Behind the Reef

5/5 (8 reviews)
Hanksville, Utah (Emery County)
Last Updated: 08/26/2022

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  • 23 waypoints
  • 71 photos
  • 4 trail concerns
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Highlight: Behind the Reef
In the heart of Utah lies a geological feature considered by some to be one of the most unique, rugged, and beautiful pockets in the western United States. The San Rafael Swell may still be undiscovered by some, but it won't be for long. Located from Price to Hanksville and Emery to Green River, this triangle of pure beauty is home to countless activities to please the adventurer in all of us. Raft the San Rafael River, mountain bike the single track, explore pictographs and petroglyphs, horseback through the red rock, or simply kick back in one of the few campgrounds in the region. But here is one of the main reasons you are here. The San Rafael Swell is home to miles and miles of off-road trails taking you from desert juniper forests to dry and arid plateaus to the cottonwoods down by the river. And this particular dirt road adventure may be the hidden gem in the entire state. Behind the Reef is a trail following along the huge San Rafael Reef, which creates the eastern wall of the Swell. However, there is something quite unique about this trail as you get jaw-dropping and conflicting views in all directions. As you meander this windy red path, you may look out to the west and feel like you are on top of the world. A trail perched in the hills giving you a vast view of yet still only a fraction of this might land. Yet as you peer to the east, towering cliffs remind you just how small you really are, belittling you like a tree to a bug. There aren't many words that can describe what a wonderland this trail has created, so come and check it out and decide for yourself how you can share such an incredible journey.
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