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Old 05-15-2013, 11:09 PM   #1
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2013 16' Sport
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N San Rafael Swell, Utah

Just returned from a fantastic maiden voyage in our 16' Sport to the North San Rafael Swell in Southern Utah.

We arrived in Green River (from Colorado) late in the day, so after finding the Green River Cutoff Road off Hwy 6/191, we pulled off and camped for the night (thank you Airstream).

After breakfast we headed toward the Wedge area of the Swell via 35 miles of hard pan or gravel road, well graded, so the Bambi did just fine. Most of the Swell is managed by the BLM. They have been busy the last few years making "improvements" to the Wedge area. As long-time desert rats, we grieved the loss of unrestricted dispersed camping in the area. The camping is still dispersed, but in designated sites. There are literally hundreds of prime camp sites that are no longer accessible -- this is big open country that is not well-traveled. But its popularity is growing, particularly among mountain bikers and OHVers, so we conceded the need to be proactive. Southern Utah, in general, attracts the OHV crowd, and, although many understand the value of staying on designated roads, they can tear up this fragile landscape pretty fast. It appears the BLM is reacting to this concern, as well as to the promise of increased tourism that comes with well-graded roads and added facilities.

That said, the designated sites are quite private, and primitive. There is a pit toilet up by the main road, and one near the Overlook, but the campsites have no facilities.

We were lucky to find one of the prime spots unoccupied, right on the canyon edge. Superb! We saw maybe 7 people in 3 days.






The Wedge Overlook is directly above a canyon cut by the San Rafael River, known as "the Little Grand Canyon". Stunning scenery. The area offers great hiking and mountain bike trails, river sports, canyoneering, native American pictographs. Be ready for a dry desert environment.


Boondocking stats: We were out for a total of 3 nights, 2 full days. We took 6 extra gallons of water, used about 3 in the sun shower, and came home with around 6 gallons in the AS fresh water tank. Took 2 sun showers but also 2 AS showers, just to check it out! Otherwise, we used camping water conservation techniques. We figured if we filled up all 4 of our 6 gallons jugs, we could stay out for about a week. We didn't burn much battery, but didn't really put it to the test (didn't need the furnace --thought it was hilarious that this little trailer has something like 14 light bulbs! We found that one bulb at a time in the dinette or the sleeping area was plenty of light, and will put in LEDs soon). So we are still not sure where our power limit is, but do plan on getting a solar panel for extended stays. Used the pit toilet in the way in, and the way out, and during the middle day took a nice long stroll with a shovel. :-) Plan to keep our gray/black tank gray only.

Oh, and our campsite had 3 full Verizon bars, so will consider returning for a work holiday!

Only warranty issue that arose was the loss of one of the awning hooks. Noticed it was loose, and by the time we got home it was gone.

We love our Bambi! Next outing: Curt Gowdy State Park in Wyoming to celebrate friends' anniversary.
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Old 05-15-2013, 11:48 PM   #2
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:02 AM   #3
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No need, stayed in 2W. Mostly flat, well-graded road right to campsite. A few rattles with cattle guards and other rough spots but nothing major -- just kept it slow.
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Old 05-16-2013, 06:10 AM   #4
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Thank you for the info and beautiful pictures. Love southern Utah.
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Old 05-16-2013, 08:51 AM   #5
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Love he area. Thanks for the reminder.

I like to get there a slightly different way. Get off I-70 at exit 131. About 1/4 mile on the north side is a perfect camping area, hidden in the juniper. (Well, many camping areas--you could hold a rally here.) Then you can take Buckhorn Wash Road up to the Wedge. I like exit 131 because it provides access to the Sinbad area on the south side of I-70, and to Dutchman's Arch to the west (you take the dirt road on the south side, then the first turn to the north, eventually passing under I-70 through a culvert big enough for a pickup). There's quite a bit of rock art in the Dutchman's vicinity. Exit 131 sits just south of the Wickiup, an interesting peaked mound that others have called Grand Teton.

Your exit off of 6/191 puts you on Green River Cutoff, sometimes shown on the map as Chimney Rock Road.

