When I started planning my trip I kept reading references to the San Rafael Swell.  Slot canyons, historical mines, wild horses, pictographs, goblins, BLM land that will allow the dogs to run around, hikes, and lots of land for boondocking.  It sounded like my kind of place and it didn’t disappoint me. I had allocated three days of my trip for exploring the area, I could have spent over a week and not seen everything.

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View of the San Rafael reef from the Goblin State Park

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– Reds Canyon

The highlight of my trip was Reds Canyon.    Approaching it from the north the first thing one sees it straight vertical walls about 900 feet tall.  An incredible sight for a western Washington native use to seeing trees and moss.

During the time I spent west of the reef exploring the swell, I only saw a few people.  It was definitely a place to get away.  I actually wish I had seen a few more people.  I have a rule that I follow:  I only drive on roads that I think will be driven by someone else at least once during a day, except I’ll drive down an untraveled road as far as I can walk out.

Location Facts:

  • Here is some on-line downloadable information.   Emery County.
  • Don’t worry about not being able to find a boondocking spot by the Temple Mt. Road off of Hwy 24.  BLM has boondocking parking lots at both the east and west side of the break in the reef.
  • There are lots of places to boondock along the Temple Mt. Road between the two BLM parking lots, but they looked dusty to me.
  • I saw boondocking south of the Goblin State Park on the south side of the road next to the hill.
  • Thinking of a hot shower at the Goblin State Park?  You may think twice.  The cost of a shower is the cost to camp overnight.
  • Bring gas so you don’t have to drive to Hanksville or Green River to get gas.