San Juan River Rafting Trips
San Juan River Rafting – About This Trip
Pound for pound, the San Juan is one of the fastest moving rivers in the United States, dropping an 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. The left bank of the river borders the present day Navajo Nation, while filled with sacred sites from the ancient pueblo civilizations of the past. Scores of ancestral sites and petroglyphs line the canyon walls. This river also boasts the birthplace of commercial river running in 1938 when Norman Nevils began operating trips from Mexican Hat through the Grand Canyon.
The San Juan, with a lot of small rapids, perfect for children, 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.
Location: Four Corners
Region Type: Rafting
Length: 5 Days
Dates: May - June
Meet At: Blanding, Utah 7:00 am
Age Min: 5
- Perfect trip for kids and families
- Float through the heart of ancestral Puebloan culture
- Dizzyingly beautiful canyons through the “goosenecks”
- Ideal pairing dry heat and and cool river water
Trip Price & Departure Dates
5 - Day - Adult - $1,000
Youth - $900 (18 & Under)
Senior - $935 (65 & Older)
Group - $935 (10 or more)
*Plus $42 Agency fees
2019 Trip Dates
5 Day Trips Dates
May 9, 16, 23, 30
June 6, 13
Trip SlideshowFull Gallery
"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
One of the advantages of a river trip is the flexibility of the daily itinerary. It can vary widely from one trip to the next based on group desires, Mother Nature, and courtesy for other groups on the river. This typical itinerary illustrates a five-day 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 trip’s date and itinerary please ask your reservationist.
Day 1: Begin your adventure in Blanding, Utah at 7:00 AM and spend a 45-minute breathtaking ride to Sand Island put-in. Spend the day encountering sign after sign of 5 distinct cultures of indigenous ancestor’s presence in the form of pictographs, petroglyphs and hand-carved 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 before traversing the famed Goosenecks of the San Juan River. Take an optional hike to the 1894 prospector cabin of infamous gold prospector Walter Mendenhall. Rest easy this evening after hiking 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.
Day 3: This morning you will float through layered canyons, play in good clean mud and take in the depths of the serpentine canyon walls. Take a ride through Ross rapid and find camp in the paradox walls bellow.
Day 4: The morning will bring Government Rapid. The afternoon will give you a chance to meander up Slickhorn Gulch, one of the most celebrated side canyons along the Colorado River drainage. The trail will take you to a hidden grotto and swimming hole. We will make camp at one of the iconic side canyons nestled in this lower drainage.
Day 5: This final stretch could lead us to peer inside Oljeto Wash and its magical side canyon and continue across what remnants of “Lake” Powell to the take-out at Clay Hills Crossing. You will transfer to a two-hour scenic van ride back to Blanding, Utah. Our expected time of arrival back at the Super 8 is 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. Completing your San Juan River rafting trip!
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!