more obvious, and leads through the canyon in a pleasant meandering path. There are several places where crossing the river becomes necessary. In fact, at my count, we had to cross the river fourteen times. The first two times, we took off our boots and socks, walked across slowly and carefully, then sat at the other end and got boots back on. Eventually, we realized this wasnt going to be tenable, and resigned ourselves to the fact that we were going to be wet the whole time. After making this decision, the river crossings went a lot faster, and enjoyable. Albeit at the risk of blisters, if youre not wearing a good pair of socks in your boot.

The trail is very flat, with a hardly noticeable decline downstream. Make sure to not just stare at your boots the whole time, as the canyon walls are rife with interesting geology. We had more than one break where we sat and tried to puzzle how in the world some of these anomalous formations came to be.

Your experience in the canyon may be drastically different, depending on the level of the water in the river. When we went, the water was moving at a mere 21 CFS (cubic feet per second). Even at this low flow, there were some fords which came waist high. When the river is over 150 CFS (not an uncommon occurrence), you may consider floating the river in a raft, as walking through it will require holding your pack over your head.

There is some danger of flash flooding if there is any rain nearby. There are many waters that feed into this canyon - dark skies in any surrounding area can have a major effect on the state of the canyon. Before you go, make sure to call the local BLM office at (435) 636-3600 and check on the CFS of the river, and plan accordingly. Because its BLM land, you can camp pretty much anywhere you want, and fires are allowed in the canyon (please disperse your fire ring when you leave).

After 7 or 8 miles, youll reach the confluence with the Virgin Spring Canyon. There are a handful of decent campgrounds in that area. I would highly recommend taking a side trip up this canyon. About a hundred yards up this canyon, on the right side wall - about 15 feet up - is a stunningly preserved panel of Indian pictographs depicting deer hunting. Another quarter mile or so will bring you to the Virgin Spring. Its a small pool of fresh water that is a perfect place to pull out your filter and fill up your water bladder/bottle. There are a number of good campsites in this small canyon, one of which we stayed in. There are incredibly picturesque panoramas here.

We took a slightly different route back thats worth mentioning. Having braved the Tamarisk trees covering the valley floor near the beginning of the hike, we decided we had had enough of them scratching and poking our arms and packs. About 3/4 of the way back (see our track for the exact location), we opted to take a trail straight west, away from the river, and followed Dutch Flat Road for the remainder of the trip, which meets up with Fuller Bottom road, and took us right back to the car at the trailhead. This route was much less interesting, and consisted of following an exposed dusty dirt road, but spared us the frustration of boring a trail through the Tamarisk trees.

Other than the treacherous beginning of the hike, this was a fantastic trek that I would love to do again someday. Most people are drawn to the various nearby national parks and dont give San Rafael Swell a chance. This is a blessing in a way, as you can go long stretches without seeing another person. Next time Im in the area, Id leave a shuttle car at the east end, and go through the entire canyon.

For more hike reviews, go to MtnGeeks.com

hiking
Saturday, August 24, 2013

Brought my children here and hiked the trail with them. Liked being close to the fossils

off road driving
Monday, April 15, 2013

At the end of this trail, you overlook the San Rafael River. Sometimes referred to as the 'Grand Canyon of Utah'.

hiking
Monday, March 18, 2013

An interesting place. Many, many fossils have been removed from this place. Great for the kids.

off road driving
Saturday, March 09, 2013

A great drive! I could spend days out there exploring. There is beautiful scenery, Indian Rock Art, a dinosaur track, a dinosaur quarry, and much, much more. I drove through there in 2005, and again in 2011, and am ready to go back. Passenger cars can travel this route. The Wedge Overlook is called "The Grand Canyon of Utah" by some.

hiking
Saturday, April 21, 2012

It's interesting, but I was somewhat disappointed to find that almost all of the fossils have been removed.

hiking
Friday, September 10, 2010

The visitors center at the CLDQ is amazing especially for any geologist/paleontologist enthusiast. The surrounding desert is very beautiful and these hikes are all easy for the whole family.

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

Monday, June 12, 2017

hiking
Wednesday, March 16, 2016

hiking
Sunday, August 30, 2015

hiking
Sunday, May 18, 2014

off road driving
Friday, September 10, 2010

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