Experience Rafting the Lower San Juan River

In its lower reaches, the San Juan River enters a geological wonderland, winding around the famous Goosenecks of the San Juan, diving into the bottom of an imposing, deep canyon. Watch the walls rise above you and feel the cares of the outside world drop away. The canyon offers historic sites such as an abandoned mining outpost and an old prospector’s trail that climbs straight up to the canyon rim and to views of Monument Valley. Natural wonders, fossils, and secret, fern-draped pools await up the many side canyons. Government Rapid is the Class III whitewater highlight of the trip, but other Class I and II rapids provide ample opportunity for inflatable kayaking. An excellent float trip for families with young children, or people looking for an incredible wilderness experience with minimal adrenaline.

Featured Review:

“This was my very first river rafting trip. My first time camping in over 40 years. But I did it all. A member in our group told me I should win the award for “most out of her element with the most enthusiasm”! The hikes, the kayaking, and the rafting, IT WAS ALL AMAZING. Our guides were awesome and even better cooks. We were very well taken care of. I will 100% do this again. Thank you for a trip of a lifetime and for helping me with my bucket list.” (Cameron and Wendy Marsden)

Read more: The Insider’s Guide to Floating the San Juan River in Utah

Book This Trip

Trip Overview

  • Type:

    Rafting

  • Location:

    San Juan River - Four Corners Region

  • Length:

    4 Days

  • Dates:

    May–June

  • Meet at:

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

  • Difficulty:

    Beginner

  • Min. Age:

    5

  • Deposit:

    300

Highlights

  • Float within the famous Goosenecks of the San Juan
  • Hike through stunning side canyons to secret pools
  • Fun but gentle introduction to whitewater rafting
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List FAQs

Rates & Dates

4 Day

  • Adult:
  • $970
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $870
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $910
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $910
Book This Trip
Check Availability
2021
  • May
  • 1, 8, 15, 22, 29
  • June
  • 5

Itinerary

Float the “River Flowing from the Sunrise” as it arcs and bends its way through the Four Corners Region. Begin in the town of Mexican Hat, Utah, and quickly descend into the heart of the canyon. Float through the Monument Upwarp and emerge in the upper reaches of Lake Powell before taking out at Clay Hills Crossing, Utah.

Sample Itinerary

The night before your trip:

Please plan to attend our pre-trip meeting at the Super 8 hotel in Blanding, Utah, at 8:00 p.m. Mountain Time. This is when we’ll issue your dry bags for the trip, giving you plenty of time to pack in the comfort of your hotel. We’ll do some quick introductions and make sure that everything is ready to go for the following morning.

Day 1:

Your rafting adventure on the San Juan River truly begins the following morning. Meet us back at the Super 8 for the 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 up the Honaker Trail, a relic of the 1892 gold rush. The reward for those who put forth this 1,200-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..

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 4-day trip on the San Juan River.

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!

 

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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 5 reviews
by Brooke & Jason Ferrara on Holiday River Expeditions

Food was terrific and they even had a cake for my husband’s birthday. Fantastic guides, scenery and a wonderful family trip. Happy to see not much has changed 20 years later. A definite must for your bucket list.

by Guy Duffner on Holiday River Expeditions

The vegan food was freakin' amazing!!! Thank you, thank you, thank you :) The guides ROCKED (knowledgeable, responsible, and fun) and transportation was excellent (clean and punctual). All in all, the trip was incredible. Thanks! Our San Juan trip was incredible. The guides took excellent care of us and attended to every one of our needs.

by Cameron & Wendy Marsden on Holiday River Expeditions

This was my very first river rafting trip. My first time camping in over 40 years. But I did it all. A member in our group told me I should win the award for "most out of her element with the most enthusiasm”! The hikes, the kayaking, and the rafting, IT WAS ALL AMAZING. Our guides TJ and Sherpa were awesome and even better cooks. We were very well taken care of. I will 100% do this again... Thank you for a trip of a lifetime and for helping me with my bucket list. :)

by Bart & Pam Roberts on Holiday River Expeditions

Great guides and wonderful food, the wild life on the trip was unexpected. We are looking forward to our next Holiday trip.

by Mike & Nancy Snodgrass on Holiday River Expeditions

Great trip as we have come to expect from Holiday. Once again, Holiday does not disappoint! We had a good mix of return and new trippers and everyone had a good time.