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In Our Back Yard: Utah’s Little Grand Canyon

Apr 05, 2018 10:00AM
The geographic area known as The Wedge on the northern slope of the San Rafael Swell is where the San Rafael River has eroded into a deep canyon. The Wedge Overlook provides views of the San Rafael River Gorge that is locally called Utah’s Little Grand Canyon. When you look off the canyon rim into this massive canyon you will understand why it is compared to the famous canyon in Arizona. The name on topographical maps comes from the San Rafael River and Buckhorn Wash forming a point in the land that the early ranchers simply called “The Wedge.” There are several spectacular viewpoints along the top of the canyon wall. The river below winds east and will eventually end up meeting the Green River.

To get to get to the Wedge overlook drive to Price and then south on Utah Highway 10, just before you get to the town of Castle Dale is a turn off to your left (west) accessing San Rafael Swell destination. The landmark for the turnoff is an old and photogenic corral complex. This begins the twenty-mile drive on a graded gravel road to the Wedge Overlook. The road is the Buckhorn Flat road and is well marked, all you have to do is follow the signs. After about 14 miles, you will arrive at a four-way road intersection with a BLM sign directing you to turn south for 6 miles to the Wedge Overlook. When you arrive at the canyon rim you will find picnic tables, restrooms and campsites are available, but no water. As is typical of driving in the Swell, you must bring your own water and plenty of it.

As an added point of interest, when you turn off Utah 10 north of Castle Dale you are turning on to the Buckhorn Flat road which eventually turns into the Green River Cutoff. This road connects with US 6 and the town of Green River. The Green River Cutoff is covered as a separate destination route in this book. Before I-70 this was the main road between Green River and Castle Dale, Utah.

When you leave the Wedge Overlook area and drive back north about 6 miles to the big four-way intersection, you can turn right (east), which will take you to the Buckhorn Wash Road which will be a topic for another day or continue east on the road known as the Green River Cutoff to Highway 6. It is a scenic drive on a good road, except during storms. The Green River Cutoff connects with Highway 6 about 17 miles north of I-70 and the town of Green River. Turn to the left (northbound) on Highway 6 and this will take you back to Price and on home for an amazing loop drive.