Price Field Office Wilderness Monitoring in Little Grand Canyon, Utah

April 2-3, 2024, Price Field Office Park Ranger Sadie Waller and Outdoor Recreation Planner Bridget Murray went on a two-day backpacking patrol in the Little Grand Canyon along the San Rafael River. The trip was designed to record visitor impacts, reclaim old campsites, trash cleanup, monitor cultural heritage sites, and observe river conditions in advance of this year’s float season.  

A running river through a valley surrounded by rock mountain formations.
San Rafael River flowing through the Little Grand Canyon.

“Over 17 miles of hiking, and scrambling, wading, and getting stuck in mud, we recorded 24 campsites and rehabilitated 12 of them due to low use,” said Murray. “We cleaned up a small amount of trash as well and sawed back several branches to allow for equestrian passage.” 

A person cleaning up a campsite.
Virgin Spring Campsite in Little Grand Canyon.

Most often viewed from above at the Wedge Overlook, the Little Grand Canyon is a thousand-foot gorge in the sandstone of the northern San Rafael Swell. The entirety of the canyon is preserved by the 50,000-acre Sid’s Mountain Wilderness, which begins at the Little Grand Canyon’s north rim and encompasses the many side canyons of the San Rafael River.

A person standing near a large rock formation.
Price Field Office Park Ranger Sadie Waller.

BLM Utah encourages recreationists to keep wilderness wild by following Leave No Trace Principles. 

- Travel and camp in existing disturbances (campsites and social trails) or on durable surfaces such as slickrock 

- Keep wildlife wild by hanging your food or storing it in a hard-sided container and packing out all trash—including food scraps, shells, cores, and peels 

- Research your route and prepare for changing conditions by packing food and water, clothing layers, and a first aid kit 

- While the San Rafael River is fun to float in spring, high water can be deadly for hikers due to its current, depth, and cold temperatures. Plan hiking trips when the flow is at or below 50 cubic feet per second. 

Trails in Price Field Office’s wilderness areas are generally not maintained. Call the Price BLM office at 435-636-3600 for the most recent conditions. 

More photos of the Little Grand Canyon can be found on our Flickr: Green River District: Little Grand Canyon | Flickr

Authored by: Bridget Murray, Price Field Office Outdoor Recreation Planner

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