On Saturday November 11th, David and I jumped in the Explorer and headed for the middle of the San Rafael Swell by way of Castledale and then down Buckhorn Canyon. On the way we noticed a small class ‘D’ arch in the rocks just off the road to the north so we had to stop to investigate.

San Rafael Windows

Calf Canyon

Once through Buckhorn and across the San Rafael River bridge, we headed south several miles to the Oil Well Flat road where we drove southwest up Cane Wash. A jeep trail then takes us north until it drops down into the head of Saddle Horse Canyon. Here we pass Eclipse Arch, hanging on the cliffs a short distance to the north.

Saddle Horse Canyon

Joe & His Dog Plus Devil's Monument

Once we arrived in Saddle Horse Canyon, we discovered that the trail that dropped down into the sandy wash had been closed. Saddle Horse Canyon is now a “Wilderness Study Area”, which is just a sneaky way to designate wilderness and close it to access.

Head Of Saddle Horse Canyon

Several years earlier, we had driven the sandy dry wash north to Propped Up Arch. We had made a mental note to come back and explore the surrounding area. Now that was no longer an option. Propped Up Arch was now MILES away and the area we wanted to see was miles further.


We tried to drive over FixIt Pass into Coal Wash but the road down the pass was WAY to rough now. Instead we turned around and headed out of the area the same way we drove in.

Saddle Horse Canyon Sunset

The day turned out to just be a long drive.