San Rafael Swell

1-18 Pictures

San Rafael SwellSan Rafael Swell (09/02/2002)

Heart of the SwellHeart of the Swell (09/28/2004) Viewing the San Rafael Swell from the Eagle Canyon rest stop.

The WedgeThe Wedge (09/18/2002) From the Wedge Overlook in the middle of the Swell, you can see the San Rafael River and distance Buttes near I70

San Rafel Bridge near Buckhorn WashSan Rafel Bridge near Buckhorn Wash (09/19/2002) Although it is middle September there is flowing water in the river.

i70 in the San Rafael Reefi70 in the San Rafael Reef (09/19/2002) I 70 descends into the Green River Valley (heading east). The outer shell of San Raphael Reef is a large uplift of Navajo Sandstone.

Black Dragon Canyon??Black Dragon Canyon?? (09/28/2004) Looking from the I70 rest stop. I believe this is the outlet of Black Dragon Canyon.

Black Dragon CanyonBlack Dragon Canyon (09/28/2004) Picture from the Black Canyon overlook on Interstate 70 in Central Utah.

San Rafael SwellSan Rafael Swell (09/28/2004) The San Rafael Swell from I70.

Navajo Sandstone DomesNavajo Sandstone Domes (09/28/2004)

San Rafael SwellSan Rafael Swell (09/28/2004) A panorama from the western side of the Swell.

San RafaelSan Rafael (09/28/2004) The San Rafael Swell seen from Green River.

Rain AngelsRain Angels (09/19/2002) Buckhorn Wash Pictograph Panel. Red ochre and the roots of mountain mahogany were used to make red coloring. Some call these the 'Rain Angels'.

San Rafel Bridge.San Rafel Bridge. (09/19/2002) The old bridge over the San Rafel River was built in 1937 by the CCC.

San Raphael ReefSan Raphael Reef (09/02/2002) A view of the San Raphael Reef from near exit 180 on i70.

I70 UtahI70 Utah (09/02/2002) I70 enters the San Raphael Reef (west of Green River). There is a dramatic escarpment of Navajo Sandstone towering over the Interstate as I70 begins its climb of the San Raphael Swell.

Navajo SandstoneNavajo Sandstone (09/02/2002) The Navajo Sandstone was deposited in great sand dunes. As a result, the San Raphael Reef has these interesting swirls as it slowly erodes.

San Rafael SwellSan Rafael Swell (09/02/2002) Canyons in the San Rafael Swell...viewed from the rest stop on I70 in Central Utah between Green River and Salina.

San Raphael SwellSan Raphael Swell (09/02/2002) A view of the San Raphael Swell on I70 in central Utah. The domes are Navajo Sandstone.

1-18 Pictures

San Rafael Swell

The San Rafael Swell is scenic geological formation on I70 in Central Utah. Like Capitol Reef, the swell was formed by a geological uplift. It is a large bulge in the surface of the earth. The top layers of sediment eroded away leaving towering cliffs in the Navajo and Wingate formations. Sandstone tends to have different erosion patterns at different angles of the stata. As a result you will see some extremely interesting formations in the erosion patterns.

The east side of the Swell is called the "San Rafael Reef". Here, the strata is at an extremely steep angle. In the central portion of the swell, the Sandstone is horizontal, and you see towering buttes and fanastically deep canyons. In other places of the swell, the sandstone was not stable, and simply eroded away.

Different several references spell the name as "San Raphael." Modern maps prefer "San Rafael."

Context: Desert

Interstate 70 (51 pictures) I70 cuts through the southern portion of the San Raphael Swell. There are several scenic overlooks. Plan a few extra hours on your trip to take in the scenery.

Utah State (53 pictures) The Swell is in Central Utah.

Buckhorn Wash (104 pictures) Buckhorn Wash runs through the heart of the Swell, and crosses the San Raphael river between Mexican Mountain and Bottle Neck Peak.

Green River, Utah (15 pictures) The San Raphael Swell is just west of Green River, Utah.

The Wedge Overlook (23 pictures) The Wedge Overlook on the western end of the Swell provides an exhilerating view of the canyons carved by the San Rafael River.


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