San Juan River History Trip with Andrew Gulliford

The Ghosts of the San Juan are many and what better way to explore this sacred canyon than through the eyes of a die-hard historian?  The San Juan River holds a special place in our hearts as the calm refuge from an arid desert, the source of life between red-rock spires and buttes surrounding it.  Join us for this extra special history trip with Dr Andrew Gulliford as he brings this river of ghosts back to life over the course of 5 days in the heart of the greater Bears Ears area and Goose Neck state park.

Check out more about Dr. Gulliford in his recent interview with Holiday! 

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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Four Corners Region

  • Length:

    5 Days

  • Dates:

    June 11-15th, 2020

  • Meet at:

    Super 8, Blanding, Utah @ 7:00am

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Float the famous Goosenecks of the San Juan
  • Treat yourself to a river spa experience with the San Juan's famous mud
  • Fun but gentle introduction to whitewater rafting
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List

Rates & Dates

5 Day

  • Adult:
  • $1,025
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1,025
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1,025
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1,025
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • June
  • 11th


One of the advantages of our San Juan River trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary.

 It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, seasonal water flows, weather, campsite availability, and courtesy for other groups on the river.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1:

Your rafting adventure on the San Juan River begins with the group meeting in Blanding, Utah, at 7 a.m. Mountain Time. From there, it’s a one-hour scenic ride to the put-in near the small town of Mexican Hat, Utah. Our first stop on the river could be an optional hike to the cabin built in 1894 by prospector Walter Mendenhall, one of many whose dreams of riches were dashed by the San Juan. We’ll descend into the famed Goosenecks of the San Juan, watching for the great blue herons that seem to lead the way into the labyrinth.

Day 2:

Start the day with an invigorating hike along the Honaker Trail, a relic of the 1892 gold rush. The reward for those who put forth this 1200-foot vertical effort is an unforgettable view of Monument Valley. We’ll push off into the swift current and meander along with the river through the layered canyon rocks, play in good, clean mud, and run through Ross Rapid.

Day 3:

Today we’ll watch out for the Government Bird Rock, perched on the canyon wall, our signal that Government Rapid is approaching. Later in the day we’ll wander up Slickhorn Gulch to a hidden grotto and swimming hole. Make certain to scrub off in the river before hiking to the pool—sunscreen and other chemicals on our skin disrupt the fragile ecosystem of the freshwater pool.We’ll make camp and enjoy one last river dinner at the mouth of one of the iconic side canyons along the lower river.

Day 4:

Golden morning light reflecting on sandstone walls will usher us downstream, past Oljeto Wash and into the sandbar-studded upper reaches of Lake Powell. We’ll dodge and weave our way to the take out at Clay Hills Crossing, soaking up the last precious moments of river time. We’ll load up the boats and gear and our vans will carry you the final two hours back to Blanding, Utah. Our expected time of arrival in Blanding is between 4:00 and 5:00 p.m..

Please keep in mind that this is a sample itinerary and should not be thought of as the exact 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!

This sample itinerary illustrates a 4-day trip on the San Juan River. For specifics about your trip, please ask your reservationist.


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