The Elk Ridge/Dark Canyon recreation area is located in San Juan County west of Monticello and north of Blanding in southeastern Utah. It lies west of Cottonwood Road to Elk Ridge and through the Dark Canyon Wilderness to the west Forest boundary and from the north Forest boundary to the south boundary. The closest access is from SR-95. It is in close proximity to Natural Bridges NM to east, Canyonlands NP to north and Blanding to the south; Elk Ridge Road runs the length of the areas from the north to the south. Dark Canyon and its tributaries begin high on the edge of Elk Ridge at an elevation of 8,800 feet and cut through layers of sandstone and limestone to the upper reaches of Lake Powell and the Colorado River ending up at 3,700 feet. The Forest Service manages the upper end of the canyon which includes the 45,000 acre Dark Canyon Wilderness Area.