A series of previously published articles describe points of interest in the San Rafael Swell region and the Buckhorn Wash definitely is one of the main attractions. The suggested starting point is the San Rafael Swell Visitor Center near the Wedge Recreation Area, so it will be a downhill run through the lengthy Buckhorn Wash, which offers so many attractions that planning an overnighter is best to do. One of the Buckhorn Wash articles features the many dispersed camping options to be found in this area. There are even a couple of free developed campgrounds near the mouth of the canyon that are practically abandoned, since relatively few people tour this remote destination. Dispersed camping for free is always a nice option, but not everybody wants to deal with packing or cleaning the required human waste disposal device, especially when an extended stay is planned.
Fortunately there is a large fully developed fee campground at the end of Buckhorn Wash next to the old historic Swinging Bridge over the San Rafael River, which definitely is a nice spot for setting up a basecamp for adventures in these parts. Swinging Bridge features two large campgrounds on either side of the river and there is a horse camp, so the trail riders are in luck. The dirt roads are smooth in this area, so trailer haulers or RV campers can do the trip, but coming directly from !-70 to the Swinging Bridge Campground may be the better choice for large vehicles. The developed campgrounds feature basic facilities, picnic tables, fire rings and char grills, while plenty of shade can be found under the cottonwood trees. The campsites are not crammed together like sardines and there is plenty of spacious breathing room, which is like a sigh of relief for those who wish to escape from the big crowds in the neighboring National Parks.
The Swinging Bridge Campground definitely is in a prime location for outdoor adventures, so it is best to plan on an extended stay from the start. The Jeep trail to Mexican Mountain runs through this camp, while the majestic Buckhorn Wash is right next door. Points of interest in the dry wash canyon include several hiking trailheads, the MK Tunnels, famous rock art panels and even a prehistoric dinosaur track. The old historic Swinging Bridge is also a gem of an attraction that will captivate visitors of all ages. This bridge was built by the Civilian Conservation Corp back in 1937 and it actually was the only bridge over the San Rafael River till the 1990s. Walking across the bridge will open the eyes to how lush this region can be when water is added and the ancient rock art in this area confirms this section of the river was an important resource. As can be imagined, the Swinging Bridge Campground is a great place to make a great escape happen, so be sure to chalk this spot high on the list when planning a tour of the San Rafael Swell region!
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