San Juan River Trip: Tour the Upper San Juan


Upper San Juan River Rafting Tour –
About the San Juan River Float Trip


A perfect starting place for any new river visitor; the upper San Juan wanders through astounding red rock landscapes and abruptly dives into the center of Comb Ridge the greater Monument Upwarp. This trip takes you through exquisitely maintained ancestral Puebloan sacred sites, where we can learn from ancestors embedded in stone. Play in sand-waves and class I-II whitewater or get bogged down in the natural mud-baths; this river invites the child within!

Trip Overview


Location: Four Corners Region
Type: Rafting
Length: 3 Days
Dates: May - June
Meet At: Bluff, UT 8:00 AM
Rating: Beginner
Age Min: 5
Deposit: $300


  • Explore slickrock and prehistoric Indian ruins
  • Classic Southern Utah desert environment, warm water
  • Perfect rafting for children and inflatable kayaks

Trip Price & Departure Dates


3-Day - Adult - $825
Youth - $725 (18 & under)
Group - $775 (10 or more)
Senior - $775 (65 & older)

+ $22 Agency Fee

2019 Trip Dates

3 Day Trip Dates

May 9, 16, 23,30
June 6, 13

Trip Slideshow

Full 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 four-day trip on the San Juan River. The 3-4 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: Meet your group in Bluff, Utah at the Desert Rose Inn & Cabins at 7 AM MST where you will take a short ride to Sand Island put-in. This upper stretch of the trip is simply covered with over 5 distinct indigenous cultures providing signs of their existence in pictographs, petroglyphs, & hand-carved steps along the canyon walls. Spend the night near “River House”, an incredible Ancestral Puebloan site showcasing the elegant design of their ancient civilizations.

Day 2: Depart this morning flanking Comb Ridge, one of the longest running uplifts in the region, and then follow the river as its cuts into the ridgelines heart.  Prince’s plume and tufted Yucca wave at you from talus slopes as you careen through winding canyons and sand-wave rapids before resting for the evening near Limestone draw.

Day 3: Break camp and float by the iconic “Mexican Hat” rock formation, a precarious Hoodoo with a likening to a sombrero. Enjoy your last few hours with the wildlife before arriving at Mexican Hat take-out where we will meet our vans for a 45-minute drive back to Bluff, Utah.

As mentioned earlier, this is a sample itinerary and should not be thought of as the exact San Juan River 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!


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 3 reviews
by Thomas Beale on Holiday River Expeditions

We loved the pacing and extensive side hikes to canyons and archaeological sires, and especially the campsite on the last night. Whoever says the upper San Juan is boring must be crazy.

by Chip Ward on Holiday River Expeditions

I went with Glen Canyon Institue and they made the plans Guides and food exceeded expectations. We traveled the upper San Juan with TJ Sattlemeier and his stellar crew. Customer service like we experienced is rare. They were not only skilled at rowing us safely down the river, they were great cooks, guides, and companions. We were sorry to part and any one of them would be welcome in our home.

by Sue An Brooks on Holiday River Expeditions

We were very impressed with quality of waterproof bags, wetsuits and camping gear rental package!! Sleeping bags were clean and toasty warm on cold nights. Tents were dry and well-maintained. Wet suits and rain gear were fresh and clean. We have been on several other white water rafting expeditions in other areas in The US and Costa Rica, and Holiday is #1 in our book!! We cannot say enough good things about holiday and have already highly recommended them to our friends, family and co-workers. Our guides Dave and Sam worked from sunup to sundown were very informative and educated. They were fun, great cooks, super accommodating and really made our trip a lifetime experience! We will definitely be booking with holiday again!