rafting down the san juan river
The best way to really see the vast amount of history and geology of this area is to float down this river. The rapids are smaller than what the Colorado River can throw at you, and there are more archeological sites such as petroglyph panels, dwellings, and Moki steps. This is a great trip for families with children. Seasoned rafters will also enjoy the fun nature of this river.
Trips can vary, depending on how much time you have to float. From Bluff to Mexican Hat is 27 miles. This stretch can be done in one day with a guide, or two to three days on your own.
Unbelievable rock imagery panels are easily accessible. The launch site at Sand Island has a large petroglyph panel. Rafters float past the famous Butler Wash Petroglyph Panel, one of the most important petroglyph panels in the Southwest. Dwellings such as River House are only a short hike to reach. The Navajo Nation requires additional permits to camp, hike, or visit archaeological sites on the south side of the river. Call the Navajo Parks and Recreation Office
After Mexican Hat, the river flows through the famous Goosenecks, 56 miles to the Clay Hills boat ramp. This stretch is usually done in four to five days.
To float the San Juan, you must either obtain a permit for a self-guided trip, visit recreation.gov
or go on a guided trip with a local outfitter.
If you want to float just a bit of the river, there is a seven-mile stretch of river off Foot Bridge Road to Sand Island perfect for a day trip. This is not a maintained put-in and best for kayaks or paddle boards. Rent from Wild Expeditions
. They can also provide the shuttle to the put-in. 435-222-5708
go with the pros
Take in the San Juan on a guided one-day trip, or slow things down and float to Clay Hills. Wild Expeditions
offers fully-outfitted trips with knowledgable guides that will teach you about ancestral Puebloan culture and the history of the river.
They also have kayak tours and rentals as well as paddleboard rentals. 435-222-5708