San Rafael Desert - Lonely Land

San Rafael Swell

Positioned just above the sacred Goblin Valley, the San Rafael Swell is a dramatic gateway to some of the best scenery the state of Utah has to offer. Desolate and devoid of life, this lonely stretch of land is more lively than you’d expect.

Traveling west through Colorado, the big, blue and green mountains give way to brown mesas until you reach Grand Junction. From there into eastern Utah, the landscape becomes distinctly barren and beige book cliffs rise out of the sandy soil.

Down around the town of Green River, things really start to look deserted as the terrain becomes flat and featureless with not even a single tree in sight. The desert becomes difficult to understand and you begin to feel like all is lost.

Just when things look bleak, a narrow pass winds its way through a spiny ridge of jagged spires where the earth is uplifted and sculpted by a spectacular canyon. Placed above it all, a gigantic, pale sky overwhelms the pastel-colored plateau.

We’re out of our element as we travel through this empty outback. While hiking here in the wild, you may feel like you’re misplaced but if solitude is what you’re looking for, the desert is one of the few environments on earth where peace can be found.

A dramatic gateway

Some of the best scenery in Utah

A lonely stretch of land

The desert is difficult to understand

A spiny ridge of jagged spires

The earth is sculpted

A pastel-colored plateau

An empty outback


Peace can be found


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