An Epic Spot on Utah's Green River
On the cusp of summer my excitement to get out into the world had gotten as high as it could have. Leaving my house no longer required a coordination of equipment to stay warm. No excessive amounts of coats, jackets, sleeping bags, thick socks, and everything that would protect you from an unforgiving cold environment. Instead, the dawning possibility of the environment not stealing all your precious body heat was quickly becoming a reality. Yet the roads going into the mountains were closed for another week1 and undoubtedly snow ridden and damp. Instead, I heeded the call the desert. Perusing around on Google Maps and Gaia GPS, I settled on seeing the Trin-Alcove Bend on the Green River.
It wasn’t my first choice. Since the weather called for a high in the lower 70s F I tried to find a few spots along the Green River that would let me sit on a sandy beach and read while my dogs played in the river. While these unicorn-like locations do exist they were unfortunately behind private land. I wasn’t able to figure this out until I was at the spots physically. Things look different on the aerial view of Google Maps and the satellite shots are frequently out of date.
The path to this area starts in the city of Green River, Utah. With the area to the south being remote I made sure to top off my vehicle’s gas before heading south on the Airport Road. This quickly turns into the Lower San Rafael Road, which is also called County Road 1010. Parts of the road meander southward near the Green River while others are a ways away leaving you to enjoy the extreme desolation of the desert.
There are a few natural attractions along the way, including Crystal Geyser and Fossil Point. While Crystal Geyser is across the river it is still a neat place to stop and explore. There are a few mining operations in the area and you can several farm-like compounds dotted along the shore of the river. The taller hill directly across from Crystal Geyser has favorable 5G T-Mobile service spots. Down the hill to the south is a lowland expanse filled with scrubby grasses and bushes. While not particular soft or comfortable, it would be a good spot if the weather was extremely windy.
The rest of my time was spent exploring side roads and trying to find little nooks to camp in. I always try to do this for future me. As I said before, things are misleading on an aerial maps perspective and sometime that secluded spot gets missed. Adding a way point to keep it in your camping spot bank is a great way to pay yourself forward. Another possibility I was looking at was a road that went all the way from the main 1010 to the Green River. This proved unsuccessful due to the fact that the road conditions were incredibly primitive at best. I was pressed for time and couldn’t give them their respective allotment of vetting.
Arriving at the Trin-Alcove Bend was underwhelming at first. The huge curve of the river is evident when you arrive but doesn’t show its full grandness until you take a short hike down the hill to get a better perspective. After relocating my eyeballs to the appropriate spot, was I flooded with feelings I had experienced at places like the Grand Canyon or Horseshoe Bend in Page, Arizona. It made me feel small, insignificant. A speck in the time line wherein this emerald green river had been tirelessly working away.
At places like these I experience a rapid succession of nihilism and existentialism. But I find it incredibly rewarding to my personal perspective. The goal posts of my life are placed back where they should be. Value forgotten is renewed and time regains is preciousness.
Personal philosophy aside, the camping footprint above the bend is decidedly tight. There is an overly large parking area at the farthest end of the road. A smaller spot is available before it. This would be good if there was another group setup in either spot, leaving options available to enjoy the bend.
Being high on a cliff with little rock formations around you is a distinct comfort problem at this location. The wind was mild during my stay here but was excessive in a roof top tent. It might have been the direction of wind in relation to my tent but my tent walls flapped without end all night. I can’t imagine the experience if there was real wind in play.
The Forest Service and other similar organizations usually open these roads after Memorial Day, depending on weather conditions. ↩︎