Canyoneering: the San Rafael Swell by Steve Allen

By Steve Allen

The 1st Canyoneering advisor! dozens of hikes into the scenic beauty of the San Rafael, for adventurers at each point.

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Its usual colors range from a light red to a near brown. This varies considerably and it is not unusual to see near-white Wingate Sandstone. This can make it hard to differentiate from Navajo Sandstone. Often the context it is in, immediately above the Moenkopi and Chinle formations, is the clue to whether it is Wingate or Navajo. It forms vertical walls that have vertical cracks. It is the densest of the sandstones. The Kayenta Formation is also a part of the Glen Canyon group. It is parallel-stratified and is up to 100 feet thick.

Often they look like a little brushing would help. Don't. Feel privileged to view rock art from a distance. Indian artifacts: It is illegal to remove any Indian artifact or vandalize any archaeological feature. Look but don't touch. Petrified wood: You can collect twenty-five pounds per day for noncommercial uses. Don't be greedy. Most petrified wood ends up in backyards where it is rarely seen or appreciated. Dogs: At the present time there are no restrictions in the Swell. Be realistic about the quality of your animal.

Zane Grey The San Rafael Swell is located in the northern part of what is commonly referred to as canyon country. Its neighbors are Canyonlands National Park to the southeast and Capitol Reef National Park to the southwest. It is a complex, million-acre area of seemingly endless expanses of slickrock, deep canyons, high walls, arches, pinnacles, towers, mesas, and mountains. Several rivers also run through the Swell. Though equal in beauty to any of the more popular canyon areas, it has only been in the last twenty years that canyoneers have discovered the San Rafael Swell.

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