San Juan River Rafting Trips

River Trips on Utah’s San Juan River

Utah’s southeastern corner is a wonderland of dramatic topography and archaeological treasures. Rafting trips on the San Juan River are the easiest and best way to experience it all. In its upper reaches, the “River Flowing from the Sunrise” eases into the cream-colored sandstone of Comb Ridge and past ancient dwelling sites and petroglyph panels. To the south, the river borders the present day territory of the Diné (Navajo) People. For thousands of years, the water of the San Juan River has meant life to various cultural groups; their artifacts still line the walls and side canyons of the river.

In its lower reaches, the San Juan rushes by the town of Mexican Hat, Utah, then curves around the deep canyon of Goosenecks State Park. Although the San Juan is one of the steepest, swiftest rivers in the United States, it has only a handful of rapids, making it a great option for families with young children or first-time rafters. Choose from three San Juan River rafting trip options: the upper canyon from Sand Island to Mexican Hat, the lower canyon from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills Crossing, or the entire canyon.

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

3 Day Upper San Juan

A perfect starting place for any new whitewater river runner: the upper San Juan River wanders through astounding red rock landscapes and abruptly dives into the center of Comb Ridge, one of the many dramatic geologic features of the greater Monument Upwarp. Play in sand waves and class I–II whitewater or get bogged down in the natural mud baths; this river inspires the child within!

4 Day Lower San Juan

The lower San Juan ebbs and flows back and forth through the heart of Goosenecks State Park, famous for its deep, exquisitely cut canyons. Countless side hikes and points of interest will thrill you, along with the subtle beauty of the alien desertscape surrounding you. This primarily class I and II whitewater trip is perfect for newcomers, with one class III rapid to test your mettle.

5 Day Full San Juan

This full-length expedition through the heart of the Monument Upwarp will help you and your family relax and rejuvenate all while playing hard. A canyon rich with cultural sites, folk stories, and mysteries, the river comes alive in new ways each day of your journey. With class I–III whitewater, the San Juan River will offer both rafters and inflatable kayakers plenty of chances to get wet!