The San Rafael Reef Wilderness makes up the eastern edge of the San Rafael Swell and is a nearly north-south trending hogback that dips steeply eastward. Considered a major geologic feature in Utah, the area consists of domes, vertical fins and canyons from 200 to 1,000 feet deep that drain eastward. Elevations range from 4,800 feet along the eastern base of the Reef to 6,600 feet in the central and northern portions. Vegetation consists primarily of pinyon-juniper woodlands and is barren rock in most places. Desert bighorn sheep, cougars, peregrine falcons, bald eagles, and golden eagles all frequent the wilderness. In addition, two endangered plants species (Maguire daisy and Wright fishhook cactus) and two threatened plant species (Jones cyclodenia and Last Chance townsendia) can be found here.
Leave No Trace
How to follow the seven standard Leave No Trace principles differs in different parts of the country (desert vs. Rocky Mountains). Click on any of the principles listed below to learn more about how they apply in the San Rafael Reef Wilderness.
From Price, visitors can access the San Rafael Reef by traveling south on Highway 6 until reaching the intersection with I-70, a distance of approximately 57 miles. Turn right onto I-70 and travel west for approximately 8 miles. Take exit 149, and turn south onto Highway 24. To reach the Three Finger Canyon access point (closest access to I-70), travel south along Highway 24 for approximately 3.5 miles a dirt route (the Hatt’s Ranch bypass) leading eastward into the wilderness. Travel on the Hatt Ranch bypass for 6.4 miles to reach the 3 Finger Canyon trailhead.
Digital and paper maps are critical tools for wilderness visitors. Online maps can help you plan and prepare for your visit ahead of time. You can also carry digital maps with you on your GPS unit or other handheld GPS device. Having a paper map with you in the backcountry, as well as solid orienteering skills, however, ensures that you can still route-find in the event that your electronic device fails.
Motorized equipment and equipment used for mechanical transport is generally prohibited in all wilderness areas.
This includes the use of motor vehicles, motorboats, motorized equipment, bicycles, hang gliders, wagons, carts, portage wheels, and the landing of aircraft including helicopters.