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The San Juan River offers some of the most amazing landscape found anywhere. From rainbow colored canyon walls to polished limestone swimming pools, this region always surprises and delights its visitors. From the canyon rim, we have an endless vista of Monument Valley.
Flowing faster than any other river we run, the San Juan’s 83 miles and scores of small rapids are perfect for children and inflatable kayaking.
We are reveling about the gorgeous scenery every day with the
overwhelming colors, shapes, and heights of the rock formations. We
were impressed too with the knowledge that our guides had about the
history of the early people who tried to settle there, and much about
the rock formations. You have a wonderful crew - all real pros.
The guides were outstanding! The food was delicious! I don't see how anything could have been better. This was definitely a 5 star experience. I would go with Holiday again in a heartbeat. Our group was especially interested in trying to see the solar eclipse, and the guides were most accommodating, even though it wasn't on the original agenda. They were wonderful.
The guides were wonderful -- T.J. and Loren knew interesting stories about the history of the canyon, told us about the geology, showed us fossils, told awful jokes, cooked amazing food and shared their love of the river and the canyon. They seemed to genuinely enjoy all the people too. And they accommodated the interests of the group from stopping at Sand Island so we could see the petroglyphs, to helping us get to the best place for a chance to see the eclipse of the sun. I was impressed by how the logistics and equipment have changed in the 40 years since I was last on a Holiday trip -- more elegant without changing the basic river experience. (The Bano, hand washing stations, drinking water, already inflated self-bailing boats! The food was always good, and it is even better now.)
It was nice to be able to get a sense of the activities and scenery! Also, I'll admit I did look up what accommodations were made for bathrooms. I was surprised and delighted that you do explain that. Great to be prepared! Great website. Everything EXCEEDED my expectations. I had such an wonderful experience with Holiday Expeditions and learned so much about nature and preservation. Our guides were so knowledgeable and took us to amazing destinations! Such a great trip for the soul!
The guides are always a pleasure to get to know and the food is fantastic. I have been on many vacations that include Hawaii and cruises and I can honestly say that the river trips with Holiday are my favorite.
The first time I went down the San Juan was with a group of boatmen. It was hard to read the map because the scenery was so amazing… the water was moving so fast. It made us dizzy because our heads were busy snapping from one side of the river to the other to see the next scenic attraction.
Dee Holladay, Holiday River’s 1975 Reconnaissance Trip
Pound for pound, the San Juan is one of the fastest moving rivers in the United States, dropping and average of eight feet per mile. Sandstone and limestone walls frame the narrow canyon as the river snakes through the countless goosenecks for which it is famous. Today the river borders Navajoland, although it was once the home of the ancient pueblo civilization. Scores of ruins and petroglyphs line the canyon walls.
The San Juan, with a lot of small rapids, is especially known for sand waves which appear to rise from nowhere due to shifting sand on the bottom of this fast moving stream. These make for a particularly thrilling ride in an inflatable kayak.
It was on the San Juan that commercial river running began in 1938 when Norman Nevills began operating trips from Mexican Hat through the Grand Canyon.
One of the advantages of a river trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary. It can vary widely from one rafting trip to the next based on group desires, Mother Nature, and courtesy for other groups on the river. This typical itinerary illustrates a four-day rafting trip on the San Juan River. The three and four day itineraries vary based on the seasonal water flows in May and June. For specifics on your river rafting trip’s date and itinerary, please speak to your reservationist.
Meet group in Blanding, Utah then we’re off on a 1 hour scenic ride to the put-in point – Mexican Hat. Pass through the village of Mexican Hat before traversing the famed Goosenecks of the San Juan. Take an optional hike to the 1894 prospector cabin of Walter Mendenhall. Enjoy frequent sightings of Great Blue Heron that seem to lead the way into the labyrinth. Camp in the heart of the Goosenecks.
This morning we can hike the Honaker Trail, all that remains of the “1892 gold rush”. The reward for those who put forth this 1200-foot vertical effort is an unforgettable view of Monument Valley.
A good day to stop at a pristine beach and check out 300 million year old fossils, remnants from another eon. Government Rapid and a “siesta” at Slickhorn Gulch highlights this day. Slickhorn Gulch is one of the premier side canyons along the Colorado System with fern grottos and swimming pools.
Fast water drops you into Lake Powell after passing through the Grand Gulch Primitive Area; then we continue across the lake to the take out at Clay Hills Crossing. You will transfer to a two-hour scenic ride back to Blanding, Utah.
We meet for your trip in Blanding, Utah. If you are driving, your car can be left at the Blue Mountain Inn in Blanding. Departure time is 7:00 a.m. (Mountain Time), and so it is important that you attend our pre-trip orientation the night before your trip.
