Return to the San Rafael Swell….Day 2

Another day, another exploring decision to make.

Our camp is close to the Swasey Cabin trail head that leads into Eagle Canyon, so we decided to take our time getting out of bed and hitting the road. The weather was chilly, but with clear, bluebird skies; a perfect day for a walk. We arrived at the trail head and took some pictures of the historic Swasey Cabin

Sawsey Cabin with the Broken Cross in the Background

Sawsey Cabin with the Broken Cross in the Background

while pondering as to where they could have gotten the large-diameter timber to build this structure. After having a good look around the cabin, we started walking down the 4WD road into Eagle Canyon. Almost immediately, we decided we could easily drive instead of walk for at least part of the way. We went back to the trail head and piled into Vince’s SUV.  After driving about two miles on this rough 4WD trail, we decided we were tired of bouncing around in the car; so we parked and started walking. After about an hour, we came to the spectacular Eagle Canyon Arch.

Eagle Canyon Arch

Eagle Canyon Arch

After taking many pictures, we continued down the canyon. We came to an interesting side canyon heading south, so we thought we’d walk down it a little ways and see what we could see. The unnamed canyon contained beautiful rock formations with a surprising amount of old growth timber growing in the canyon bottom, as well as along the steep walls. Now I can see how they found the timber for the Swasey Cabin.

When the bottom started getting wet and muddy, we decided to head back to Eagle Canyon. Along the way, we started noticing the strong scent of sulfur. At the mouth of the side canyon, we discovered a sulfur spring.

Vince Having a Taste of Sulfur Spring Water (ugh!)

Vince Having a Taste of Sulfur Spring Water (ugh!)

There was an old rusted-out trough that was once used for watering livestock. I wouldn’t have thought you could make cattle drink sulfur water, but who knows. Guess the livestock will drink it if that’s all that’s around.

The day ended with the drive back out of the canyon. The road seemed a lot rougher going back up than it did going down, but that’s what seems to happen when you drive on 4WD roads.


Watch a short video of our hike in San Rafael Swell here.

About Mike

I have a passion for adventure travel that began in 1989 with my first overseas trip: climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. Having never been to a foreign country, Africa felt like being on another planet; I knew then and there I was hooked on travel. Since that time, I have visited all seven continents and dozens of countries. I’m using the experience I’ve gained in planning my own trips to help my clients plan their own adventures through my adventure travel company ( After working as a firefighter for the US Forest Service in California and Wyoming for three years, I moved to Durango, Colorado where I graduated from Fort Lewis College with a degree in accounting. After graduation I moved to the Denver area where I worked in a Big Eight accounting firm to obtain my CPA license; soon afterward I began a career as an auditor with the Colorado Department of Education. My background in accounting helped me develop detailed-oriented skills that have been extremely useful in researching and planning my own travel over the years. I think this provides a unique asset to my clients in putting together their adventure travel plans. I currently live in Golden, Colorado with my wife Valerie, who shares my love of adventure travel. I’m an active member of the Colorado Mountain Club where I lead trips for club members and have taught ski lessons in their Telemark Ski School. I enjoy skiing, mountain hiking, trail running, photography, and astronomy. I take any opportunity I can get to explore new places, whether it’s on the other side of the world or just down the road.
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1 Response to Return to the San Rafael Swell….Day 2

  1. Pingback: Return to the San Rafael Swell…VIDEO | Off Trail Travel

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