RATING: Class 4
LENGTH: 8-12 hours or (better) 2+ day backpack
GEAR: 10 m ( 33 ft. ) rope useful for beginners and dogs.
WATER: Typically a small flowing stream in Woodruff and Trachyte, pools and seeps in Swett.
FLASHFLOOD: Low / Moderate
SEASON: Any, although can be cold wading in the winter.
Swett and Woodruff canyons, although neighbors, have very different characters.
Woodruff, at least the lower half, is riparian with large cottonwoods, willows, small waterfalls, and an intermittent stream, The scenery in Woodruff tends to be open, with low canyon walls and short narrow sections. Canyon walls here are generally Wingate sandstone, and take the shape of large domes and rounded top walls.
Swett, in contrast, starts out with shallow Navajo narrows, then opens into a lovely valley with nice views of the Little Rockies and La Sal mountains. The valley gives way to a quickly deepening Wingate canyon. The narrows in the section are deeper, and sublime.
The Swett/Woodruff loop is a long one, about 17 miles round trip. Although it can be done in a long day, the availability of water and tranquility of the area lend itself much better to a 2 day backpack. For those wanting a short day, going down either canyon from the top as far as comfortable and returning makes for a great day out. Suprisingly, given the easy access and proximity the the highway, it feels remote and seldom trodden.