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Old 05-17-2013, 10:43 AM   #6
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Zep

Thanks for the additional info. We have gone into the northern Swell via exit 131, up Buckhorn Draw Road to the pictographs, but we weren't pulling a trailer. Is Buckhorn Draw Road suitable for the Bambi all the way to the Wedge?

Would like to check out Dutchman's Arch on another trip!

CQ
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Old 05-17-2013, 02:26 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Seecue View Post
... Is Buckhorn Draw Road suitable for the Bambi all the way to the Wedge?...
Last time I drove it, it was passable, but I wouldn't do it. Too much variation week to week due to thunderstorms. I leave the Airstream at the exit, back in the juniper. It's hardly visible if you go back towards the drop off. I don't know if that's a plus or not.

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Old 05-03-2015, 07:22 PM   #8
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Boondocking Southern Utah

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seecue View Post
Zep

Thanks for the additional info. We have gone into the northern Swell via exit 131, up Buckhorn Draw Road to the pictographs, but we weren't pulling a trailer. Is Buckhorn Draw Road suitable for the Bambi all the way to the Wedge?

Would like to check out Dutchman's Arch on another trip!

CQ
It is a beautiful area- we usually hold up here on the way SOUTH to AZ/TX in the fall to allow the south to cool off a bit- OR in the spring to allow MT/ID to warm a bit.

We take the prior noted route- IE exit 131- cross over the cattle guard- you will be parallel to I-70 heading east- travel on this road "forever" or so it seems- You will come to the portion that goes from pavement to dirt- you are in the right spot-

You will see a fenced in area on the right side of the road with a forgotten name "sink hole" - keep going-

Here's the best part- last year- '14 we ran across a grader- yes a road grader going back and forth while we were camped up-
I took out a few cold pepsis and some what asked nicely if he could tap the crest of the berm and road down to the entrance to our favorite spot- He was more than pleased

There is now an almost professionally graded entrance to this spot that looks over the whole valley- and can fit 2 if not 3 A/S in it. We take the lower site- as going to the top site would challenge a 3 point turn with 60 some odd feet-

We are a '34 triple axle, and like the big rigs- we do look B4 we leap-
This is a favorite location- We stay for 2 weeks + - however we are fully solar w/LEDs only- have 50G on-board and another 36 in jerry cans- never have needed to touch the jerry cans- (yet) That is for 2 adults and one happy black lab.

In short- Our observations-
You can haul this road with up to a 34' with no less than a 4x4 due to some rough areas ( we are 21,000# over the scales inc truck)
We DID see a full blown 18 wheeler cattle truck heading past our site on 2 occasions- either dropping off or picking up open range cattle

You can haul with a <26' with a non 4X4
You MAY wish to check with a doctor OR your significant other if you even THINK you can haul this with ANY TV in the rain season- You will most certainly wish you had taken the prior posters information and parked it at the get off in the junipers- we just dont like to leave the girl unattended- (personal preference on that -not meant to start any heated discussion)

***NOTE*** there is NO WATER at the small CG at the end of the road- nearest H2O is at Green River off I-70 at the State park for 5$ dump fee or up Rt 10 heading north at Palisade State Park for Free-

Last photo is out the front door-
GPS: N 38 degrees 56.112'
W 110 degrees 36.306'

Wishing you many days of Boondocking & Safe Travels
Preston
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Old 05-05-2015, 12:02 PM   #9
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I'll check out your spot, but it's a long way from the highway. I like being in the junipers right at the exit and there is good hiking up to the mine in the butte right next door. Here's a Google Earth snapshot of where I think you camp. I put a dot where I camp.

It would be great to see you there.

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Old 05-05-2015, 09:13 PM   #10
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Zepp-
You are right on the money- gwizzzzz - you dont have a tracking device or work for a top secret federal agency do you??? If so I would love some insight to good boon docking in NW MT
I'm going to check your spot out too on the way out this week , as we have gone past on 70 as we did not have the time to go all the way in to where we camp- thanks for the tip appreciate it!
Happy Trails
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