The San Rafael Swell is, like the Waterpocket Fold at Capitol Reef, an uplift. The swell runs for many miles from just north of Hanksville, Utah, north through the I-70 corridor almost up to Price. We had not really planned on driving through the Swell, but Cheryl found a road that would allow us to spend a couple of days driving through and still end up on our planned route.
The road, the 1012 road, is what’s known as an improved gravel road, suitable, that is, for most on-road vehicles, but still may be rough, rutted and washboarded.
In a vehicle like ours which is large and heavily loaded, even though it has high clearance and 4 wheel drive, most roads like this are good for about 15 – 25 MPH, sometimes as much as 45 MPH, but that is rare so a 40 or 50 mile trip can take quite a while. The road varies from well graded red dirt / gravel. to bare rough slickrock. There’s also lot’s to see and plenty of real nice campsites so we decided to make it a 2 day trip and spend the night somewhere along the way.
Now, in truth we did not get to see much of what makes the San Rafael Swell so attractive. It is full of beautiful canyons, some historical towns and mining sites, and lots of great hiking. We’ll have to go back sometime to get to that stuff, this was just a quick trip through. We found a great campsite.
And a fabulous sunrise.
On the way north we got sidetracked by a Forest Service road leading to “Soldiers Summit”, which we never found. We did, however find an very nice campsite in an Aspen Grove about 6 miles up the road.
We ended up staying for 3 days. It was a beautiful spot and we knew the weather north of us was iffy at best. The road by the campsite went on forever, with multiple forks leading who knows where, but one in particular looked like a good bike ride. It was tough, uphill all the way for about 3 miles to a magnificent view of the mountains. Fun coming back down.
There wasn’t much for wildlife, just some birds and this inquisitive little prairie dog. This was an interesting section of the Uinta National Forest because much of the land was still held on private hands…and they were sure to let you know which sections.
Well, north to Idaho didn’t quite work out as we planned because the weather was still socked in in Idaho, the kids weren’t ready to move into the new house, and we found this interesting little place on the map called Mount Timpanogus in the Wasatch Cache National Forest just south of Salt Lake.