Finding Mountain Lions in the San Rafael Swell

This place gives me the creeps.  That’s what I’m starting with.  Makes you want to go there, right?  Yeah, totally. . .

This was my first time there, I eventually went back, but that’s for later.  This time I just knew I wanted to go the direction away from Goblin Valley, so straight instead of turning towards it.  I had no idea what was back there, but I needed to find out.  Turns out there are some pictographs and some pretty cool canyons and views.


The road turns to dirt not too far after the fork, but we kept going anyways.  Meredith (my adorable little Smart Car) is a trooper.  We passed a sign for Behind the Reef Road but decided to turn around for it a few seconds later.  This was a good decision.  The road is dirt, but not tough to drive on.  Just take it at a reasonable speed.


We drove for a few minutes before finding a big dirt parking area.  It right off Behind the Reef Road, but there is another road that goes back a little ways.  We went back and parked then continued on walking through a wash.  I’m sure if you have the right car you could drive to it, I think I remember seeing tire tracks in it, but it’s a nice wash to walk through.

We followed this for a while, eventually I think it would spit you out on the main road that you went in on, but I didn’t go far enough to find out.  There was one spot that had dried, cracked mud and I happened to go look at and found a bunch of mountain lion tracks.  This was pretty exciting, but I think it’s also why I get so freaked out there now.

It’s always exciting to see the tracks, I did towards the end of the summer in Smith Fork on Lake Powell, too and was just as nervous there.  Back in the swell though the sun was going down and I needed to get out of there before the mountain lions came after me.  We made our way out just fine and have yet to see and actual mountain lion.

Even though the swell freaks me out now, I still like it, but it might just be a day place for me now.  There hasn’t been anywhere else that I feel like this in and it’s just weird.  It’s definitely worth a visit though.  The reef is crazy and full of canyons to climb and explore.


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