Camping in the Little Grand Canyon in southeastern Utah’s San Rafael Swell with 360-degree gorgeous panoramic rim views is mind-blowing! After seeing photos of people camping with their rigs and tents near the edge of the rim, I made it my mission to get there. With names like “The Wedge Overlook” and “Buckhorn Wash”, I made haste to get out of town.
My buddy Cyber Dave filled with me tons of areas to visit in the Swell. He even gave me a hand-drawn map to some secret fossils. I like to plan, but it always seems like the best places are found by accident or running into someone who just visited the coolest place on the planet.
With a rough idea in my head and 2 vans loaded with 9 people, we left the San Francisco Bay Area without knowing anything more than what I saw in a few photos. It’s a long drive to the San Rafael Swell from Fremont, California. We made plenty of side-trips along the way to Kings Canyon, Sequoia, Zion, Bryce, and Capitol Reef National parks adventure-seeking for nearly a week along the way the Little Grand Canyon.
Slot Canyon Break on the Burr Trail
This amazing slot canyon is located at approximately mile post 9 on the Burr Trail in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
While camping up at 7890 feet in Zion National Park’s Lava Point campground, a young lady working for a local outfitter excitedly told me about Road Trip Ryan and his amazing trips to the San Rafael Swell. Of course, she mentioned Buckhorn Wash, The Wedge, and amazing petroglyph displays.
Every back-road in Utah is eye-candy laden. Even the unpaved road leading to the Little Grand Canyon was like driving in a foreign country . After picking up groceries, and supplies in Castledale, we drove the 20 miles to the Little Grand Canyon on a smooth gravel gravel road. My GPS told me we were climbing into the high desert. Sagebrush, juniper tress, and rocks prevailed all around us. The sweeping vistas were amazing.
Several fast-moving four-wheel-drive vehicles passed us leaving our vehicles covered with dust. I started worrying that they would beat us to the campground. And they did. Fortunately, we had over a dozen choice campsites with views of the rim.
Little Grand Canyon Camping
This is the amazing view from our campsite. The Wedge Overlook is so remote and quiet. The camping sites are informal with numbers posted on some of them and other separated by lines made with rocks. With scattered juniper trees and scrubby shrubbery, we had plenty of privacy.
Look to far right hand corner and you can see a lone camper parked on the rim with a million dollar view.
This is my wife Idylline standing next to tiny Little Grand Canyon overlook sign.
The vibrant colors of the sun setting over the San Rafael Swell get better by the minute.
Secret fossil bed map.
Buckhorn Wash Road Petroglyph Panel
After departing the Little Grand Canyon, we drove Buckhorn Wash road to the Petroglyph Panel. The images shown below are life size!
Getting to the Little Grand Canyon is easy. Search for the Wedge Overlook or the Little Grand Canyon located in the San Rafael Swell. It really depends where you are coming from as there are multiple entrances into the San Rafael Swell.
The best time of the year to camp there is when it’s not scorching hot. We camped there in mid-June and it was starting to get hot in the day.