Full San Juan River Rafting Trip

The San Juan is one of the steepest, fastest-moving rivers in the United States, with an average drop of eight feet per mile, steeper than the average gradient of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon. Its rapids are relatively mellow, however, making the river a great place for families, inflatable kayak enthusiasts, and first-time river runners. Archaeological sites from ancient pueblo civilizations and more recent Diné (Navajo) People abound in the upper canyon, and stunning exposures of Colorado Plateau geology dominate. Visiting the River House ruins and rafting through Comb Ridge and the famous Goosenecks of the San Juan are particular highlights. The San Juan is also notable for being the birthplace of commercial river running: Norman Nevills began operating scenic float trips from Mexican Hat through the Grand Canyon in 1938. San Juan river rafting is especially known for the phenomenon of sand waves. The sediment-laden river has shifting sand on the river bed which creates waves that migrate upstream, growing in size until they collapse under their own weight. These large but mostly harmless waves make for a particularly thrilling ride in an inflatable kayak.

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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Four Corners Region

  • Length:

    5 Days

  • Dates:

    May through June

  • 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
  • $925
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $960
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $960
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • May
  • 7, 14, 21, 28
  • June
  • 4, 11


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:

Begin your adventure in Blanding, Utah at 7:00 a.m. Mountain Time, 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 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 5-day trip on the San Juan River. For specifics about your trip, please ask your reservationist.


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Holiday River Expeditions
Average rating:  
 40 reviews
by Marlee Benzer on Holiday River Expeditions

The trip was way beyond anything I could have expected – I felt like royalty. I hope the guides get treated with the respect they earn and have enough of a break between trips, because they are seriously impressive and do a fantastic job.

by Max & Aleks Carlstrom on Holiday River Expeditions

Holiday was incredibly well put together and every guide was super knowledgeable! Gear was on point! It was all seriously so awesome! Activities were super fun, the food was totally unbelievable, and the guides were all so awesome and fun! Best guides ever! The whole trip was absolutely amazing. The San Juan was super tasty, the weather was absolutely choice, the food was SO good I still cant believe it. Best trip ever! See you next year!

by Gary Simms on Holiday River Expeditions

Karen was very polite and helpful in helping me select the best option for my first river raft trip. Total neophyte to river rafting and more than 40 years since I camped as a scout, but this trip was as easy as I could have hoped for. I'm still in utter awe of how hard Sarah and Eve worked to make our trip as effortless as it was!
Obviously the guides were amazing, but so was the food, campsite, kayaking, and fellowship with other campers and the guides. Even sleeping on the air mats was pretty good. It was hot so you started out on top of the sleeping bag and crawled inside at some point in the night when the temps dropped.
At 2 AM the stars are amazing as I believe this is designated a dark sky area. Amazing campsites you will only believe if you take the trip! I took (and will share ) pictures so people would believe me. We had a 5 year old child with one of the families. The guides entertained this 5 year old better than I could imagine. The little girl was as cute as pie, but still, guides do their work for 15 hours a day and entertain her? 6 stars. I was pretty concerned about the 100 plus heat, but no problems with that since the river was 60F!

by Kenneth Potenberg on Holiday River Expeditions

The guides were wonderful, personable, friendly and just plain outstanding. Sarah did an incredible job, very well organized. Kalie works like a demon. Tess was especially attentive to my two grandchildren which isn`t always easy. They were the best overall crew we have worked with at Holiday. The trip was primarily an opportunity to expose my two grandsons (ages 5 and 7) to rafting as the three adults in our party had traveled with Holiday in the past. The boys had a flat out great time as did the adults. Great guides. great food, great hikes and just a wonderful experience! Thanks.

by Mike Sargetakis on Holiday River Expeditions

Mac and Jessica are amazing. I've been on all kinds of guided trips and they were my favorite guides I've ever had anywhere. Very professional but didn't act like they were "other" than us. They really were a great part of the trip. The food was amazing, always plenty of it. Cold water. Fun times. Very adaptable to our broad range of abilities and desires in all aspects of the trip.

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