San Juan River Trip: Tour the Upper San Juan

The upper San Juan is all about the archaeology. Nowhere else are visitors so completely surrounded by the artifacts and stories left behind by the cultures that thrived along the river more than one thousand years ago. In between playing in the class I and II rapids and admiring the improbable uplifted rocks of Comb Ridge, walk through ruins and stare at rock art and imagine yourself as the latest in the long legacy of human visitors to this area.

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Trip Overview

  • Type:


  • Location:

    Four Corners Region

  • Length:

    3 Days

  • Dates:

    May through June

  • Meet at:

    Desert Rose; Bluff, UT @ 8:00am

  • Difficulty:


  • Min. Age:


  • Deposit:



  • Explore slickrock and prehistoric Native American ruins
  • Classic southern Utah desert environment; warm water
  • Perfect rafting for children and inflatable kayaks
Getting Here Before You Go Packing List

Rates & Dates

3 Day

  • Adult:
  • $850
  • Youth:
    18 and under
  • $750
  • Senior:
    65 and older
  • $800
  • Group:
    10 or more
  • $800
Book This Trip
Check Availability
  • May
  • 7, 14, 21, 28
  • June
  • 4, 11


San Juan River trips are true wilderness adventures, and trip itineraries vary widely depending on weather, the desires of each group, campsite availability, and the need to be courteous to other groups on the river.

This is a sample itinerary intended to provide one example of a three-day trip on the San Juan. Itineraries also vary based on the seasonal water flows in May and June. For specifics on your trip’s date and itinerary please ask your reservationist.

Typical Itinerary

Day 1:

Meet your group in Bluff, Utah, at 7 a.m. Mountain Time for a short ride to the Sand Island put-in. These upper reaches of the river are simply covered with signs of the existence of over five different indigenous cultures over thousands of years; pictographs, petroglyphs, and hand-carved steps are visible 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:

Push off the beach this morning and float alongside Comb Ridge, one of the longest uplifts in the region, then follow the river as its cuts into the ridge’s heart. Prince’s plume and tufted yucca wave at you from talus slopes as you careen through winding canyons and Four Foot and Eight Foot 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 striking sombrero-like shape. Enjoy your last few hours with the wildlife before arriving at the boat ramp in Mexican Hat where we will meet our vans for the 45-minute drive back to Bluff, Utah.

Wilderness river trips are changeable by nature. Please understand that this is only a sample itinerary, intended to give an idea of how your time will be spent on the river. You may have the opportunity to do all of the above activities, or you may have a variety of other memorable and exciting experiences. Holiday’s motto is “Go With the Flow”, and we encourage you to arrive with an open mind, a flexible attitude, and an appetite for adventure!


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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!