- Sample Itinerary
- Trip Details
- About the Area
The San Juan River offers panoramic vistas and fast-moving white water rapids. This is a great 3 or 4 day rafting trip for your youth group. With numerous warm-water rapids and polished limestone swimming pools, the San Juan River delivers an unforgettable experience.
This white water rafting trip takes us through unique Pueblo Indian dwellings, where we will view ruins and petroglyphs left by ancient civilizations. From the diverse animal and plant life to the extraordinary geological features, the San Juan River is always a favorite white water vacation for youth.
- Explore slickrock and prehistoric Indian ruins
- Classic Southern Utah desert environment, warm water
- 83 miles of perfect rafting for children and inflatable kayaks
Youth enjoy the fast moving San Juan River. Dropping an average of eight feet per mile, it provides exhilarating white water rapids. Its tall sandstone and limestone canyon walls provide a colorful and stunning backdrop for our 3 and 4 day whitewater rafting trip.
The San Juan River offers many thrilling small rapids, as well as “Sand Waves”. These unusual waves appear to rise from the water from nowhere and are caused by shifting sand on the bottom of this fast moving river.
At Holiday River Expeditions, the San Juan Youth Rafting Trip offers a great opportunity for diversity in our daily itinerary. Often our journey will vary from one trip to the next based upon Mother Nature, group desires, and courtesy for other groups on the river that day. Below, we outline a typical itinerary for the four-day trip on the San Juan River. We also offer a three-day trip on the San Juan that follows Day 2 through Day 4 of the four-day itinerary below.
Day 1: Our group meets at Sand Island in Bluff, Utah the put-in point. We float down river and lunch near River House Ruin, one of the best-preserved ancient Pueblo dwellings in the Southwest. We camp near Comb Ridge, the 600-foot edge to the enormous Monument Up-warp.
Day 2: Our white water trip takes us through the village of Mexican Hat. Next we navigate the famous Goosenecks of the San Juan, and then take an optional hike to the 1894 cabin of prospector, 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.
Day 3: This morning we may hike the Honaker Trail, all that remains of the 1892 gold rush. For those daring souls who make the 1200-foot vertical climb, an amazing view of Monument Valley awaits. We will also stop at one of the white sand beaches along the shore to explore 300 million year old fossils. Government Rapid awaits us next with Slickhorn Gulch nearby. Slickhorn Gulch offers superb canyons along the Colorado System with fern grotto’s and limestone swimming pools.
Day 4: After passing through Grand Gulch Primitive Area, we’ll enjoy some exciting white water rapids before being dropped into Lake Powell. We glide across the lake to our take out spot at Clay Hills Crossing.
As mentioned earlier, this is a sample itinerary and should not be thought of as the trip you will experience. It is intended to give an idea of what the trip will be like. It could also be exactly what you do. Keep an open mind, be flexible, go with the flow, and enjoy!
Trip Meeting Options:
3-day, Mexican Hat to Clay Hills and 4-day, Sand Island to Clay Hills
1. Groups providing their own transportation can camp the night before the rafting trip at the Sand Island boat ramp/campground (about 10 minutes west of Bluff on Hwy 191). The Sand Island campground has five areas with tables and fire pits and two RV sites. The toilets are the vault type and there is no running water. Campsites are on a first come, first serve basis.
2. We will meet at the Sand Island boat ramp or Mexican Hat boat ramp at 8:00 a.m. the morning of the trip. At the end of the trip, the group will need to be picked up at Clay Hills Crossing near Lake Powell. This trip involves 60 minutes of driving on a dirt road.
3. You can arrange a shuttle for your vehicle (s) to the take out. Your Holiday representative can help assist you with arranging this.
Beginning of the River Rafting Trip: On the morning of your rafting trip, plan to arrive promptly at the predetermined time.
After the Rafting Trip: This rafting trip will be off the water between 2:00 and 3:00 p.m. on the final day. The take-out point is Clay Hills Crossing.
Medical emergencies: 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, and 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.
Cancellation Policy: 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.
Insurance: 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 this 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.
Tipping the guides: Many guests ask us if tipping is appropriate after the 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 crew members. However, the decision to tip is left to your sole discretion.
Beverages: We provide ice water, lemonade and ample cooler space. If you choose to bring additional drinks we have no problem taking whatever you want to bring – within reason.
San Juan Weather: In May, June and July the daytime temperatures are 80 to 100 degrees, with nighttime temperatures 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.
Bugs, snakes, etc. 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) mosquitos 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.
Hiking 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.
Things to see in the area: 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 (BlueMountain), Grand Gulch Wilderness Area, Mesa Verde National Park
Reading material, you may enjoy:
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 www.bikeraft.com, or by sending the appropriate amount listed above plus $5.60 priority shipping 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.