Riding the San Rafael River Gorge Trail - San Rafael Swell, Utah - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 10-30-2012, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Riding the San Rafael River Gorge Trail - San Rafael Swell, Utah

My husband and I just got back from the most amazing camping trip this weekend and I had to share pictures. We went to the San Rafael Swell to ride the river gorge trail. The ride was gorgeous and the trail head had a fantastic campsite with horse corral, too. If you ever get the chance to go to central Utah, I highly recommend going here! A word of caution... while most of the trail is fairly easy, there are a few tricky spots that you want to make sure your horse is surefooted and levelheaded.









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I live in the northern mountains of Utah with my wonderful husband, 5 horses, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 32 geese and 9 ducks. Life is good.
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post #2 of 17 Old 10-30-2012, 01:51 PM
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I visited there with an old friend (by car) last month:




"People can teach us the rules, but only horses can teach us the art of riding."
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post #3 of 17 Old 10-30-2012, 04:30 PM
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it looks like a horse lovers dream!!! thanks for sharing

You may be out of my sight, but never out of my mind. ~RIP Angel
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post #4 of 17 Old 10-30-2012, 04:32 PM
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That looks so very appealing. I love the desert, 'cause I live in the forest.
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post #5 of 17 Old 10-30-2012, 08:11 PM
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I love riding in the Swell during the colder months. November, March and April are great months to explore.

I have not rididen the River Gorge. Just where does it trail head at? Did you access it from Castle Dale down to Buckhorm Flat or Fuller Bottom?


I've ridden McCarty Canyon, & Mesquite Wash in the Northern San Rafael and Numerous trails in the Southern Swel. Chute Canyon, Lone Man, Earnie and out to the old Cooper Globe Mine.

I don't think, I've ever ridden a rougher area. You can see why the Wild Bunch used to hide out from Possees in this area.



Last edited by Painted Horse; 10-30-2012 at 08:13 PM.
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post #6 of 17 Old 10-30-2012, 09:33 PM Thread Starter
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From Castle Dale/Buckhorn Road, take the 2nd dirt road right after the ccc bridge/campground and go approx. 1/2 mile. There is a blm trailhead at the campsite.

I hope to return to the swell again. Hubby and I love the more remote destinations with surreal landscaping and this area fit the bill perfectly.

I live in the northern mountains of Utah with my wonderful husband, 5 horses, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 32 geese and 9 ducks. Life is good.
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post #7 of 17 Old 10-30-2012, 10:01 PM
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What beautiful scenery! Looks like that was a lovely ride.
Great looking horses you have there. The dogs are adorable as well.
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post #8 of 17 Old 10-31-2012, 12:06 AM
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A couple other trails, Camp at Buckskin Springs (near Goblin Valley) ride down Wild Horse wash till you can enter Chute Canyon, Go up Chute and when you exit the back of the Reef, you can pick up the Back of the Reef Road. Follow the gravel road till you can drop into Wild Horse Wash and follow it down. It's gets real narrow, But all my horses go through it no problems. When you come out the front of the reed ( by Temple Mountain) just follow the wash back to your camp site. It's about 22 miles round trip

Corrals at Buckskin Springs

Camp under the Cottonwoods


Going thru Chute Canyon


Back of the Reef Road


Entering Wild Horse Wash


Coming thru the Narrows


Another good ride is up Old Woman, Cross over in Lone Man and come back down Earnie Draw.

I also like to ride out to Copper Globe, You can park or camp near Justinson Flats and day ride out to the old mine and the Window overlooking Red Canyon

But my all time favorite is to ride up McCarty Canyon, Cross the Narrow neck of land and come down Mesquite Wash. All of these rides are about 22-24 miles long
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post #9 of 17 Old 10-31-2012, 10:36 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for sharing!! I am always on the hunt for remote sites with a corral so we don't have to haul our portable corral with us. We are hoping to squeeze one more trip in before winter and were talking about going to onion creek, but maybe we will go to buckskin springs instead! Have you done the Bloody Hands Gap trail in the Henry Mountains? That was one of my favorite treks and not too far from goblin valley.

I live in the northern mountains of Utah with my wonderful husband, 5 horses, 4 dogs, 2 cats, 32 geese and 9 ducks. Life is good.
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post #10 of 17 Old 10-31-2012, 03:40 PM
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i would be afraid of getting stuck between those rocks! but it would be fun to camp out and ride any where you wanted

You may be out of my sight, but never out of my mind. ~RIP Angel
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