The San Rafael Swell

One of my favorite parts of our Utah trip were the couple days we spent exploring the San Rafael Swell with my sister Katrina. This area is full of natural slot canyons, ancient pictographs, and incredible rock formations. And only 2 hours south of Salt Lake (um…should this be an Alt Summit tour next year?). It’s kind of freaky that it’s very close to the  area where Aron Ralston lost his arm, which was made into the movie 127 hours. Yikes! Wellll, I’ll keep you all in suspense no more: we made it out with all our limbs intact. Phew! I was so proud of Henry, he hiked all day long. Yeah for 4 yr olds!

More photos and a fancy new wordpress plugin after the jump!

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Oh wow- what a beautiful place! I would LOVE an Alt tour to go there next year! Maybe we could hit a few thrift stores on the way out town though…

My husband and our little boy hiked through similar slot canyons near Lake Powell in AZ last year. The colorful rock formations are amazing, definitely worth the trip! Your photos are awesome, glad to see you had such a good time!

Hey Liz,

I’m a “local” in that I live in Salt Lake City…we have dreams of moving to Boulder, Utah.

Why do I love this place so much? Because it is unlike any other landscape I have been to. It’s full of paradox and mystery. It looks so empty and barren at first glance, but the more you quiet your thoughts and simply observe everything becomes alive. I feel as if even the cliffs and the earth speak if you listen close enough. I love it because it is wild in such a unique way, and I need a tonic of wilderness as an integral part of my life. I love that this landscape is so exposed, so vulnerable, so honest. It hides nothing. And in a weird way I love that you have to know what you’re doing, or your adventure could turn disastrous. It creates a tension of beauty and terror–the sublime. I could go on and on and on…ahhhh! I’ve got to get down there this weekend.

Your description of it is beautiful, and completely spot on! It makes me ache to go back again. So remote and naturally wild. The wildness! It kind of makes you feel more alive, doesn’t it?

PS we’re on wordpress now so next time, you can respond to the original comment thread so it’ll be easier to follow

Not Escalante as I recall.

This was all before we had our six year old daughter but we’d take her along now too. Like your son, she’s pretty adventurous and “in with both feet” after many trips in her short life so far!

This place is so near and dear to my heart…one of the reasons I will always come back to Utah to live.

So much of this area is continually under threat of development. I’d love it if you had time to encourage Pres. Obama to protect it along with the rest of us

Hooray for Utah and its wildness!

What a fab idea to have a side trip as an excursion from Alt next year! Do it!

When I was in grad school in Santa Barbara, my husband and I spent two weeks hiking the SW starting with the slot canyons in Utah. Zion, Bryce, Monument Valley, Canyon de Chelly – all were amazing. Worth seeing at least once.

And yea for kids who hike and ski and swim and camp….

I watched a 127 hours. I would have thought about it during the entire hike. Ack.

Also, a-may-zing photos. Just beautiful.

And go Henry! Way to hike little man.

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