Women’s Watercolor Workshop on the San Juan River

A Float with Heart: San Juan River FUNdraiser with the Great Old Broads on May 14–18 is Full

We are offering a second Women’s Watercolor Workshop with Michal Onyon, May 28–June 1!***

Artist Michal Onyon

Michal Onyon, Utah Artist

When was the last time you got together with a group of women and painted in watercolor? This fluid, lyrical art form is the perfect medium of expression for a San Juan River workshop.  Treat yourself to 5 days of humbling canyon walls, playful rapids, delicate grottoes, and decidedly decent dining; all while digesting the canyon’s magic through art. We have enlisted the best when it comes to our artist in “river-dence”: Michal Onyon, who has married her stunning artwork with Holiday River Expeditions trips for over three decades.

This women’s watercolor workshop on the San Juan takes you to Utah’s southeastern corner, a wonderland of dramatic topography and archaeological treasures. This full five-day trip on the San Juan River (includes the upper and lower sections) is the easiest and best way to see this region. In its upper reaches, the “River Flowing from the Sunrise” eases past the cream-colored sandstone of Comb Ridge, ancient dwelling sites, and petroglyph panels. To the south, the river borders the present-day territory of the Diné (Navajo) People People and the Bears Ears National Monument (as established in December 2016). 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.  Michal Onyon Watercolor

To learn more about this majestic river check out our new Insider’s Guide to the San Juan Here!

About Michal:

Michal Onyon’s en plein air watercolors of nature have been in gallery shows and were instrumental in awarding her an art residency in Zion National Park. These small, easy paintings are a creative visual of a moment of time observing land and light. To her, they are like zen postcards, where even sounds and the feeling of the air can be remembered. We rarely stay in one spot very long and for her, painting heightens looking closer and longer. In this journey, painting ability does not matter. We can all learn with each other. Come as you are and create in a beautiful place with us.


***This trip is a new offering for us because our 1st Great Old Broads for Wilderness trip is at capacity!  We are thrilled that so many folks want to paint on a river and, therefore, are offering this second trip with the incredible Michal Onyon. That said, we will still take proceeds from this trip and donate it to GOB! If you’d like to support their critical work please follow this donation link here! 


Book This Trip

Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Four Corners Region

  • Length:

    5 Days

  • Dates:

    May 28–June 1, 2020

  • Meet at:

    Super 8; Blanding, Utah @ 8:00 pm (night before the trip)

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Learn the art of open-air painting with Michal Onyon
  • 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:
  • $1025
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $1025
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $1025
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $1025
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • May
  • 28–June 1


The San Juan River flows from east to west through the Four Corners Region, and through some of Utah’s most dramatic desert scenery. Full, five-day San Juan trips launch at Sand Island, near the town of Bluff, Utah. Float through Comb Ridge and past the town of Mexican Hat before entering Goosenecks State Park. After 84 miles of swift currents and scenery, take out at Clay Hills, in Lake Powell’s easternmost arm.

Typical Itinerary

The night before your trip:

Please plan to meet your guides at the Super 8 in Blanding, Utah. They’ll conduct a pre-trip meeting at 8:00 p.m. (Mountain Time). This is when you’ll collect your dry bags and meet your fellow passengers. Pre-trip meetings helps us sort out all the final details, making our launch the following morning more efficient.

Day 1:

Begin your adventure back at the Super 8 the following morning, where we’ll hop into our vans and travel for 45 minutes to the Sand Island put-in. Spend the day encountering archaeological sites representing five distinct cultures of indigenous peoples. See pictographs, petroglyphs, and hand-hewn steps in the canyon walls. Investigate elegantly designed Ancestral Puebloan ruins before descending through Comb Ridge.

Day 2:

Pass through the settlement of Mexican Hat, then wave at visitors on the rim of the Goosenecks, hundreds of feet above. Climb up to Mendenhall’s cabin, home to an indefatigable gold prospector in the late 1800s. Camp at the foot of the Honaker Trail, another relic from the gold rush in 1892; hike up before dinner for an unforgettable view of the river canyon and Monument Valley.

Day 3:

Small rapids and soaring walls are on tap this morning. Choose to float silently as a group, letting all of your senses come to life and open to the sensations of the canyon. Take a ride through Ross Rapid and roll into camp in time for lasagna dinner at our very own riverfront restaurant.

Day 4:

The biggest rapid of the trip, Government Rapid, will splash off our morning. We’ll lunch at Slickhorn Gulch, one of the most celebrated side canyons along the lower San Juan. Be sure to scrub off in the river before hiking to the secluded, lush swimming hole—sunscreen and other oils disrupt the fragile ecosystem of the freshwater pool.

Day 5:

The canyon walls begin to descend around us until we are surrounded by smooth, golden Cedar Mesa sandstone. We may explore Oljeto Wash and play in the mud at its mouth before pushing on through the sandbars and riffles of the lower canyon. Our vans await at Clay Hills, our take-out, and we’ll wave farewell to the river as we climb out of the drainage and across the rugged topography of the Monument Upwarp, back to Blanding, Utah, between 4:00–5:00 p.m.

Please note that this sample itinerary is only meant to give you an idea of what your trip will be like. Your trip may include different hikes and attractions than those mentioned above. Flexibility is the key to enjoying a river trip in the wilderness!

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. This sample itinerary illustrates a 5-day full San Juan River trip. For specifics about your trip, please ask your reservationist.


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