This improved gravel road cuts through the heart of the northern portion of the San Rafael Swell, providing access to several scenic play areas including the "Little Grand Canyon" of the San Rafael River, an ancient rock art panel in Buckhorn Draw and a camping area near the Swinging Bridge over the river.
From the north, a 20-mile section of this Backway leads to BLM's Wedge Overlook, with vistas overlooking the Little Grand Canyon. You can get on the route from a signed intersection on SR-10, about 1 mile north of Castledale. From there drive east on a gravel road for 13 miles. The road turns south at a signed intersection; follow the left fork for six miles to the Wedge Overlook. Vantage points along the rim provide canyon views - each different from the next.
To travel the Buckhorn Draw portion of the Backway, return six miles back to the main gravel road and follow the signs south into the Draw. This route continues through the draw and across the San Rafael River. An old, historic and now unused swinging bridge can be seen at the river crossing. There is also a nice campground along the river. It offers shade, fire pits and toilets but no drinking water.
The Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel is a main attraction here. It is located about 3.5 miles north of the bridge, along the main road. The ancient figures were painted over 2,000 years ago, and are in the mysterious Barrier Canyon style.
The Backway ends at ranch exit #129 on I-70. The Buckhorn Draw section to I-70 is approximately 25 miles. Allow 45 minutes travel time between Castledale and the Wedge Overlook. Allow one hour travel time for the Buckhorn Draw/I-70 portion of the Backway.
After leaving paved highway SR-10, this graveled Backway is graded regularly and is passable for two-wheel drive vehicles in good weather. The road is occasionally impassable during winter months due to snow or wet conditions.
Scenery and Attractions
The road to the Wedge Overlook climbs through rolling pinyon and juniper woodland until it ends suddenly at the edge of the Wedge Overlook, sometimes called "Utah's Little Grand Canyon." Over 1,200 feet below, the San Rafael River winds its way between the canyon walls. The Buckhorn Draw portion of the Backway follows a narrow, winding sandstone canyon. South of the San Rafael River, the Backway travels through open range lands and pinyon-juniper terrain to I-70.