The day before your trip, there will be a pre-trip orientation meeting at 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time). We will meet you in the lobby or just outside the Blue Mountain Inn’s front office. Your trip leader and other members of the crew will give you a short orientation on all aspects of river travel. At this time we will issue your waterproof bags and answer any questions you may have.
On the morning of your trip, plan to arrive promptly at 7:00 a.m. (Mountain Time) at the Blue Mountain Inn. We will then take a 30-minute van ride to Sand Island (3-Day trips) or a one–hour van ride to Mexican Hat (4-Day trips), where we will transfer to the boats and start the trip.
All trips except 3-Day trips will disembark at Clay Hills Crossing where you will travel by van back to Blanding, Utah. Our 3-Day trips will disembark at Mexican Hat where you travel by van to Blanding, Utah. Our expected time of arrival back at the Blue Mountain Inn is 4:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Our guides are trained in first aid and carry first aid supplies only. REMEMBER to bring your own prescription medicines. ALERT our guides to any medical problem you might have such as diabetes or allergic reactions. Wilderness expeditions are a long way from hospitals, doctors, or pain-relieving medicines. Evacuations to modern medical care are uncertain, and protracted. In case of evacuation and/or medical treatment beyond first aid, expenses incurred are the responsibility of the participant.
If cancellations are made prior to 90 days before the trip, monies will be refunded less a $50.00 service charge per person. If cancellations are made within 90 days and outside of 45 days of the trip date monies will be refunded less a $100.00 service charge per person. Cancellations made within 45 days of the trip date are non refundable. Prior to 45 days to the trip date we will transfer reservations to another trip in the same year with a $25.00 service charge per person. All policies will be enforced and we strongly recommend trip cancellation insurance. Cancellation of a trip is very unlikely, but we reserve the right to cancel any trip due to river or weather conditions or the lack of sufficient reservations. A full refund will be made if such is the case.
Medical and cancellation insurance on a vacation plan can be obtained from numerous insurance companies. We offer plans underwritten by TRAVEL GUARD that cover accident, baggage and cancellation claims. An application should be enclosed with your information package. We encourage all to take advantage of this coverage. This is available to American and Canadian citizens, as well as citizens of another country as long as you have a U.S. address. If you have questions give us a call. Also, if you are bringing expensive cameras, binoculars, or other items we suggest you have insurance coverage for them (commonly available through Homeowners Policies). In the event of a loss, our insurance will not cover those items.
Many guests ask us if tipping is appropriate after the rafting trip. If you feel the guides have been instrumental in your enjoyment of the trip, you may choose to direct a gratuity to the trip leader in the form of cash or check. He/She will then distribute it evenly to the other crewmembers. Of those that choose to tip, the average contribution amount ranges between $15.00 and $25.00 per guest per day. However, the decision to tip is left to your sole discretion.
We provide ice water, lemonade, two sodas per day per person and ample cooler space. If you choose to bring any specialty sodas and/or alcoholic beverages, we have no problem taking whatever you want to bring – within reason. Don’t bring beer, wine coolers or sodas in glass containers. Wine packaged in a box is ideal. Mark beverages that you bring so they are packed on your boat. Alcoholic beverages will need to be purchased prior to your arrival in Blanding. Please Note: There is no liquor, wine, beer, or wine coolers sold or served in Blanding, Utah.
If you have any questions prior to leaving for your trip, we welcome you call our Salt Lake City office, Monday through Friday at 800-624-6323 (outside Utah) or 801-266-2087 (inside Utah). We’re happy to take the time to answer any questions. You may also contact us by email at email@example.com.
IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS THE NIGHT BEFORE THE TRIP, OUR GREEN RIVER HEADQUARTERS NUMBER IS: 435-564-3273 (OR) LEAVE A MESSAGE AT THE BLUE MOUNTAIN INN’S FRONT DESK FOR YOUR HOLIDAY GUIDES.
In May, June and July the daytime temperatures are 80 to 100 degrees, with nighttime temperatures around 50 to 75 degrees. This is the time of year that swimming in the river becomes a popular activity. This seems warm but remember the humidity is very low. There will be an abundance of sun, so bring a hat and plenty of suntan lotion and/or sunscreens.
Are generally no problem. In fact, the lack of pesky insects is one of the reasons wilderness camping on the river is so pleasant. Any river trip, however, is subject to an occasional localized insect hatch. During these hatches (most common in June) mosquito’s can be bothersome. Be sure to bring long sleeve clothing and repellent. Insect repellents that contain “deet” are by far the most effective during heavy hatches, but are also suspected of causing various health problems. Citronella-based products (skin-so-soft) work only in light hatches. We rarely see any snakes, but if the thought of them bothers you, try sleeping on the beaches or in a tent instead of rocky or bushy areas.
