Crack Canyon San Rafael Swell

Crack Canyon is a narrow slot running through the San Rafael Reef, in the San Rafael Swell near Temple Mountain. It is similar to Little Wildhorse Canyon, but it does not draw as many visitors. It is not a technical hike. You must scramble over minor dryfalls and other obstacles, and a rope may be helpful if your group includes youngsters, but most people can hike the canyon without any help.

Great primitive camping spots can be found around Temple Mountain. There is a very nice developed campground at Goblin Valley.

Behind the Reef Road

(38.6674, -110.688)

The trailhead is located on the west side of the San Rafael Reef. From Hwy 24, turn onto the Goblin Valley/Temple Mountain Road. Instead of turning down to Goblin Valley, continue west through the Reef. As you come out on the west side of the Reef you'll see a well-maintained road heading south. It is not signed but is known as the Behind the Reef Road. Drive south on that road.

Crack Canyon Turnoff

(38.6432, -110.745)

Drive the Behind the Reef Road south for just over 4 miles to the signed turnoff for Crack Canyon. Turn east and drive that road as far as you can toward the trailhead. The road is rough and a 4x4 vehicle is needed to get to the end of the road. The road is short (about 0.7 miles), so you won't add a tremendous distance to the hike if you can't make it all the way to the trailhead.

Crack Canyon Trailhead

(38.6349, -110.74)

Drive as close as you can to the trailhead and then just hike down the canyon. You'll pass through three sets of narrows, some very tight and photogenic, before the canyon opens up on the east side of the Reef.

Face of the Reef

(38.6088, -110.727)

When you reach the east face of the Reef, we recommend you backtrack and hike up the canyon to your vehicle.


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