Trip to Idaho

The cancellation of a field trip to the Zuni Mountains that Lee had signed up for August 8, gave us an extra day of travel on our drive home from Salmon, Idaho, to Albuquerque. We decided to use the time to explore southeastern Utah, in particular the remote areas of the San Rafael Swell.

From Salmon we drove as far as Price, Utah, where we spent the night. The next day we headed south on Highway 191 following directions on a brochure that described a visit to the Wedge Overlook, located in the northern section of the Swell. It wasn’t too long before we had to leave the highway and make our way over rough, mostly unsigned, dirt roads that wander through the vastness of the Swell. It was slow going and we were often uncertain if we were on the right road.

Interesting geology along one of the dirt roads into the Swell.
Cedar Mountain in the background.

When we finally got to the Wedge Overlook the views were definitely worth the long drive that it took to get there. The smoky haze in the air from the summer wildfire season prevented us from seeing views in the far distance but it was still impressive.

After visiting the overlook we drove west towards the small town of Castle Dale, where we finally were back on paved roads.
We circled south and east and picked up Interstate 70, heading through the Swell to get on Highway 24 west of Green River. At Hanksville, Highway 95 took us south towards Hite, which crosses the Colorado River north of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. So much of the day had been spent driving that we didn’t have time to go into any of the parks and recreation areas along the way. The best we could do was the occasional roadside stop to take photos. We ended the day in Blanding, Utah, knowing that southeastern Utah is a place with opportunities for further exploration in the future.

Rough sketch of our drive through the San Rafael Swell.

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