Is a highlight of the trip, however, it is strictly an optional activity. There are many interesting short hikes available. Hiking can be done in durable sneakers or lightweight hiking boots. Remember that hiking and other activities vary widely pending time, and what other plans are ahead for the day on the river.
The Edge of the Cedars Anasazi Museum & State Park, Natural Bridges National Monument, La Sal and Henry Mountains, Newspaper Rock, Hovenweep National Monument, Monument Valley, Navajo National Monument, San Juan Goosenecks State Park, Comb Ridge/Abajo Mountains (Blue Mountain), Grand Gulch Wilderness Area, and Mesa Verde National Park.
San Juan River Guide Lisa Kearsley $17.95
Life in Stone Christa Sadler $11.95
The Educated Outlaw Harvey Lay Murdock (Grandson) $10.95
These books can be ordered on line at our e-store, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $4.95 shipping and handling for the first book, and an additional $2.00 for each book thereafter to Holiday River Expeditions, 544 East 3900 South, SLC UT 84107. This is available within the U.S. only. If outside the U.S. additional shipping and handling charges will be added. You can call 801-266-2087 for rates.
You can fly to Salt Lake City located 310 miles northwest of Blanding, Utah. From there you can rent a car or take a shuttle with Moab Luxury Coach (call 435-940-4212 or www.moabluxurycoach.com) to Blanding, Utah. If you need assistance with your travel arrangements, please ask your Holiday River Expedition reservation agent.
Lodging before and after your trip can be booked at:
Blue Mountain Inn 435-678-3271 (indoor pool, hot tub, complimentary continental breakfast) http://bluemountaininnblanding.com/
Gateway Inn Motel 435-678-2278 (locally owned, outdoor pool, continental breakfast) www.gatewayinnblanding.com
Four Corners Inn 435-678-3257 (continental breakfast) www.fourcornersinn.com
Super 8 435-678-3880 (indoor hot tub) www.super8.com
BE SURE TO MAKE ADVANCE RESERVATIONS!
There is one campground in Blanding: the Kampark Campground (RV with full hookups & tent sites – 435-678-2770). There are also four Forest Service campgrounds in the Abajo Mountains 15 to 30 miles north of Blanding.
Holiday River Expedition's Travel Agents - Mateja Harrington & Cindy Swenson with Cruise and Travel Masters are happy to assist you with your travel plans. Contact Mateja or Cindy to take the work out of "Getting Here".
Toll Free - 800-264-0557 (You must ask for Mateja Harrington or Cindy Swenson) Or, do it yourself, we can help… Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN) TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah Once in Salt Lake City most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting points. Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only) TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Email Attention Mateja or Cindy: firstname.lastname@example.org">
Colorado and Utah Rivers
Gateway - Salt Lake City, Utah OR Denver, Colorado
All rental cars are located in both terminals of the Salt Lake City Airport.
Salt Lake City to Blanding 300 miles
Salt Lake City to Vernal 180 miles
Air Service to Vernal (VEL), Utah from Denver, Colorado
Or, do it yourself, we can help…
Air Service to Salt Lake City (SLC) or Denver (DEN)
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM SALT LAKE CITY to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Once in Salt Lake City most of our guests rent-a-car and drive to our meeting points.
Salt Lake City to Green River 180 miles
Shuttle Service to Green River or Blanding, Utah from Salt Lake City (Vernal is on a Charter basis only)
TRANSPORTATION OPTIONS FROM DENVER to Green River, Vernal or Blanding, Utah
Air Service to Moab (CNY) (52 miles south of Green River), Utah from Denver, Colorado
PROVIDED BY HOLIDAY RIVER EXPEDITIONS
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There is a greater chance of inclement weather on these trips which otherwise offer many advantages to the well-prepared river traveler. Polypropylene, fleece, pile, bunting, capeline, etc. are a few examples of trade names for a class of synthetic materials that retain their ability to insulate when wet (please note, cotton does not.) Your comfort on the trip starts with finding the right type of synthetic under and outer-wear and quality rain gear. We recommend Backcountry.com for your additional river trip needs. Backcountry.com offers a wide variety of gear to help you dress for success the for your river trip no matter what the weather decides to do. A prepared traveler is a happy traveler.
ITEMS YOU CAN BUY AT HOLIDAY'S ONLINE STORE: www.BikeRaft.com or at our accessories stores in Green River and Vernal; the meeting points for our Cataract, Westwater, Ranch, Desolation, Labyrinth, Fisher Towers, Lodore and Yampa trips.