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Moonshine Tanks is best in spring, when the wash has channeled the desert's scarce water to a number of wildflowers. The rest of the year, the angled rock shows interesting layers of geological history. I called this hike "Moonshine Tanks" because that's the common map label near the endpoint. I did not find them, but you may enjoy hunting for them.

Directions • The hike is near Interstate 70 in Emery County, just west of Green River. Traveling west on I-70, go past exit 149 and continue two miles to mile post 147. Turn north (slowly!) off the freeway onto a graded road. Go through a gate and descend to a north-south road you will take south, under I-70. After passing under the freeway, take "Ranch Bypass Road" or County Road 1028 about 2.1 miles to a parking area east-southeast of a large, prominent gap in the walls of the San Rafael Swell. It is not signed.

Hike • From the parking area, take a footpath southwest to the large wash. Follow the wash as it winds west and then south. At about 0.7 mile, the wash curves back to the west and a wash approaches from the south. You can go into it and up the hill on your right (west) to search for the fabled moonshine tanks.

Or you can continue in the main wash about 15 yards and climb up a fun slickrock mound to the north, up to another network of footpaths and some very pretty, if typical, views of the Swell.

Digital map available at

Destination: Moonshine Tanks

Hiking time • 1.5 hours

Round-trip miles • 1.6 miles

Elevation gain • 80 feet

Difficulty • Easy

Trail head restrooms • No

Dogs allowed • Yes

Bikes allowed • No

Fees • None

— Erin Alberty