Far away from the crowds, the cities, the pollution and the noise, distant even from civilized national parks and guidebook photo spots, there's a countryside where little has changed since humans first walked the Earth. Millions zoom past it on the interstate every year, but few know where it is. Ask a local nicely, and he might just let you in on Utah's best kept secret: the San Rafael Swell.
Unexploited and untamed, the Swell is an awesome upthrust of sandstone buttes, roughhewn arches, and solitary canyons. The eagles still soar here, cowboys still work the fields, and cell phones are about as useful as rocks. Peppered by the occasional backpacker, bike, or unassuming town, the red cliffs stand stoic against the changing times.
Travelers here find a rich selection of landscapes. The twisted hoodoos of Goblin Valley call out to the imagination and beg to be explored. Rippled dunes set the stage for a thrilling rush on a jeep or ATV. Others find solace in the forested uplands of the Wasatch Plateau, hiking windswept trails or fishing in an icy stream. When the sun goes down, set up the tent or lodge at a cozy bed and breakfast and watch the stars come out in a jet black sky.